BLACK SABBATH FOR BELFAST

8 04 2013

This morning I woke up to the exceedingly ace news that Black Sabbath are playing at the Odyssey, Belfast on December 12 so it’s only right to resurrect this video.





News From The North Week 111 (Hot Press)

22 10 2012

Here’s a reprint of my NI music news column that runs every fortnight in Hot Press. Yes, there’s a back-log of these.Sozzles!

News

Words: Edwin McFee

By the time you get your grubby little hands on this latest issue, NI’s favourite sons Therapy? will have just finished unleashing their very own day of rockening at the Tall Ships in Dublin. Now, if you read that last sentence and are currently lamenting your decision not to visit Ireland’s capital to see the trio unleash hell itself in the form of barbed riffs and songs about James Joyce doing dirty things with Andy Cairns’ sister, then fret no more faithful readers, as it has literally just been announced at the time of writing that the boys will be playing a headline show in Belfast at the Empire Music Hall on October 4.

 

Topping the bill at the always ace Gifted Live extravaganzas, the gig will be the first time Therapy? have played in the venue since their near mythic date in 2000 and this full-on set should see airings of some of their new material from current LP A Brief Crack Of Light,so it’s shaping up to be a bit special. Also on the bill are Fighting With Wire, the Original Rudeboys, Silhouette, Jason Clarke and Robert Vincent and there will be special recorded appearances from Mojo Fury and more. Admission is a mere £10 and for more info check out giftedlive.com. See you down the front.

 

Next up, well thought of Bangor indie types Kowalski have bagged themselves the support slot on the Cast of Cheers’ upcoming Irish tour. Kicking off in Whelan’s, Dublin on Sep 19, the rest of the dates include Roisin Dubh, Galway (Sep 20) Dolan’s, Limerick (Sep 21), the Forum, Waterford (Sep 22), the Pavilion, Cork (Sep 23) and the Limelight, Belfast (Sep 24). The band will also be joining Two Door Cinema Club for seven dates on their European tour this November and for a full run down check out twodoorcinemaclub.com.

 

The organisers behind the immense Belfast Culture Night have revealed some details on this year’s shin-dig (which takes place on Sep 21). The mighty Kasper Rosa, Eatenbybears and Parachutes Over Paris all play a sure to incendiary show at the Black Box in the city and to keep updated on the event visit culturenightbelfast.com.

 

Finally this fortnight, news has just broken that the Answer have inked a deal with Napalm Records. Yes folks, the legendary home of all things loud and lairy now have Cormac and the boys in their stable and in a group statement they said:

 

“We’re very excited to be given this opportunity and can’t wait to get started. 2013 belongs to THE ANSWER…you heard it here first!”





Pure Love Added To Belsonic

11 07 2012

Yes readers,the mighty Pure Love (AKA ex Gallows warbler Frank Carter’s new band) have been added to the Paramore day at Belsonic in Belfast (Aug 19).

I genuinely think their set could be the show of the summer.If you don’t believe me, take a listen to this.It’s the single of the year so far.

“WE ARE THE ‘ANDSOME DEVILS CLUB!!”





News From The North 102

31 05 2012

Here’s a reprint of my NI music news column that runs in Hot Press every fortnight.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

A few months ago, you may recall we informed you about a new initiative called Untapped that was master-minded by the head honchos behind the upcoming Tennent’s Vital festival which aimed to promote the local music scene by offering four lucky acts the chance to open the main stage at this year’s shin-dig in Belfast. Well, this fortnight, the organisers have revealed the names of the final 16 turns who will be fighting it out for a much coveted slot alongside the likes of the Stone Roses, the Foo Fighters and more on August 21-22 and they’ve also confirmed that they will perform at four showcase gigs in both NI’s capital and Derry in May.

