Picture above by Patrick Brocklebank. Left to right Justin, Christine, Gerry & Brian.
Dublin 1980 - 1982
Christine Sweetman Vocals
Justin McCarthy Guitar
Brian O'Grady bass
Gerry Clarke drums
Justin McCarthy here's the press release from our last gig....High Society peaked in 1981 with two national tours, (one with Paul Brady playing the with seminal ‘Hard Station’ album) and the release of their single ‘Blue September / Success’ on WEA. Things looked really promising. However in 1982 the Irish Press’ ‘One of the most likely to succeed bands’ prediction was sadly proved wrong when they broke up. Now over thirty years later the band and a lot of their contemporaries (including Tom Mathews, Alan Begley, Joe Savino and the ubiquitous Ed Darragh) are haunting the Sugar Club on Tuesday the Twentieth of May.
Picture from Hot Press
27/03/1980 Suffolk House, Suffolk Street
28/03/1980 Baggot Inn, Dublin with Stepaside
24/04/1980 Suffolk House, Suffolk Street
16/06/1980 Glenbay Hotel, Glencolmcile
19/06/1980 Suffolk House, Suffolk Street
21/06/1980 Project Arts Centre, Dublin
23/06/1980 Glenbay Hotel, Glencolmcile
26/06/1980 Suffolk House, Suffolk Street
An abnormal venue for rock ‘n’ roll, this – the upstairs lounge of what appears to be a Georgian mansion now in service as a fairly high class hotel. The room we’re in is
deeply carpeted, lit by chandeliers and the fading daylight that comes through an enormous panorama window. Turning around I can see the cliff and below it the grey sea – facing forward again there are potted plants each side of the stage and large feathery thingies stuck in the mike stands.
They may be as few as thirty people here, which is a pity in the light of the standard of what High Society deliver - a rag bag of jazz, blues, soul, funk, pop and chansons that somehow (most of the time) works a treat.
Visually, there’s a certain sartorial elegance, the impact of which is tempered only slightly by certain incongruous elements. But musically, it’s less incongruous – guitar, bass and drums, instrumentally, female lead singer with back up from the guitarist and bassist. The strengths of the band are in their songs, in Christine’s singing and in Brian’s bassing. Their weaknesses, minor and occasional as they are, come in the sometimes complex yet unadventurous arrangements and in the drumming which is now and again over fussy and unproductive. The best drummers never play more than they have too.
In fact Irish context, High Society are setting their own trend. Few bands have done that in recent years.
They may yet develop into an export prospect.
Between 07/07/1980 & 28/09/1989 High Society had a residency at Cliff Castle, Dalkey.
Between 10/07/1980 & 28/08/1980 the band had a residency at Suffolk House, Suffolk Street, Dublin
03/09/1980 Sportsmans Inn, Dublin
10/09/1980 Sportsmans Inn, Dublin
17/09/1980 Sportsmans Inn, Dublin
24/09/1980 Sportsmans Inn, Dublin
High Society weave a heavily blues oriented sound wall laced with reggae, and none of it would matter a damn without the vocal talents of front person Christine Sweetman. It’s not that the band don’t play well, it’s just that around that disturbingly sexy voice it all seems to fall into place in a way that it otherwise counldn’t. Watch it she could make your speakers go blind. Hot Press review Shane McElhattonIn September/October 1981 High Society toured Ireland with Paul Brady
06/01/1981 Magnet Bar, Dublin
13/01/1981 Magnet Bar, Dublin
20/01/1981 Magnet Bar, Dublin
27/01/1981 Magnet Bar, Dublin
04/02/1981 Magnet Bar, Dublin
Where Are They Now?
Demo's & Recordings
7" Success/Blue September WEA IR18865
Recorded at Keystone Studio, Dublin, produced by Eamonn Carr (Horslips), engineered by Andrew Boland
Your Help is needed!
If you can help with any information, demo tapes or memrobillia on this band please get in touch, using the above form.