Derry band General Fiasco illuminate Olympic concerts

Derry's General Fiasco play The Coca Cola stage at the Olympic celebrations at St. Columb's Park on Monday. (General Fiasco 1)
Derry's General Fiasco play The Coca Cola stage at the Olympic celebrations at St. Columb's Park on Monday. (General Fiasco 1)

Derry band General Fiasco earned the right to feel as victorious as anyone at the Olympic Torch Relay celebrations at St. Columb’s Park on Monday. Not only have the four piece, Owen and Enda Strathern, Stephen ‘Leaky’ Leacock and Stuart Bell, returned from a victorious UK tour, set to release their much coveted second album ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ this summer, but they were selected by Coca Cola to headline Northern Ireland’s Olympic flame celebrations. The band had gigs in Portrush, Derry, Newry and Belfast; luckily they are used to being in demand.

“This definitely felt like a home coming. We didn’t really know what to expect yesterday, so we were a little more relaxed about everything today. Then as we walked on stage we saw just how many people had turned up,” said Owen.

Stephen said: “We haven’t got back in a long, long time, so to get back and play to this many people, we couldn’t ask for any better feeling.”

“Especially,” added Steven “When we saw the little pockets of people going crazy in the crowd and how many people had written signs for us. ‘Enda light my torch’ was one I remember.”

The band are certainly enjoying themselves having just returned from a 15 date headline tour of the UK however they are, of their own admission, “beat.” On the UK tour Stuart said: “The dust hasn’t even settled on that. We’ve been home a few days but we’re still on the road. I haven’t seen the house or the family yet.”

Pointing to their Club NME gig in front of 1,400 people as the highlight of the tour, Enda said: “We took the stage at midnight and, like this gig, we weren’t exactly playing to our own audience but there was a great atmosphere.”

The band might not have felt the St. Columb’s Park crowd was their natural fan base ‘pre-gig’, but thanks to what was an inspirational performance few will argue, it is now. “We can’t wait to get back and play in Derry. There are a few things being discussed but nothing solid yet but we will play Derry as soon as possible,” confirmed drummer Steven.

The band have a few dates lined up for summer but their focus is on launching the album on July 30. To celebrate that they play Stiff Kitten and Mandela Hall on Saturday, July 28 and Sunday July 29. “We just need a bit of time off first. We miss our mammies”, laughed Stuart. ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ was produced by Rocky O’Reilly (Oppenheimer) and recorded at Smalltown America in Derry. Owen said: “I think the four of us all knew what we wanted. Making decisions as a band is fairly easy for us. I have to say though as proud as we are of our debut, I felt this is the record that we were maybe striving for in the first attempt. We’re perfectly proud of our debut but I feel we stepped it up on this one.”

As it seemed they did at St. Columb’s Park.