The Vagabonds
Gig Seeker Pro

The Vagabonds

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"A Further Shore: An Interview w/ The Vagabonds"

The Vagabonds have been making waves on both sides of the Irish Sea lately; Dave and Pa took time out to chat with LookLeft.

The Vagabonds began life as a two-piece after Pa and Dave met while studying in Cork, later adding Niall Burns and Niall Clancy after moving to Dublin. There is no bravado here; both are open about the bands humble origins two years ago.

As Pa explains “we practised for ages and we were still shit after a year, playing shit gigs. We thought we were great but we weren’t.” They never let this get them down however, enjoying playing and improving all the while. Dave took some heart from hearing Blur’s Damon Albarn interviewed saying for the first two years they were absolutely abysmal adding [as a band] “we’ve got better now.”

They must be doing something right to attract the attention of legendary producer Stephen Street (Blur, The Smiths and Babyshambles). Dave explains the coming together “We would love to have a more exciting story but we just sent him an email with a demo. His manager got back saying he was interested in working with us but it would be expensive as an unsigned band. We didn’t care”. Although jumping at the chance there was some trepidation said Pa “We never recorded with an established producer, just some demos so it was quite an experience, very daunting, not in a bad way.”

The resulting debut EP Another Victory for Hysteria is superb. The response according to Dave has been “positive, good amongst our peers. It’s not as though I don’t respect the opinion of other bands and people we know working in music but it’s a bit like your mother saying your good at football, I would rather hear it from Alex Ferguson.” It was largely ignored by the mainstream media except “Paul McLoone and Dan Hegarty who played it quite a bit and we’re thankful for that but I want to hear our songs at half two in the evening when people are listening.”

A wider issue emerges, whereby home-grown acts get a raw deal at the expense of more established acts. Both are adamant “things should be better here. Take Radio 1 in the UK, you are likely to hear a new band or one you haven’t heard before. Ireland is big enough to have an indigenous ‘scene’ like Scotland, but too many bands have to leave Ireland to make it.”

From their experience the odds are against the artist as Dave outlines “In Ireland anyway the promoter, venue and vintner are all making money off the bands who aren’t” adding, “we want to be able to work as musicians and make a living. Anyone who says otherwise is a fucking liar. Unfortunately we can’t do that here. You get gigs in Dublin but they are reluctant to pay ya”. Pa agrees saying “We’re not looking for €300,000 deals. Just enough to put into the band and make a living”

The band would love to make it from Dublin but have their sights set on cracking the UK with Dave explaining “We are looking towards England, not to belittle Ireland or that, we are gonna take a risk because we believe this band can work.”

The band has already been noticed and received support from Strummerville (The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music), a UK based not for profit organisation aimed at helping up and coming artists. Dave speaks fondly about them.

“They do very good work and they’re giving us some backing. Our music kind of fits in with Strummerville. We have a song John Mellor, often referred to as our homage to Joe Strummer which it isn’t but it fits in with their agenda. It’s nice to have a link to the UK”. Pa has similar sentiments adding “It’s nice to be recognised by this kind of organisation. It’s like we’re something unusual in the UK we can’t get a decent gig is Cork, Galway or Derry but we can get them in Brighton, London and Manchester. “

Their aforementioned brash punk rock sound makes them standout from other bands, explaining it Dave chuckles, it was “a complete and utter accident. We just decided to turn up the amps and distortion, we ended up loud. There is more sophistication to our approach now. Many bands try to be avant-garde for avant-garde’s sake; we know certain types of songs that will work for this band.”

It will be interesting to see what comes next from these guys who hope to hit the studio with Stephen Street once again in the summer. Unfortunately The Vagabonds may not be on their own looking abroad for their future; in this case Ireland’s loss will be Britain’s gain.

- Look Left Magazine

"Introducing The Vagabonds"

The Vagabonds caught our eyes and ears via a recent free Strummerville compilation (for those who don’t know about the Strummerville charity – click here to visit and to grab the compilation) because of the title of the track: John Mellor.

