Early Show


Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

Thu, January 31, 2013

Doors: 6:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

This event is 21 and over

Kodaline - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
With 2013 being named as the return of the guitar band, Kodaline have timed their arrival perfectly. A good job too, because the Irish four-piece haven’t got a plan b.

“There are no other ideas. This is it," says lead singer Steve Garrigan, sat in a bar in central London with his other three bandmates. “It may sound cliched but this is all we've ever wanted,” adds guitarist Mark Prendergast.

Steve and Mark, along with bassist Jay Boland and drummer Vinny May Jnr, have had an explosive start off the blocks. In three months, their debut track ‘All I Want’ is approaching almost 100,000 copies sold. Written by Steve about an ex who broke his heart, he explains, “I was with this girl for about two and a half years, who went away on holiday and said 'we'll talk about it when we get back' and she came back with a boyfriend, so it was like 'oh shit', so I wrote about it.”

Most of the song’s success has been due to word of mouth from the video, a beauty and the beast melodrama directed by the upcoming Stevie Russell. The song, coupled with the story of a modern day 'monster' (played by Russell himself) winning over a blonde colleague, has racked up over 1.5 million views online. It was also hand-picked for the Google Zeitgeist ad, which has been watched by an audience of 13 million, bringing with it a solid army of fans.

‘All I Want’ is part of their debut 11-song opus In A Perfect World, which they've spent the best part of the last year making, and is an album of honest, melodic, soulful and romantic songs.

If it is as perfect a world as the title says, the foursome will fulfill their collective dream to “write as many albums as possible.”

The lads - most of the line-up have been playing together since they were 15 - declare they’re in it for the long haul. Says Steve: “We’re such a new band but we’re only going to get better. If we have the chance to make another album, it will be so much better than this one.” It’s a bold statement from the frontman but he means it. So hungry, they say they already have enough material for album two.

Getting their thirst from playing in their bedrooms as teenagers in the small Irish town of Swords, before grafting hard on the local band circuit in Dublin, means they already possess a cohesive sound. Even though Steve is the main songwriter, they all play a part in the process. “We all pitch in,” explains Jason. “All the songs are about things that have happened to us.”

Says Steve: “If you have a skeleton in your closet...” (with Mark joining in to finish) “you may as well make it dance.”

And there's a few of those.

No stone is left unturned when it comes to the primary theme of romance and they're not afraid of sounding lovelorn. “We don’t mind being known as a romantic rock band, it’s not something to be ashamed of,” admits Steve. ‘Talk’, for example, penned by Mark, with the lyrics “I’ve been counting the days since you went away”, is another song about a lost love, its mid-section crescendo brilliantly executed.

The band wrote the album in four places – the Irish county of Leitrim, Worcestershire, Yorkshire and Wales - with each location heavily influencing the songs that were penned there.

‘Brand New Day’, for example, written about the dawn of a new beginning, was born by jamming in a field in Leitrim. "It's in the middle of nowhere and the perfect place to be creative” said Mark. "Sometimes it can be hard to recreate a certain time and place as we like to have the right vibe for the song. When we can’t get the vibe, I refuse to sing and we go to the pub,” adds Steve.

Influences are wide-ranging, from the likes of Radiohead, The Beatles and The Strokes to Thin Lizzy, Jackson Brown and Bruce Springsteen all having made their mark on the boys.

Being a band based on a history of friendship means their characteristics are instantly obtainable.

Frontman Steve is the archetypal frontman - deep- thinking, brooding and the "worst for getting up in the morning,” according to his bandmates. “But I never miss anything" he quickly chirps. He may be softly-spoken but he erupts on stage producing a voice astoundingly impressive.

Bassist Jay may strike people as the shy one but he's not - he's sharp, well-read, interesting and what the rest of the band call “the nomad of the group.”

Vinny May Jnr is the one responsible for the thunderous drumming. He is also, according to his bandmates "on the good side of OCD" and "the best-groomed." Mature and balanced, he'd be the one who'd pull them into shape if things went awry.

Guitarist and occasional song-writer Mark is certainly the tallest. At 6ft 6, he's the one you see first, personable and the “most likely to charm the fans.”

Although very different men, their bond is solid and music is king.

"The most important thing as cliche as it fucking is, is the music,” says Steve.

"If you put us in a cave or anywhere, we’re always going to write,” adds Mark. “We write because it’s fun, it’s never crap, if it ever gets like that, you know it’s time to take a break.”

“But we can't see that ever happening,” adds Vinny.
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald - (Set time: 7:00 PM)
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
“My name is Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. I sing and write songs. I'm a dog man with a good plan and two hands.”

“I love, love. I love simplicity, my bicycle and tank tops. I don’t need much. I love my family, and will one day have one of my own.”

“I aim to create music that connects with many people and to do this well into my 60's. I am myself completely on stage. It is without question my favorite thing.”

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald is refreshing, optimistic and modest. He grew up in Calgary, Canada- a cosmopolitan city known for it’s beautiful Rocky Mountain backdrop, an annual rodeo (The Calgary Stampede) and great bike paths. He spent most of his time as a child outdoors with his family camping, biking and hiking in the mountains.

He’s an impulsive road-tripper. After high school, he went to Australia with 4 grand, an iPod and a camera. He went without a plan and stayed for 5 months working on a boat and waiting on tables in a piano bar.

Michael’s kind, approachable disposition gives way to an undeniable confidence onstage. This young man can break hearts playing solo with an acoustic guitar and loop pedal, and equally make venues soar with a full band. In Canada, Michael tours regularly from coast to coast.

He plays a guitar that is considered the workhorse of acoustics, a Gibson J45 (he has one in sunburst and natural); part of his passion for real instruments B3's, Leslies, tube amplifiers, saxophones and drum kits.

“I love Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Feist, Souls of Mischief and Mason Jennings,” declares Michael. His favorite lyric of all time is from Paul Simon’s Graceland album "My traveling companion is nine years old, he is the child of my first marriage.” (As a young boy, Michael and his mom used to dance to Graceland.)

Michael’s forthcoming debut US album was recorded in a little studio in Hollywood, California. The song “Man Overboard” was written while joking around and singing the verses to Billy Joel's “We Didn't Start The Fire”. Inspiration for his music often comes to him at a lightning fast pace. “In Your Room” and “Love Is An Easy Thing To Miss” were written in about as long as it takes to sing them. Without any words written down, done from voice note recordings on his phone both songs were written in minutes. "Marvin's Room' by Drake inspired the guitar for 'Love is an Easy Thing to Miss”. “In Your Room” was written at 10PM after a long day with not much flowing and many breaks. Thinking he was done for the day, he sat down one more time, started playing the guitar and making up the verses as he went along. Recorded the song that night, and went to bed.

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald “MBF” has a simple goal - to pursue his craft as honestly as possible - devoid of smoke and mirrors. Positively uplifting.
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002