 

Kicking off in the Limelight, Belfast on May 16, Master and Dog, Gerard i2, Havana House Party and Jepettos all duke it out for a spot on the bill, then the following night in the same venue Trucker Diablo, City of Stars, Peter McVeigh and Futurescope all lay the (sonic) smack down. After that, the Tennent’s Untapped competition takes itself off to the Bound for Boston in Derry on May 23 and features Best Boy Grip, A Northern Light, Rachel Austin and Mojo Gogo battling it out, while the next night features Droids, Morning Claws, Pretty Child Backfire and Two Glass Eyes. I think you’ll all agree that the final 16 are a pleasingly diverse mix of acts from different genres and sub cultures and I’d like to wish everyone the best of luck.

 

Next up, keeping proceedings on a festival tip, the brand spanking new Link Fest in Derry have just revealed details of their line-up and the bill is as solid as the Incredible Hulk’s armchair if we do say so ourselves. Taking place on July 13-14 and at multiple venues (which include Mason’s, the Playhouse, the Castle, Bound for Boston and Gweedor) some of the acts include Our Krypton Son, By Any Means, Furlo, Wyldling, Triggerman and Making Monsters and for more details check out facebook.com/linkfest.

 

Finally this fortnight, I’ve just enough room to remind you all about ska punk deities Pocket Billiards tenth anniversary gig at the Mandela Hall, Belfast on May 12. Doubling as a release party for their second album Last Chance To Dance the show is set to be a doozy (yes, doozy) and Axis Of, Bomb City 7 and Chewing on Tinfoil are the support acts. The band have also uploaded new track ‘So Many People, So Little Time’ onto pocketbilliards.bandcamp.com and it sounds awesome, so check it out.





Amon Amarth Live Review (Metal Hammer)

17 05 2012

Here’s a reprint of my review of the Amon Amarth gig that ran in Metal Hammer a month or two ago.Pic is by the sultan of snapping/king of cameras that is Ramsey Cardy (www.shoottothrill.co.uk).

AMON AMARTH

MANDELA HALL, BELFAST

Hell-bent on helping the assembled crowd celebrate St. Patrick’s Day slightly earlier than usual by aiming to shove as much metal up Belfast’s collective asses as humanly possible,

Swedish marauders Amon Amarth are wasting little time delivering the goods tonight. Opening with an unbeatable combination of War Of The Gods and Live Without Regrets from their eighth album Surtur Rising, the dueling guitars and bellowing vocals threaten to break the venue in half at one point as the throng of punters throw beer around, bang their heads and generally re-enact a scene from the banquet halls of Valhalla. At the heart of the action, as always, is frontman Johan Hegg and his performance is absolutely heroic. Whether he’s cupping his hand behind his ear to gain applause like a (much) hairier Hulk Hogan or orchestrating a mass singalong for The Pursuit Of Vikings (“If anyone here doesn’t know the lyrics, don’t worry it’s death metal. No-one understands them anyway,” he quips) he’s both the consummate performer and the best mate you’ve never had. Only Under The Northern Star gives us some relative respite from the Ragnor-“rock,” and it’s an epic number that showcases a more stately edge to their sound, while the blood-thirsty encore of Twilight Of The Thunder God and Guardians Of Asgaard delivers a send-off that’s as strong as Mjolnir itself. 8

EDWIN McFEE 





Tennent’s Vital Back In Belfast

16 03 2012

Yep, as much fun as Bangor was last year, this announcement will probably make things a lot easier this summer.

The launch night in this Tuesday.I’ve a feeling I know at least part of the line-up, but I’ll keep it to myself for the time being (*insert evil laugh here*).

Here’s more info on this year’s bash-

TENNENT’S VITAL BACK IN BELFAST FOR 2012

 

BOUCHER PLAYING FIELDS: 21ST & 22ND AUGUST

 

LINE-UP REVEALED TUES 20TH MARCH

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Tennent’s Lager and promoter MCD are pleased to confirm that Tennent’s Vital 2012 will take place at Boucher Playing Fields in Belfast on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd August 2012.

