BY SEÁN P. FEENY
LAST week one of Donegal’s most talented original acts won the chance to represent Ulster in the grand final in this year’s Guinness Arthur’s Day Play On The Day competition.
On Thursday night several carloads of Donegal people travelled to Belfast where In Their Thousands were competing in the Northern final vying for spot in the grand final.
The band which comprises of brothers Aidan and Declan McClafferty, Ruairí Friel and Liam KellY were up agains one act from Derry (The Triggermen) and two from Belfast (Suzanne Savage Band, Peter McVeigh Band) as they took to the stage in Belfast’s Limelight.
With only a 20-minute set each to impress the audience and judges, In Their Thousands pulled out all the stops playing songs from their recent EP Cellars, 4 In The Morning, War Of Our Worlds, Tear It All Apart, and of course, the fantastic closing song Effort For The Waste.
“They really are a bit special,” Mark Hogan of Hot Press said afterwards, “They have already carved out a big reputation for themselves, but their performance tonight was confirmation that they are a band with the potential to go all the way.”
Audience members said that while the band was playing ‘you could hear a pin drop’ in the Limelight, even the bar staff stopped to listen intently.
The eventual winners won over the whole crowd, including many impartial music fans that had come to see the talent on display.
In Their Thousands went through a long process to make it to the final which began with online submissions, which the experts at Hot Press wittled down to 16.
It was then down to the acts to round up the votes, by getting people to vote online to narrow it down to the four Northern finalists.
Now, having overcome this mark, In Their Thousands are preparing for the competition’s grand final, which will be held at Whelan’s, Dublin, on Wednesday, November 21.
The winner of the competition will then be selected by a panel of judges which will be made up of members of Hot Press, RTÉ 2fm and well-known figures of the music industry.
The Guinness Arthur’s Day – Play On The Day competition is a mouth-watering prospect for every up and coming band in the country.
The eventual winners will perform at a high profile Arthur’s Day concert next year, receive several thousand euros work of equipment, a day in the RTÉ studios, as well as get the chance to release a winning single – a huge boost for any band.
Declan paid tribute to all the fans that travelled from Donegal to support the band in Belfast last Thursday night. “It was so great to see so many familiar faces in the Limelight, the fact that they travelled two hours to support us playing a 20-minute set is very much appreciated.”
The annual competition does not just attract ‘new’ bands, Declan said. Last week the Leinster winners were Hot Sprockets, a band who have already played prestigious events such as Oxegen and the Electric Picnic.
But Donegal already has a good track record in the competition with Donegal/Derry outfit Mojo Gogo having one last year’s grand final, so watch out Dublin we have plenty more talent to come!
In Their Thousands, who have gained a very large and loyal following in the North West over the past year, have several big dates coming up before the end of the year.
On Wednesday, December 27, In Their Thousands will be performing at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, while New Year’s Eve will see them join forces with their friends Mark Black & The Trips, Heads Of State, and The Capitol for a fantastic event at the Greenroom Live which will be one of the hottest tickets in town.
But before that you can look forward to the digital release of the band’s latest EP Cellars, which will be available for purchase from iTunes on November 26.
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