Spook of the Thirteenth Lock


Lockout: Spook of The Thirteenth Lock Return with Guitar-Driven Historical Epic

Newly expanded to an eighteen-piece and back with a beautiful concept album dedicated to a key moment in Irish history (just in time for St Patrick’s Day), Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock look set to cement their place as one of Ireland’s most original acts…

There’s very little conventional about Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock. Their conversation flits happily between their pervasive politics – substantially left-leaning – and the charisma of their music. They work on albums for years before launching them onto the market, playing relatively rarely, with a focus on areas like historical accuracy. They also make sure they enjoy the ride.

The product is rock that’s riddled with Irish influence and hefty chords, but also comfortably distinct from trad, the Irish punk scene or even local folk.

Their growth has been an incremental one, in a sense, though rarely less than fantastically ambitious. “We started out as a four-piece, around 2006,” guitarist Enda Bates tells us. “For the second album we bounced up to a five-piece, then added an extra guitar. After that last album, we started to change our approach, and added all the extra guitars.”

That growth to an eighteen-piece has seen Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock develop into a different kind of band, one that’s able to produce layered power and gorgeous, jarring nuance.“Technically it is a full orchestra,” Bates explains, “in that its lots of different people playing the same part. There’s the core group, and they take care of the more complex, melodic stuff, and then the guitars are divided into four parts, playing together.”

“There are some American groups that put together symphonies for one hundred or two hundred electric guitars, but there’s not much out there like it. It’s an incredible sound, it’s like the comparison between one violin and an orchestra of violins. You get this really thick, slightly jarring feel.”

“It was something we were always interested in,” he explains of the change, and it kind of thematically fit with Lockout, with the big groups of workers all working together.” The Lockout he refers to, of course, is the industrial dispute between 20,000 worker s and their employees that took place over the rights of workers to unionise and preposterous working conditions, led by Jim Larkin and James Connolly in late 1913 and early 1914. The Lockout had impacts across Dublin society.

Future Stars? 2018’s Most Likely in Irish Music

As we edge into another year, we can’t help but look ahead to 2018 in Irish music, casting a glance the way of the country’s great hopes. There’s plenty to be excited about, from a rising hip-hop scene to plenty of impressive and lairy rockers, but we’ve narrowed it down to just seven rising stars. Here are our picks for Ireland’s most likely breakthrough artists for the next twelve months…


Ireland’s hip-hop scene seems to get better by the day, and while Rusangano Family are the much-acclaimed kings, Jafaris – who played Ngig in Sing Street – is coming up fast on the outside. With a quick quip constantly to the ready and a live show that seems to wow everyone before him, the Diffusion Labs rapper is working on a 2018 album as a follow up to the sensational Velvet Cake EP. Add the man to your ‘must see’ list before he starts playing anywhere bigger: when a vocalist delivers this kind of cuttingly intense honesty together with the boisterous on-stage persona that Jafaris has made his own, the result is certain to fly. [website]

Bitch Falcon

After a patchy 2017 that saw the three-piece undergo a personnel change, this grungy Dublin outfit are all set to fly once again. They seemed to be everywhere for a little while, with their pounding, intense live show backed up with an early single nodding to obscure parts of the body (TMJ) amongst a sprinkling of lairy, crafted riff-laden tracks. They have a cult-like following on the Irish guitar scene, and November’s new single ‘Of Heart’ created some buzz in the UK music press, too. And who wouldn’t want band merch with that particular band named emblazoned all over it. In a word, ferocious. Brilliantly so. [website]