Athlone trio Macey South rocked The Snug Bar last weekend in what was the band's final gig before taking a short six-month hiatus.
Liam, Keith, and Conor are briefly going their separate ways to pursue personal interests before coming back together early next year to begin work on their second album, a selection of wholly original tracks.
Macey South have come a long way since forming a little more than seven years ago as fresh-faced students of Athlone Community College. However, had it not been for the intervention of fate all that time ago the band as we know them today may never have come to pass.
"It was the day after my graduation and myself and Keith were playing music in town when Conor just happened to walk by the venue," Liam explains. "Someone said to him to go home and get his electric guitar and he did. He came back in and we started jamming and it sounded really good. We have just stayed going from that day really. If Conor hadn't been walking by the pub that day it may never have happened."
Liam smiles while he recalls the band's early years of performing in and around Athlone, and is quick to mention the support they have received from the local community.
"The Snug, Sean's Bar, and The Fiddlers have supported us well over the years and we really appreciate it," he says. "We love The Snug. It's the venue we started playing in so it has a special place in our hearts. I remember we walked in there years ago looking for gigs, myself and Keith, and we didn't even have enough songs for a two-hour set at the time.
"We were chancing our arm, but they took a chance and gave us our start. They gave us great confidence going forward and we consider everyone that works in there as friends at this stage.
"Benny in the Sound Factory has been brilliant to us as well. There was many a Sunday when I forgot some piece of equipment and had to call him on the way to a gig. It never mattered what Benny was doing, he could have been eating dinner when I called. He would drop everything, open up the shop and get us what we needed, so he has been absolutely fantastic for us."
Throughout the years the band have enjoyed success, bringing out the self-titled album, Macey South, and completing a tour of England. They have also supported acts such as The Fureys and The High Kings and played at various locations throughout Ireland. When asked to choose a highlight, Liam does not hesitate.
"Our album," he answers without missing a beat. "In particular the song 'Casey'; it's a song myself and Keith wrote and it has been going down really well, getting good play time on RTE Radio One and things like that. We are very proud of that. When it's original material you take way more gratification from it. Also, last St Patrick's Day we went over to America playing and we had a really great time over there. There is a large Irish American audience who hadn't really heard our sound before, and they loved it. We made great friends along the way and some good connections as well."
Macey South's gig at The Snug went down a storm last weekend. "It was brilliant, really enjoyable," Liam says. "We literally played earlier than we were supposed to and an hour or so longer because we just wanted to get as much into the night as we could. At this stage we could nearly play five gigs without repeating something, so we just wanted to fit as many of our favourite songs in as we could do. We played a lot of original stuff and it all went down really well.
"From start to finish people were really into it. Some were even getting a little bit emotional about the whole thing. There are friends of ours who have literally come to all of our gigs. They even came over to America to see us; they would go to Timbuktu if that's where we were playing, so they have been a great support to us down through the years, and I think they were all getting a bit nostalgic on the night last weekend."
Liam says Macey South will return early in 2017 to begin work on a new album. "We have the songs for an album as we speak, so I'd say if it is not 2017 it will be very early in 2018 when we have the album out. With this album we will go entirely original with the material, so it's great motivation for us to have that to look forward to."
To all those who have helped Macey South along their journey so far, Liam has one simple message: "We just want to thank everybody that has been coming to our gigs and supporting us throughout the years," he says. "We have made so many friends and we couldn't be more appreciative. We will be back in 2017 bigger and better than ever."