Belfast Telegraph

Gary puts on a dram good show as Bushmills festival headliners party like it's 1975

By Claire Williamson

The age-old buildings of the Bushmills Distillery were very much alive with the sound of music as it hosted the third Bushmills Live music and whiskey festival.

It was an exclusive and intimate gig where tickets could not be bought.

Around 700 music fans descended on the seaside village to enjoy a festival of music and of course, the famous whiskey.

While headline act British band The 1975 may have got the biggest cheer of the night as they appeared in a flurry of flashing lights and hair flicking, it was Tired Pony's frontman Gary Lightbody who won the crowd over with his charm and passion.

The 1975 were a definite crowd pleaser as they played their infectiously catchy songs.

The crowd bopped along to the tunes – a stark contrast to the mostly acoustic sets heard during the day – which provided a lively end to the festival.

But it was the supergroup developed by Snow Patrol's frontman Lightbody – featuring REM's Peter Buck, Belle & Sebastian's Richard Colburn, as well as artists Iain Archer, Jacknife Lee, Scott McCaughey and Troy Stewart – which was a highlight.

The Bangor boy was given a real home welcome as he took to the stage to perform with his band for the first time in Ireland.

As he came on stage he told the crowd it was "awesome to be home". With his eyes closed he was clearly lost in the music as his soothing tones echoed through the ancient building.

Fellow Snow Patrol band member Nathan Connolly joined them. Belfast band Levity Breaks were chosen to receive the Bushmills Live Legacy Fund by Lightbody's artist development company, Third Bar.

They filled their set with strong, melodic songs in the Still Room where crowds gathered to watch the rising group.

A mesmerised crowd watched on as Irish singer James Vincent McMorrow's voice soared effortlessly to seemingly endless heights during his set.

David C Clements was the recipient of the 2013 Bushmills Live Legacy fund and has quickly developed a reputation as one of the finest songwriters in Belfast.

He proved he was just that as he returned with a beautiful set which showcased his poetic lyrics and impressive range.

Four stars

Belfast Telegraph


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