The Docs announce Manchester gig

The Docs announce Manchester gig

The Saw Doctors will be playing Castlefield Bowl, Manchester on Saturday, July 1. GRAINNE CONROY appraises the band’s career to date


The Saw Doctors, founded in Tuam, Co. Galway by Leo Moran and Davy Carton in 1986, have proved to be one of Ireland’s most enduring bands — as well as one of the best-loved.

Discovered by Mike Scott of The Waterboys on a stormy night in Galway city in the late 1980s, The Saw Doctors popularity quickly grew. Tours around Ireland and Britain, including a six-week stint with The Waterboys on the Fisherman’s Blues tour in 1989, established their reputation as an energetic live band. This dynamic live presence, combined with their catchy tunes and heartfelt lyrics, has made the Saw Doctors one of the most popular live acts in Ireland.

Their debut album If This Is Rock and Roll, I Want My Old Job Back included two of their most famous songs I Useta Love Her and N17. This was followed by a string of successful albums, including All the Way from Tuam and Songs from Sun Street.

Same Aul’ Town is a paean to small town Ireland that most people from rural Ireland will recognise: could recognise instantly — “same oul hanging around the square / same oul spoofers / same oul stares”.

Many regard this as the Doctors’ finest album, as it combined lyrically strong tunes with a slew of stompers such as World of Good and To Win Just Once, the then unofficial anthem of the 1996 Irish Olympic Boxing team. Perhaps the most striking song, however, is Everyday, a Springsteen-esque tune chronicling the journey of a young girl in “trouble” travelling across the Irish Sea for an abortion.

But it was the single I Useta Love Her that initaially propelled the band to fame. Their first number one, the song topped the Irish charts for nine consecutive weeks in 1990. This nostalgic ode to young love has become an Irish classic, and a standard on any pub band’s song list.

The band’s ethos is spelled out by Leo Moran: “Born into a repressed, catholic, conservative, small-town, agrarian, angst-ridden and showband infested society. The Saw Doctors are trying to preserve the positive elements of our Irish background and marry them to the sounds which have culturally invaded our milieu through TV, radio, social media, 45’s, fast food restaurants, 24-hour petrol stations and electric blankets.”

One of the key factors in the Saw Doctors' popularity is their ability to connect with their audience. Their lyrics often reflect the experiences and struggles of people in rural Ireland, and they sing about the challenges of everyday life with a sense of humour and optimism that resonates with audiences.

Over the years, the Saw Doctors have had a number of lineup changes, but Leo Moran and davy Carton have remained a constant presence, and are largely responsible for fashioning The Saw Doctors sound

The current line-up, besides Moran and Carton, features Kieran Duddy, Anthony Thistlethwaite, Will Merrigan andRickie O'Neill

Damien Dempsey

Special guest at the Castlefield Bowl will be Dublin singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey

From Donaghmede, Dempsey is known for his unique blend of traditional Irish folk music and contemporary rock and pop influences. figure in the Irish music scene.

Dempsey grew up in a working-class family in Donaghmede, a suburb of Dublin. He was exposed to music from an early age, and was particularly influenced by traditional Irish music and the punk and rock music that was popular in the 1980s. He began performing in local pubs and clubs in his late teens, and soon developed a reputation as a powerful and dynamic live performer.

Dempsey's debut album They Don't Teach This Shit in School, released in 2000, features songs that deal with themes of Irish identity, social justice, and personal struggle.

Damien Dempsey with Sinead O'Connor