As a native Ohioan, I’d never experienced a culture where live entertainment was so integrated into everyday life. In Dublin, buskers can be found on many street corners, and artists perform daily in pubs. I discovered Keywest, a pop/rock band that has seen some pretty major success in Ireland, while I was exploring Dublin my first few days here.
Founded by Irishmen Andy “Kav” Kavanagh and Andrew “Glove” Glover, who originally performed as a two-man group, the band added three U.K. natives – Sam Marder, Jimi Lock and Harry “H” Sullivan – to become Keywest in 2011. Since then, the group has released an album (“The Message”) and several EPs and continues to perform live on Grafton Street. Keywest will be going on tour in the U.K. and Ireland later this year.
“We like to see the reactions from people,” Glover said about performing live. “We feed off it. We’ve done a few big gigs which was a taste for us.”
Glover said the group constantly works to promote itself, both in person and online. As of May 2015, the group has more than 55,000 followers on Facebook, 25,000 followers on Twitter and 3,600 followers on Instagram.
“I think it’s split for us between getting out and performing and our online media presence,” Glover said. “Our Facebook is quite diverse, which is good when we want to expand to other places. Our fan base will already be there.”
The band’s diverse fan base can be linked back to its live performances on Grafton Street.
“We can play to 20 nationalities at a time,” Glover said. “Grafton Street is quite diverse. You don’t have to be Irish to like us.”
When asked what Keywest wants to tell the world, Glover stopped a moment to think. While he paused, Lock jumped in to say, “You can’t get rid of us. We’re a sexy virus,” a virus that has infected people who have heard their music throughout the world.
By busking on Grafton Street and amassing an international following on social media, Keywest is solidifying itself as truly global artist.