News From The North 115

10 12 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

 

You know what makes your humble correspondent a considerably contented wee bunny these days? It’s seeing some of NI’s best bands and artists spread their wings and book tours that take in the length and breadth of the island. While in the past a considerable number of acts (usually based in Belfast) always appeared reluctant to cross the border (and by “reluctant” I mean they never bothered their holes leaving whatever town they lived in) the last few years have seen things slowly start to change and let’s face it-that can only be a good thing for both the performers and their audiences alike.

 

One such band who have been steadily building up a fan-base all over Ireland are the life-affirming Empty Lungs and they bring their brand of righteous rock to the great unwashed all over the country this month for a tour and here’s the dates for your diary. Kicking off on Nov 1 at the Blind Pig, Limerick, the band play the Workman’s Club, Dublin on Nov 2, the Office, Limerick on Nov 13, Roisin Dubh in Galway on Nov 14, TBC in TBC on Nov 15 (I love that place!), Emmet’s Bar, Ballina on Nov 16, Whelan’s in Dublin on Nov 17 and the Crane Lane Theatre in Cork on Dec 4.

 

Not to be out-done, the mighty rock ‘n’ roll killing machine that are Gascan Ruckus also embark on a tour and dates include (deep breath) the Blind Pig in Limerick on Nov 1, the Workman’s Club in Dublin on Nov 2, the Roisin Dubh in Galway on Nov 3, the Piper Inn in Clonmel on Nov 9, Whelan’s, Dublin on Nov 10, the Top of the Town, Omagh on Nov 16, the Nerve Centre, Derry on Nov 30, the Crane Lane, Cork on Nov 12 and the Limelight, Belfast on Dec 21. The boys have also just released their ace new EP ‘Buddies’ and you can download the thunderous offering here gascanruckus.bandcamp.com.

 

Finally this fortnight, alt pop sensations Runaway Go also have a huge whup-ass Irish tour in the works and you can catch them at the Workman’s Club, Dublin (Nov 2), Penny Lane Cashel, Tipperary (Nov 3), Whelan’s, Dublin (Nov 9), Monroe’s, Galway (Nov 23), Dolan’s, Limerick (Nov 27), the Crane Lane, Cork ( Nov 28), K2, Nenagh, Tipperary (Nov 30) and the Hole In The Wall, Kilkenny (Dec 1). For more info on the massively promising bunch visit runawaygo.com.

 

All three tours are booked in conjunction with Youth Of A Nation Promotions and you can keep up to date with them on Twitter @YOANPromotions. #MoreOfThisSortOfThing





News From the North Week 109 (Hot Press)

20 10 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Fresh from kicking many an ass and taking their respective names at Glasgowbury, the incendiary Empty Lungs continue their rise to NI rock royalty this fortnight with the news that they’re set to support San Franciso punks Dead To Me on their up-coming Irish tour.  Kicking off on Aug 18 at Fibber Magee’s, Dublin, the four-piece also share the stage with the Fat Wreck Chords signed Americans in the Warzone Centre, Belfast on Aug 19 and both dates are recommended for anyone with even a shred of interest in impassioned punk and rock. Generous souls that they are, Empty Lungs have just recently made their ace single ‘Identity Lost’ (plus two other songs) available for free too and you can snag them at emptylungs.bandcamp.com. Doooo iiiiittttt.

 

Next up, irrepressible alt-rock trio Axis Of have just unveiled their plans for their total domination of Ireland. Dubbed the 32 Counties tour and inspired by Irish artists, poets, writers, creatives and musicians through the centuries (nope, I’m don’t really know what they mean by that either), the band perform at least one show in each county over the next three months or so and some of the key dates for your respective diaries include Harrison’s, Dundalk (Aug 10), Voodoo, Belfast (Aug 11) and the “we’re not sure how they’re going to manage it” four gigs in four counties on one day event that takes place at Essaness Music, Kilkenny, TBC, Wexford, John Palmer Music, Waterford and Belly Bang, Tipperary on Aug 25. The boys will also be announcing extra gigs over the next few months to tie in with their up-coming release of their debut album Finding St. Kilda and for more details visit axisof.co.uk.

 

Snow Patrol frontman and all-round local lad made good Gary Lightbody has confirmed he’s just filmed a bit part for Sky Atlantic’s battles and boobies TV show Game Of Thrones. Filmed in the north, the popular (though slightly pervy) programme is a bit of a hit with the general public and while the singer didn’t dish too much dirt on his role he took to Facebook to post up a suitably muddy looking photo of himself. Nice…

 

Finally this fortnight I’ve just enough room to tell you noise rockers Comply Or Die and Mudbitch have teamed up to play three dates down south this August. Kicking off on the 9th at Fibber Magee’s, Dublin, the bands then play Fred Zeppelin’s, Cork on Aug 10 and the Blind Pig, Limerick on Aug 11 so if you’re in the area check them out as they rule the proverbial school.





