Belfast 4 Haiti Stage Times

29 01 2010

For anyone heading to the big bash this Sunday-here’s the stage times-

Spring and Airbrake

Not Squares-3.45pm-4.15pm

Kowalski-4.30pm-5pm

Tin Pot Operation-5.15pm-5.45pm

Swanee River-6pm-6.30pm

Mojo Fury-6.45pm-7.15pm

Ten Gallon Hat-7.30pm-8pm

The Good Fight-8.15pm-8.45pm

Olympic Lifts-9pm-9.30pm

The Answer-9.45pm-10.15pm

Panama Kings-10.30pm-11pm

Pocket Billiards-11.15pm-11.45pm

The Limelight

Yakuza-3.30pm-4pm

Comply or Die-4.15pm-4.45pm

The Beat Poets-5pm-5.30pm

Queer Giraffes-5.45pm-6.15pm

Black Bear Saloon-6.30pm-7pm

Dutch Schultz-7.15pm-7.45pm

The Lobotomies-8pm-8.30pm

Cashier No 9-8.45pm-9.15pm

A Plastic Rose-9.30pm-10pm

General Fiasco-10.15pm-10.45pm

In Case of Fire-11pm-11.30pm

Katy Daly’s

Suicide Dolphin Bombers-4pm-4.30pm

Brian Houston-4.45pm-5.15pm

Cutaways-5.30pm-6pm

The Rupture Dogs-6.15pm-6.45pm

Escape Act-7pm-7.30pm

Ben Glover-7.45pm-8.15pm

Team Laser Explosive-8.30pm-9pm

Uber Glitterati-9.15pm-9.45pm

Joe Echo-10pm-10.30pm

Colenso Parade-10.45pm-11.15pm

Axis Of-11.30pm-12am

 





Black Bear Saloon Video

28 01 2010

Just before Christmas the Black Bear Saloon filmed a video for their ace track ‘Face the Future’ and this week it’s hit the web, so take a look.

Fun Fact #1: Yours truly was initially supposed to be roped in to play one of the bears, but it was on a Saturday morning so I stayed in my bed instead. Hey, you gotta get those extra sleeps while you can!





News From The North Week 46

27 01 2010

After a brief break for crimbo, my NI news column in Hot Press is back in action. The latest issue is onsale in a  few days, so here’s the words from the previous issue to keep you entertained.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

As it’s the New Year we thought it best to kick start it with some good news-namely the fantastic Silhouette winning the first prize at a battle of the bands in Warrenpoint last week. If you haven’t managed to see them yet, the band are the brainchild of Shauna Tohill and employ a cello, double bass and whatever instrument comes to mind mixing Dresden Dolls, Kate Bush and Tegan and Sara influences and coming up with something else entirely. By winning first prize, Silhouette scooped £2500 worth of booty which included the release of her first single via VM Records and we’ll keep you posted about release dates etc. By the way, if anyone from the Silhouette camp wants to send us over some leftover bubbly, then post it to us c/o Hot Press

On January 24, the Green Party’s North Down candidate for the upcoming Westminster election Steven Agnew is organizing a fundraiser in Auntie Annie’s, Belfast. What’s this got to do with music we hear you cry. Well, the bash is called the Wee Green Man Festival and features Axis Of and Adebisi Shank playing live and there’s also a DJ set from Not Squares so we think it’s relevant (plus Mr Agnew loves the Murder City Devils, which can only be a good thing). The cover charge is a £5 donation and for more information visit www.greenpartyni.org. Should be a fun night.

Talking about showcase gigs, the ninth “Big Gig” takes place this Jan 22 at the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast and features a world beating line-up featuring a returning Yakuza (who play their first show in over a year) plucky contenders Before Machines and a headline slot by the inimitable Dirty Stevie. The Dirt are currently knee deep recording their debut record which will hopefully see the light of day this year and as it’s the first time they’ve ever headlined in the venue they’ll be chomping at the bit to pop their cherries in style (apologies for the mental image there folks). Admission is £4 and doors are at 9pm.

Finally, General Fiasco have revealed that they will release the mighty ‘Ever So Shy’ as a single on March 8 via Infectious Records. Possibly the band’s best song to date, the track should see the trio capitalize on their momentum quicker than James Corden chasing after the last chicken wing in the bucket and we wish them all the best. Their debut album ‘Buildings’ is slated for a March 22 release and judging by what we’ve heard from the sampler, it’s going to be a belter.





