Ocelots called on to support Jack Johnson
Super-talented Wexford music duo The Ocelots featuring twin brothers Brandon and Ashley Watson were invited to play support for the American singer-songwriter Jack Johnson at Live At The Marquee in Cork and will join him again in Munich next Sunday.
The Cork gig was Johnson's only Irish date on his All the Light Above it Too world tour and his first time to play in Ireland in 12 years.
Brandon and Ashley who celebrated their 21st birthday in April, were thrilled to be asked to kick off the gig as special guests in front of a 5,000-strong crowd, their biggest audience so far.
The US singer had asked Aiken Promotions to send him a list of possible support bands with a sample of their music and after listening to the Wexford brothers in action, he chose Brandon and Ashley.
The Ocelots write their own material and through five years of performing publicly together, have honed a confident musical style that blends rich harmonies and raw acoustic folk, employing guitars and harmonica to create a sound that is bigger than the sum of its parts.
The pair were playing at a festival in Munich and had to book early return flights to get to Cork in time for the concert. Johnson invited them on stage at the end of the gig to join him on his songs 'Better Together' and 'Breakdown', two numbers very familiar to the brothers who regularly busked them on the Main Street in Wexford. And he has asked them to join him as support at the Tollwood Summer Festival in Munich on July 22.
The Ocelots perform regularly at venues in Germany having discovered the music scene there when they back-packed and blazed a melodic trail around Europe after finishing secondary school, playing in Paris, Rome, London, Edinburgh, Munich and Cologne and enjoying residencies throughout German, Denmark and Italy.
The Cork gig is another feather in the cap of the brothers who have been forging an independent music career since they were teenagers.
'It was amazing,' Brandon said of The Marquee event. 'We were a bit speechless after the concert.'
He described Jack Johnson as 'class'. The Hawaii-born singer and actor is a former professional surfer who, with his wife Kim, runs two foundations promoting environmental and music education in Hawaii and around the world. His philanthropy has resulted in over €30m being donated to charity since 2001.
'Thanks so much to the Aiken Promotions team and to Jack and his crew for being such a pleasure to perform and hang around with,' said Brandon, as they look forward to repeating the experience in Munich.
The brothers who grew up in Wexford town have been playing music since they were 16 years old when they formed a school band with friends.