Dublin quartet Distractors will not be joining their Irish compradres (Cathy Davey, Iain Archer, Paddy Casey, Oppenheimer, Fight Like Apes, Channel One, Delorentos, Driving by Night and The Bleedin Bleedins) in the Lone Star state to play SXSW festival this March.
Since the departure of bassist Noel Kavanagh recently the band have made the interesting decision to cancel their appearance at the prestigious Texan festival, instead choosing to close ranks and address the changes apparent as four-piece.
Formed in 2006 from the ashes of several musical projects and links (guitarist Ciaran Kavanagh played for The Rags before joining his cousin Noel, who knew singer Karl from previous band 100 Bullets) Distractors sneaked themselves into Dublin’s music hang-outs as teenagers and used their innate knowlege of the scenes in the city to cement a reputation as an exciting live act, landing spots in the IMRO and HWCH showcases in next to no-time.
Burning Flags was included in the (excellent) IMRO Best of 2007 compilation while single Last Stand garnered good reviews on its release in August. Frontman Karl Elworthy was born to strut across stages and I saw them put on HWCH’s same ballsy performance of cocky-rock in a deserted Wednesday night Whelans and realised they were on a frenetic par with the now-defunct but hauntingly good DC Pakt.
Having documented the peaks and valleys of Irish bands and their break-ups recently it comes as a relief to know we’ve not said goodbye to Distractors yet. According to reports they are concentrating on their musical direction, beginning with a percussive shift by increasing the dominance of drum-rhythms in their songs and plan to spend the next few weeks recording new tracks in the studio with U2′s producer Leo Pearson.
Guitarist Andy Behan mentioned:
Having begun again in a way, the reduction in numbers giving us an increased sense of purpose, we are off next week to record some songs for release in the coming months. Our schedule has also given us no option but to cancel our SXSW appearance but we are encouraged by and thankful for their invite.
This is a brave decision on Distractors’ part. No doubt they were aware how important the SXSW invite was and surely any band in Ireland would dream of playing in America. If Distractors held a roundtable brainstorm to discuss Noel’s departure amid copius amounts of caffeine and smoke, deciding to take the chance of a lifetime and go ahead with the show, we’d congratulate them for persevering. It worked for New Order and may work for Hooray For Humans! However, the truth is simpler: financial constraints. Faced with a choice between flying to the States and recording new tracks, judgement calls were made and adhered to.
Distractors have been adamant that they wish Noel Kavanagh all the best for the future and are moving towards a new chapter of distraction with high hopes for the future. A UK-based band The Lost Brothers have been chosen to fill their place at the festival (check out the Irish line-up over at Music FromIreland) but here’s hoping Distractors get there in the end, even at their own pace.