 

Northern Ireland’s most loved music festival returned in spectacular fashion in August 2011 to Ward Park in Bangor with headliners Eminem and The Script drawing crowds of over 60,000 across two days.  After a fantastic event in Bangor in 2011, this year will see the event move back to its home in Belfast.

 

The hotly anticipated line-up for Tennent’s Vital 2012 will be revealed on facebook.com/tennentsvital at 8pm on Tuesday 20th March.   Tennent’s Vital’s facebookfans can also apply to win tickets to the launch party now.

 

An exclusive facebook ticket pre-sale begins immediately after the announcement on the 20th, giving fans a chance to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public on 28th March.

 

Aisling Duffy, Marketing Manager for Tennent’s Lager NI, comments:

 

“Tennent’s Lager is delighted to announce the return of Tennent’s Vital on the 21st and 22nd August.  Last year’s festival was such a huge success but we’re confident that, working in partnership with MCD, we can surpass even those high standards in 2012. 

 

We think this year’s line-up not only lives up to the festival’s incredible heritage but will also genuinely amaze and excite our passionate fans.  This, coupled with our fantastic new venue in Boucher Playing Fields, means that Tennent’s Vital 2012 is set to be Northern Ireland’s best ever festival experience.”

 

Tennent’s Vital is renowned for bringing the biggest stars in the world to Northern Ireland’s passionate music fans.  Over the years, fans have been treated to performances from Kings of Leon, Snow Patrol, White Stripes, Scissor Sisters and Franz Ferdinand.  The festival was last held in Belfast in 2007, when a combined audience of over 45,000 across two days saw The Killers, Kasabian, Razorlight and Manic Street Preachers rock Ormeau Park in Belfast.





Limited Amount of Tickets For Iron Maiden’s Belfast Show Now Released.

27 07 2011

Yes folks, as the headline states, this morning MCD have released the last (and VERY limited) amount of tickets for the Maiden gig at the Odyssey, Belfast on August 3, so if you’ve left it to the last minute to get your hands on some, you better be quick…or be dead!

Iron Maiden plays the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Wednesday August 3. Tickets for the show range from £41.50-£46.50 and are available from Ticketmaster. Support comes from Dragonforce and doors open at 6.30pm.





More Anti Stuff

17 07 2009

As I’ve mentioned before-the Anti exhibition is now up and running and I thought it might be nice to publish the piece I wrote for the Therapy? section, so here goes.

Therapy?

“I was 13 when Therapy? first burst onto the mainstream boasting short sharp shocks for the masses. The year was 1993 and at that point in history cock rock was still very much in vogue, but these three short haired blokes from mid-Ulster bucked all conventions with glee, irrevocably snaring millions of jaded metalheads under their spell in an instant. While their peers pranced and preened during their endless guitar solos (snore), Therapy? gave us three minute slices of lunacy served up with a side order of perverted punk rock bravado. Needless to say, I was in love the first moment I heard the opening chords of ‘Opal Mantra.’

While I found the skewed guitar solos and oddly named tracks jarring at first, I knew that this was where the future of rock music lay and I wanted in on it too. So, ever the comic fanboy, I sold old copies of Thor, Captain America and others, bought a busted up bass and amp and formed a band in a bid to ape their sinister, but utterly perfect pop songs. I wasn’t the only one either. You see Therapy? gave hope to a generation of NI musicians that it can be done. You really can boot down the doors of convention and “make it” on your own terms. Best of all, the boys (Andy Cairns, Michael McKeegan and Fyfe Ewing) actually cared about homegrown acts too and took the likes of Joyrider and Ash under their wing, giving them their first crack at fame and helped kick-start a resurgence in local music not seen since the seventies.