News From The North 109

22 09 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Fresh from kicking many an ass and taking their respective names at Glasgowbury, the incendiary Empty Lungs continue their rise to NI rock royalty this fortnight with the news that they’re set to support San Franciso punks Dead To Me on their up-coming Irish tour.  Kicking off on Aug 18 at Fibber Magee’s, Dublin, the four-piece also share the stage with the Fat Wreck Chords signed Americans in the Warzone Centre, Belfast on Aug 19 and both dates are recommended for anyone with even a shred of interest in impassioned punk and rock. Generous souls that they are, Empty Lungs have just recently made their ace single ‘Identity Lost’ (plus two other songs) available for free too and you can snag them at emptylungs.bandcamp.com. Doooo iiiiittttt.

 

Next up, irrepressible alt-rock trio Axis Of have just unveiled their plans for their total domination of Ireland. Dubbed the 32 Counties tour and inspired by Irish artists, poets, writers, creatives and musicians through the centuries (nope, I’m don’t really know what they mean by that either), the band perform at least one show in each county over the next three months or so and some of the key dates for your respective diaries include Harrison’s, Dundalk (Aug 10), Voodoo, Belfast (Aug 11) and the “we’re not sure how they’re going to manage it” four gigs in four counties on one day event that takes place at Essaness Music, Kilkenny, TBC, Wexford, John Palmer Music, Waterford and Belly Bang, Tipperary on Aug 25. The boys will also be announcing extra gigs over the next few months to tie in with their up-coming release of their debut album Finding St. Kilda and for more details visit axisof.co.uk.

 

Snow Patrol frontman and all-round local lad made good Gary Lightbody has confirmed he’s just filmed a bit part for Sky Atlantic’s battles and boobies TV show Game Of Thrones. Filmed in the north, the popular (though slightly pervy) programme is a bit of a hit with the general public and while the singer didn’t dish too much dirt on his role he took to Facebook to post up a suitably muddy looking photo of himself. Nice…

 

Finally this fortnight I’ve just enough room to tell you noise rockers Comply Or Die and Mudbitch have teamed up to play three dates down south this August. Kicking off on the 9th at Fibber Magee’s, Dublin, the bands then play Fred Zeppelin’s, Cork on Aug 10 and the Blind Pig, Limerick on Aug 11 so if you’re in the area check them out as they rule the proverbial school.





Glasgowbury Review (Hot Press)

4 09 2012

Here’s a reprint of my review of this year’s Glasgowbury that ran in Hot Press last month.Pic stolen from Ramsey Cardy (www.shoottothrill.co.uk)

GLASGOWBURY

Eagle’s Rock, Co. Derry

Featuring a rather fetching stripy circus tent serving as the new home for the G Sessions stage, an additional dance-oriented area sponsored by Red Bull and, most importantly, the strongest line-up they’ve had in their 12 year history, the self-proclaimed “small but massive” shin-dig that is Glasgowbury is rapidly maturing into something of a monster. With shed-loads of Irish acts on the bill, 2012’s festival has something for everyone and business really picks up with the arrival of the all-conquering punk-infused rock ‘n’ roll group Empty Lungs. Now a four-piece thanks to the recent arrival of guitarist Sam (“The fucker looks like Ryan Gosling and has a massive cock” offers singer Kev Jones by way of introduction) the boys are in world beating form and belt out the likes of ‘Identity Lost’ and ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ with a belief and passion that marks them out as one of the best unsigned acts on the island right now.

 

Donegal’s Mojo Gogo are another outfit who are on the cusp of greatness and their utterly infectious indie songs go down a treat on the main stage. Boasting a live sound that’s as solid as Godzilla’s sofa, the quartet impress thanks to numbers such as the stunning ‘Romance In The Lie’ and we’re sure this time next year they’re be much further up the bill. While the rather languid in comparison Master and Dog struggle a little following the Mojos and Katie And The Carnival’s performance suffers thanks to the elements, NI’s greatest party band Pocket Billiards arrive onstage to perk up us and they blast out some absolutely righteous sounding ska-punk, with ‘Dirty Money’ and ‘Belfast Town’ in particular sounding anthemic in the open air.

 

After a brief break checking out the hugely popular, Red Bull sponsored Generator Stage which saw DJs such as Viasidus and Casion spin tracks alongside local radio talent, we pop over to the Eagle’s Rock stage to check out the rootsy sounds of Farriers and their country/bluegrass-tinged songs are a perfect, chilled out precursor to the madness to come. By “madness,” we of course mean those riff lords LaFaro and their turn in the G Sessions tent is a master-class in sonic thuggery. In fact, there are more than a few punters who’ll definitely need a neck brace the next day after being pummeled by the punk metal sounds of ‘Easy Meat’ and ‘Full Tilt.’ Expect them to headline Glasgowbury sooner rather than later.

 

Speaking of headliners, NI legends Therapy? are left to bring the day to a close and they do it in style. Opening with the awesome one-two punch of ‘Rust’ and ‘If It Kills Me,’ the trio (which includes stand-in drummer Alan from LaFaro) are clad in suits and prowling the stage like street-walking cheetahs looking just as up for it as the crowd. It’s great to hear the likes of ‘Nausea’ being dusted off for a live airing and newies such as ‘Living In The Shadow Of A Terrible Thing’ sit happily beside the now classic noise-rock cuts ‘Meat Abstract’ and more. In short-for 70minutes the band brought the thunder and gave us the best Glasgowbury performance we’ve ever seen. File under “H” for Heroic.

