Light A Big Fire (1984 Session)


Formed circa 1984 in Dublin featuring Thomas McLaughlin (vocals), Owen Conroy (vocals), Pete Dench (guitar), Pat Diskin (bass), Ray Rowland (drums). I saw Light A Big Fire in late 1985 in the then NIHE Limerick and they put on a hugely energetic show finishing up with a version of The Forest that seemed to go on forever. This is a session they did for the Fanning show in June 1984.

C.I.A. (1984)

You Can Love A Woman (1984)

I See People (1984)

Talking To Myself (1984)

31 Responses to “Light A Big Fire (1984 Session)”

  1. Saw them at the Rose of Tralee in Tralee(obviously) with all the local Mods. They were great for the short time they had. Where’s Tommy???

  2. irishelectionliterature Says:

    Great band, saw them a number of times, most memorably in Caesars Palace in Bunclody and have the albums on vinyl.
    ‘You can love a women’ ended up having an awful scratch on it!

  3. demosuzki Says:

    Seem to remember them appearing at ever ‘ball’ at NIHE dublin in 1985/1986
    I had an album on cassette and remember a song called “mr twilight” being the stand out track.

  4. Johnny Foxe Says:

    What a great band — they were the soundtrack to some very good times at UCD in the mid-eighties

  5. sheelagh Says:

    They sure were a great band back then!! I have a vinyl album by them called “Gunpowders”, If my memory serves me right, probably their only LP?… yea, what ever happened to Mr McLaughlin?

  6. Fanning Sessions Says:

    Thomas Mc Laughlin is now a successful playwright, has worked on RTE’s Fair City and can occasionally appears as a guest on The View with John Kelly. See also

  7. Fanning Sessions Says:

    Live version of ‘Tommy’s Got A Good Job’ from 1987 over here:

  8. Owen McGroarty Says:

    Light a Big Fire were a favourite of mine and my Friend, Ronan Hand in 1985 – 1986. We were the Curtain-Jerker Band for the start of the Bray Music Festival, in 1985. Light a Big Fire were the headline act and they were absolutely amazing. The Energy, the Passion and the Music they produced had everyone dancing in the Marquee tent, that night. We were blown away and we formed a new band called Omega after that, bought their EP and covered CIA at every rehearsal and gig we did until we split in 1986, which was a shame. Anyway, 25 years later, I am listening to CIA again and it stills sounds great, and Light a Big Fire were a great Band, LIVE one of the best acts I ever saw!

  9. Owen, Enjoyed reading your comments and hearing of your memories about Light a Big Fire! They were a unique band in their heyday!!…

  10. Denis McCarthy Says:

    I first heard Light a big fire on a Dave Fanning session he used to have on Tuesday evenings. Between 9.30 and 10.00 he would play about a half hour of a gig an unsigned band had played. I loved Light A Big Fire and raved to everyone about them. Wish I still had that session, and lost my tape as well. Saw them at Lark by the Lee and managed a quick chat as well. Awesome band

  11. blast from the past.
    Finally I can listen to C.I.A.
    but how can I find the music/video???
    I am in Spain and remember them from my visits to Bray in the mid 80’s

  12. Alex Seafitt Says:

    A gr8, gr8 band, really pissed of my neighbours in flatland, playing ‘gunpowders’ night and day..for me ‘the boom boom room’ a gr8 fav track of mine.
    I know one of the singers is writing for tv, Thomas, and the other singer, Owen, is recording tracks, can anyone verify this?

  13. Fanning Sessions Says:

    Tom has worked on ‘Fair City’ according to this, I’m not sure what Owen Conroy is doing.

  14. Turns out Mark Sheppard, one of the later drummers, is a pretty big TV star in the US. X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Warehouse 13, Voyager, CSI, etc.


  15. Paul Muldowney Says:

    LABF were my favorite band when I lived in Dublin. I moved to the USA in ’96. I first came across them at a ‘Lark In The Park’ in Blackrock, then seen them at the ‘Hotwire Happening’ tour in the Olympic Ballroom in Dublin, can remember driving to Celbridge to see them at a place called The Mill. Then i seen them open for ZZ Top and The Kinks at the RDS. In 1992 Thomas McLaughlin {the singer} did a number of Tuesday night solo acoustic gigs at the Underground bar on Dame Street. I went to every one of these. He had a solo album he was selling at the gigs called ‘Sky Guitar’ which had a great song called ‘Aughnacloy’ on it. The whole album was good. Does anybody have a cd version of ‘Gunpowders’ or ‘Surveillance’? I would love a copy. Paul

  16. Green Boys or Two Moons are my fav songs please put them up here. Are ye back on tour if so PLEASE PLEASE COME TO CORK

  17. I just sussed this is a fan site not the bands site I’d love to see them do it all again I loved 2 moons and the whole gunpowders ep and the Green Boys Single remix amazing stuff By the way Dennis were you the ET LOL

  18. Gerry Walsh Says:

    Ohh the blast from the past , memories of a miss spent youth

    My self and Niall Maher from Ballybrack begged and blagged our way into the Baggot Inn to see them playing .

