News From The North Week 49

19 03 2010

Want some gossip about NI bands? You got it brah.


Words: Edwin McFee

This issue, we start things off with a bit of an appeal. However, unlike those adverts featuring scruffy dogs or those weird hairless cats that look a bit demented, this cause isn’t going to pull at your heart-strings quite as much (don’t worry though-it’s still as worthwhile in our book). You see, Belfast’s finest purveyors of heavy metal Standup Guy need your help to aid them in their quest for global domination. Not content with holding NI in their thrall, the riff aficionado’s are aiming to take over this year’s festivals too and thanks to a competition organised by Red Bull, the lads have the chance to play at the likes of Download and T in the Park. All you have to do to aid the group is go to this link and vote for them (it only takes 10seconds). Standup guy are currently writing their third album and we’ll bring you news on the slab of wax over the forth-coming weeks.

Good news for fans of Heliopause. The band have made their ace EP ’Let The Silence Go’ available for free via their bandcamp page ( and very good it is too. If you end up falling in love with the group after that (and of course why wouldn’t you?) you can also buy their ‘Moment Of Recognition’ single (and limited edition screen prints) as well as their ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘Acoustic In Berlin’ EPs as well and as all of the money goes directly to our heroes, we fully recommend you do so as soon as you can.

Congrats to the Kicks from Belfast who have just announced that they are through to the audition stage of Live and Unsigned (the UK’s biggest unsigned music completion, in case you didn’t already know). The band beat hundreds of other entries to qualify for the event and will be playing live in front of a judging panel (as well as a few thousand punters) in a bid to perform at the Live and Unsigned festival at the 02 in London. For more information on the four-piece check out

Finally this fortnight, news reaches us that everyone’s favourite hard to pin down rebel rousers the Tin Pot Operation are due to enter the studio this month to start work on album number three. The group (now augmented by the addition of mandolin player Daithi) are returning to their old stomping grounds of the Blueroom to start work on the much anticipated opus and if it’s anything like their second album ‘Human Resources’ then we’re all in for a treat.

Paramore For Belfast

18 03 2010

Sleepy haired Twilight fans of NI rejoice. Paramore are finally playing over in our neck of the woods. Last week I got a call about this and since it’s public knowledge today-here’s the press release.

Sidebar-The eagle eyed among you will notice Paramore play Belfast a week after Download. Are you thinking what I’m thinking…?

Date Of Issue: Thursday 18 March



Paramore have confirmed The King’s Hall, Belfast on June 22.  

Tickets for The King’s Hall, Belfast will go on sale on Friday 26 March at 9.00am.

Paramore will also play Marlay Park, Dublin on June 23 as special guests of Green Day.


Paramore’s last appearance in Ireland was their unforgettable sell-out performance at The O2, Dublin in December 2009. Their current album brand new eyes, the follow up to 2007’s RIAA platinum certified second album RIOT, went straight to the top of the Irish album charts when released in September 2009.

Produced by Grammy Award-winner Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Kid Rock, My Chemical Romance) and co-produced by the band, brand new eyes is unquestionably Paramore’s best and brightest album yet, fit to burst with all the exuberant melodies, breathless hooks, and irrepressible energy that has made the Nashville-based band one of the most popular rock outfits in recent memory.

Paramore will release a new single The Only Exception from brand new eyes on April 2nd.



22 JUNE,  2010

Tickets on sale Friday 26 March at 9.00am

From Ticketmaster
In person: From 100 Ticketmaster Outlets Nationwide
By Telephone (24 Hour):  
ROI – 0818 719 300, Northern Ireland – 0844 277 44 55
Book On Line:

Hot Summer, What A Bummer Part 2

12 10 2009

The second festival I covered this year was about a month after Download and it was the much talked about Oxegen. This year’s bill was the best ever-specky indie kids could get their kicks from the likes of Blur and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, goths had Nick Cave and Nine Inch Nails, pop kids had Katy Perry and Lady GaGa, rockers had Therapy? and Eagles of Death Metal and dance heads had their own tent. We camped out as usual this year BECAUSE I AM HARDCORE (not in the “I’m hardcore/I’m a Straight Edge wanker” way-in a comedy way of course) and the weather was probably the worst I’ve ever experienced. Still, the music was great and thanks to the Hot Press people being so understanding, I didn’t have to review Kings of Leon so I could watch Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds instead. Result!

Day one consisted of travelling down, getting drenched, interviewing Duke Special on camera then meeting Brody Dalle, catching up with the Therapy? boys, drinking some beer and spotting Udo from Accept ( What he was doing there I’ll never know, but he seemed to get my phone number outta somewhere. Hmmmm…

Day two was a total washout. After Yeah Yeah Yeahs I thought I was a goner (probably should’ve followed Carrie’s lead by getting hammered on wine) but it cleared up nicely for old Nick who put on the show of his life. Day three saw us leave after Katy Perry (who was amazing) but not before torrrential rain soaked us so badly my phone drowned in my pocket. Still, the GaGa and Katy more than made up for it.