Turns out as well as being on the Strummerville Songs For The Summer compilation, the track was on their EP, Another Victory For Hysteria, which was released in December last year.

The Vagabonds are a Dublin based 4-piece punk-rock band. After one listen to this track we concluded they are considerably better than another ‘punk’ band beginning with V that have taken the indie and blogging world by storm. It is a sub two minute classic punk anthem with a machine gun riff and snarled vocals that sounds like it would have been just at home in 1977 as it is today.

Visit their Bandcamp page here to grab the rest of the EP.

- The Mad Mackerel Blog

"The Boys Of Strummer"

Now there's a great Irish song to add to the tradition. The Vagabonds are young chaps with rumbling intent. They've just released a three track CD that was produced by Morrissey and Blur cohort Stephen Street. Each song is a throwdown, a heap of opportunities. They could go punk or intellectual or they might follow The Whipping Boy into that realm of Celtic regret, friction and brilliance.

For now, I'm just happy to listen to the fierce testimony of 'John Mellor'. Tune.
- Stuart Bailie - BBC Radio

"Phantom FM Video of the Week"

We've been playing The Vagabonds for the past few weeks so if you like what you hear on the radio, you might like to see them in action. Here's the video for their track "John Mellor" taken from their EP 'Another Victory For Hysteria" which is out on The First Born Is Dead Recordings - Phantom FM

"Hotpress Review"

Taken from the debut EP by Dublin foursome The Vagabonds, 'John Mellor' is a breakneck piece of straight-up indie, chock full of hooligan soul. Blessed with a distinctively Irish swagger, we reckon the tune would go down well with its namesake, who you probably know better as Clash man Joe Strummer. - Hotpress Magazine

"The Vagabonds work with Stephen Street"

"Street has most recently worked with Irish band The Vagabonds on their debut EP" - NME.COM

"Interview with The Vagabonds: The Daily Mirror"

The Vagabonds have just released their debut EP - Another Victory for Hysteria. There are many reasons you should buy this record - some are tied in with the fact that they openly hate Fade Street even before it's been shown on telly..
But the main one is that it's a brilliant slice of apocalyptic punk that's just the medicine for recession depression. It's no wonder legendary producer Stephen Street picked up on these lads. We caught up with singer Dave to see what the story is. And we think we got the answers we deserved- and then some.
INTERVIEW ON LINK - Maeve Quigley, The Daily Mirror

"The Vagabonds @ Shakedown"


The Vagabonds at Shakedown

There are many great things to be contemplated about complex music, and of course some incredible artists have been so good due to their intellectual and emotional depths. However this is not and never will be the source of rock’n’roll brilliance. For too long now the lines have been blurred and music has been offered that just doesn’t give you that feeling. No matter what you’re a fan of, you love music because of how it makes you feel. I’ve always thought to love Radiohead your emotions must be homed in your brain, if you like Keane it's probably your elbow, but if it's true rock’n’roll then you’ll feel it in your heart as if it were your first love every time. It’s the simple delight that soundtracks your life and you just can't go without it. It's barren times however, gone are the days when the music actually mattered to the music industry. The weight of technology's development has had a crippling effect. It's survival of the fittest and when Coldplay are the fittest it's worrying times. We’ve nearly forgotten how to love.

Last Friday night The Vagabonds graced the stage at Pacinos and not for the first time demonstrated their very genuine potential, igniting the sense of something very real amongst a crowd who know what they're looking for. The four-piece are making great strides and have developed into a band with a set list brimming with songs of diversity and outstanding simplicity. Their sound changes from song to song and while the vocals are sung with an unmistakeably Irish accent the guitar playing is as British as could be. The songs are occasionally frantic but amongst the blistering play come delicious melodies, as in ‘John Mellor’, a track recently remastered by Steve Levine, the producer who worked with Culture Club and Motorhead. These qualities transcend throughout their performance, with ‘London Town’, an instantly catchy song, something that many bands attempt to achieve but normally just succeed to annoy.

