Neon Flea Circus
Cork, County Cork
Neon Flea Circus* are an energetic, funk filled band based in Cork.
Founded by two childhood friends – Dan McLaughlin (guitar/vocals) and Fergal Coulter (piano/organ), the two were soon joined by mutual friend Niall Honohan (Drums). Playing as a semi-serious hobby throughout University in Limerick under the moniker “The Gin Devils”, the group honed both their song writing craft and instrumental abilities, always striving to push their own musical boundaries.
Following college, the group moved to Cork to take advantage of the bustling music scene that was re-establishing itself in the city. Here they were joined by local bass whore Brian Hennessy, on the departure of their previous bassist.
This is the moment when Neon Flea Circus* really began in earnest.
While compiling their catalogue of original songs, the band supplemented their live set with covers by the (sometimes obscure) bands they were most influenced by. Charged by the jazzy funk driven sounds of Gil Scott-Heron and Sly and the Family Stone, coupled with the cheeky lyrical and musical stylings of the Small Faces and Jethro Tull, all of which is smoothly complimented by McLaughlin’s wailing blues guitar, so influenced by heroes Peter Green and Rory Gallagher. It took little time for their sound to be instantly recognisable and truly unique.
When playing live, the band woos crowds with a high energy, exiting and always danceable set, showcasing a tight but relaxed group of musicians playing varied, tightly structured, well crafted songs. Their appeal seems to extend to any age group listening, owing much to their emphasis of playing “all the tasty notes”.
Their recordings, while exhibiting the same musical virtuosity as their live show also have the bonus of slick studio production. You will also hear a sharp sense of humour and cheeky deviousness throughout.
May 2007 saw the ‘ Circus complete their first EP – “Go for the Juggler” to much acclaim and interest leading to supports with Ocean Colour Scene and The Blizzards. They were also selected to take part in the 2fm 2moro 2our and played storming sets at 2008s Castlepalooza and Solas Festivals.
The EP was selected by Jackie Hayden as Pick of the Fortnight in his First Cuts column on Thursday 14th Augusts’ Hot Press.
They played at the semi final stages of the JD Set in 2009.
Work is currently underway on their debut album to be released later this year.