29 04 2009

Thankfully this week isn’t as crazy as last week, but there’s still a butt-load of stuff happening to ensur I’m never in my house for too long. Last night was the Wolverine screening (I give it four and a half claws out of six) tonight is Girls Aloud at the Odyssey and Friday and Saturday I’m covering Morrissey in Omagh and Belfast. If all goes well, I’ll also be able to make it to Fighting with Wire Vs And So I Watch You From Afar in a tent on Saturday too and I urge everyon to go-purely for the comic genius of FWW’s recent viral video.

More details here-

Friday Night

28 04 2009

Dear ‘Dead Horse’ readers,

You’ll all be thriled to learn that last night’s gig went off really fuckin’ well, if I do say so myself. I’m even feeling a faint tinge of pride about it all to be truthful. The Spring and Airbrake was packed, the bands were well looked after and everyone seemed to have fun, which isn’t bad going considering it’s only been a few months since we discussed putting on a gig in the first place.

For those that don’t know, about eight months ago I was approached by the Big List to come on board and contribute a few bits and pieces every month. So far I’m very happy with how it’s all panning out and in January I attended an editorial meeting  down at their offices (a rare thing for me as I never go to these things for anyone else) where we came up with the idea of putting together a monthly local band showcase called the Big Gig.  After some to-ing and fro-ing, we found a venue (the Spring and Airbrake in Belfast) and we now have bands booked up until June. Most of the leg-work is done by the Big List’s Damien and Jon, with me helping out on the booking side of things-essentially giving a hand getting bands who will work well together on a bill and then promoting the fuck out of it. I’ve always been tempted to put gigs on in the past (in fact myself and the Irish Thorriors were talking about bringing Valient Thorr to Belfast a while back) and it’s definitely something I enjoy, so expect more in the future.

I must also add, the Big Gig is a non-profit making exercise (coz we’re punk as fuck). The money on the door is split equally between all three bands and we’re only doing this for kicks. Truthfully, for the last year or two I’ve been spending six days a week/52 weeks a year writing and I see this as a great way to blow off some steam. Hopefully future gigs will go as well as this one and some readers can make it down every month.

Some pics from the show can be seen here-

the Big Gig

24 04 2009

There’s a gig tonight in Belfast that you all need to be at. Poster below. Check it, and then of course wreck it.

Flight 666

21 04 2009

Today I am a very excited young man. You see after a year of waiting, I’m finally going to watch the Iron Maiden film-Flight 666-in the cinema. I never thought I’d get to see my favourite band on the big screen and I really can’t fucking wait. To put my excitement into perspective-I’ve been a  Maiden fanatic since I was 8 (Daddy Christmas gave me a copy of ‘Live After Death’ that year) no matter how bad tempered I get, ‘Flight Of  Icarus’ always cheers me up, I’ve a Maiden tattoo (and I’m getting an Eddie on my leg this summer) and they’re a band who have never let me down in the last 21years I’ve been following them. One day I hope to have an Iron Maiden room in my house for all the tshirts/LPs/toys/posters I’ve got  and interviewing Bruce Dickinson, Paul Di’Anno and Blaze Bayley have been some of the proudest moments of my life.

If you’re heading to see Flight 666 tonight too then I hope you enjoy it as much as I will. Happy Maiden Day y’all.  Up the Irons.

Steel Panther

17 04 2009

Well it looks like comedy metal is back!

“Fuck the Goo Goo Dolls, they can suck my balls indeed! Carrie’s favourite is Lexi Foxx

In Case of Fire

16 04 2009

Here’s my review of the In Case of Fire record that ran in Hot Press a while ago. The record’s out May 11.

In Case Of Fire

Allign The Planets (Search And Destroy)

Three and a half out of five

Ever since their formation in ’05 (where they arose from the ashes of former band Element) Portadown’s In Case Of Fire have been blazing a trail that is uniquely their own. This writer actually witnessed one of the band’s first ever gigs on a dreary Saturday afternoon in Belfast and even then it seemed like good things were coming their way. Well, after a few years of false starts, their album Align The Planets finally sees the light of day and it certainly capitalises on their huge momentum right now.

Featuring tracks that have been staples of their live shows for quite some time, their debut is a loud and proud statement of intent. There are no half measures, no compromises and no let up for the full forty minutes or so. Opening with ‘This Time We Stand’ the record rattles along at a break neck pace throwing in hellish riffs and razor-sharp guitars with abandon (‘Parallels,’ ‘Landslides’).

