Led by song-smith Leeson O'Keeffe (formerly of Shane MacGowans’ Popes & currently Alabama 3), NECK are a 6-piece London-Irish band playing PSYCHO-CEILÍDH. Their songs reflect the emigrant and second-generation Irish life experience: combining the vibrant spiritual abandon of Irish songs and tunes with the rip-roaring electric guitar driven energy of Punk Rock. This heady mixture is evident in the line-up of whistle, fiddle, banjo, punky guitar(s), bass, drums and vocals - the overall effect is one of total release! NECKs lead-players are in demand individually too: Leeson (+ occasionally fiddler Marion Gray) has guested, both in the studio & live-in Ireland & the UK, with The Alabama 3- from TVs’ “The Sopranos”; whistle-player Marie McCormack gives solo recitals; while all three maintain a well-known presence on the London traditional Irish session circuit!
An extensive live schedule has taken NECKs' adrenaline-fuelled show all over the U.K., Ireland, Europe and the U.S.A. . NECK have now visited the U.S. four times since May 2000 (ranging from Boston, thru' Conneticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to Tennesee, Georgia and The Carolinas) playing in the same venues as top Irish-American bands such as Black 47, The Prodigals and Flogging Molly (including Manhatten and Boston shows with Black 47). Each year they play at numerous festivals, including Britain's biggest - Glastonbury (2000) and, in September 2001, one of the biggest Irish Festivals in the U.S.- Wildwood, NJ. Plus, gigs with the likes of Kila, The Frames, The Popes, The Men They Couldn't Hang, The Levellers and playing at London's Mean Fiddler final night party with Shane MacGowan amongst others, have helped expand the NECK following. On the day that really matters -St. Patrick's Day - amongst their usual hectic schedules in London, they have: played live on top DJ Chris Evans’ National TV and radio shows in ’99; performed in The Millennium Dome in ’00; head-lined The Hackney Empire with Ed Byrne in ’01; & played both with Shane MacGowan, a week before, & in Trafalgar Square on the day in ‘02.
The band have played numerous live sessions on radio stations in the U.K. (e.g. Londons' GLR), Ireland(e.g. Dublin stations Anna Livia FM & Raidio na Life) and ,now that college and Irish radio are picking up on the band , the U.S. too (e.g. Manhattens' Radio Free Eirann & WUSC in Columbia, SC). They are also getting widespread airplay. They played live on Dutch T.V., and appear performing two songs in the Belfast-set motion picture "With or Without You" (Film Four) starring Christopher Ecclestone (Shallow Grave) and Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel).
NECK also have a very high profile in the Irish press in Britain (particularly The Irish Post) and are regularly recommended in Londons’ definitive listings magazine: Time Out . The U.S. folk music and Irish press are now following suit with mentions, reviews and features in publications such as The Irish Voice, The Irish Echo, The Irish Emigrant, Dirty Linen & Detroits' Broadside amongst others: New York's Irish Voice even listed the "Psycho-Ceilídh" e.p. joint-6th in their Top Ten Irish releases of 2000 - which included the likes of U2 and Sinéad O'Connor! There's now even a Boston-based web-zine, devoted to all things punky & celtic, named after a NECK tune: ‘’Shite'n'Onions’’! … - an indication of the enthusiasm for the band in the U.S.A..
In 2001 NECK played Denmarks’ Skagen festival, on
the same bill as The Dubliners, toured Ireland twice (with gigs in Belfast,
Derry, Donegal & Dublin and appearances at three festivals: The Waterford
Spraoi; The West Belfast Féile an phobail; and The Derry Gas Yard
Wall Féile (the last two being with The Undertones!). They also
toured The U.S. twice, being in New York a week after 9/11, subsequently
playing benefit gigs for the families of firefighters who were lost in
the tragedy. They have contributed tracks to three imminent releases:
a Robert Hamill campaign album; a Pogues tribute album on Bostons' Kehoe
Records (alongside The Dropkick Murphys);and an 'Irish-Punk' (a U.S. scene
which they are part of ! ) compilation on Chicagos' Thick Records(also,
apparently, to be called “Shite’n’Onions”!). Meanwhile,
NECK currently have their own retrospective album "Necked (a few
odds from the oul' sods)" available only in the U.S. (& on the
net!), while work is very much in progress on their first studio album
proper, so.. -- watch this space!
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