What makes The Vagabonds that bit better, that aspect that means you will remember their name, is the ideologies within the songs, something all great bands have. It’s the brilliant simplicity that makes it so effective. Each song is a piece of commentary on the trials and joys of living in these times. ‘Just One Man’ sees frontman Dave Phelan bark angrily about the frustrations of trying to make a difference when all around it's just ‘dickheads on ecstasy’. The blistering energy of the music outweighs any sense of defeatism, however morbid the theme. In much the same way Alex Turner did on Whatever People Say I Am… the lyrics capture what it is to be growing up - falling in and out of love, getting drunk, loving and hating yourself and simply being alive. And when you couple that with the punkish sound they so confidently exude, you’ve got rock’n’roll. Simple.

The most striking thing about this band is the consistency of brilliant ideologies streamed through their songs. Without a message and a meaning a band will never capture the essence of true importance, however this is of no concern to this band. Remarkably for a group playing together for just over a year, their songs explore numerous themes sustaining a poetic narrative exploring the meaning of our daily lives. ‘John Mellor’, a modern Dave Watts, demonstrates the wonderful ideological use of phrase such as "the sugar on your lips says more than the swagger of your hips ever could". They practice what they preach. ‘46A’ is another excellent track, exemplifying Phelan's ability as a storyteller to the wild track of creative exuberance from the rest of the band. ‘For Real’ is saved until last and anyone who was still not convinced could resist no more. In a similar vein to ‘Be Safe’ from The Cribs, it sees drummer Pa Bourke take to the front of the stage to recite a piece of lyrical genius. That is not an overstatement. Portraying the cloudy landscape of a young man's mind, not only his but any, he explores the endless cave in a reeling stream of consciousness. From the pains of lust and sticky laptop buttons to the needlessness of what we have as we pretend to exist, it’s the band wrapped up in a five-minute masterpiece.

Time will tell what’s in store for The Vagabonds, with a four- day tour of London and a recording session with esteemed producer Stephen Street in the offing it looks very promising. It’s been a long time since there was a genuine band of legitimate significance, especially in this era, when bands reforming is the only escape from the lowly standard of talent. There is a risk then of blowing anything half decent out of proportion but this certainly does not apply here. Music is a game built on opinions, unified by understanding and sustained by a loving appreciation. It’s a world for romantics, of whatever kind, and it's rarely captured and portrayed as well as it is by The Vagabonds. Reminding us what it is to love music

Brian Morrissey - In Dublin Magazine

"Barry Gruff Blog Spot"

It was at one of their recent live shows where Dublin based punk-rock band The Vagabonds and I crossed paths. The chance encounter has proved rather fruitful.

What’s immediately striking is their candidness, preferring to concentrate on their own endeavors of making music which relfects their own lives and experiences. It’s an approach which works remarkably well. They seem relaxed, reassured, comfortable and adept in bashing out songs centred around personal heartache, strife or their left-wing political leanings.

There is no messing about. It’s a simple but effective blend of to-the-point tuneful punk-rock with scuzzy riffs a-plenty which is matched by the refreshingly honest lyrics; akin to a bastard child of The Pogues, Stiff Little Fingers, The Clash and Whipping Boy. Since forming last year they’ve been busy giging throughout Ireland and the UK bringing them to the attention of Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur, Babyshambles) who has produced their forthcoming EP, Another Victory for Hysteria.

It’s a modern take on a tried an tested formula as they kick back against the adversity they see everyday, punk-rock can never get old can it?

Another Victory for Hysteria is out via The Firstborn is Dead Recordings on 19th November 2010. - Barry Gruff


Majority rules in my books so these guys are officially a Limerick band. With a three out of four wininng this majority. The Dublin based four piece have been gigging around for a while now and I have been meaning to write up about these guys for ages so apologies for the lateness. As soon as you hear the tracks on myspace you get a sense of raw untapped talent from such a young lively band on the up. Upon listening to these guys you wont get polished sounds or studio perfect vocals just good honest music, you will find fantastically written lyrics about everyday life and guys just enjoying playing music. You could nearly describe them as an Irish early Libertines or Clash outfit at times. I have missed them play Limerick already but there back our way from a "Home Town" gig on the 25th of March as part of the great Green and Live Sessions down in Dolans. This is gig is one not to be missed and as usual its free, how can you complain? This band are a great edition to the Irish talent we have and I look forward to hearing more from these guys and hopefully a possible album on the way. - Blog

"E.P. Review"

Rarely has a debut EP such an immediate effect as to warrant a review, but every so often a band comes along that intend on building the foundations of their following through said medium and have the masses awaiting the debut album upon its eventual release.