    Such passion and enegry they played with

  19. This is so great Light A Big Fire was such a brilliant band and part of Dublin music scene that was so vibrant and as others have said a big part of how good it was to be young and wild. and GREAT lyrics!!!

  20. Saw these guys many, many times in Dublin in the mid eighties. Remember seeing them open for The Kinks and ZZ Top in 1985 at the RDS. I still have the record and that is after many moves and finally settling in California! I used to have a tape of a show they did for RTE studios. I was in the audience and recorded it when it was eventually broadcast. They still sound great. Thanks for the memories.

  21. Fanning Sessions Says:

    Thanks Kevin, is this the show you attended?

  22. […] are earlier versions of some of these songs at The Fanning Sessions Archive. More LABF at Airforce […]

  23. […] The thing was the day of the LABF gig in Bunclody, I’m pretty sure we’d been dipping sheep. I’d sheared sheep (poorly) and helped out in the whole process of grabbing the sheep to be sheared but dipping sheep was a whole new level of physical exertion. Not alone that but the smell was awful and one of those smells like being at the dump that stays with you for weeks afterwards. So it was smelling of sheep dip that we went to the gig and drank from a choice of bottled Harp, Smithwicks or Guinness. I’d say we stuck with the bottled Smithwicks. Anyway…. The brilliant Fanning Sessions site have a full concert posted and also a session from LABF. […]

  24. seen them at the lark in the park, also the mill in celbridge, also they opened up forZZ Top and The Kinks at the RDS. Also seen them at the hotwire happening with the Zen Alligators [might have been The Host either way eamoon and charles were there] could be one of the greatest bands from ireland not to MAKE it. Mr. Mcglaughin did a few weeks residency solo in the underground bar in 1992. I went to every show he was great. He released a solo album called Sky Guitar in 1992 which i tried to get for 18 years. I found Mr. Mcglaughin on line and he actually sent me a copy. If you ever get a chance to hear his song ‘aughacloy’ jump!!!!!. Now who has a Surveillance CD to give me. Can’t find it any

  25. Mr. David Fanning i grew up in Dublin in the 70’s and 80’s and some of the 90’s i moved to NYC in 1996. I loved your show back then and always liked the music you played. But one thing always bothered me. I was in a bar in Dublin around 1986, Closing time was 11 back then. I went up to the bar at 10.55 i was standing beside you and Joe Elliot i ordered 2 beers the barman said ‘sorry we’re closed’ then Joe ordered 2 drinks for you and him and got them. So i asked him ‘how come you got served and i didn’t?’ and he said ’cause i’m Joe Elliot’ I said ‘i hope your music career goes down the bog and you need a good opening act to put bums on seats’ which turned out to be true. All he had to say was ‘give me 2 beers and buy this guy 2 beers’ I’d be his biggest fan for life. 10 years ago i was in a bar in NYC Liam Gallagher walks in-i sent him over a drink, not even a thank you and i love Oasis. These guys need to know we are your fans and it doesn’t matter if you are having a bad day. I might meet you once in your life[that i’ll remember for the rest of my life and you won’t] and you-have to be nice-be careful what you wish for it might come true. I’ve met ever member of U2 besides bono. Rick Savage [he was nice] i met Suggs from MADNESS a few months ago in Wales i travelled from America to see that. He was gobsmacked i travelled that far. He asked me if i wanted a photograph. They did write Michale Caine

  26. pat diskin is my uncul

  27. Kevin Fitzsimons Says:

    Anyone know if Gunpowders or Surveillance can be got on CD??? Have trie all the usual sources but Vinyl only it seems

  28. Don’t think there is any cd versions of these released….anyone know where I could get The LABF, Paul Cleary + Partisans, In Tua Nua “The Session” on tape / online – has gone off the TG4 site after 1 month

  29. Pat if you turn on TG4 right now you’ll get a nice surprise!

  30. Cheers ears! Missed it last night but is back up on TG4 player for a month so can catch again + again – hopefully TG4 Youtube after that

  31. Does anybody have more information on existing Light A Big Fire recordings? We are trying to catalog their recordings with the aim to have them released digitally (especially the third album)? See for current status. Any further information or contacts appreciated.

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