After 30 years in Australia - this Dublin boy is back!
Of course I'm talking about none other than Dublin's own legendary guitarist Gerry Quigley, who grew up in inner city Dublin in a family where rock and roll was a way of life.
Youngest brother of Ireland's pioneering rock photograhper Liam Quigley (RIP), Fran Quigley of CAVS, Pat Quigley Bassist Orphanage, The Jolly Beggermen, The Movement and Peter Quigley (RIP), it's difficult for most people to imagine how Gerry's cherished childhood memories could include watching and playing air and broom guitar as a 10-14 year old during countless band rehearsals in the Quigley basement by Irish rock gods Gary Moore, Phil Lynott and Eric Bell with bands such as Orphanage, Skid Row and Thin Lizzy; playing board games and street football with Phil Lynnott who thought of Gerry as a younger brother, and private guitar lessons at age 14 with Thin Lizzy founder and lead guitarist Eric Bell who introduced Gerry to the blues and encouraged him to develop his own style. But for the young Gerry Quigley, it was all just part of everyday "normal" life growing up in a musical Dublin family in the 70's.
With such legendary influences setting the standard in his early years it's no surprise that Gerry continues to captivate the audience where ever he plays since returning home to Ireland. Just as he did while living in Australia for 30 years - where he was awarded honorary life membership of the prestigious Perth Blues Club for his contribution to the Western Australian music scene.
With no less than five amazing shows during his debut at the world's largest Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival recently in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal with the Irish Lineup of his blues/rock and originals band The Shinkickers, Gerry Quigley has well and truly claimed his status as another of the great Irish guitar legends!
Gerry's first show of the festival was an acoustic show with Peter Price (UK) and Pat Ryan (Vocalist/Guitarist: The Shinkickers) at the Rory Gallagher statue on Thursday afternoon, where crowds gathered eagerly to see what Gerry, Peter and Pat had to offer. As the lads kept the tunes coming the crowd swelled and cheers sounded after every song. Going to my Hometown with Gerry on Mandolin and Pat on vocals was a sensation as the Rory Gallagher Fans prepared for their pilgrimage to Ballyshannon for a weekend of music and madness.
The first show for Gerry and his band was the first open air stage timeslot the next day on Friday afternoon - where Rory Gallagher Place was brimming with people who were eager to see what this "unknown" guitarist could deliver with his band and they weren't disappointed!
Gerry and his band were on fire with Gerry's jaw-dropping display of guitar wizardry undisputedly leading the way, leaving the crowd talking about him and the band for the rest of the weekend. Gerry played his ecclectic selection of instruments including a selection of electric guitars, mandolin and a unique double-neck mandola/bouzouki, to say the crowds were captivated from start to finish by Gerry and the band is an understatement.
Gerry and his blues/rock and originals band The Shinkickers (founded in Australia in 1991, in honour of Rory Gallagher four years before the legend had passed away) although not a pure tribute band, played a great selection of Rory Gallagher tunes to honor the occasion including a legendary performance of "I Fall Apart" which showcased the skill and tightness of the Irish lineup of Gerry's amazing blues/rock and originals band.
Also included were many spine-tingling Quigley original tunes, including the mesmerising classic instrumental Weeping Willow, played especially for fans who had travelled to the festival from Australia to see Gerry play. More original tunes included the rocking sound of "Broken Down Blues" from the band's latest self-titled album, "Today" from the debut album of his Prog Rock band The Nomadic Druids, and "To Be Sure, To Be Sure, To Be Sure" also from the The Nomadic Druids.
What a great move by festival organisers to give Gerry Quigley and The Shinkickers their first show of the festival on the open air stage, which ensured that the band's remaining pub gigs were filled to capacity every time. These are people who know how to organise a great rock festival.
Saturday night was a packed house with Gerry Quigley & The Shinkickers at The Lantern Bar, with many in the crowd sacrificing their tickets to the festival big top in order to see Gerry and band play for a second time. The music did not disappoint while Gerry and the band kept people entertained for well over 3 hours including an acoustic session during the break. Raucous applause kept the tunes coming and the band finished the night with an encore performance of Messing With the Kid, Quigley style of course, complete with some celtic rock Quigley guitar madness with an Irish jig thrown in for good luck!
Sunday afternoon included a delightful acoustic session at the secluded and delightful Abbey Mill, with Gerry Quigley, Peter Price (UK) and Pat Ryan (Vocalist/Guitarist: The Shinkickers). Just 20 minutes into his amazing performance Peter was rushed to hospital after feelings of faintness overcame him. In true Hollywood style a medical doctor in the audience (who was a Gerry Quigley fan visiting from Australia) was able to offer assistance and accompanied Peter to the hospital, where tests concluded nothing serious. While all this was happening Gerry and Pat continued the show with an array of both blues and rock tunes including Rory Gallagher classics, arranged especially for the acoustic event.
One of the many highlights of the afternoon was not only the amazing Rory Gallagher tunes but also Gerry and Pat's rendition of Motorhead's "Ace of Spade's" which had members of the audience standing while waving their arms in time with the music. Gerry and Pat couldn't have put on a better show and concluded by welcoming everyone to their last show of the festival with the band later that evening at Dicey Reilly's.
Sunday night's show at Dicey Reilly's - one of the bigger pub venues in the town, was another packed house with even more people sacrificing their big top tickets to see Gerry and the band play for the last time at Ballyshannon 2016 as word continued to get around. There were groups of new fans from Belgium, Germany, England, Scotland and Australia to name just a few!
Here's what people were saying on Facebook about Gerry and the band after the weekend:
- "I've never seen so many jaws hit the floor at the same time when Gerry started playing"
- "This is insane! How does he do that??"
- "Blew me away"
- and many more!
The next Dublin show for Gerry Quigley & The Shinkickers is at On the Rox on Saturday July 2nd, and Gerry is now planning his next UK tour with his Prog Rock band The Nomadic Druids (who are based in the UK) to follow on from his success at Ballyshannon 2016.
If you love the best in rock and blues guitar legends, Gerry Quigley is the one to watch!
Ballyshannon 2016 lineup: Gerry Quigley: Guitars and things with strings; Pat Ryan: Guitar/Vocals; Denis Coveney: Bass; Sharon Quigley: Piano, Hammond, Synth; Ken Cleary: Drums
Author: Willow Moonflower, Druidstone Media
Pictured (L to R) Gerry Quigley, Pat Ryan.
Photography: Achim Wobke, Germany