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Live Review: TKO at Whelans
Live Review: TKO at Whelans
Artist: TKO
Source: Robert O Connor

T.K.O. – Whelan’s

July 19th, what’s so special about July 19th? Well, according to the church, July 19th was the day Galway liberated from the Indians, Marathon became snickers, the Ice age ended and TKO came back to Whelan’s for their forth headlining appearance in the venue. Considering most of Ireland’s music hordes are under house arrest from lack of funds after Oxegen last weekend and all the other summer festivals on the horizon, TKO managed to pull of a feat in it’s own by packing Whelan’s for tonights show, even considering the band haven’t got any new releases lined up.

Due to various complications, I miss support slots from Peter Doran and Maurice Ramsbottom but they must have gone over well considering the warm and relaxed atmosphere in Whelan’s as I enter. TKO’s stage is set up with all manner of props and novelties including sparkle lights, a cut out of the Submarine from The Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’, hanging from the roof and a full size card board cut out of Chewbacca behind the bass amps with a sign warning concert goers not to feed him. Before their set, the audience are treated to a sketch from the classic Father Ted ‘Holiday’ episode which was projected onto the wall above the stage.

TKO open the show with Rooftop which features all seven members on the stage and brings to mind The E street band, helped I’m sure by guitarist Gram Geraghty’s Born in the USA t-shirt. Rooftop is a little disjointed with too much going on in terms of instruments used and the delivery of the song. This doesn’t help get the crowd going and is followed by a shaky second track Hiding in the Corner which includes a short Saxophone rendition of the Beverly Hill’s Cop theme. Lead singer Mic Geraghty works on the crowd from the off, encouraging people to come up the front and expressing delight about the good vibes in the venue.

By third track, Deadline the band are starting to find their feet and steadily grow as Old Habits and Burned Out start to bring the show in the right direction. The first great performance of the night is Sideways which see’s the band in top form and completely changes the atmosphere from awkward to enjoyable in a few minutes. After Sideways the band themselves could be seen to relax and loosen up as they went on to play #14, Game Over, and Bitter Twist which shows why TKO are earning such a strong reputation as a live group.

Bitter Twist gets the band their biggest response from the crowd to night and quickly cashes in on this by playing live favourite, The Busker with the members spiralling off in jams where they throw in extracts from The Four of Us’s ‘Mary’ and ‘In the Jungle’.

Rather than trying to shuffle off and squeeze all seven members into the backstage room, Mic announces they were going to stay and play their final song and forgo the usual formalities. Adding another special touch to the night, it turns out to be bass and violinist, Simon McArdle’s birthday and as a cake is presented to him as the crowd and band sing Happy Birthday. They close with Let’s Go, one of their truly anthemic songs, as Gram leaps from the stage into the crowd, after several teases earlier in the set, and runs to the sound desk at the back all the while playing the harmonica.

Unfortunately, due to the poor start, it feels like the show has only just begun as TKO are leaving again but you can’t argue that they didn’t deliver a great set based on the strength of their performance and song quality tonight. - Irish Music Website

"Catch TKO before they hit the big uplifting mix of rock, jazz, funk and folk" Northside People - Northside People

"And then came TKO. A Dublin five piece, they looked the part with one wearing a quirky hat and another wearing a Transformers t-shirt. But more importantly, they sounded the part, starting with (Jammin in) Room 5. But then tragedy struck- a string on the acoustic guitar broke. After some funky improvisational music the lead singer, Mic Geraghty, returned to the stage guitar-less for Eirin Og. Halfway through the song, their good samaritan handed him the re-strung guitar. I have to say that Mic did look incredibly relieved to have it back in his hands, as he tuned his guitar mid-song- impressive.
The entire band had a great tendency to dance around on stage and to switch instruments. The bass player switched to the electric violin, one of the guitarists took up his bass and then swiftly exchanged it for a clarinet. And somewhere, there was a harmonica too...Four of the band contributed to vocals and all of them to incredible polyrhythmic handclapping.
They played their latest single, Old Habits which had a deceptive slow acoustic start before breaking into the indie rock jam madness that I didnt know so well but loved. They finished up with the aptly titled Lets Go and a band introduction- the drummer Silvestro Mascali looked only too happy to be called an Italian Stallion. They gave out free CDs and sweets- take note kids, TKO are the only strangers that you should take sweeties from"

Kate Rothwell, County Wexford Free Press (the Entertainment page) - Wexford Free Press

From various reviews/features

“Can really cut it live…brewing up a storm” – March 2007

“One of Irelands best young, contemporary acts…. a not to be missed gig” – Jan 2008

"Can really cut it live.....brewing up a storm" - August 2008
- Hot Press magazine


Venue: Whelans

Reviewed By: Caoimhe Gavin

Banana rating: 5

Sometimes for reasons unknown to us we are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I was lucky enough to be in Whelan’s on Tuesday 28th September to witness something very special.

A young band called TKO took to the stage and stunned the audience with their unique indie sound, stunning vocals and infectious enthusiasm.
The fact that the group only came together a few months a go belies the telepathy that exists between the five members. The lads are as comfortable on stage as they are with each other and justifiably so.

