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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Light A Big Fire September 29, 2012

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Another great Irish band from the 80’s in Light A Big Fire (or LABF as they were also known). Had their two albums Gunpowders and Surveillance although I could only find ‘Gunpowders’ when I went searching at home recently. Two fine albums they were too.
Their best known songs were probably “Mr Twilight” and “C.I.A”. Formed in 1982 they lasted until around 1989. Had the pleasure of seeing them a number of times. The most memorable being in “Caesars Palace” in Bunclody. Memorable for a number of reasons….
My brother and I were staying on our cousins farm. It was something we’d been doing for years in that the Cousins would be in Dublin visiting someone in hospital, going to a funeral or some other social occassion. They’d call in to our house on the way home and ask if anyone wanted to head down to the farm for a few days. Invariably we did and could be down there for a few weeks until someone was going to Dublin. It was more than a holiday in that we got to work on the farm, herding cattle, milking them, rounding up sheep, cleaning sheds, feed the pig, collect blood for homemade black pudding from the dead pig hanging from the roof, drive tractors around and lots more.

The thing was the day of the LABF gig in Bunclody, I’m pretty sure we’d been dipping sheep. I’d sheared sheep (poorly) and helped out in the whole process of grabbing the sheep to be sheared but dipping sheep was a whole new level of physical exertion. Not alone that but the smell was awful and one of those smells like being at the dump that stays with you for weeks afterwards. So it was smelling of sheep dip that we went to the gig and drank from a choice of bottled Harp, Smithwicks or Guinness. I’d say we stuck with the bottled Smithwicks.
The brilliant Fanning Sessions site have a full concert posted and also a session from LABF.


1. WorldbyStorm - September 29, 2012

I’d never heard any of their stuff before. Odd fact I just found out googling them… This guy on drums had an almost unbelievable career subsequently…



2. Frank Street - September 29, 2012

I used to meet Mark in Temple Bar. He was a great man for stories. Seemingly he lost the hearing in one ear during a Light a Big Fire gig in France. The (as he described them ‘dodgy French sound company’) engineer saw Tom, the singer, jumping up on to the drum riser and decided that he should put more vocal though Mark’s huge side-fill monitor. There was a loud bang and Mark was blown off his drum stool and the riser, and ended up on the floor with blood coming out of his ear. The feedback had drilled a neat hole straight through his eardrum. The rest of the band thought he’d been shot!


WorldbyStorm - September 29, 2012

Ouch! But fair dues to him, music’s loss was televisions gain.


Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - September 29, 2012

He was one of the Guildford Four in IN The Name of the Father and he’s some sort of demon on SKY’s Supernatural these days.


3. EamonnCork - September 29, 2012

Speaking of which I think lead singer Thomas McLaughlin ended up writing episodes of Fair City.
I thought they were a wonderful band, one of my favourites. They had a really tremendous song called I See People while Green Boys had, IIRC, an excellent lyric about British soldiers in the North. Then there was The Boom Boom Room which really rocked and a song I can’t remember the name of about a couple heavy petting, as it used to be called, at a bus stop. CIA is one of the great Irish singles but I preferred the demo which seemed a bit subtler. But they were a really good band and I was surprised they never made any impression across the water.
They not only had good tunes but some very crafty lyrics at a time when a lot of their peers tended to communicate in anthemic nostrums not uninfluenced by U-2. I used to cherish a line out of I See People (and now someone will tell me I got it wrong) which went, ‘it was better before all this under-age drinking and experienced girls who said I know what you’re thinking.’
Fine choice IEL, if you’d been gored to death by an enraged ram in Bunclody we’d all be worse off.


irishelectionliterature - September 30, 2012

Thanks Eamonn 🙂 I actually got the smell of sheep dip as I wrote about it!!


4. Chet Carter - September 30, 2012

Interesting band, I always remember them for headlining a Nicaragua Must Survive concert in the Top Hat in Dun Laoghaire in 1987 with Stars of Heaven, Something Happens and Hallelujah Freedom. Pete Holidai from the Radiators from Space was on rhythm guitar duties with them??


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