Latest Laois Event: Winners of ‘Battle of the Bands’ take to Forest Fest stage

Latest Laois Event: Winners of ‘Battle of the Bands’ take to Forest Fest stage

Emerging local bands get huge platform at Forest Fest

Battle of the Bands winners take to the stage at Forest Fest

As part of our Best Festival mission over here at Forest Fest HQ one of our ambitions is to provide a platform and opportunity for the best emerging local talent.

So once again this year we have partnered with our talented friends at the Port’ Art Collective and their Battle of the Bands event at The Anvil.

The Port’ Battle of the Bands is fast becoming a launching pad for some of the hottest and dedicated acts on the block as can be testified by the progress of Dopamine, Motion Sickness and Ares Redemption who were among those to feature prominently last year. They all went on to pull off head- turning sets at the first-ever Forest Fest.  

Thanks Mom to strut their stuff at Forest Fest

This year’s Battle of the Bands talent pool has yielded up another enticing and exciting trio of acts – Alright Then, Houston Death Ray and Thanks Mom.

“One of the most enjoyable aspects of programming Forest Fest is spotting and encouraging exciting new emerging talent. I always look forward to adjudicating the Battle of the Bands in Port’ as part of that process and once again we’ve come away with three knock-out acts who are going to make their mark on the Perfect Day stage at Forest Fest this summer,” enthuses promoter Philip Meagher.

Alright Then is a flux of lazy folk-rock and indie music.  Their sound is sympathetic to the subconscious of the genre, with influences such as Kurt Vile, Julia Jacklin, and Kevin Morby inspiring their debut single ‘Colouring House’ – a song which binds simplicity, vocal gravitas, and lyrical integrity to convey themes of disbelief in the current cost of living crisis. 

The band consists of a three-piece from Laois: Conor McLoughlin (vocal/guitar), Colm Geraghty (drums) and Cillian Deegan (bass).

Thanks Mom are Erica on (vocals, lead guitar), Grace (vocals, rhythm guitar), Amelie (bass) and Cillian (drums) a lofi indie rock band from Kildare. Heavily influenced by acts like Car Seat Headrest, Neutral Milk Hotel, Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers & Black Country, New Road you’ll hear sprinklings of those influences in their music. Thanks Mom are an authentic DIY bedroom band with a plethora of singles and two albums under their belt. Thanks Mom are currently working on new material which will be released later this year. “Thanks Mom are a lofi indie rock Wet Leg or Beabadobee & maybe a little cooler” – L’islet Records.

As for Houston Death Ray, well they’re an other-worldly experience and it’s best let them explain it in their own words. 

‘In the earth’s mid-20th Century, a space craft crash landed on the planet. Officials recovered the wreckage and what they believed to be all occupants. However, 3 souls escaped and when they recovered from their injuries, they merged into society unnoticed.
The officials harnessed the new found Alien technology, speeding industrial and military revolution beyond control. While much good came from this so too did much bad. Without need, they developed a weapon capable of use both within and beyond the planet. Built in the city of Houston this Death Ray poses grave danger to the earthlings. The Houston Death Ray has been moved constantly since to avoid capture. It has been the mission of those 3 souls to recover this device and save humanity.  Austin Houston (named after a road sign he saw), Dr Lemmington Steele (medical and science officer with a liking for lemon soda and 80s detective shows) and Mr Skipp Vynal (communications officer who loves the crackling of an old record player) tour the world playing music as a way of keeping track of the Death Day. With energetic anthems designed to make the crowds move you can’t afford to miss the Houston Death Ray……your life and that of your planet depends on it’. Houston Death Ray are – Austin Houston (guitar/vocals), Dr. Lemmington Steele (bass/vocals) Skipp Vynal (drums/vocals) 

Conor McLoughlin (vocal/guitar) from Alright Then

The full day by day Forest Fest line-up to date is:

Friday, July 21

James, Nik Kershaw, The Proclaimers, Ash, Peter Hook & The Light, Allie Sherlock, Pogueology, Ares Redemption, Vendetta Love, Motion Sickness, The Outcast Crew, The Valves, Strength in Numbers, Dopamine, Goitse, Eric de Buitléir, Blackie O’Connell and Cyril O’Donoghue, Miadhachlughain O’Donnell & Joe Campbell McArdle, Houston Death Ray, Thanks Mom, Alright Then.

Saturday, July 22

BellX1, Big Country, Jack Lukeman, Alabama 3, Pillow Queens, The Riptide Movement, Frank & Walters, 49th & Main, Sharon Shannon, Kíla & Brass, The Undertones, Carrie Baxter, Buíoch, Bog Bodies, Robert Grace, Róisín O, In Tua Nua, N.O.A.H., Lavengro, JMac & The Mardi Gras Drag Show, Paranoid Visons, Barley Mob, Walk the Line, The Primitives, These Charming Men, Pastiche, Bone Machine, Trouble Pilgrims, Apollo Junction, Greenshine, Bicurious, Cardinal Sins, Eva Coyle Band, Alfi, Carlos Sweeney McCartin, The Raines, Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra, Off Beats Bodhrán Club.

Sunday, July 23

Suede, Gabrielle, Paul Brady, Suzanne Vega, Something Happens, Hermitage Green, Dream Wife, Daoiri Farrell Trio, Sharon Shannon, Bronagh Gallagher and Band, Stockton’s Wing, Paddy Casey, Duke Special, Asha Ari, Bleach Lab, The Olllam, Stevie Appleby, Emer Dunne, The Lost Messiahs, Eimear Crehan, Two Time Polka, Spring Break, Suso Gospel Choir, Rattle & Hum, Flash Harry, Classic Beatles, Trad Hits, Caoivin, Cua, Darren Roche &  Cillian Doheny, Splendid Isolation, Siobhán Buckley, Aoife Buckley & Tommy Fitzharris, The Grange Céilí Band & Set Dancing with Maureen Culliton, Roo Elizabeth & Band, The Jury.

The running order and stage times for bands will be announced in the fortnight prior to the event.

For band profiles, tickets and festival updates go to