Name: Neck

Country: England

Formed in: 1994

Status: Active

Neck is a six-piece London-Irish Celtic punk band from the North London neighbourhood of Holloway (known informally as ‘County Holloway’ due to its Irish population). Following their front-man’s cathartic ‘Tour of Duty’ as a member of the original line-up of Shane MacGowan and the Popes, Neck were ‘born in a bottle’ during late-night drinking sessions in 1994 by a mixture of Irish emigrant and second-generation Irish drinking buddies. The band takes their lead, both musically and ideologically, from two other London bands: The Clash and The Pogues, blending punk rock with traditional Irish music to play a London-Irish style known as ‘Psycho-Ceilídh’.


Band members

  • Leeson O’Keeffe – vocal, guitars
  • Sara-Lou Bowrey – tin whistle, vocal
  • James Gavin – fiddle, vocal
  • Hugh O’Neill – banjo, vocal
  • Brendan Stitch – bass
  • Gareth Smith – drums, bodhrán, vocal



  • Necked (A Few Odds From the Oul’ Sods) (2001)
  • Here’s Mud in Yer Eye! (2004)
  • Sod `Em & Begorrah! (2005)
  • Come Out Fighting! (2009)


  • Psycho-Ceilidh (1999)
  • Fields of Athenry / May the Road Rise With You (2002)
  • Everybody’s Welcome To The Hooley! (2006)


One thought on “Neck

  1. Neck are, simply , the real deal. Sin é.

    ”Anti-racist lyrics and a Reel halfway through exemplify Neck’s riotous sound, as if The Clash were born on the Emerald Isle!”
    The Irish Post

    London-Irish contemporaries of their great mates, The Dropkick Murphys & Flogging Molly, Neck are, simply, the real deal. Not for nothing known as ‘The Heavy Artillery of Irish Music’ – they consist of an authentic Traditional Irish music lead section, a Clash-inspired electric backline, and a former Shane MacGowan’s Popes’ front-man, and call this intoxicating, exciting blend of electric Punk energy and uplifting Irish swirl ‘Psycho-Ceilidh’.

    And they have pedigree in depth: 3 albums – their seminal 2nd, Sod ‘em & Begorrah!, being rated variously 2nd and 3rd -best Celtic Punk album of all time ; an Anti-Racism / Pro-inclusiveness single in the UK charts (via, historically, being plugged in the House of Commons!) ; a movie appearance* ; noteworthy collaborations (Alabama 3, Hayseed Dixie, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing) ; famous fans (Johnny Depp!) ; and their Trad. Irish authenticity seeing the Irish Cultural Centre bestowing on them the huge honour and accolade of playing a Trad. Session for the Irish team at the 2012 London Paralympics – due, they were told, to their frontman wearing his heart on his sleeve and simply that “ye know how to be” – a simple Irish expression that speaks volumes and meant more than a 5-star review! Subsequently, their kick-arse, high-energy live shows and extensive touring** has made them tried-and-tested festival favourites across three continents from Moscow to Texas!

    *performing two songs in Film 4’s Belfast-set ‘Rom-Dram’ With or without You, Directed by Michael Winterbottom (Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland, 24 Hour Party People), & starring Christopher Eccleston (28 Days Later, Gone in 60 Second, Dr Who, Legend)
    **Covering a wide range of events, from folk to metal, taking-in countless festivals, gigs & parties over Thirty Seven (!) European trips, Nine U.S. ones, Ten Irish ones and extensively all over the UK – from Cornwall to The Shetlands!

    01 Live at Rebellion (their 9th time out of ten!)

    02 Live at Bearded Theory, UK (Banjo Cam!)

    03 Live, headlining Brintall Celtic festival, Italy



    London-Irish Psycho-Ceilídh band Neck are, subsequently, the ideal booking for any gig, festival or party.

    Ideal? Well Neck can bring a lot to the party – not least, a party! More specifically, a ‘Hooley’: an Irish party – a wee bit more craic than just any old do! With their uplifting, intoxicating blend of the Legendary 1977 London Punk sound & authentic Traditional Irish music; high-energy, kick-arse stage show; (and a wee bit of craic), Neck make good on their rallying-cry ‘Every Day’s St. Patrick’s Day!’. Most crowds want to have a dance around, a sing-along, and a great time – an exciting, memorable time – and that’s exactly what Neck deliver! So it’s no wonder they’re tried-and-tested festival favourites – from Moscow-to-Texas (just see the list below) – including, amongst their numerous re-bookings, playing Glastonbury six times!

