Villagers for Big Top gig in Limerick

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

MERCURY Music Prize nominated band Villagers have been announced as the next act for the ‘Live @ the Big Top’ series in the award winning Milk Market.

MERCURY Music Prize nominated band Villagers have been announced as the next act for the ‘Live @ the Big Top’ series in the award winning Milk Market.

The band - formed around the central figure of Conor J O’Brien, who recently won an Ivor Novello award for his song ‘Becoming A Jackal’ from the album of the same name - follow The Coronas and Imelda May in performing in the beautifully restored, 200 year old market, redeveloped to the tune of €2m and opened last summer.

The series of gigs are being presented by music venue Dolan’s, and boss Mick Dolan expressed his delight at securing Villagers to play at the Big Top on September 21 under the 1.8 tonne, half-acre canopy.

“Villagers are a brilliant band, but we couldn’t announce it until the Marlay Park gig was done and dusted so it was a big secret,” he explained, also revealing that more acts are set to be announced for both the ‘Big Top’ and Dolan’s own venues in the coming weeks. Among those are ‘Bressie’ and Billy Bragg, who will both play in the Warehouse in October.

“We have a lot lined up over the next few months, stuff to be announced. With Electric Picnic finished all of the bands are freeing up from the festival circuit, so we are working hard as always. The feedback from the other shows has helped enormously, it is very hard to get people to come and play somewhere they don’t know.”

Villagers have become an amazing live prospect as O’Brien has gelled with his bandmates and the September gig - with special guests still to be announced - promises to be a superb prospect. O’Brien’s album was one of the best of last year, and the band played to thousands in Marlay Park last weekend.

“This will be Conor’s last gig before he goes off to do his next album, so it will be the last opportunity for a while for people to see him,” explained Mick, going on to detail what it is about the Milk Market that lends itself as such a good venue for live music.

“It is like being in the middle of the square of a town, there is that vibe about with the shops open, food stalls - I think that makes it different, more interesting as a venue,” he said.

“The incredible atmosphere under the canopy adds to the vibe as well, and the market has been such a success in general,” he added.

Villagers play the Big Top on Wednesday, September 21. Tickets are on sale now from Dolan’s or Ticketmaster outlets.