The Lagan / Dirty Artichokes / Anto Morra at The Bird’s Nest, Deptford, London
Thursday 4th August 2022
It had been a while since we put on any bands and had even debated whether or not to keep doing so but presented with the opportunity to put on Italian band Dirty Artichokes we just couldn’t say no. On their way to Outcider Festival down south and (sort of) passing through the big smoke we rounded up a couple of the best the London Irish had to offer and let the bands do what they do best. Séan Cregan was there and enjoyed the night so much he had to get it into print!
A lovely sunny Thursday evening sees me heading down to Deptford south London. I arrive at the Little Crown, a small recently refurbished Irish pub, for a few liveners with Mark, Amy and Pat before making the short walk to the Birds Nest one of the few remaining live music venues where gigs are usually free (as tonight’s is) and the drinks are reasonably priced unlike the eye watering six pounds fifty at the New Cross Inn down the road.
The Birds Nest has also had a makeover in recent years, which was well needed as in the past you’d struggle to see the band stuck in the corner with no stage. This has now thankfully been rectified with a stage centre front of the bar, making for a small cosy up close and personal experience for both bands and punters alike.
As it’s Amy’s birthday the drinks are flowing and the bar is getting another makeover by way of London Celtic Punks stickers (get your own from the LCP Shop) liberally splattered about the gaff. The evening’s entertainment begins by way of Punk / Folk legend Anto Morra who warms up the still arriving crowd with his humour and medleys of Punk and Folk classics. For a Thursday night the place is jumping and it’s standing room only for the late arrivals. The Dirty Artichokes are a new one for me but boy were we in for a treat! The nine piece Italian band from Turin shuffle onto the stage filling every inch. The fiddle player had to stand on a speaker cab as there was literally no room left. We are then entertained for the next forty minutes by some of the most energetic Celtic Folk / Punk it has been my pleasure to witness.
(The Dirty Artichokes final song of the night recorded now for posterity!)
The lead singer is a bald, bearded, whirling dervish who engages the audience with his energy and passion. He also plays a mean tin whistle. The fact that most of the songs are in Italian matters not a jot to the crowd who have started jigging about loving every minute. I can’t recommend this lot enough and I was left wanting more and cheering like a lunatic. Nothing to do with the trays of Sambucas that have been necked to toast the birthday girl I’m sure.
The band finish with a rousing cover of the Anti Fascist favourite ‘Bella Ciao’ before leaving the stage to make way for the evening’s final turn. The Lagan (named after the Belfast river) are a five piece that play souped up traditional Irish Celtic-Punk at its best. I’ve seen them a few times now and they never ever disappoint and tonight is no different as they put on a blinder of a set, with loads of us singing along, as the night draws to a close. Well at the Bird’s Nest anyway. Check out their debut album ‘Where’s Your Messiah Now?’
We saunter off into the night well oiled and satisfied. We find the Amersham Arms still open and serving and drink into the small wee hours. Not too shabby for a Thursday night in South London.
Up the Celts!
Photos – Anto / Amy / Séan / Donny / Pat
We are pleased to welcome Séan Cregan to our ‘roster’ of London Celtic Punks writers. Séan is a second-generation London-Irish boy through and through. Lived here all his days and has absolutely no interest in ever moving away. “A man who is tired of London is tired of life” said someone once. He is currently in the process of writing his autobiography of a life well lived. His previous works include 24/7 – Prison Poems From An Anti-Fascist still available from https://www.paypal.me/AFpoems for £4 and we look forward to many more pieces here.