    So on the back of their formidable track-record and their continuing presence on the international festival circuit:
    the highlight of 2018 was their 9th U.S. Trip playing on their good friends, Flogging Molly’s, Salty Dog cruise; and their most recent, 37th!, European trip saw them headlining a festival in Germany; they’ve a new live set (with a re-defined on-stage sound!) in order to road-test material for their 4th studio album! To that end, they’ve had a great summer and autumn 2019 been doing what they do best: rocking the bejaysus out of a bunch of festivals, including absolutely storming sets at The Great British Alternative & HRH Punk festivals, Camp Bestival, Farmer Phil’s, their 4th time at Solfest & going straight back to the renowned Boomtown Fair for their 3rd – & best – time so far!
    And the reception to the live shows and the new material has been so incredible – in this, their 25th year! – they’re in mighty form, a great position and really excited about, and entirely intent on, taking that momentum forward into the future!

    Just some of the Festivals NECK have rocked the bejaysus out of (& quite a few more than once!):

    UK and Ireland: Glastonbury (x6), Rebellion (x10!), Beautiful Days (x4), Solfest (x4), Strummercamp (x4), Respect (x3), Boomtown Fair (x3), Bearded Theory (x2), Willowman (x2), Knockengorroch (x2), Nozstock (x2), Great British Alternative (x2), Crawley Folk (x2), AWOD (x2), Camp Bestival, Belladrum, Guilfest, Wickerman, Trowbridge, The Fleadh, Wickham, Great Escape, Farmer Phil’s, HRH Punk, Gwyl Pontardawe UK;
    Ardoyne Fleadh (x3), Derry Gas Yard Féile (x2), Waterford Spraoi (x2), West Belfast Féile an Phobail, Kilkenny, IRL.

    Europe and Asia: Nuits Celtiques, FR; Goorock, BE; Paas Pop, Huntenpop, Nirwanas TuinFeest, Zommerpop, Elastiek, Jera on Air, Oerel, NL; Punk ‘n’ Disorderly (x4), With Full Force, Wilwarin, Stadfest, Eifler Folkpunk, Castellans, DE; Postplatz, Nextpunk, CH; Travobaccano, Brintaal Celtic, ITA; Graz, Rain Rock, AT; Skagen, Punk&Billy Bash, DK; Oulu Irish, FIN; St. Patrick’s, HR; Tantsy, RUS;

    USA: SXSW TX, Dublin Irish festival OH, Flogging Molly’s Salty Dog cruise FL, Guinness Toast festival NC, Irish Rock festival & Wildwood Irish festival NJ, Irish Rock festival (x2) & Irish2000 Fest NY. …and many more! .
    And just a handful of NECK Press Quotes:

    “Manic psycho-Ceilídh from the London-Irish heirs to The Pogues’ legacy” Hot Press, Ireland

    “Bringing Irish Punk past The Pogues – a worthy contender to the Celtic Punk crown is born!” Irish Voice, USA

    “…a daring, glorious and grand melody-drenched wall of sound that offers all the evidence required for the band to take their rightful place alongside Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly,” Rock ‘n’ Reel, UK

    “…a full-on and in-your-face aural assault that combines the pathos of The Pogues, the folk lilt of The Levellers and the punchiness of Stiff Little Fingers to mesmerising effect.” Big Cheese, UK

    “…one of the best Celtic-Punk releases ever! In fact both the band and release define what Celtic-Punk is. Neck are rooted with one foot in Punk attitude and one foot steeped in Traditional Irish music unlike any other group – this stuff is in their blood. If you’ve never heard Celtic Punk before and wonder what the fuss is about then there isn’t a better introduction!”
    Shite ‘n’ Onions, USA

    “I really like Neck and have done for a while – there are other, similar, bands doing better somehow, but there aren’t any doing it with so much fun 9/10” Tasty fanzine, USA

    “Better than ever! Tip for any party!” – Album of the month / one of the 10 most important genre album!” SLAM, D

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