News From The North 83

27 07 2011

Here’s a reprint of last fortnight’s NI music news column that’s been running in Hot Press for the last 3 and a half years. Will try and post more of these up on a regular basis..


Words: Edwin McFee

Fresh from playing a suitably super sweaty homecoming gig in the cosy confines of Quinn’s in Newcastle on June 30, Glagowbury (and Knebworth) bound long-haired retro rockers the Answer have just announced a string of dates for the rest of Ireland this autumn. Taking in the length and breadth of the island, Cormac and Co.’s latest jaunt sees them go back to their roots somewhat as they continue their preparations for their up-coming third album Revival and the seven date trek will be a treat for anyone who’s always wanted to see the boys in a more intimate setting. Kicking off at Dolan’s, Limerick on Sep 30, the four-piece then move on to Whelan’s, Dublin on Oct 1, Roisin Dubh, Galway on Oct 2, Cyprus Avenue, Cork on Oct 3, the Diamond Rock Club in Ahoghill, the Nerve Centre, Derry on Oct 7 and they finish off the tour in style at the Hideout in Warrenpoint on Oct 8. At the time of going to press, the Answer’s hugely anticipated third album hasn’t got a release date yet, but we’ll keep you posted on their movements over the months ahead.

Next up, promising alt/punk trio Event Horses have had to reschedule the night of their launch gig for their new ep ‘Dance With The Devil.’ Initially planned for June 24, the hard hitting band from Ballycastle have now confirmed that August 9 is the new date for your diary and their venue of choice is the Carrick A Rede bar in Ballintoy, so make sure you check them out if you’re in the area. Event Horses seem to have made all the right tongues wag of late and your humble correspondent is planning on keeping an eye on them as the weeks progress, but in the meantime you can check them out on Facebook at

Finally this fortnight, we thought we’d give you an update on the Sunflowerfest which takes place on Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough from August 19-21. This year’s line-up has expanded since we featured it last and the likes of Trucker Diablo, the Bonnevilles, Silhouette, Roysta, Pay*ola, Kasper Rosa and more have been now added to the bill, making it one of the strongest around. A festival of “love, positivity, tolerance and smiles” the organisers are donating £1 from every ticket sold to the people of Haiti and a further £1 from every weekend ticket to Bernardo’s (NI) which can only be a good thing, really. Yoga, meditation, aroma therapy and workshops are also planned for the event and all the latest ticket details are up on their site ( now.

i Music June 12

13 06 2011

Every so often I look after music spread in the Sunday Life for my good friend John McGurk and it’s always good fun to write. Here’s a reprint on my pages from yesterday.

i Music with Edwin McFee


This week, hot on the heels of his recent win at the Ivor Norvello Awards, i Music caught up with Villagers mainman Conor J. O’Brien in Belfast ahead of his performance at Custom House Square on June 25 as part of the always entertaining Open House Festival. A shy and soft-spoken character, the unassuming singer/songwriter is an insanely hot property in the music world at the moment thanks to his swoon-some debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal’ and he told us he can’t wait to once again perform in front of his ever-growing legion of Ulster fans.

“I’m thrilled to be playing at the Open House Festival in a few weeks time with Fleet Foxes and the Low Anthem,” he smiled between bites of his sandwich. “I played the festival last year and it was hands down easily one of my favourite shows I’ve ever done-so I can’t wait to do it again. Hopefully, it’ll be just as good.”

With a sterling line-up and (hopefully) some good weather on the cards, Villagers’ latest gig has all the hallmarks of being an absolute triumph and, after scooping the gong for ‘Best Song Musically And Lyrically’ for the single ‘Becoming A Jackal,’ expect Conor and Co. to steal the show.

“I still can’t believe I won the Ivor Norvello,” offered the critically acclaimed songwriter. “Luckily we were on tour in the UK at the time and we got to go and pick up the award in person, so that was fun. I got to do a somewhat awkward speech too and then we were back in the tour bus and that was that, but it’s always nice to know that people out there appreciate what you do.”

With tentative plans already being made for their second album, expect many more people to “appreciate what they do” over the months ahead. Catch them while you can.

Fleet Foxes, Villagers and the Low Anthem perform at Custom House Square in Belfast on June 25 as part of the Open House Festival. Tickets for the event cost £38.50 and are available via Gates open at 7.30pm.


Tonight According to our spies located in pharmacies all across the country, sales of hair spray has shot up by nearly 100 per cent this past week and that can mean only one thing-80s poodle rockers Journey and Foreigner are back in town. Performing at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast tonight, both bands are promising to play the hits and it should be a fun evening of nostalgia is you’re into that kind of thing. Tickets range from £44-£46 and are available from Ticketmaster and doors open at 6.30pm.

Monday There’s not much happening across the Province on the live music front on Monday, so our advice is to check out the Katy Daly’s Alternative Pub Quiz in Belfast if you’re still looking for tune-based shenanigans. It’s a pound to enter and starts around 9pm.

Tuesday One of the front-runners of the thrash-punk scene back in the land before time (ok, it was during the 80s) D.R.I. blazed a trail that many are still following to this day and on Tuesday night you can catch the reformed rockers give the young ‘uns a much needed history lesson when they play the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast. Tickets are £15 and available from Ticketmaster and doors open at 7.30pm.

Wednesday Nu-grunge types Dinosaur Pile-Up play the Speakeasy in Belfast this Wednesday night and while they can’t promise any real live T-Rex’s, they can guarantee colossal riffs aplenty. Doors open at 6pm and tickets (which are available from Ticketmaster) cost £8.

Thursday Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller guitarist Steve Cradock rekindles his love affair with Belfast for another show at the Spring and Airbrake this Thursday and the gig is a must if you’re of a Mod persuasion. Tickets are £14 and can be obtained from all Ticketmaster outlets and doors are at 8.30pm.

Friday Three hotly tipped local up and comers by the names of Event Horses, B.O.Y. and Tied To Machines take a trip to South Down this weekend to play a gig in the Hideout in Warrenpoint and it should be a great show by all accounts. Admission is £5 and everything kicks off at 9.30pm.

Saturday Those much loved peddlers of eccentric indie sounds Gomez return to Belfast on Saturday for a show at the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast. Support comes from Little Comets, doors open at 8.30pm and tickets (which are available from Ticketmaster) cost £17.


This week Oxegen-bound singer (and arguably the most exciting British pop artist of her generation) Jessie J has hit out at some of the more (ahem) creative people in the press for making up stories about her that just aren’t true. Taking her crusade to Twitter, the ‘Price-Tag’ singer tweeted:

 “I have had a tough week according to the press. I’ve been in a plane crash, I’m having a baby and now I’m in hospital after an accident in rehearsals. Can I smell Bulls***? Can I smell rumours? Can I smell lies? Can I smell get a job and stop making stuff up?”

Y’know, if we were that way inclined we’d probably say something like “You go girl,” at this point, but we’re not, so instead we’ll tell you that the starlet (alongside the likes of Beyonce, the Black Eyed Peas, Ke$ha, Coldplay and more) plays the Oxegen Festival in Punchestown on July 8-10 and more information on the bash is available via We’ll see you there.

Next up, the lovely people involved with the Belsonic festival at Custom House Square in Belfast have unveiled the names of their final two headliners for the summer and they are (*insert drum roll here*) urban superstar Tinie Tempah (who performs on August 22) and house DJ Tiesto (on August 26). Both acts join the already confirmed Beady Eye, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Dizzee Rascal, Primal Scream, Elbow, Plan B and the Specials (as well as full supporting bills) and full ticket details for each day are available via