With Bands like Iggy and The Stooges getting a much appreciated recent return to touring, it has opened the gates to the Punk of old getting a positive revival. The Vagabonds have seized this opportunity with their new self titled EP, boasting three tracks that would knock Jimmy Purseys socks off. All completely different and original, they still boast that old Punk essence. Track 1, “When James Met John” gives the entrée of the aforementioned flavour with similarities to The Ramones. But they really deliver on Track 2, “John Mellor” as they delve deeper underground to a sound not too distant from The Stooges themselves. This is all turned on its head with the final track, a mellow emotional “For Real”, which could have been recorded by a depressed, yet still on form, Flogging Molly.

For all its similarities it still has a new-comer element, which may be down to production, yet is still an element worth clutching to.

A strong debut, promising for a genre thought to be lost in nostalgia. - Connected Magazine

"Live 95 FM/Limerick Leader"

"...talented young upstarts The Vagabonds. The Dublin/Limerick outfit mix a refreshing blend of tuneful punk/pop melodies with grimy garage riffs to create a totally infectious sound..."

"like Bob Dylan fronting The Clash"

"sensational new punk band" - Alan Jacques


"Another Victory For Hysteria" was released in December 2010 through The First Born Is Dead Recordings and is available in all good record stores around the country and worldwide through iTunes(as of November 2010).
The Vagabonds have received extensive national airplay in Ireland and in the UK on BBC Radio6 and BBC Ulster.



The Vagabonds are a London based 4-piece rock and roll band. The band endeavors to overcome the modern malaise that has taken hold of contemporary music. The Vagabonds don't care about bands that play kazoos and xylophones, it isn't quirky, it isn't folksy, and for the best part it says nothing to anyone about their lives.

Since the bands inception, 18 months ago, The Vagabonds have worked tirelessly to bring their music to those that want to listen, and to try make those don't want to, listen anyway. A UK tour in Summer 2010 and another in March 2011, German shows and gigging throughout Ireland have all led to the band gaining a reputation as an essential live band.

In Summer 2010, producer, Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur, The Cranberries) approached the band - keen to record the group.
The Vagabonds along with Street produced EP "Another Victory for Hysteria" in autumn 2010. The EP was released in December 2010, and has gained critical acclaim in national and international publications. The Irish Daily Mail's Paul McNulty called the EP "essential listening, this should be a 'I was there' moment' for music-lovers". The Evening Herald's Diarmuid Gerghaty said "The Vagabonds are not like any current Irish band, no, they're actually worth grasping to, worth listening to, they have a message. The band are nothing short of bibical." The Daily Mirror said "it's a brilliant slice of apocalyptic punk that's just the medicine for recession depression. It's no wonder legendary producer Stephen Street picked up on these lads."

Of the recording process Stephen Street said lead vocalist's Phelo's voice was "like nothing [he] has ever heard" and compared the lilting quality to that of Whipping Boy's Ferghal McKhee.
The EP was mastered by Aiden Foley (U2, Sinead O'Connor), the EP was picked up by indie label, The Firstborn is Dead Recordings.

The follow up to "Another Victory For Hysteria" will be their debut single entitled "We Gave Up/Oh My Why" which was recorded in July 2011 with Street once again at the controls.

It will be released in early 2012.

The band are also now working side by side with Strummerville: A Foundation For New Music.

Recently the band have supported The View in Mandela Hall, Belfast, played with Frank Turner to a 1,000 strong crowd at the Strummerville Spring Sessions in London, headlined the legendary Windmill venue in Brixton, London for the second time and played for Alan McGee (manager of Oasis, The Libertines, The Jesus and Mary Chain) at his "Night for Creation Records" in Dublin.