Castlecomer breaks the ice


GVL / Caleb Worpel

Mary Racette, Arts & Entertainment Editor

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

Before flying home to Australia for the holidays after their tour, alternative rock band Castlecomer endured the Michigan cold to provide an energetic opening performance for Ripe in Grand Rapids.

Lead vocalist Bede Kennedy strutted on the Intersection’s Elevation stage with cousins Pat “Patch” Kennedy on drums, Tommy Kennedy on guitar, Joe Kennedy on bass and their childhood friend Joe Neely on keys. While family bands tend to not see further than a local audience, Castlecomer has found themselves touring internationally and performing hits from their debut album released in 2018. 

Patch sees the familial bond as a strength over other bands.

“A lot of bands break up because of having been with each other 24/7, but we’ve been together since we were born,” Patch said. “It’s not that different, except that we’re driving.”

Patch said the development of the band was a natural process since they were already close and all already played instruments. While his bandmates grew up playing instruments, Patch did not start playing drums until he was 16 or 17. 

With his lighthearted dance moves and use of a cowbell, vocalist Bede Kennedy commanded the stage with exuberant enthusiasm and stylish red sunglasses. Bede used the entire surface of Elevation’s stage, including the stands right in front of the barricades. He encouraged the audience to dance and even led them through simple choreography for one of his songs.


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The cowbell made an appearance during the band’s most popular song, “Fire Alarm,” which reached number six on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart and features over nine million streams. While they could not have predicted the international explosion of the song, Patch said he thought the song stood out as something that really worked for them when they were writing it. 

Castlecomer’s discography features a variety of themes ranging from love, loss and freedom. Patch said the band likes to write songs around the idea of not conforming to the mundane nature of a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work schedule, and going out and doing what they want to do. 

In addition to Castlecomer’s original songs from their most recent album, they performed two new and unreleased songs and a cover of Tal Bachman’s 1999 hit “She’s So High.”

Castlecomer’s performance consisted of only eight songs, however, the band brought an energy to the stage which adequately warmed up the crowd for Ripe. 

“I think we pride ourselves on our live show,” Patch said. “If anyone has any doubt, send them all to the show and show them what we are about.”

During the show, Castlecomer announced that new music is on the way, exciting fans and giving them something to look forward to beyond the set’s close.