Sadly the decision to go for the jugular has slightly impeded the impact of the record though. There is little light and shade and at times the heavier than thou tunes can blend into one, but the addition of the wonderfully abrasive ‘Plan A’ (which features a speech from Martin Luther King) is a master-stroke. While Align The Planets isn’t quite the incendiary effort we’d hoped for from In Case Of Fire, it’s easily one of the finest rock releases to come from Ireland in quite some time.

Key Track: ‘Plan A.’

Edwin McFee

The Beat Poets

14 04 2009

I’ve always been a big fan of the Beat Poets and try to give them as much coverage as I can. They’ve a great work ethic, have their heads screwed on and are a kickass live band.Where is he going with this, I hear you cry.Well, their singer John has resurrected his blog ( and there’s a great video from their time in America last month on there. My favourite part is when guitarist Beefy Doran says Times Square reminds him of  “the Quays in the Town.” He’s wrong of course. There isn’t anything that even comes close to the Quays in  Newry.

Anyway, check out the video below and look for them on MySpace  The song ‘Bloodline’ is the business.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic

14 04 2009

Last month I interviewed the Black Bear Saloon for the Big List-and here it is, in all its glory.

The Black Bear Saloon

This month, the Black Bear Saloon play at the inaugural Big Gig on April 24, so we sat down with singer Aaron Abernethy to talk about new beginnings, celebrity bears and beard wigs for baldies.

Let’s start from the start, how did the Black Bear Saloon first open its metaphorical doors?

Mid 2007 I got a call from Mike [Barr, BBS tub thumper] asking if I’d be interested in singing for a new project that he and Russell [Crookes, bassist] were cooking up. At that stage Willy [Mundell, guitar] who was also in Throat with them was in the band as well, but he left in January last year to concentrate on Dutch Shultz. Shortly after that Peter [McCavery, guitar] who used to be in Element with the In Case Of Fire guys, joined as guitarist, and that brings the whole sordid tale up to date.

Why are Black Bear Saloon different to Throat/From Where I Stand/Element?

 Throat and FWIS were very different animals from BBS. Throat was a very riff-based outfit with heavy influences from the likes of Helmet and Therapy?, whereas FWIS was a straight-ahead old-school hardcore punk band, in which I did much screaming and not a lot of actual singing. Black Bear Saloon is much more song-based than either band. It’s still a hard rock group though, so it’s a combination of balls-to-the-wall riffage and catchy-as-chlamydia melodies.

What’s been your favourite gig so far?

Easy-headlining the NI:NG gig in the Attic in Lavery’s in February. It was the first time I’ve ever heard anyone shouting the lyrics to one of our songs, before we’d even got round to playing it.

And Worst…

Even easier-four days earlier we played to exactly no-one in the Bunker, just one floor below the Attic. We just treated it as glorified practice, with mild applause from the support band.

Do you feel like BBS fit in with the local scene?

Nope, not at all. Hard Rock isn’t really that popular in Belfast at the minute. There are only a handful of local acts that are standing in similar territory to us like LaFaro, Dutch Shultz, ASIWYFA to name a few. The rest of the local scene seems to be more focused on getting nice haircuts and playing something called ‘Indie.’ I’m sure it’s lovely and credible and all, but does it make you want to do a flying kick off a bus-shelter?

You’ve been known to be quite the shit stirrer online Aaron. Has this adversely affected the band? Do you make people hungry for your blood?

I’ve never shied away from saying what I think about things, but the stuff that usually winds people up is more often than not related to movies or organised religion. I’m passionate about one and disgusted by the other. I don’t know how hungry for my blood it makes people-I’m just some arsehole with WiFi and too much free time. If folks are going to get all worked up about it then they probably need to get out more.

You’ve two releases now-tell me about them?

We recorded our first EP when Willy was in the band, back in November ‘07. It was mostly used to pimp our tunes around the place and was never properly put on sale. Another four tracks were laid down in November ‘08, but we’ve decided to re-record those and the first EP with Peter on guitar for eventual release as an album.

Favourite BBS tune?

‘First Against The Wall’ is my personal statement of intent about what should happen to so-called ‘psychics.’ It’s a big ol’ rock tune about just how full of shit they are.

Favourite celebrity bear? (Mine would have to be Danny Devito).