Anyway, I covered day two for Hot Press, and here’s the reprint that I lovingly typed up while caked in mud.

Oxegen Day Two (July 11)

Kicking things off bright and early, New Jersey blue collar punks the Gaslight Anthem arrive onstage 20minutes late and grinning like seven year olds who just won a year’s supply of sweets. Currently the subject of many a bro-mance (ahem) singer Brian Fallon is a charming devil and his band play cuts culled from their second record The ’59 Sound. It’s safe to say that the boys are on a total Tom Petty/Bruce Springsteen trip (in fact they even cover ‘American Girl’ as a homage) but their honesty and warmth make songs like ‘Great Expectations,’ ‘Old White Lincoln’ and the title track sound enormous.

The same can be said for Aussie outfit Howling Bells too, who play our very own Hot Press Tent. They might have been beset by a bucket-load of mishaps (their guitarist’s luggage was sent to Istanbul, they missed their ferry, they had to drive for 30 hours straight and according to singer Juanita Stein they stayed in a whore-house in Amsterdam) but they’re clearly loving being onstage and their set is a dreamy, ethereal clutch of tunes that sound like Florence and the Machine only, you know, good.

 Sadly we couldn’t actually fit into the Green Spheres tent for the Saturdays (boo) but we did manage to catch them play ‘Work’ and let’s face it, considering it’s the only song they have we didn’t miss too much. Eagles of Death Metal are another of today’s disappointments. Much like their mates in Spinnerette they spend far too much effort trying to be cool when they should let their music do the talking. Jesse ‘Boots Electric’ Hughes may have the tidiest ‘tache of the weekend, but the witty onstage patter just isn’t enough anymore.

Passion Pit in the Hot Press Tent on the other-hand are the exact opposite. They let their futurist funky white boy rhythms say it all and have the whole crowd unintentionally dancing like Bruno. Yeah Yeah Yeahs over on the main stage give us a powerhouse performance despite the torrential rain and a guitar amp which seems hellbent on electrocuting Nick Zinner. Karen O’s lime green leggings might make her look a little bit like a demented mutant frog, but she’s the perfect frontwoman this evening. Their set is a mix of old and new material and ‘Rockers To Swallow,’ ‘Cheated Hearts’ and ‘Date With The Night’ are definite standouts in a Herculean performance.

We spend the next few hours not knowing who to check out catching Pete Doherty, the Mars Volta, Doves and Bloc Party but coming away from the performances feeling a little unsatisfied. We’re mostly ticked off by the former Libertines man, largely because he’s still singing songs like ‘Fuck Forever’ as if they were anthems of a generation even though his most hardcore acolytes are finally starting to realize he’s a dried up old pantomime dame.

But, with the sound of the Pet Shop Boys plastic performance still ringing in our ears (‘It’s A Sin’ was great) we make our way over to the O2 Stage to catch Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Oxegen debut. Playing a festival pleasing set, old Nick has the crowd in the palms of his hands wasting no time bashing out ‘Deanna,’ ‘Henry Lee’ and ‘Dig, Lazarus Dig.’ The ominous night sky and mud covered ground only seem to add to the performance with the singer virtually begging for some thunder and lightning during the stomping rain-dance that is ‘Tupelo.’ As per usual, Nick plays his customary role of the possessed preacher man with aplomb stabbing into the night air with his fingers and flailing his arms around like a madman. Highlight has to be the gorgeous ‘Ship Song’ which pleases the lovers and the loveless in equal measure but ‘The Weeping Song’ and a tamer version of ‘The Mercy Seat’ are runners up. The Bad Seeds bring their show stealing set to a close with ‘Stagger Lee’ which is as brooding and menacing as this writer had hoped. Sadly we only get one song for the encore as Nick calls out Shane McGowan, who in fairness looks like he’s had one too many light ales. Even the singer seems bemused by the Pogues’ frontman’s state and embraces him, laughs good naturedly and closes the performance with a bow. What a legend.

Edwin McFee

Off To Download

11 06 2009

Well, after a week of cramming in two weeks work in three days, I’m about to pack my bags to fly over to Donington for Download. Ever since I was wee I’ve had fond memories of Donington. Myself and my brother Martin used to watch my Iron Maiden live at Donington video constantly (“Bruce Dickinson still ain’t tried our bucket yet”) and this year is my third time going. My first visit was in ’03 for Maiden and the secret Metallica slot where they played to a few thousand, my second was last year where KISS fuckin’ rocked it and I met Valient Himself from Valient Thorr backstage (Pic below. LOVE that band)  and this year, well, who knows what’ll happen.

I’m bringing my laptop over this year as I’m covering the festival for a mag and their deadline is Monday (will tell you more when it goes to print) so if you need me give me a holla. If not, I’ll catch up with everyone when I get back.