EDWIN McFEE 





Empty Lungs Q and A

23 05 2012

Here’s a reprint of a Q and A I did with one of my favourite bands around Empty Lungs that originally ran in the Big List.

Check them out.Their music is the tasty juice.

Empty Lungs

Continuing our catch-up with some of the music scene’s latest and greatest bands, this month we meet Kev Jones, vocalist/guitarist for rising alt punks Empty Lungs. Enjoy.

 

Hi Kev and welcome to the Big List. In a few months time Empty Lungs will be one year old. Can you tell us a little bit about how the band started?
Kev:
“We started after my old band the Lobotomies basically called it a day. I had wanted to play more melodic kinda stuff for a long time, but I kept getting caught up in other projects and never had the time. After the Lobotomies split I got in touch with Holmesy [bass/vocals] straight away because I knew he was the perfect man for the job and wasn’t playing with anyone at the time. We roped in Matty [drums/vocals] and after the first jam it was obvious there was some kind of chemistry there (sounds so romantic!) so we haven’t looked back since!”

 

Last September Empty Lungs released their debut single ‘Identity Lost.’ Was it important for you guys to release recorded material as soon as possible?
“I suppose it was excitement more than anything. When you start a new band you can’t wait to get material out there to people! Looking back on it we probably rushed those songs in every way. I mean we’d only been playing shows for 3/4 months when we released that single but fuck it, people seem to like it!”

 

We love the video (shot by Redcap Productions youtube.com/watch?v=iZLXUGBvOh0). Was it fun to make?
“Sean at Redcap is a pleasure to work with and he’s really into our music so that was really cool. Music videos aren’t really something we have a lot of experience with so it was a bit of a learning curve shooting this one, but it was fun nonetheless!”

 

Do you have any more singles/EPs coming up in the pipeline?
“Yes! We’ve been writing and demo-ing an EP for the past few months and we’re going into the studio to record it late March/early April. We’re really excited about this EP, I think we’ve taken our time and crafted the songs a bit better and there’s a big progression from our last release. We’re over the moon to be working with [producer] Rocky O’Reilly again and we’re actually doing an analogue recording and tracking the music mostly live, so that’s gonna be interesting! Hopefully we’ll have it out by the end of the summer but we’re not going to rush into anything with the release.”

 

You’re also a member of Bomb City 7, a guitar tech for And So I Watch You From Afar and an occasional solo performer too. Do you find it easy to balance all those commitments?
“It can be a bit of a juggling act at times, but I love it. I was away with ASIWYFA for two months on tour before Christmas and that obviously meant I couldn’t perform with my bands during that time, but there was still a lot of writing and behind the scenes planning going on. The inspiration and experience I get from working with those guys is priceless.”

 

Do you prefer to keep your life busy and varied?
“I love being busy and I love being involved with music 24/7-whether its performing in my own projects, working for another band or promoting gigs. The reason why I always seem to be in more than one band is simply because I fell in love with more than one variety of music!”

 

You’re a volunteer/booker for the non-profit Warzone Gig Collective (warzonecollective.com). How important do you think the re-opening of the Warzone Centre in Belfast is for NI music fans?
“I think it’s vital! At the minute we’re one of only two autonomous social centres in Ireland(the other being Seomra Spraoi in Dublin). Spaces like the Warzone Centre provide a place where music fans, artists, activists or anyone at all can come and enjoy the arts in a unique and relaxed atmosphere. There’s no hidden agenda to make profit like a private business , there’s no aggressive door staff breathing down your neck and the whole place is run on DIY principals by a collective of volunteers who are truly passionate about the project. The old Giro’s was a legendary venue that had a massive impact on a lot of people’s lives, including mine (everyone from Pocket Billiards to Refused played there). So if we can do half as well with the new place we’ll be over the moon!”

 

Empty Lungs have roots in American punk rock, but also have a very clear, Northern Irish identity. Is the NI side of the band something that you actively ensure you hold on to?
“I don’t think we have a choice [laughs]. Growing up in NI our, shall we say, unique culture becomes embedded into your character and ultimately your music. As long as we’re still living here and taking influence from all around us I think it’ll remain a part of the band. The world’s a bigger place than aul’ Norn Iron but clichéd as it sounds, it’s important to remember where you come from.”

 

Finally Kev, what’s the plans for 2012? Are you guys going to make it over the Europe for gigs?
“We’re going to play as many shows as humanly possible. This is easier said than done when I’m still doing all the booking myself though. We’re gonna get this EP recorded  in March, play around Ireland a lot, hit the UK in late May and hopefully Europe in June with one of the best bands in the country at the minute. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to release the EP by the end of the summer/start of autumn and do some more touring after that.”

For more information on Empty Lungs check out emptylungs.bandcamp.com.