OK Go NME Review

26 01 2010

This review ran in the NME last week (or thereabouts) so here’s a cheeky reprint.

OK Go

Of the Blue Colour of the Sky

(PARLOPHONE)

5/10

Judging by the evidence presented on their third record ‘Of the Blue Colour of the Sky,’ it would seem that those sultans of slacker rock OK Go are finding it hard to claw their way out of the shadow left by the treadmill toting video for their ’06 single ‘Here It Goes Again.’ You see all 13 (oooh spooky) of the tracks sound nothing like their much parodied clip and sadly that isn’t a good thing. While the likes of ‘Needing/Getting’s splicing of pervy pop with punch drunk sea shanties is pleasing enough, the half-arsed slap bass, calypso guitars and shameless aping of MGMT prove that these geeks should be jogging on now. Edwin McFee

DOWNLOAD: ‘Last Leaf’

http://www.nme.com/reviews/ok-go/11010





The Cribs

25 01 2010

I have to say that the Cribs’ recent record ‘Ignore the Ignorant’ was one of my favourites of last year and after giving it a spin today I figured it’d be a good idea to reprint my interview with Johnny Marr (yes, that Johnny Marr) and Gary Jarman that ran in Hot Press a few months ago.

Ignorance Is Bliss

Last month the eternally under-rated indie punk outfit the Cribs released Ignore The Ignorant and it’s easily their most ambitious (and critically acclaimed) record to date. Catching up with the band in Belfast Edwin McFee talks to Gary Jarman and new recruit Johnny Marr about press attention and expectations as well as hearing about how the former Smiths guitarist has found a new home with the brothers from Wakefield.

Back in January 2008, the music world was left scratching its collective head over some rather strange news. You see it seemed that Johnny Marr, Smiths legend and all-round Indie demi-god, had been working with Wakefield trio the Cribs on some new material. The following month the story was confirmed that the 45year old legend was indeed a fully paid up member of the band (and unofficial Jarman brother) and after a few low key tours to test the waters, they were to begin working in earnest on album number four. Fast forward a year and a bit later and the band have now released possibly their best record to date Ignore The Ignorant and it’s an event which comes as something of a relief for Mr Marr because now he’s finally letting the music do the talking.

 “I don’t have a problem with there being a story around the record and I understand the level of interest that’s been generated by me coming into the band, but when it starts to overshadow the music and we’re more discussed than listened to it kinda misses the point,” begins the guitarist. “Now that it’s out on the shelves, all can be revealed and it feels really good that people are using their ears instead of their mouths now.”

 At the time of our interview, the Cribs are in the Mandela Hall in Belfast, preparing for the second night of their tour. As is the norm at the moment, Hot Press is granted time with both Marr and singer/bassist/“one half of the twins” Gary Jarman. As we speak to the two members in turn they each make it clear that regardless of how juicy the story might be-their union is for the purest of reasons and that’s to make a kickass album.

“For us our primary consideration was all about the way the band sounded and how we fit as individuals,” says Johnny. “What people are going to think of ‘the story’ and my past (and their past) was just a passing thought. It’s almost superficial when you’re concentrating solely on the songs and essentially that’s the main thing we’ve got in common-we take care of the music first.

“Theoretically getting Johnny on board was a big deal and a scary thing,” offers Gary. “But the reality of it was different because we are just four friends who are into the same bands who are playing together. We all had the same ideas and any kind of trepidation or nerves went out the window in the first few minutes because we wrote some new songs straight away. When we started out we had this determination to make sure the integrity of the band’s direction wasn’t changed, but at the same time we wanted people to hear Johnny’s influence on us. I think we pulled it off and at the same time it sounds just like a Cribs record. Having Johnny on board enabled us to expand and go down avenues we always intended on visiting. There’s a lot more emphasis on delicate songs and that was something I’d been pushing for a while, as it’s a side of our band that we felt was over-looked quite a lot. We’re pinned our colours to the masts with this one. We don’t want to plough the same furrows.”

 When listening to Ignore The Ignorant there’s a palpable feeling of frenetic energy and tension to songs such as ‘We Were Aborted,’ ‘Nothing’ and ‘We Share The Same Skies’ but in many other ways their union seems so effortless.

