August 2011. The event; Tennants Vital. The location; somewhere in Bangor. I’d been contacted a month or so prior by the gentlemanly Paul McClean from BBC Introducing and offered a slot at T-Vital. This was a big deal. It took an almost Herculean effort to show some decorum and say ‘Of course we’re up for it,’ without running outside into the pissing rain in joyous abandon, whooping and hollering and making a holy show of myself. Now the five of us – Rob Elliott (guitar), Ciaran Coyle (bass), Joe Nelis (drums), Conor Mason (keyboard) and myself – have poured ourselves into two cars with all our gear and provisions. Provisions include a couple boxes of beer and a huge multipack of low on fat, low on salt, low on taste ‘Baked Potato’ flavour crisps that I in my infinite wisdom saw fit to purchase. These crisps would prove to be revolting and almost bring about a bloody mutiny within the band. The butter flavour ones were especially horrible. Joe has brought his fiance Orla along to take photos and Pol Sheerin brings up the rear in his big PS Audio transit van. Its Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Convoy’ only without CB radio’s or Ernest Borgnine. Plus, Kristofferson’s beard could pistol whip mine into oblivion. After asking for directions we find the artist entrance to the festival and start loading in our equipment. It turns out we’re the first act on the BBC Introducing stage and we start to tune up. Our set is getting filmed so the stage manager (who takes no shit) hurries us through our pre-gig ablutions. We crash into the first song as the camera’s start rolling and the gates to the festival open.
The gig goes well. All 20 odd minutes of it. Dribs of festival goers wander towards our performance and shouts of ‘Who Are ye’s?’ can be heard between songs. I’m about to announce the band as ‘The Script’ but don’t. We recieve warm applause and slope off triumphant back to our palatial dressing room/portacabin where beer is imbibed and many jokes are told. Later we would pose for a professional photograph in front of some ‘Artist Only’ portaloos, listen to a number of terrific bands (and some not so terrific) and have a ruddy good time. The rest of the lads get hammered except for Joe and I who have to drive home. We get on the road to Derry as soon as ‘The Script’ start playing. Spirits are high and Conor manages to purloin a traffic cone, squeezing it into the boot of my car because, as he explains, you never know when we might need one. Everyone agrees the day has been a great success – except for the purchase of the dreaded ‘Baked Potato’ flavoured crisps, the remainder of which are dumped somewhere over the Glenshane Pass.