Today (25 March) saw the passing of one of the true legends of the Dublin club scene since the turn of the Millennium, Al Keegan, at the age of just 35.
Having burst on the scene while still a teenager with a residency at the Tivoli’s I Love House night, it was 12Ten, at Dublin’s Legal Eagle, that established Al as one of Dublin’s finest deck wizards and party promoters.
It’s hard to believe now that the humdrum haunt of barristers and solicitors from the neighbouring Four Courts was once Dublin’s maddest house night (complete with live saxophone), but that was thanks in part to Al’s infectious energy… not to mention trademark afro.
When 12Ten finished, Al hit the jackpot again – twice – first with Acii Disco, referenced in the recent Dublin Oldschool movie as one of the city’s benchmark-setting nights (we agree wholeheartedly), and then with Mixed Salad, in the unlikely setting of McGruders pub on Thomas Street.
Arguably the most hedonistic daytime party in Dublin’s clubbing history, it was Ireland’s answer to DC10… in the heart of the Liberties.
As someone who got to play alongside Al numerous times during the mid-2000s, it wasn’t difficult to see that he was a master of his craft; a maestro behind the decks, and a true gent in front of them.
Thoughts and prayers to Martina and his family – Al’s was a light that shone brightly, but for far too short a period.
It would be apt to remember Al, as so many will this evening, through music – and this track stands out for me as one of my abiding memories of the Mixed Salad days.
With the top floor of McGruders absolutely heaving (to this day, I don’t know how the floorboards didn’t collapse), and Al putting the finishing touches to a faultless closing set, he dropped one final tune…. and the place exploded.
Thanks Al for the music and memories – we look forward to meeting you again on the dancefloor some time in the future. Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.