Homegrown has become an annual feature in Derry’s music calendar since its inception six years ago in the City of Culture year.
The brainchild of musician Paul Casey, the annual concert has seen local musicians take to the stage of of a packed out Millennium Forum each January.
This year’s Homegrown will take place this Friday evening at 8.00pm in the Forum.
Paul Casey spoke to the ‘Journal’ ahead of the gig, which will also feature Ports, and a solo set by Paddy Nash.
“I used to do a gig every Christmas, but in the City of Culture year I thought local bands weren’t getting enough of a shout at what was going on. So I approached Bronagh Gallagher and Paddy Nash, and asked if they wanted to do a gig.
“They were interested, so we approached David McLaughlin at the Forum and he jumped at the idea, and got really involved.
“Luckily, the only date that he had was early in January, so we ended up being the first live music event of the culture year. It was great.
“The thing about our gig was it was a paid, ticketed event. A lot of the gigs that year were free, but ours, to pay everyone we had to put a ticket price on it, and it sold, really really well.
“I only thought we’d do it that first year, but this is our sixth year. David was more than happy to help us out, so we’ve ended up doing it every January since,” said Paul.
Over the course of the last six years, Homegrown has developed its own following, and is sure to draw a crowd.
Paul said this is testament to the fact that Derry audiences like to support local talent.
“It’s got its own wee audience now which is great. It’s something different. January is always a quiet month for gigs, so it breaks the month up .
“I’m surprised it’s still working, but it’s great.
“It really surprised me that people paid to come and see three local bands, and gave me great encouragement ot do it again.
“Derry people love to support our own, we love to fly our own flag.
“I never expected to do two, let alone six Homegrown gigs.
“The fact that we try to change it up every year and try to do different things, keeps it fresh for people coming back as well. The whole idea too was it had to be local, not just the bands but the sound crew.
“Paul Sheerin of PS Audio has been doing the sound for us for the last six years, he’s just incredible. He’s the most important member of the band for my band, if it doesn’t sound right,” he added.
Ports and Paddy Nash will also take to the stage of the Forum this Friday night, and Paul said the different styles of music really means there is something for everyone.
“For the first two years it was Paddy, Bronagh and myself. For the third year we mixed it up and had John Deery and Best Boy Grip.
“Last year we had four bands, including Ports and the Henry Girls.
“It was great to have so many bands, but it felt a bit rushed as we only have a two and a half hour window.
“So we’ve gone back to three bands this year, and Ports are playing again.
“They’re a brilliant band, everyone loves them. Paddy was up for it again and so was I so here we are!
“Ports are a great act and they’re a great bunch of lads. They have a sound now that’s really well rehearsed, they’re incredible. The first year they played homegrown, the feedback they got was incredible.
“They’re very atmospheric, they draw you in. It’s ideal for the gig.
“Paddy’s gig, when he played with the Happy Enchilada’s it was really uptempo, then ports are really atmospheric, can be a bit intense and draws people in, then my gig is just go up and make a load of noise.”
Paul will showcase some of his new material at Friday’s gig. He has been working on new material at the studio at his home, and has a new album coming in spring.
Paddy Nash will perform a stripped down solo gig, performing material from his new album ‘Gate Fever.’
Tickets are available now from the Millennium Forum Box Office. Contact 028 7126 4455 or visit http://www.millenniumforum.co.uk