herald

Friday 22 September 2017

Danny takes centre stage as rockers slam grim homeless crisis

Hosts Katherine Lynch and Al Porter
Hosts Katherine Lynch and Al Porter

There were emotional scenes at the Rock Against Homelessness gig as singer Danny Bracken took to the stage.

Danny, who spent more than a year homeless, had every voice in the Olympia Theatre accompany him for a rendition of Dublin In The Rare Old Times.

The musician, a 59-year-old father of three, lived in three different hostels in the city before securing an apartment home with the help of Crosscare.

He was accompanied by Paul Brady on guitar and Dave Fleming on double bass.

"I was terrified before going on stage but I'm on a high now," he later told the Herald. "It was great being on stage with Paul and Dave. They were brilliant to offer to accompany me.

Niamh Farrell of Ham Sandwich in the spotlight at the Rock Against Homelessness concert
Niamh Farrell of Ham Sandwich in the spotlight at the Rock Against Homelessness concert

"Being homeless is tough. But there is help out there and I'm very grateful for all the support I got," said the former butcher and construction worker.

Brady said Danny was a marvellous performer.

"I was delighted to support such a vital cause," he added.

The concert raised around €30,000 for charity after more than 1,000 music fans packed into the Olympia to enjoy a show put on by some of Ireland's most talented musicians.

Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof, who is well known for involvement in charity gigs having staged Live Aid, headlined the sold-out show.

The bill of 10 top acts also featured Glen Hansard, and The Blizzards. All proceeds from the gig, which was sponsored by Independent News and Media, will go to Focus Ireland for its battle against the homeless crisis.

Danny Bracken
Danny Bracken

Katherine Lynch and Al Porter were the hosts for the night.

They entertained the crowds during the changeovers needed to accommodate the comings and goings of the music acts crammed into the three-hour show.

"I live in Temple Bar so I see the underbelly of the homeless crisis every night," comedian Katherine told the Herald.

"No one wants to tell their grandchildren in 20 years' time that apathy resulted in people ignoring the problem due to a lack of compassion and commitment."

Damien Bolger, production manager with Boggler Productions, spoke about the logistical challenges facing the organisers.

Amazing

"Fitting 10 bands on and off the stage, allowing them the time to perform their chosen songs and making all the technical changes that were needed was an amazing challenge," he said.

Concert organiser, journalist Barry Egan, commended the performers for giving their time to take part in the show.

"Everyone who helped in any way deserves our heart-felt thanks," he said. "Focus Ireland deserves the full support of the nation.

"I'd also like to thank INM management and directors and, in particular, editor-in-chief Stephen Rae, for their tremendous support for sponsoring an event for such a good cause."

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