The Hitchers are set to play on UK stages for the first time in 25 years.
Limerick’s own The Hitchers are set to play UK gigs for the first time in 25 years with shows in Wolverhampton and Leeds
The Hitchers play Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall supporting Half Man Half Biscuit on Friday, October 6 and Leeds Pack Horse, Hyde Park on Saturday, October 7 with special guests Indignation Meeting.
Releasing two albums and a slew of EPs in the late 90’s the Limerick band came to the attention of legendary BBC DJ John Peel who championed the band’s debut UK release It’s All Fun & Games Til Someone Loses An Eye and had the band record a session for his show that gets repeat broadcasts to the present day.
The ‘Strachan/You Can Only Love Someone’ double a-side single won many more friends, plaudits and award nominations (pipped to the Best Irish Single gong by Ash’ A Life Less ordinary …no shame in that) as did the band’s follow-up LP ‘For The Want of Some Better TV’ and the band were an ever-present on the gigging circuits of Ireland and Britain earning a reputation for spikey punk-pop, acerbic, witty lyricism, terrace-chant chorus’ and ultimately for fiery live performances.
Though The Hitchers officially de-mobbed in 2001 they have, over the years, regrouped for one-off shows and mini-tours. Media interest in the band is rekindled biennially around the time of World Cups and European Championships which led to Guardian readers voting ‘Strachan’ the ‘greatest football song EVER’.
Warner Bros Germany approached the band for permission to use the song on ’11 Freunde -the album’ where The Hitchers would find themselves in an even more rarefied air scenario -rubbing shoulders with some of their own biggest heroes including Billy Bragg, The Wedding Present, The Proclaimers, New Order and Half Man Half Biscuit.
In 2019 BBCs Steve Lamacq curated ‘Lost Alternatives’ a 2×12” album of his favourite bands from his time on the wireless and marking his 25th Anniversary with the BBC. He selected The Hitchers ‘Strachan’ to close the album -setting them alongside, amongst others, Teenage Fanclub, Snuff, Sleeper, Travis, Compulsion, Cornershop, China Drum and Suede.
Renewed interest in the band following their inclusion on Lamacqs compilation led to 2022s 25th Anniversary re-issue of their debut album It’s All Fun & Games Til Somone Loses An Eye.
Niall Quinn said, “In the UK it’s fair to say The Hitchers are mainly remembered for Strachan. That was the tune that got played most and still gets played and knocked about and that stirs up interest when the World Cup or the Euros roll around.
“Then in Ireland, despite the fact Strachan’s fellow ‘Fun & Games’ single Killed It With My Bare Hands gave us our highest chart placing (an unassailable #58!) I sometimes think it’s more the Red Mohair Jumper/She’ll Be Sorry era stuff that immediately preceded Strachan and the two albums that ring bells with people coz that’s the first time we’d have been seen a bit on telly.
“Then, more locally again, when you come home to Limerick there’s this palpable thing about the ‘teenage’ Hitchers -the one with Eoin and Benny and Bombs in Baskets of Fruit. So I tend to think of The Hitchers less like a band and more like Dallas. There’s some characters who are integral to the story who are only in it for the first couple of seasons. But still the story runs.”
The Hitchers play Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall supporting Half Man Half Biscuit on Friday 6th October and Leeds Pack Horse, Hyde Park on Saturday 7th w/ special guests Indignation Meeting.