Barq members Stephen McHale, Neil Dorrington, Jess Kavanagh and Tommy Gray. Pic: Dara Munnis
Highly acclaimed band BARQ will play their first Mayo gig this Friday, May 25, when they will take the stage in Garbos in Castlebar. Appearing as part of the Smithwicks Soundtrack Series, the high-energy four piece will treat gig goers to their very own agrosoul version of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.
What’s agrosoul? Well the group describes it as ‘shoving groove into the belly of the rock-beast … music to dance dangerously to’.
In March 2016, BARQ released their debut single ‘Gentle Kind of Lies’ to critical acclaim and a surge of media attention. The track was picked up by Spotify’s new music playlist in both the UK and Brazil. Since then, BARQ have been one of the most talked about bands in Ireland. Lead singer, Jess Kav, featured on the front cover of Ireland’s premier music magazine, Hot Press, and BARQ were included in The Irish Times ‘50 People to watch in 2017’.
In 2017, they completed their first tour, with dates in the UK and Ireland, and travelled to Toronto for Canadian Music Week. After returning to Dublin from Mondo New York, and started touring with the Smithwicks Soundtrack Series.
Last year, in an article entitled ‘Are BARQ the coolest new band in Ireland?’, RTÉ Culture correspondent Lilia Lalaoui described them as ‘one of the most acclaimed – and dynamic – live acts in the country’.
One of the band members, lead guitarist Stephen McHale, comes from Westport. Stephen, or Stevie as he is known locally, will be remembered by music fans in the town and beyond. His regular Friday-night gigs in Henehan’s on Bridge Street in the early nineties were a big hit. Stephen was recently acknowledged in Golden Plec magazine as one of the top ten best guitarists in Ireland.
McHale, who cofounded BARQ, has worked extensively as a guitarist in a huge variety of genres, playing his own original music and as a sideman. Since beginning to work professionally, he has performed onstage with artists as diverse as Eddie Gomez, John Blackwell, Glen Hansard, Patrice Rushen, Róisín O, Perico Sambeat, Victor Mendoza, Piotr Orzechowski, Lethal Dialect, and Alain Perez.
Since beginning his formal musical education, McHale has studied for a National Diploma in Popular Music at Ballyfermot College of Further Education, a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Performance at Newpark Music Centre, Dublin, and a Masters in Contemporary Performance at Berklee Valencia, as well as attending the 2012 Jazz and Creative Music Workshop at the Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. He is son of Derval Dunford, a well-known mindfulness and meditation practitioner.
Admission: €10. Doors open 9.30pm.