Castlecomer goes from Aussies to Buckeyes

The band Castlecomer is from Australia, but it may qualify as one of the local acts at this year’s LaureLive festival.

When the band isn’t touring, the guys — Bede Kennedy, lead vocals and guitar; Joe Neely, keyboards; Tommy Kennedy, lead guitar; Joe Kennedy, bass; and Pat Kennedy, drums — have been living in Akron.

The band is managed by the Elevation Group, which stages LaureLive and had accommodations available in the Rubber City, and Neely said during a telephone interview last month that it made more sense to have a place in the U.S. rather than traveling all the way back to Australia during tour breaks.

“We have a really nice base here, but we still spend more time on the road than in Akron,” he said. “There are so many good markets to play in the Midwest area.”

Castlecomer played the South Stage at last year’s LaureLive and moves up to one of the main stages for a mid-afternoon set on Sunday.

“I think it was the first or one of the first festivals we ever played in America,” Neely said. “It was awesome. America does festival really well, great hospitality. We were a small band coming over from Australia booked to play for all these Americans. Now Cleveland has become sort of our home. Whenever we tour, Cleveland is always the most attended show. I think LaureLive did a lot for us.”

At last year’s festival, Bede Kennedy dazzled with his vocals, entertained with his dance moves and got laughs with his between-song banter. It’s a formula that’s helped the band stand out in crowded festival lineups.

“For us, our live show is the best format to experience our music,” Neely said. “Bede does a good job of energizing the crowd. That’s our best format. We just rock out, it doesn’t matter if there’s five people or 500 or 5,000. We try to play with the same energy.”

Last year the band’s music was unknown to most of the crowd. Since then the band has released a self-title album of danceable rock in the vein of Walk the Moon, and the single “Fire Alarm” has more than 8 million plays on Spotify.

The band recently released a new version of “Fire Alarm” recorded with the Cleveland band Welshly Arms’ Sam Getz sharing lead vocals with Bede Kennedy.

“We went to his home studio and he kicked it in like two takes,” Neely said. “That guy has a killer voice.”

More singles are planned from the debut album, Neely said, but the band has started working on new music, but it’s early enough in the process that the band probably won’t be playing any of those songs on Sunday.

“Hopefully there is new music to be released toward the end of the year.”