Got an email from Mike Lyons [some might remember him from Treehouse, Hooky, Box Camera] – he certainly triggered a lot of memories for me. Hopefully reading this post, from the email, will do the same for you. Thanks Mike
My name is Mike Lyons. I learned of the upcoming Sir Henry’s Exhibition at UCC on Twitter recently. When I saw the call for submissions I immediately regretted not having been more of an archivist or a magpie during my time there. I realise that it might be a bit late to contribute now but for what it’s worth like many of my contemporaries from 1988-89 on I regularly frequented Henry’s to see bands like The Power of Dreams, Toasted Heretic (I think), Whipping Boy, Something Happens, The Stunning, A House, Sonic Youth, Super Furry Animals, The Wedding Present and Therapy. The Indie Discos on Friday nights in the late 80s and early 90s were a welcome release from the school/colege week and guaranteeing getting in was a well planned and carefully executed exercise.
Subsequent to that, between 1991 and 1994 I worked for freelance promoter Shane Fitzsimons at the Village and Sir Henry’s as well as for occasional gigs he ran at the City Hall and other locations around town. I did flyers and posters for Shane while in the second and third years of my degree and after often taking tickets/cash for Shane at the doors of both venues and others to make some dosh while studying at UCC.
During that time, I also played in a band called Treehouse that regularly played at the Village and Sir Henry’s supporting bands like Mercury Rev, Daisy Chainsaw and participating in showcases such as 2FM Cork Rocks. I also worked on lots of gigs at the Village and Sir Henry’s for bands like Rollerskate Skinny, Leatherface, Babes In Toyland, AC Temple. Manhole, The Mary Janes, Pet Lamb, The Shanks, No Means No, Sebadoh, Jawbreaker, Dub War, Alice Donut, Brawl, Jam Jar Jail, Pitch Shifter, In Motion, Pavement, Mexican Pets, The Sultans of Ping, The Frank & Walters and others.
Later on, I worked for the Simpson Brothers who owned the hotel after Jerry Lucey. Admittedly, those were both hairy and interesting times. I managed entertainment at the venue behind Sir Henry’s, The Forum for a while. On one occasion, we had The Manic Street Preachers + Nicky Wire playing at The Forum. They had us facilitate the decking out of the tiny back-stage dressing room in camouflage netting on arrival and James Dean Bradfield was the only one who said hello. I remember that the tour manager on the night, whose name was Rory Lyons, refused to allow the band to go on stage with drinks served in glass from behind the bar . We were sold out and doors were opening. In a blind panic, I eventually got plastic pint glasses from the Metropole Hotel on loan so the gig went ahead to a full house. Phew. I have fonder memories of bands like Shed Seven though who felt sorry for me and bought me drinks instead of telling me what to serve them in.
Later in 1999, I played there in support of Mercury Rev with a subsequent band Hooky. I attach the poster in case you’re interested. I also found a battered VIP Pass from Sir Henry’s (1999) and a faded Frank& Walters AAA pass for a gig there with Hubble in support in 1997 (See attached). These are the only items that remain in my possession besides vague memories of meeting bands like Pavement in my role as promoter’s go-for/lacky. They were really nice guys. They played with Grandaddy that night I think.
Given what was going on around me it is incredible that I wasn’t more prescient but perhaps I was too wrapped up in the moments as they happened. Anyway like I say, I don’t have much from my time at the venues in the Grand Parade Hotel but I spent a lot of time there and I hope this small and insignificant contribution is of some mild interest.
On another note and in a wider context, if there is to be an ongoing social/cultural history project taking in other music, memorabilia and photographs from Cork I have lots of material from my time with Hooky and Box Camera, the last two bands I played in. I have a wide ranging digital archive of music an photographs of a total of three albums (two studio and one live) made with both bands. I have copious photographs and other relevant material such as demos/posters/setlists etc. If you, your colleagues or any other party engaged in collecting such material have any interest please don’t hesitate to pass on my e-mail address to them.
Again, for what it’s worth…thanks and best regards,