K9 Kev and Rory O’B to rock the crowd at Oban Live
THE winner has been announced of the Oban Unsigned public vote, which will give a local act the chance to perform at the Oban Live music festival on Saturday June 3 – and the contest was close with 873 votes to 849.
But in the end rappers K9 Kev and Rory O’B just beat dance and country band Crackin’ Craic by only 24 votes to win the 30-minute slot to showcase their talents, and share the stage with an impressive list of artists from trad stars Skerryvore and Skipinnish to 1980s legends Hue And Cry. The third shortlisted band, Angus Smith and North 56, which fuses rock, trad, folk and Americana, secured 258 votes.
Congratulating K9 Kev, Pauline Clifford, marketing and promotions executive for The Oban Times, which ran the competition, said there had been ‘an overwhelming response’ of 1,980 votes. K9 Kev, aka 29-year- old Kevin Irvine of Glencruitten, said: ‘I am blown away. I did not know I had so many people who liked my music.
‘We did not think we had a chance. Angus Smith and Crackin’ Craic have huge and well- deserved followings. They are two great bands that would have been amazing. It will not sink in until tomorrow when I am eating a sandwich.’
K9 Kev and Rory O’B, solo artists in their own right, have been making music together as a duo for more than six years, bringing their own mix of rap, hip-hop and folk, with anything else in between. Using their own accents, they have strayed away from the typical rap clichés and stay true to their local roots. Their recent live show at Cuan Mor was sold out.
‘I want to thank everybody who voted,’ he said. ‘ Without their help we would not have got it. We look forward to putting on a show. It goes to show some wee guy making music in his bedroom can play a crowd of that size if he wants to. I want to thank The Oban Times for giving us the opportunity, and to Oban Live for taking a chance on local music.’
Rory O’Byrne, a 25-year- old also from Oban but now living in Glasgow, added: ‘I'm completely over the moon. The amount of support people have shown us in the past couple of weeks has been incredible. I honestly never thought we would win against two other great bands. I'm looking forward to giving people from Oban the performance they deserve.’
Kevin said: ‘We chose to enter the competition because it would allow us promotion for the album launch the weekend before [on May 27].’ The ticket and raffle sales for the launch of their album, Vocal Heroes, will be donated to three causes: the Oban Youth Café, Soroba Young Families and the Scottish Autism Saturday Club.
On stage at Oban Live, Kevin and Rory will play a mix of their new album tracks and older songs. ‘I know I will get heckled if I do not play Live
For The Weekend,’ Kevin said. ‘I know a guy who will fight to the death if he does not hear it.’
Kevin, who is a youth worker for Oban Youth Café and a support worker for Oban’s Lorne Resource Centre, said: ‘ We thought we were too different.’ He hoped hip-hop culture could help others as much as it helped him. ‘I used to have a speech impediment,’ he explained. ‘The whole culture has helped me be a better person. It teaches positivity and passes on skills. It helps them become better people.’
Kevin’s fiancée, Claire McAllister, said: ‘ When he said they’d won, I thought he was joking. I am so happy. What he does is so amazing. Some of the local lads have come on so much because of Kevin and Rory’s help.’
K9 Kev is congratulated by Oban Times editor Susan Windram, right, and Pauline Clifford.