Decisions, decisions. Brian Posehn and Steve Agee from the Sarah Silverman Program are both current favourites, as is Kevin Smith. I reckon DeVito isn’t really hairy enough for bear status though. However, some of my gay friends have told me I’m perfect ‘cub’ material.

Do you have plans to play outside the North?

Steady on! We’d need to leave the city first! Of course we’d love to get out on the road, it’s just harder when you have jobs/wives/babies. Hopefully in the next year we’ll book some tours for all over Ireland and maybe even make our way across to the rest of the UK.

What are your ambitions for the Black Bear Saloon?

It’s mostly about having fun for us at the moment. There’s nothing more fun than playing gigs. Eventually it’d be great to be able to play some gigs in some far flung places. Like Tokyo. Or Strabane.

Finally, if all of the members of the Black Bear Saloon shaved off their beards do you think the resulting hair would be enough to make a wig for celebrity baldie Patrick Stewart?

Possibly, but first dibs on our facial hair has been claimed by Elton John. He only wants proper-decent rock ‘n’ roll follicles for his next fright-wig.

The Black Bear Saloon play the Spring and Airbrake in Belfast alongside Continuous Battle of Order and Comply or Die as part of the Big List’s Big Gig on April 24 at the Spring and Airbrake. Admission is £4.


The Night That Would Not Die

10 04 2009

Last October I pre-ordered a special Blaze Bayley live DVD. I got news today that’s it’s shipped and by Christ am I excited.

Here’s the message below which made me laugh


All 500 Limited Edition DVDs have now been packaged up and either shipped or due for despatch tomorrow. We thank you very very much for your patience.

We do need to inform you as well that some of the Limited Edition numbers have not been issued strictly in the order of purchase. Where possible we tried to maintain this, but as we were keen to get these despatched before the next leg of The Tour That Would Not Die, it appears that the order numbers may have been disrupted somewhat. For this we apologise.

However….all of you who have held faith in this band and have pre-paid for this DVD have enabled us to complete this project and we thank you for that. YOU are among Blaze Bayley’s 500, regardless of whatever number is on your DVD.

Your support is appreciated greatly.

See you on the road.

Eagles of Death Metal

10 04 2009

Last week I was faced with a dilema. Either take my Ma to see superstar medium/modern day Merlin Derek Acorah in the Waterfront, or go and cover the Eagles of Death Metal in the Mandela Hall. It was a simple enough choice (my Ma is hard as nails) but thanks to a dodgy bass amp, I ended up seeing both shows. Below is a review of the gig from this week’s Hot Press.

Eagles of Death Metal at the Mandela Hall, Belfast

To my right hand side there is a gaggle of guys walking around wearing fake moustaches and aviator shades. To my left there are a group of people clad in AC/DC t-shirts who are frankly old enough to know better and in front of me is one of the best good time rock ‘n’ roll bands on the planet-the Eagles of Death Metal. Tonight is their first ever visit to Belfast, and despite a few technical hiccups, Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes and his team of misfits are bringing out the big guns with ‘I Only Want You,’ which prompts the ‘tache-wearing tunesmith to tell us “If rock crowds were canons then you just blew England outta the water baby!”

Jesse has every reason to boast a shit eating grin at the moment. Not only has his inaugural Belfast gig been upgraded to the much more roomier Mandela Hall, there are kids swinging from the rafters, sweat is literally dripping from the walls and the females in the crowd are all over him like Vanessa Feltz on a Mars Bar. As the band blaze through a set cherry picking the best of all three records (Peace, Love, Death Metal, Death By Sexy and new one Heart On) we get the feeling that if Jesse stopped slabbering inbetween every song then this would be the show of the year.

Still, ‘Bad Dream Momma,’ ‘Don’t Speak (I Came To Make A Bang)’ and ‘I Gotta Feeling (Just Nineteen)’ are pretty much perfect rock ‘n’ roll songs so we’ll forgive his over excitement. At one point during the night, Jesse’s almost smothered by a random pair of tights thrown by an amorous fan and as he holds up the hosiery along with more than a few bras he quips “I wanna thank y’all for the undergarments. I didn’t know they’d be in my size as well.”

You’d have to be a particularly picky punter not to raise a smile at an Eagles of Death Metal gig. Not only have they got the tunes (‘Cherry Cola’ and ‘I Want You So Hard’ nearly raise the roof off of the venue) but Boots Electric himself is as a fun as a week at the funfair. Next time though, we’d like to hear more of the songs and less of the chat.

Edwin McFee

The new issue of Hot Press is out now, so go check it out.