Day Six at Other Voices 8 with the 202s

The 202sOther Voices' reputation precedes it. We've all heard countless stories of cooler than thou rock stars who come over all gooey & gushing when confronted with this Dingle phenomenon. It's a combination, we're told, of the stunning landscape, the hospitable & entertaining locals, a thoroughly professional yet uniquely simple set up, a gifted & courteous crew, the after hours sessions & of course Dingles' technicoloured selection of pubs, cafes, restaurants &, erm, hardware stores. To say we're excited as we set out on the 5+ hour journey from Dublin is something of an understatement.

Determined to make the most of our Other Voices experience we're heading down an evening early & staying two nights. It's the final night of performances in St James' church & the lineup is possibly the weeks' best - the XX, Speech Debelle, Adrian Crowley & Richard Hawley. We arrive in town around 6pm & stop off in our B&B, An Capaill Dubh. Staying just about long enough to drop our bags we quickly find ourselves around the corner in the welcoming environs of Foxey Johns. Half ramshackle hardware store, half no nonsense pub Foxey Johns is a unique Dingle institution. Richard Hawley will later eloquently hold court on its' merits midway through his performance in St James' Church............his enthusiasm is entirely justified.

Tearing ourselves away from Foxeys', we make a quick stop to guzzle dinner before making our way to the church for the main event. The XX are first up & they deliver a short but flawless set. St James' proves the perfect environ for their beautifully minimalist sound as every note delivers maximum impact. Speech Debelle delivers a stripped back set culled from her Mercury prize winning debut. The night concludes with a double shot of two of the finest voices & songwriters operating today as Adrian Crowley & Richard Howley both entrance with their rich baritones.

Immediately afterwards everyone piles across the road to the bar of Benners Hotel. The place is packed & conversation & laughter abounds. It's only December 9th but all of a sudden it's starting to feel very much like Christmas. I'm over 220 miles from my bed but feeling very much at home. Don't ask me what time we left.

Next morning we rise just in time to coax a few final breakfasts from An Capaill Dubhs' kitchen. We pass an hour or two by taking a walk around the peninsula before making our way back to Benners where we're to check in before filming. Formalities over, we're off up the hill to McCarthys Bar, the back room of which is 'the Other Room' for the day. The crew are welcoming & helpful & we get set up quickly. We're only filming one song named 'Shoot You Down'. We do a quick run through before the cameras roll. Sounds a bit rough. With the help of the crew & stage manager Ruairi we make a few tweaks & go for a take. Better, but not great. We go for another. Pretty happy with this one but think we've a better one in us. Take 3.....good but in hindsight the second was probably better! We've 2 takes we're pretty satisfied with so leave it there. Following some quick shuffling around a couch appears in the centre of the room & we sit down for a quick interview with Annie Mac. Two minutes of blabbing later & we're done.

Well, what to do now? There's only one thing for it & before we know it we're back in Foxey Johns. At some point a few hours later we spot the Chakras on the street & invite them over to join us. A few hours later again & the Other Voices crew arrive fresh from their wrap dinner. Merriment ensues. We decamp to McCarthys. Further merriment ensues. Don't ask me what time we left.