Sandino’s debut for Plain Zebra

The newest addition to Derry's music scene, local band Plain Zebra. Photograph courtesy of Sinead Crumlish.
The newest addition to Derry's music scene, local band Plain Zebra. Photograph courtesy of Sinead Crumlish.

A group of local musicians are hoping to inject new life into Derry’s music scene and travel further afield with their new band Plain Zebra.

The upcoming band are billed as having “original music that can only be described as psychedelic bluesy/folky/funky rock n roll dipped vigorously into a contemporary industrial alternative coating.”

And the sound doesn’t disappoint. Their EP has already caught the attention of those tasked with organising the lineups for Ireland’s biggest music festival, Electric Picnic.

Musician Caolan McLaughlin, who is also a regular solo performer in Derry’s live music scene says the band are looking forward to showcasing their sound to the public on Thursday coming when they perform in the Back Room at Sandino’s.

The five member dream team that make up the inspiring outfit are founders of Plain Zebra and former Swanee

River members, Graham ‘Baldy’ Baldrick (guitar) and Micheal Mc Cafferty (bass guitar). Usually making waves with his wife Kate O’ Callaghan and keeping the pulse for Mark Black and The Trips we have Seamus Devenney (drums, backing vocals, violin). Former member of Chadsko, current member of The Bronágh Gallagher band and also Mark Black and The Trips, Caolán Mc Laughlin (keys, Hammond organ, backing vocals). And to complete the fellowship, all the way from Russia with such a stimulating vocal and stage presence Plain Zebra front

man is Vadim Zeberg (lead vocal, standing accordion, mouth organ).

Caolan says he makes his money from performing live across the city as well as gigging in Europe, but that a number of different factors are making it difficult for musicians to earn a living here.

“Last year, when we had City of Culture, things were very different. For me, one of the highlights was having Other Voices here. The fact that there were 400 applicants for Other Voices shows just shows how many bands we have here and so many bands were made by getting to appear on that show.

It would be nice to think that we could have more of that type of thing because sadly a lot of bars just aren’t hiring live bands and musicians anymore. We’ve seen a big dip in the pub trade here in Derry with bars closing down too and it’s definitely a struggle for musicians out there - more so than it might have been years ago. That’s why we hope people continue to come out to support live gigs because it keeps the music industry alive here in the town and that’s so important.”

Plain Zebra will play with the Wood Burning Savages and Mark Black and the trips in a special gig in Sandino’s Back Room on Thursday coming. Admission is £5.

They will also play the Greenroom Live at Voodoo in Letterkenny on Friday December 19th alongside the Wood Burning Savages and Kate O’Callaghan.

Catch musician Caolan McLaughlin in a live solo gig in Bennigans Bar tonight, from 9pm. This is a free event and all are welcome!

Further entertainment update on www.derryjournal.