K9 Kev and Rory O’B to rock the crowd at Oban Live

The Oban Times - - LEISURE -

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.

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