Several musical venues have come and gone on Middle Abbey Street over the years, the latest being the fabled Twisted Pepper. One, however, which has stayed the course through the recessionary times and come out the other side, is ‘The Academy’.
While not exactly a regular, I’ve attended my fair share of concerts there over the years. From Danish prog-rockers ‘Mew’ and Kiwi synthpopper ‘Ladyhawke’ to Scottish beanpole and superstar DJ ‘Calvin Harris’.
And last January it was Monaghan maestro Ryan Sheridan‘s turn to take the main stage, christened ‘Academy 1’ (rather than the smaller ‘Academy 2’ and ‘Green Room’ for more intimate shows or DJs).
As Ryan and his band started up, I was struck by just how friendly and pleasant the crowd were. Partly a reflection on the man himself, a gentleman if ever there was one. And a charismatic and ebullient presence on-stage too, regaling the crowd with stories as he lashed into his songs with abandon, keeping the onlookers enthralled.
With an impressive light show, favourites like ‘Here and Now’ and ‘Jigsaw’ saw the entire crowd belting out the words in unison. I’ve rarely experienced such a warmth from a crowd, ordinary folk expressing their appreciation for an artist at the top of his game. I was also struck by how nice the staff were, something you’re not always guaranteed at a crowded city centre venue.
All in all, an excellent evening’s entertainment. And with plenty more exciting acts to come, I’m already planning my next visit!