End of an era as band calls it a day


Luke Burns, Paul Gallagher and Eoin Parkinson are Yellow Car no Return.

Luke Burns, Paul Gallagher and Eoin Parkinson are Yellow Car no Return.

FOR close to five years, a mainstay at the top of the bill in both local gigs and further afield, has been ‘Yellow Car No Return’.

At the Bush bar in August, at ‘Rock for Sam’, the band played what would be their last show in the county, promising to deliver a final one in Belfast in the coming weeks.

And, in the city on September 26, Eoin Parkinson, Luke Burns, and Paul Gallagher, will bow out of the Northern Irish music scene with a headline show at the Empire Music Hall.

The current trio have studied at Queen’s university in Belfast, performing regularly in the city, and at home in Fermanagh.

“As I always say, the band was formed in my sweaty room when I was 16 or so. Eoghain Ellis (drums) and I would get together and try jam out different music, like funk, blues, latin and the odd extremely poor attempt at jazz,” explained Eoin.

“We wanted to bring something else to the local music scene, which was largely dominated by punk and metal.”

At a gig in the Clinton Centre in May 2008, the band, who had been joined by singer Seamus Bogue – and no bassist – played their first gig as ‘Route 66’.

Soon after, Luke Burns joined on bass guitar, and when Seamus left the band, he took over on vocals. Playing their first show as a three-piece in January 2009 at Willie Ramblers, in around May of that year the band changed their name to ‘Yellow Car No Return’.

The band were gigging around Fermanagh during that time, and began in Belfast in 2009, recording their first EP in July that year with NI music veteran Mudd Wallace.

“We played with Eoghain for few years until he left to go off to Oxford,” Eoin went on, “Luke had been playing in a band with Paul (Gallagher, drums) called ‘The Loveseeds’. We all enjoyed the same music and we could all play well so it was a natural fit,” Eoin added.

Paul played his first show with the band in Lavery’s, Belfast, in 2011.

Throughout their time, the band played across big venues in Belfast, including the Empire, headlined Rock the Lough on numerous occasions.

They were unique in what they did; and had a strong following in Belfast and back home. They continued to record and release music online, and a highlight that all three held was opening for former ‘Mama’s Boys’ guitarist, Pat McManus, both in Enniskillen and in Dublin.

Speaking for this article, the axeman said: “Yellow Car No Return first supported me a few years back, and right from the start I knew these guys were on to something special.

“So sad to hear they are calling it a day, but I don’t think this is last we will hear from these guys. I wish them well with all they do and hope they keep on rockin’.”

Several weeks ago a decision had to be made, and with Eoin moving to Sheffield for his MSc, Luke commencing his PhD and Paul going into his final year, the end was ‘inevitable’.

Luke explained: “Personally it is a bit upsetting to see the band go; there are too many good memories from my time in the band.”

And Eoin, who remained the sole original member throughout the band’s life, concluded: “Having kept the band going through some intense years at university, we all felt that it was time to call it a day and to let people know it was the end – we didn’t want to fizzle out.”

And, tomorrow night, September 19, at the Empire Music Hall in Belfast: Cider Fish, Chocolate Love Factory and Sweet Taste will provide support for the band, with doors opening at 8.30pm.


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