Friday Night MashUp hits the spot at Ebrington

Nathan Connolly of  'Little Matador.'
Nathan Connolly of 'Little Matador.'

The Friday Night MashUp during last week’s CultureTECH, brought together high-profile speakers from the global tech and digital communications scene and some great homegrown live music at Ebrington Creative Hub. Jake Smith, a Year 13 Lisneal College pupil studying ‘A’ Level Journalism at the Verbal Arts Centre, was well impressed.

A booming voice is heard from the speakers, “Ladies and Gentlemen get your food and drinks and make your way to the marquee. We are about to start!”

After a minute or so, everyone lingering beside the former Turner Prize buildings makes their way to the marquee and takes their seats ready to hear some guest speakers impart their words of wisdom.

Friday Night MashUp - or Thursday in this case - was part of Derry/Londonderry’s third annual CultureTECH festival, a week of exciting events celebrating creative technology and culture.

First on stage was Peter Johnston who works at Google as a Global Associate Creative and warmed up the large crowd by asking if they could hear him “as loud as I can hear you!”

Next up was Becky Wang from New York, founder of Agency San Nom, who gave a very informative insight about how useful social media can be in getting to know your customer - “Twitter is not only full of what people had for breakfast!”

Finally, Gavin Sheridan from Cork, an investigative journalist and former innovation director for Storyful, began by posing the question: “How many of you share YouTube videos?

Well this guy gets paid to share videos.”

This really got me interested, especially since Sheridan revealed that he was paid to look through thousands of videos, verify them and select good ones.

He also revealed that the company recently sold for $25million.

After a prizegiving ceremony to select the best “Start-up” campaign of original apps and ideas, we were ready to start listening to some live music, the line-up consisting of Seven Summits, Barney, Oh Volcano and headliners, Little Matador.

Belfast band, Seven Summits, opened with their well-known song, “Burning Heart” and continued with “Sing to me” and “Ex-directory”, newer songs which do not feature on their debut album; “Fossils”, and last single “Little Twist”.

After announcing their last song of the set, “Be the Sea” and describing it as “our heartfelt one”, they played final track, “Pig”, from their debut album.

Next up was Newtownabbey band, Barney, who tested our ear drums with tracks such as “Saturday Night” and “Best Friends Never Die”.

Lead singer, Rab, let out a yell at one point: “There’s not a punk in this place!” - this is definitely a band you should see if you are a punk fan.

Oh Volcano are a relatively new synth and guitar two-piece.

Think of it as an indie version of recent rock breakthrough duo, Royal Blood. Frontman, Owen Strathern was previously from the band General Fiasco who are on an indefinite hiatus.

They played songs such as their debut single “Oceans” and newer songs including, “Don’t Know Love”.

Their appearance at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals indicate that they are definitely a band to look out for in the future.

Finally the headliners, Little Matador, took to the stage, featuring Nathan Connolly from Snow Patrol’s side project while they are on a break.

I was right in front of lead guitarist, Dave from local band LaFaro – his sweat was almost hitting me!

Opening with their swaggering single, “Stitch Yourself Up” I saw one enthusiastic teenager singing along to every word.

By their third song they were playing a track from their debut album called “Boom Boom” and I was gutted that I had to leave straight after this song. I was struck by how well organised a night it was.

From the interesting speeches at the beginning to a very intimate gig, it was a fantastic night overall.