It’s a long way from the Casbah Bar to California but that’s the road one man took to revisit his Teenage Kicks and catch Derry’s legendary rockers the Undertones.
Ciaran Gallagher, originally from Crawford Square now living in Long Beach California, travelled from his adopted home to Las Vegas to catch the Derry lads who have just completed their tour of the American West Coast.
The band, surely making the fans who remember their early days feel very old, are celebrating 35 years in the business with their True Confessions Tour of the UK, US and Ireland.
They have played gigs in San Francisco, Portland, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, san Diego drawing not only local crowds but a sizeable amount of the Derry dispora.
Ciaran said the gig in Las Vegas took him right back to the heady days of The Casbah Bar in Derry’s Orchard Street.
“The Undertones started their career in the Casbah, my mother’s pub,” says Ciaran.
“Indeed the song ‘Casbah Rock’ is about the bar. It was surreal seeing them under the bright lights at Las Vegas, they’ve come a long way. My mother, Peggy Duddy, spoke very highly of the band and other bands such as ‘toe jam’ etc. Ciaran, whose father Ken Gallagher owned New York, New York on the Strand Road, has run Gallagher’s Pub and Grill in Long Beach since he left Derry in 1985. He remembers Fergal Sharkey as a quiet young man, an avid gardener and a CD radio operator.
“I used to go to Fergal’s house on De Burgh Terrace. He was a quiet fella, really into the CB radio operator. His handle was ‘Channel Changer’. I remember Billy Doherty used to live on Academy Road.
“I caught them on Saturday night, at the Punk Rock Bowling Tournament in Las Vegas. They sounded amazing. It brought back many fond memories. I remember Fergal Sharkey performing at the Casbah with a brown bag over his head.”
Tom Bell, now living in Los Angeles, said that he was at the Undertones’ Echoplex show in LA last week.
“It was fantastic,” he says. “They rocked like no one’s ever rocked. I’ve been going to shows for 30 plus years, and this one was in the Top five, no questions asked. I was stunned at how really tight they were. Every single song rocked hard and sounded amazing!”
Undertones lead singer, Bogside man and renowned Today FM DJ, Paul McLoone, says the band had a ‘belter’ time on the US Tour.
“The shows in the US were really, really great,” he said.
“Thanks to all who came to see us. The Las Vegas shows were particularly, surreally brilliant!”
The Undertones 2011 tour rolls on to Dublin on the 16th June, London on the 17th and 18th and over to Scotland on the 25th.
July sees the band play gigs in Italy, Spain and back home to Ireland to play Cork and in September they play Electric Picnic at Laios.