SLANE at 40: Beauparc rocker Luke Reilly of Otherkin remembers his Slane stage experience

“It’s a total cliche to say that playing Slane Castle was a childhood dream come true but it’s also totally accurate, so I’ll say it. I grew up 4km from the Castle itself and I vividly remember the wild and electric summer evenings I spent at concerts there. Few kids were fortunate enough to grow up down the road from an iconic venue that has hosted legends such as U2, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and R.E.M., and to say that attending gigs at Slane were formative experiences in my life is somewhat of an understatement. I became obsessed with music and I have eternal gratitude to Slane (and my parents!) for instilling that obsession in me. Countless hours watching the untouchable live DVD of the Chilis at Slane led me to learning to play the guitar itself and my life was changed forever.

“The legacy of Slane Concert is the legacy of rock music itself, from the early gigs of Dylan and Thin Lizzy right through to Bowie and Queens of the Stone Age. To even be a footnote in its storied pages is a true honour, and I felt particularly proud because I was a local lad. My band Otherkin played Slane in May 2017 with Guns N’ Roses and it’s just a day that I’ll never forget. When I think back on it, I can still recall every minute of it. It felt truly special to me at the time and still does all these years later. We enjoyed our set immensely and those of the other bands and made sure to stick about until the wee hours to drink in the night and even got to witness the legendary Castle basement disco in full flight. We should be thankful that we have a world class rock venue right on our doorstep that has afforded us some truly legendary rock and roll moments and also be hopeful that the legend will continue next year and for many years after.”

Luke Reilly from Otherkin performing at Slane 2017. Photograph by Enda Casey. Photo by Enda Casey

The Otherkin story

Otherkin was made up of Luke on vocals and guitar, Conor Wynne, lead guitar, David Anthony, bass guitar, and Rob Summons on drums. Luke had been in college with David, and David and Conor had played in a band previously. Rob came on board when a drummer was needed.

After a couple of hand-made, self-released tracks, Otherkin hit their stride with the rowdy grunge-pop single ‘AY AY’, which came to the attention of leading Irish indie label Rubyworks in early 2015.

The EP - featuring ‘AY AY’ and ‘Feel It’ - a four-tracker of garage rock thumpers was released to coincide with their UK festival debut at Reading/Leeds and their first full-length UK tour.

The follow up release - ‘The New Vice’ EP - attracted more attention from UK daytime radio and making inroads in continental Europe - their debut European show at Eurosonic was voted one of the five best shows of the festival by Dutch station 3FM. The band built on this momentum with multiple knock out festival spots in the UK, Holland, France and Germany in summer 2016, getting rave reviews for their wild live shows from NME and The Guardian. They wrapped up their summer with a high-profile slot supporting the Red Hot Chili Peppers at a massive open-air concert in Belfast.

Guns N' Roses on stage at Slane 2017. Photograph by Enda Casey. Photo by Enda Casey

The Peppers gig in 2003 was one of the most memorable concerts Luke remembered attending at Slane.

“I had been going since I was of an age that I could,” the former pupil of Stackallen NS and St Oliver's Community School in Drogheda says.

“The Chili Peppers was a big one for me. I was a huge fan of them at the time. And the support – The Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age too ...”

Other memorable gigs on Henry Mount Charles’ front lawn included The Rolling Stones, U2, Robbie Williams, and Oasis, as Luke had been a big fan of the Gallaghers when younger.

These concerts were a huge part of his musical upbringing and influences, as were his friend and neighbour, Tim Kiernan, and his dad, Brendan, in whose house he first picked up a guitar. As he grew to enjoy it, his parents, Frank and Marie, got him his own guitar.

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