It’s always a kick when we realise just how wide a range of music the annual Stepping Stones: Battle of The Bands competition drags out into the light.
As with 2017’s debut, last year had all the colours – and sounds – under the sun, from CBGBs-worthy Blush (now Talk Like Dog) to Emily Beattie’s loopy love-ins, from Hail & Rain’s harmonic hugs to Lauren & Sam’s 4am siren calls.
And if you don’t believe us, check out 2018’s beautiful dreamers here. And 2017’s right here.
So, alongside the King himself – in all his middle-aged spread glory – we’ve got young teen punks Overture, and countering Nicolaas Walle’s impressive one-man Wall Of Sound we’ve got former Feud Danny Bradley’s Beta-esque Oyster Island.
Our judges will be chewing over this fine funky feckers over the coming weeks, leading up to a live showcase at The Castle Inn in early May – details to follow. In the meantime, let us know who your personal favourite is in the comments below…
With an age range from 15 all the way up to 16, three-piece Greystones punk band Overture mean business. And Blitzkreig Boppin’. And turning it all the way up to 11.
So, you know, lock up your granddaughters, baby.
You can follow Overture on Twitter here, and Instagram here.
Oyster Island Keep In Touch
Another three-piece, Oyster Island grew out of the ashes of our 2017 winners, Feuds, with Danny Bradley teaming up with two of his buddies for a little folking around. Far from the mathing crowd.
Gigging steadily for the last three years, Oyster Island have decided to stay off the social media radar, deciding instead the let the music do all the talking. And the selling.
Nicolaas Walle Dance With Me
Counting the likes of Bowie, King Crimson, Vangelis and Peter Gabriel among his influences, 19-year-old Delganite Nicolaas Walle clearly brings something of his own to the table.
A multi-instrumentalist who built his own guitar at 16, this half-Irish, half-Dutch wonder released his first album just after completing his leaving cert, and has since released a second. Which, of course, is nuts.
And when his songs are compared to the likes of Pink Floyd and Eric Clapton, well, this teenager out of time isn’t complaining.
Currently studying Creative Music Production in IADT and STC, you can find out more about Nicolaas Walle on his website here.
Margarita Chernikova They Are A Mess
Having made an impact in last year’s Battle Of The Bands, 16-year-old Margarita Chernikova has been steadily developing her distinctive singer-songwriter groove over the past 12 months with an indie folk kick that could see her crowned The Queen of Austin, Texas one day. Should Margarita be interested in such world domination plans.
We get the impression though that this is one artist who’s happier being the queen of her own particular world though, and They Are A Mess proves that it’s an ever-evolving, ever-inventive place to be…
Mekkan Ju Over The Mound
A band who clearly like their polyrhythmic grooves, Mekkan Ju deliver music for the feet first, then the heart, and shortly after that, your head will be spinning. Having already produced an album, Live At The Tivoli Backstage, which was recorded as part of the Liberties Festival by Loring Films, leading light Justin McCann reckons their influences are “from everywhere – and I mean everywhere“.
So, listen carefully, and you’ll hear some Tibetan nose flute on the second verse here. Magical.
You can follow Mekkan Ju on Facebook here, Bandcamp here, Twitter here, Soundcloud here, and Spotify here.
Alan ‘Elvis’ Adamson Suspicious Minds
Hard to put into the words the passion Alan Adamson delivers here, as he belts out his all-time favourite song by his all-time favourite artist.
Despite having dressed as Elvis for the previous 40 years, this was the very first time that young Adamson stepped out on a stage as The King – and, bejiggers, he nailed it.
Some people are rock’n’roll gods on the weekends. Alan ‘Elvis’ Adamson is a rock’n’roll god seven days a week.
If you’ve got a kick-ass tune that you want to add here, just send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a little info about yourself and a ridiculously flattering pic. After all, there are €1,500 in prizes to be won – all courtesy of those generous souls down at Greystones Municipal District. More info here.
In the meantime, go vote below! And we’ll see you at The Castle Inn anon…