The Stunning have had a busy summer. The band have played festivals big and small across the country as we enjoy the most festival friendly weather in years and the band is picking up plenty new fans along the way.
The Stunning are still on a high after coming off stage at Galway Arts Festival. The band played a sold out show at the Festival Big Top in the city centre. The band returned to the city where they formed their sound and developed into an original band in the late 80s/90s.
Steve Wall chatted to Limerick Post.
We ask Steve if there is anything “more Galway” than seeing The Stunning rock the city during the city’s annual arts festival, probably the premier festival of its kind in the country.
“Everybody was at it that had anything to do with Galway in the 90s.”
“We even had Leo Moran (The SawDoctors) on stage. Leo sang ‘Clare Island’ – I’ll tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
And beyond the 1990s’ nostalgia, The Stunning are picking up a new audience as well. The recent hit single ‘Brighten Up My Life’ introduced the band to a new generation. They followed that up with a fresh sounding new recording of their second album now called ‘Twice Around the World’ and a host of festival dates. They talk to fans in their 20s who have been to see the band two or three times over the summer.
“It pushes us all the time. We have been doing a lot of festivals,
“At Grooveyard and Vantasival, we picked up fans that maybe won’t go to individual gigs.”
There should be no shortage of nostalgia when The Stunning make the ‘Trip to Tipp’ for Féile Classical in September. Féile Classical is the brainchild of Tom Dunne of Something Happens and Limerick production company CWB; the innovative idea caught the imagination of the public and became the surprise hit of the summer when the first show sold out in hours.
“I was kind of sceptical to be honest – being in the music business as long as I have, you are always skeptical about everything!” laughs Steve Wall.
“It is an interesting approach. There is obviously a hunger for it.”
Féile Classical featuring The Stunning, An Emotional Fish, The Frank & Walters and more performing their classic hits with The Irish Chamber Orchestra happens Thurles on Friday September 21 and Saturday September 22.
The band is working with Ken Rice, violinist with the Irish Chamber Orchestra who with Cian Boylan is preparing arrangements for the band’s performances, which will be recorded for possible future releases.
With the cost of renting increasing in Dublin and racing past the previous peak during the boom, the main topic of conversation for Dublin based Steve Wall and his band mates is the challenges of living in the capital as an artist with no fixed income to pay these exorbitant rents.
Recent social media postings came from musician/producer David Kitt and radio DJ Kelly Anne Byrne stating that they are now forced to leave Ireland and their native city.
Steve added his opinion to the debate, “Dublin is being sold from beneath our feet and the whole country will be worse for it.”
The scarcity of affordable accommodation is now a national crises and is tearing the creative community from the capital city.
“It’s a huge thing. It’s a constant topic of conversation. Not a day goes by but you will hear someone talking about it. People are always saying if you hear of anything to rent, will you let me know!”
Steve says that strictly regulating Airbnb would put 1000s of apartments back into the mix. Living in Harold’s Cross, he is seeing existing buildings that are empty that are not being utilised. He doesn’t agree with city plans to rezone industrial estates as it will banish cottage industry out of the city centre.
“They are talking about rezoning all the industrial estates. We have our studio lock-up place and we work in it every day down by Harold’s Cross bridge. It is full of little businesses – gyms and yoga places, a bakery – all little places that are quite intrinsic to a city.
“I think they have their priorities arseways!”
The Stunning return to play the Mungret Music Festival this weekend. The band had a “fantastic night” last year and are looking forward to playing in Limerick again.
Also watch out for Steve Wall in a leading role in the new film ‘My Foolish Heart’ playing jazz legend Chet Atkins, coming out in 2019.