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Gone With The Hawkwind
Nighthawks is an innovative multi-disciplinary monthly event in The Cobalt, Dublin. With organiser Stephen Kennedy still searching for that elusive “perfect show”, the sparks are sure to fly in March.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 29 Feb 2012
For three years, Stephen Kennedy has been offering Ireland’s capital an eclectic blend of entertainment on a monthly basis under the Nighthawks banner. The event brings together poets, writers, comedians and musicians in the hope of creating a very special cross-arts experience. This March, for example, the bill places classical harpists alongside new bands and sketch groups.
Nighthawks rose from the ashes (to mix bird metaphors) of Stephen Kennedy’s first club.
“About five years ago, I set up a club called The Shoestring Collective,” explains Kennedy. “I go to a lot of gigs and comedy clubs, and I knew a lot of writers. There was no club in Dublin at that stage that combined all those things so I figured I’d do it. Eventually I had so many acts that I was actually smothering the event and I could see I was pissing the other people off. So I set up Nighthawks. Since then, it’s all been about great music, great comedy and great writers.”
He is aided by fellow organisers Colm Keegan, Julie McGovern and Stephen’s wife Mary Cahill – but the process of selecting acts is largely a personal one.
“Generally I do go out a lot,” he says. “I live in Dublin city centre so I see a lot of bands and comedians. If I see an act emerging that I think is talented, I’ll approach them immediately. We’ve quickly built up a reputation, which allows us to combine established acts with new talent. We’ve had people like Villagers, Little Green Cars, The Flaws... Colm Mac Con Iomaire, who tours the world with The Frames and The Swell Season, drove from Wexford in a snow storm to do it. And it ended up being one of the best pieces of film we have.” [Watch it at youtu.be/RRe5cg_Rz4E]
Among the artists playing in March is Crayonsmith, the alternative pop vehicle driven by Ciaran Smith. He bought into the Nighthawks ethos early on.
“I go back a few years with Stephen,” says Smith. “He saw me play in the Róisín Dubh and asked me to do one of the first Nighthawks. We’ve stayed in touch since. I’m looking forward to the gig: the band are getting a set together that will suit the room. There’s an old grand piano there that we’d like to play as well, to create a sense of ‘event’ about the whole thing.”