A powerful blast from the past will rock Ennis at the weekend when members of Hot Ice reunite on stage for the first time in 30 years.
The band, comprising David Woodford (drums), Stephen Kerin (lead guitar), Vincent Costelloe (singer) and Joe Costelloe (bass) set up the band in the mid seventies.
They lit up the music scene for six years, filling halls and ballrooms in Clare, Cork, Waterford and Tralee.
The band stopped playing in 1981 and on Saturday, Hot Ice will play their first gig in decades at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis on Saturday night.
The band can’t wait to get back in the groove, says David Woodford.
“We practiced out in my house out the Ruan Road. The very first time we sat down together, it was strange. But we just picked one of the numbers we used to play and it was like we only finished playing last week. We’ve been rehearsing since Christmas. We put a good bit of time into it to do it right.”
Friends from their time together at school, Hot Ice started life on stage in parish halls around the county.
David recalls, “It was tough. Trying to get venues was hard. You couldn’t get a venue because no body wanted to take on bands. We used to have a system where we’d hire halls ourselves. We’d hire the local parish hall. We’d approach the parish priest and generally they were good. We’d hire the hall for a small fee and we’d run it ourselves and one of the wives and girlfriends would run the door. We kind of created venues for ourselves. It went from there. When we had a bit of experience behind us we approached places like Sir Henry’s in Cork and they gave us a try out. That’s how we broke into it.
“It was great craic. Any boys or girls thinking about starting out. I’d say do it. Even if you never get anywhere out of it, its great fun. You meet lots of interesting people! Its great fun.
David, who now runs the Irish Shop, says the band toyed with the idea of playing music full time. Then life intervened.
“As we progressed, we started writing our own stuff. We got some residencies – Sir Henry’s in Cork, the Showboat in Waterford, Blue Lagoon in Sligo and the Abbey in Tralee. We played in them all about once a month. It went on from there and by the time we finished up we were playing 100% original stuff. We were at that stage, will we or won’t we? It was make or break. Also at the same time, we were just starting different things. I had just started Record Rack and the lads had started their own businesses”.
“We toyed with it for a while but then Vince went to the States and he ended up playing music over there. We never broke up, as such, we just stopped”.
Highlights of life on the road included a recording session at Dublin’s famous Windmill Lane studios and a support slot with one of the legends of Irish rock music.
“We supported Rory Gallagher in the Parkway in Limerick, which is now demolished. There used to be a massive ballroom there. Rory was there and we got to play support for him. We met him and he was such a nice, quite guy. We got to support him and that was a buzz.”
They stayed in touch but never discussed the prospect of re-forming. That was until Jacko McMahon called into the shop one day last December.
Jacko, a Marian Avenue man with a strong interest in charity work, had a proposition for Hot Ice.
David explains, “Jacko came into me before Christmas and asked would I be interested in playing for Charity. I said, I dunno. He said I’d be hoping you’d reform the band. To which I replied with words that couldn’t be repeated here! So I met Joe and Steve and put it to them. They said they thought it could be a bit of fun. We decided to go for it. We’re doing it as a three piece because Vince is in the States and unfortunately his health isn’t the best so he wouldn’t be a in a position to sing but Joe is also a vocalist so he’s taking over vocals. From an instrument point of view, it will be the same.”
It’s been fun so far. So much so, David says the band are thinking about playing a few more gigs. Saturday night should be a blast.
David says, “There will be a lot of nostalgia there. It’ll be from long black hair to short gray hair. I have missed it. There are two aspects to it – you miss the buzz of playing but I don’t miss lugging gear all over the place! Having said that I wouldn’t change it. It was great craic.”

Hot Ice will play the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis on Saturday July 20 (10pm). All proceeds from the concert will go to Clare Youth Services and Sláinte an Chláir, cancer support centre.

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A native of Ennis, Ronan Judge completed his Journalism and Communications Diploma course at Griffith College. The Clare People is his first newspaper appointment. Contact Ronan on [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. Sorry to have missed this gig (on holidays…). Hot Ice were the real deal. I hope to see them playing again – and if they;re looking for a support band I’m stil available !! 🙂 My first gig was playing support to you back in ’79.#Ronan – congrats on becoming an uncle!

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