  “That’s good to hear,” says Marr. “I mean it wasn’t effortless at all, but I’d like to think that people who are good at what they do make it look easy. In real life though there was a lot schlepping equipment into some very dodgy service elevators in the north of England and trekking across fields in Portland, Oregon to play in some sinister looking barns. We’ve done our fair share of graft making the album and there were a lot of late nights to get it right.”

“The initial spark we had was kinda surprising, but we were a bit naïve about the whole thing,” considers Gary. “It was all very easy. Maybe we took it for granted that we were all on the same page, but we knew it would work. Honestly speaking it was a big deal for us to ask someone else to be in the band and it was an even bigger deal getting someone like Johnny in. We weren’t worried about how it would turn out though, as we were all pretty sure that we’d at least have a good crack at it.”

When the four first decided to start something together, Marr invited the Jarman brothers to stay at his house in Manchester. Ever the clued in veteran, he went into his first forays with the group with a level head.

“We tried to be sensible about it,” he smiles. “We wrote a lot of songs before the idea of me joining properly had to be addressed. Maybe we were putting our heads in the sand, but again it was that thing of taking care of business first. We’re grown-ups and we know it’s a big commitment (me to them and vice versa) so we tested it out first. Right from the off we got on really well and I kinda turned around at one point once the guys were living in my house for a couple of months with my family and I thought-this isn’t too much different from me travelling around on a bus with them. It wasn’t an imposition living together as a family and they felt the same way about me. I kinda became the extra family member.

“There is a difference in the dynamic than there is in usual band-I’d be lying if I said otherwise-but it’s a positive one where there’s no bullshit and you can’t say that for most groups,” he continues. “There’s often a weird neurosis knocking around and agendas and paranoias and those sort of things, but with the Cribs we just have different issues. I haven’t quite worked out what they are yet-but it’s more so about what we’re going to play each night.”

 Ego’s were also left outside the door, with all parties being refreshingly down to earth about the process.

“I have no interest in standing out from the group,” states Marr. “I believe every band member has their role and I just want to play the guitar. Guitar players can sometimes showboat a little bit, but I’ve no interest in being out front or the band being-‘the Cribs featuring Johnny Marr.’ I just want it to be a great unit (I wanted that for my other band Modest Mouse too actually). When I play on other people’s tracks down through the years I just want to make it sound better instead of being a showcase for my ego. I think me and the boys are all cut from same cloth.”

Gary also tells us that Marr’s interpretation of their older material is an understated affair and tracks like ‘Our Bovine Public’ (which is as angry as a badger that’s been booted in the balls) won’t have any jazz-fusion break-downs.

“Johnny’s really conscious of treating the older songs well,” says Gary. “He’s dead conscious about not spoiling anything or getting in the way and his flourishes and embellishments sound really great. It’s made a difference but it’s subtle enough to still sound like the original.”

Spending an evening in the two’s company is almost like hanging out with your mates. Marr, a lifelong Man City fan, is eager to talk about the recent controversial derby match once he finds out Hot Press is a fellow Blue (“I really didn’t care too much about the result because I felt that the important thing was that they got the message loud and clear that they need to worry about us now. That’s really very satisfying,” he remarks on United’s 4-3 win) and he’s also genuinely touched when this writer tells him about my ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ tattoo in honour of the Smiths masterpiece. Gary is equally as warm, open and honest as can be and it makes us wonder why these four didn’t team up years ago. Marr, for his part, agrees that he’s making the best music of his career and confirms that Ignore The Ignorant isn’t just a one album deal.

“We don’t have a clue where the next five years are going to go but we’re all assuming it’ll be in this format. We’re pretty hard to beat on a good night and there’s no reason to think I’ll be going anywhere else. I’ve always tried to avoid having a map or a game plan and just be led by the music and as long as I’m with people who think the same way I think I have a very worthwhile life.”





Belfast 4 Haiti Jan 31

22 01 2010





Planet Hulk Trailer

19 01 2010

Dudes, apols for the lack of updates. 6 different titles I write for are going to print this week so I’m snowed under. In the meantime, have a look at the new trailer for the Planet Hulk DVD (out Feb 15). It’s gonna rule!