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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Sharkbait revive memories of Dublin Underground scene

Back in the early eighties, you could barely move at venues in Dublin for fear of bumping into runny-nosed chaps with English accents scouting to find an elusive beast called 'the next U2'.

In the wake of Bono & co finally cracking the UK and with the States about to succumb, the A&R posse descended on Dublin thinking that there must be more where they came from. Thus several units barely capable of filling the Baggot on a Friday, found themselves on record company payrolls.



ACTION

In reality, the A&R men should have been heading to Dame Street and a pub called The Underground, where all the real action was taking off from 1985.

The venue was small enough so that a poor turnout didn't look too bad but compact enough so that a full house felt like a seething mass and it was where a whole generation of bands honed their craft.

Something Happens, A House and The Stars of Heaven all developed their chops here while there was an almost anti-U2 side to things with garage and psychobilly outfits like The Gorehounds, The Golden Horde, The Baby Snakes and The Boneshakers all screaming their hearts out to the faithful.

The Boneshakers were definitely the maddest of the lot, with lead singer Dave Finnegan. When the Boneshakers split and Finnegan formed Sharkbait the playing became tighter but no less feral.

Apart from a couple of tracks on local compilation albums -- alas, the Live from the Underground album never made it to the shops for various reasons -- Sharkbait haven't much by way of a recorded legacy but anyone who saw Finnegan in his near-psychotic pomp will never forget one of Irish rock'n'roll's true wildmen.

> George Byrne

Sharkbait play the Grand Social tomorrow night

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