Lead singer, Mic Geraghty is a perfect front man. With superb vocals, skilful guitar and the essential charisma to capture the crowd. Stephen Lynch is a master on lead guitar and with Gram Geraghty also on guitar TKO has plenty of bite. Together Simon McArdle on bass and Sylvestro ‘The Cat’ Mascali on drums provide the perfect balance to the equation.

Highlights of the gig included the crowd pleasing number ‘The Busker’ and the upbeat ‘The One”. The TKO sound is enriched by the wide-ranging abilities of its members. Geraghty’s harmonica added a rootsy twist while McArdle’s violin was sublime.

Having seen more young, unsigned bands than I care to remember, it is clear TKO are the diamond in the rough. The group stands out, not only for their solid tunes, catchy lyrics and unique sound but also for their ability to engage and enthuse their audience.

TKO hail from Ireland and have recently been cruising the gig circuit of Dublin, their music comes across as sporadic 70's style rock met with a quietness in the soft violin sections and a haughty punch in the vocals. It's an interesting dynamic that's gained the band a dedicated live performance following, however on this very early recording in their career, it hasn't yet been quite realised to its fullest potential.

First song on the "Hats Off" EP 'Crashin' Down' is a relentless and unabashed slog through fast paced guitaring, lots of solos and a few meaty hooks chorus-wise. However it's in the second that their talent for tune shines through, starting like a Ringo Starr-penned Beatles track and continuing as if it were Ocean Colour Scene rearranging their back catalogue, 'My Fault' really shows signs of what it is that this band have got...

'Monday Comes' is also good, careening along like 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' by the Beatles, then unexpectedly breaking down into a piano and violin laden section with lush crooning over the top; it's certainly got a very nice feel to it, especially as the lap-steel steals the show towards the end.

'(Jammin In) Room 5' opens comically and continues with a television theme tune sense about it, seeming quite suitable for an ITV production with a mid-20s target audience, one of those songs that gets stuck in your head and that you'll always relate back to the same spot...

All in all, a band worthy of checking out should you ever hear of them playing near you, the EP is a fair representation of what they are like but there's much more of a vibe in the actual gig should you get the chance to view it, with a better recording aesthetic this could be good, as it is, the vibe's in the live...

Track Listing
01 - Crashin' Down
02 - My Fault
03 - Monday Comes
04 - (Jammin' In) Room 5


"Hats Off" EP May 2007
"Lets Go" Single July 2008
"Act One, Scene One" Live Album Sept 2009

Our track "Crashin Down" from the "Hats Off" EP, Lets Go and numerous other songs have been played nationwide, on national and local radio stations. We also have all our tracks spread across the internet on streaming and downloads, including tracks that have not been officially released.



Currently recording their debut album, due for release in late Summer 2010, TKO has been entertaining audiences up and down Ireland for just over 3 years now. Having played over 200 shows since their inception, their live show is second to none and have become energetic and sought-after affairs in packed-out venues across the country, they are well known for their crowd interaction, onstage antics and even Chewbacca has jammed with them for a few tunes in the past.

The TKO sound is best described as Micro-Orchestral Jam Rock, infusing Drums, Bass and Guitars with Saxophone, Acoustics, Violin, Clarinet, Banjo and Harmonica. It’s an interesting mix of Rock, Jazz, Bluegrass, Classical and anything else they manage to get inspired by that particular week.

Their first release, the “Hats Off” EP has to date sold over a thousand copies. Then a single, “Lets Go”, was released and a 15 date tour of Ireland coincided with numerous Radio appearances along the way. The Single went top 40 in Ireland.

Also, the band toured Italy, supported The Frames in Vicar Street, and supported Duke Special, Mundy, Delorentos, The Blizzards and many other established acts, Played 5 sold out shows in prestigious Dublin venue Whelan’s and had a great auld time.

A live album “Act One, Scene One” was released alongside the aptly titled 13 date “Tour for the sake of touring” tour, taking them everywhere in Ireland from Cork to Derry. They received media attention from many publications including Metro, Northside People, The Star, Irish Times and Hotpress, all positive. A TV appearance on City Channel and a very well viewed performance on webby award nominee website "Balcony TV".

More Support Slots with The Waterboys, Damien Dempsey, Ham Sandwich and Jack L were played and numerous festival apperances also.

So, What's happening now? the album is recorded. We are mixing and mastering. 2010 will see a lot of touring and god knows what else! Things are looking good if we do say so ourselves. Its an exciting time in the TKO camp and we hope you'll be around to share it with us....


Mic, Gram, Si, Eoghan, Steve and Andreas


Press quotes:

"One of the best live bands in the country" - Hotpress

"Well constructed songs....a great live act" - Metro

"A band worthy of checking out should you ever hear of them playing near you.....the vibes in the live -

"Can really cut it live.....brewing up a storm" - Hotpress

"Melodic and damn catchy" - Hold it Down Magazine

"One of Irelands best young, contemporary acts.....a not to be missed gig" - Hotpress

"Catch TKO before they hit the big uplifting mix of rock, jazz, funk and folk" Northside People /