News From The North Christmas Special 2011

21 12 2011

Here’s a reprint of the festive edition of my fornightly Hot Press column. Readers may be interested to know that despite writing it in November, I managed to make it as Christmassy as possible.Yes, I am THAT good.


Words: Edwin McFee

By the time this latest missive from the North reaches you, no doubt you’ll all be getting ready to whip out your chestnuts in order to give them a ruddy good roasting on an open fire, so this issue I’ve taken a leaf out of Cliff Richard’s book, donned an over-sized reindeer themed woolly jumper and dug out some stories of NI acts who are getting into the festive spirit.

First up, rising Derry-based alt rockers Intermission are hosting a Christmas party in Mason’s  in their hometown on Dec 2 alongside Play On The Day North winners Mojo GoGo. The promising three-piece are also launching their debut EP ‘Escaping Dharma’ on the night and you can get a sneak peak of the slab of wax here: Produced, mixed, mastered and designed by multi-talented frontman Glenn Rosborough (who you may recall used to be a member of the well thought of Kharma 45) the record should help establish the boys as one of the North’s bigger players next year and we’re expecting great things from them in 2012.

Next up, the legend that is Mr Ralph McLean is broadcasting a special Christmas show on Radio Ulster on Dec 14 between 8pm-10pm and he will be joined by some ace local acts (which include Gareth Dunlop, Isobel Anderson, Matt McGinn, Paul Casey and Ruby Colley) who will perform some of their own songs as well as some festive favourites. Taking place on location at the Bronte Music Club in the Bronte Homeland in Rathfriland, Co. Down, the programme promises to turn even the most Grinch-like listener into a real-life Buddy the Elf, so make sure you tune in.

Sludge-loving noise rockers Comply or Die indulge their inner Kris Kringle for a show on Dec 15 at the Menagerie, Belfast and they’re promising a performance that will make Shakin’ (‘Merry Christmas Everyone’) Stevens’ legendary love of the Yuletide season pale in comparison. Backed by Larne’s the Burnt Reynolds, admission is £4 and rumours of free entry for anyone dressed in a Santa Claus suit could not be confirmed at the time of going to press…

Finally, one of NI’s brightest hopes Rams’ Pocket Radio rounds off a fantastic year by playing a gig at the Stiff Kitten, Belfast on Dec 23. Currently touring in support of the sublime ‘Dogs Run In Packs’ EP, Peter McCauley and Co. aim to cap off a great 2011 in style and the gig is a must-see for anyone who loves left of centre alt-pop. Miss it at your peril.



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