These days I firmly believe that without Therapy? leading the charge in the early nineties, NI’s music scene would be a very different place indeed. Perhaps what is most exciting is that they’re still continuing to kick ass and take names to this very day, making some of the best music of their career. A few years ago I got the band’s mirrored question marks from their ‘Infernal Love’ album tattooed on my arm and it’s a permanent reminder that regardless of what the cynics say-music can really change your life forever. Twenty years on and the Church of Noise’s sermons are as loud and proud as they ever were and I for one wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Edwin McFee is a music journalist and writes for NME, Hot Press and AU.   





Girls Girls Girls

7 05 2009

I fucking love Girls Aloud. A few weeks ago I was charged with the task of defending them in the Telegraph ahead of their gig at the Odyssey and here’s a reprint.

In Defense of Girls Aloud

I first fell for the all too obvious charms of Girls Aloud back in ’02. At the time, the band were formed right before my eyes by way of Pop Stars: the Rivals and, much to the chagrin of train-loving cheesy song merchant Pete Waterman, his boyband One True Voice never stood a chance when Louis Walsh’s five-piece (Kimberly, Nadine, Nicola, Sarah and Cheryl) belted out ‘Sound of the Underground’ for the very first time.

 Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re already assuming that my affection for the feisty pop band lies in a deep rooted (steady on!) appreciation for their gravity defying mini-skirts and pins that Bettie Page herself would have been proud, but you’re wrong. You see while admittedly the charms of Kimberly et al is as obvious as a high-waisted trouser joke round Simon Cowell’s gaff, it’s the band’s unique sound that gets this writer all hot and bothered.

 Up until Girls Aloud, commercial bands were a boring breed. Seemingly content with churning out covers of Bee Gees songs (courtesy of Stock, Aiken and Waterman) these translucent pop idols never put much thought into their music and were more concerned with pulling a cheeky pose for Smash Hits magazine and telling pre-pubescent girls they “love animals and stuff” than singing a song that make people want to dance. Girls Aloud changed all that. From their very first single, the quintet hit the ground running and ‘Sound of the Underground’ shocked everyone with its fusion of drum and bass, surf guitar and lyrics that made very little sense (but sounded oh so right).

Thanks to their writer/producer Xenomania, the band had a style all of their own and over the last decade they’ve rewritten the rule book on what you can and cannot do on a pop record. It also helps that four of the girls have really distinctive voices (sorry Sarah) and can take lyrics like “Baby, I miss you, so tell me, is she really that beautiful?” on ‘Whole Lotta History’ and sing them so passionately it would make Mr T break down in tears and blub like a baby.

And while the girls themselves have little in the way of musical training (bar childhood singing lessons and hands on experience performing throughout their youth) their keen ear for a tune has aided them in choosing some pretty stellar singles in the past and the final decision of which tracks they actually sing rests of their heads, proving they’re not merely songbirds for sale. Begrudgers may mock the idea of them working with a producer and giving little input into the actual songwriting process, but considering some of the best pop bands in the world had a similar sven gali behind them (the Supremes, the Shangri-Las, the Ronettes etc) I genuinely don’t care where the songs come from-just as long as they’re good.

I often find when I tell people of my love for Girls Aloud’s songs they look at me like I’m that dude who worked at the chicken factory on the X Factor. For some reason, there are a fraction of people who think it’s uncool to listen to hook-laden harmonies and inventive song structures simply because the teeny boppers like them too. Well it’s their loss, because Girls Aloud have been making some of the most exciting music in the last few years, splicing genres, experimenting with styles and generally never putting a Jimmy Choo clad foot wrong. So, ladies and gentlemen, I can unequivocally state with pride that I’ve been a Girls Aloud fan from day one and if you can’t hear the sheer genius of tracks like ‘the Promise,’ ‘Love Machine,’ ‘Something Kinda Ooooh’ and ‘Call the Shots,’ well then that’s your loss. You should probably go and share your feelings with Pete Waterman. I hear he has a lot of time on his hands too…

 Edwin McFee





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.