Hole in the Wall to rock

Kilkenny’s oldest venue is set to be rocked to its foundations.

Kilkenny’s oldest venue is set to be rocked to its foundations.

Hole in the Wall owner Dr Michael Conway tells us more:

“Heavy metal is a music genre that doesn’t appeal to everyone. And yet some of the biggest anthems in rock music surfaced during the development of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the 1970s. English music is a curious thing. Unlike Ireland, England, despite its large population, has no significant traditional musical signature akin to its neighbour. Whilst there is a folk tradition in shires such as Northumberland and whilst Morris dancers reflect a village style, it looks as though the native musical expression that was happening in Ireland was neutered and ignored by the nobility. Classical music, largely of Continental European origin, achieved royal favour and the more simple styles of local yokels were sidelined.

And that scenario persisted until the latter half of the last century when rock music burst forth from the midlands of England in the footsteps of a band that emerged from ‘the capital of Ireland’ – Liverpool. The Beatles found a clean canvas upon which to explore and deliver an opus of astonishing and enduring beauty. Before long, musicians such as Brian Tatler were founding bands such as Diamond Head in Stourbridge (West-Midlands) – the hometown of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. Steve Dawson and Graham Oliver were exploring similar ideas in Sheffield, Yorkshire and Ozzi Osbourne was launching Black Sabbath from Aston, Birmingham. The centre of England became a cauldron of sound and the musicians pushed the boundaries further and further as electric guitar and drum technology improved.

For some of them the dream died. For others songs such as Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin), Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple) etc became timeless classics. A chance encounter with Matt O’Sullivan at Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre in 2006 led Dr Conway to explore the potential of the venue for rock music. It led to a 2007 tour of Ireland by Diamond Head and Ballykeeffe concerts by Oliver Dawson Saxon in 2008 and 2009. And it helped rekindle the dream for both bands. Diamond Head, who are acknowledged as the biggest influence on Metallica, opened for the San Francisco mega-group for the first time in their career at Knebworth during the summer of 2011. ODS, with John Ward (Wardy) on vocals, have since gone back to the studios and are now releasing Heavy Metal Motorbiker.

The Hole in the Wall is about to enter heavy-metal history. On September 5 it will host Steve Dawson and Graham Oliver’s ODS. This promises to be significant moment in the journey of the rock music innovators.

Heavy metal sounds in a 1582 building! A first for sure – not only for the building, but for rock music. Beware, ODS take up a lot of space. And the Archer Room is quite small. It will be pit of power. And, without doubt the singing of Wardy will bring a smile to the face. Tickets are €25 and available at the Hole in the Wall. A once-in-a-lifetime experience beckons!”

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