Arco Arena promise to spice things up at Toales

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Take a bit of dance, add some funk, plenty of metal, a smattering of rock, a seasoning of disco, mix it altogether and you’ve got Arco Arena.

he Dundalk band are delighted to be back out and bringing their unique recipe for a good night of live music after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

They are looking forward to playing Toales on Friday October 7th, having played the Crowe Street venue during summer.

The four-piece got together in 2015, when guitarist Charlie Abbott and bass player and vocalist Eoghan Maguire joined forces with guitarist Peter McCoy and drummer Pauric McCrum.

“I was in a band with Pauric for about ten years and we worked with Peter, who is a sound engineer, on our demo,” says Charlie. “When the band we were in fell apart, it made sense to get together with Peter, and recommended Pauric, and it all worked.”

Since then they have recorded two singles in 2017, an EP in 2018, as well as a single in the middle of the pandemic in 2020, with their latest single ‘Young’ .

“We are lucky to have skilled people in the band so we can do it ourselves,” says Charlie.

“We record everything in house which can be good as you can take as much time as you want and can be bad as you can take as much time as you want,” says Charlie of the dilemma they face by having their own sound engineer.

With two songwriters and two guitarists, they share the duties of coming up with new tracks, with a distinctive guitar-driven sound and growly vocals.

“Our sound is a mix of dance and rock, a bit of disco, a bit of funk,  only heavier. We all really like metal and we like to dance, so if we can do both, we’re winning.” he says.

Influences include bands as diverse as Chic, Joy Division, Foals, The Pixies, and Irish bands The Redneck Manifesto, So I Watch You From Afar and Adebesi Shank.

As part of the generation facing a future dominated by climate change and economic uncertainly, who can’t even find a home to rent, let alone buy, he feels it’s important that music can bring a sense of joy to both those playing it and those listening to it.

“We try to write songs that mean a lot to different people. I could tell you what every song is about but I wouldn’t want to.”

“I think our music is very hopeful. It’s fun to play and fun to listen to. We’re big on catchy guitar riffs but lyrically it can be vague and it’s up to the listener to respond to it. A lot of it is metaphysical, there’s  a lot of humour in it, a lot of sarcasm, and sometime we write about situations that we’ve found ourselves in.”

“There is only so much serious and depressing music that people can take,” he says. “When people come to our gigs, we love to see them dancing and singing the lyrics back to us.”

It’s not just the fans that enjoy seeing Arco Arena on stage – there’s a symbiotic relationship between musicians and listeners that feeds into each other.

“It’s fun, it’s cathartic, it’s escape” for the band to get on stage, he says. “It’s the biggest high to see people being touched by something that you wrote – it’s just wild.”

The band had played top venues such as the Spirit Store,  the Roisin Dubh in Galway and The Workmans Club in Dublin, before the pandemic, and were included in RTE’s ‘Lockdown Livestream’ .

“We had a good string of gigs recently and are looking forward to returning to Toales on October 7th,” says Charlie. 

With a number of new music venues opening up, he says it seems as though the music scene in Dundalk is getting even better. “There’s a real buzz, just like there was in 2019 before the pandemic.”

The town’s music scene is a close-knit one, and while most of the bands know each, they each have their own distinctive sound.

“It’s great to be from the town when you’ve got bands like the Mary Wallopers and Just Mustard doing amazingly well. We are all so proud of them.”

This success, he says, is making people take Dundalk more seriously. Which is good news for everyone on the local music scene.

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