Foo Fighters At Tennent’s Vital Review (Hot Press)

19 10 2012

Here’s a reprint of my review of Foo Fighters’ headline slot at this year’s Tennent’s Vital that ran in Hot Press a few issues ago.


Tennent’s Vital, Boucher Playing Fields, Belfast

Ever since it was first announced that Dave Grohl and his band of genuinely merry men would be playing Belfast for the first time as part of the Tennent’s Vital festival, there has been more than a smidge of excitement emanating from the black t-shirt-clad rock community north and south of the border. Normally an event associated with indie, pop and hip hop acts, tonight’s bill sees those who love their bands turning the amps up to 11 get their turn and after being suitably warmed up by the likes of Trucker Diablo, the Minutes, the Cribs and the Black Keys, Hot Press heads towards the pit to watch the Foo Fighters pop the city’s cherry up close and personal.


Making their way onstage bright and early at 8.30pm, the boys tear straight into ‘White Limo’ followed immediately by ‘All My Life’ prompting thousands of people to push their way to the front and even provoking the odd lost soul to whip out their air guitar (bless). As introductions go, it’s a hell of a way to start the set and from there Grohl’s rock juggernaut fires on all cylinders, taking the fans on a trip down memory lane and visiting all seven records along the way.


“Has anyone seen us before? We used to suck,” offers the frontman in an attempt to apologise for his band’s way overdue visit and while it doesn’t exactly make up for the fact that they never bothered their holes coming to Belfast over the last two decades, the crowd certainly appreciates the sentiment. This evening every rock cliché is served up to festival goers on a plate and the 30 000 plus in audience lap up every morsel. We get mass singalongs, an airing of a few bars of the over-played Stiff Little Fingers cut ‘Alternative Ulster’ (*cringe*), a huge, fuck-off cat-walk for Dave to walk up and down on and even a backstage camera just in case the crowd haven’t seen enough of the hairy ones.


There are numerous highlights over the next two plus hours. ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’ is a particular treat thanks to its old school melodic metallic riff and the almost proggy sounds of ‘Rope’ works really well live and ‘Learn To Fly’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’ has the desired effect on the fair weather fans too.


By the time we get to the encore, which initially features the frontman playing ‘Wheels’ solo, we start to think about just how far the band have come over the last 17 or so years. What began as a side project (that saw Grohl regularly brick it onstage due to nerves during those first few gigs) has grown into a bona fide rock monster and he’s now a fairly consummate frontman to boot. In fact he even good-naturedly berates a fan for fiddling around on her mobile phone before playing ‘Breakout’ and delights in wishing tour manager Josh happy birthday onstage and the whole gig has felt extremely assured all night.


Signing off with ‘Everlong,’ the band state that it won’t take them as long to return to Belfast and while we don’t believe a word of it it’s clear that the crowd will always cherish their first time with the Foo Fighters.


News From The North Week 106

23 07 2012

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


Words: Edwin McFee

This issue I thought I’d kick off proceedings with news about this year’s Tennent’s Vital festival which takes place in Belfast on August 21-22 at Boucher Playing Fields. Some of the more elephant-minded readers among you may recall that the festival organisers recently ran a competition (UnTapped) to find two up and coming NI-based bands to play at the shin-dig and this fortnight it has been revealed that no frills rock ‘n’ rollers Trucker Diablo and hip hop hero Gerard i2 have been selected to appear on the day. Beating off 16 other performers (apologies if that sounds like something from a mucky movie by the way) both turns truly deserve the opportunity and I’d like to wish them the best of luck for the event. For more info on the festival visit


Next up, it gives me great pleasure to announce that drummer with the mighty Gacys Threads and all-round prince among men Stephen Currie has lined up another immense, neck-bothering release for his label Savour Your Scene Records. Specialising in Irish hardcore and metal, the enterprising tub thumper has been in touch to let us know about the impending cassette release of Dublin band Milestones’ new mini album Entropy. The date for your diaries is July 9 and on the same night, Milestones perform at Auntie Annie’s, Belfast and support comes from Death Of A Salesman and Katabolis, so make sure you check it out. For further details on the label and their roster of acts visit


It’s been a while since I last gave you news on the Stendhal Festival in Limavady and in those couple of months the organsiers have fleshed out the line-up for their festival in spectacular fashion. Taking place on Aug 17-18 at Ballymully Cottage Farm, the event now boasts (deep breath) Henry McCullough, Silhouette, Trucker Diablo, Triggerman, Mundy, Pat McManus Band, Mojo GoGo, Best Boy Grip, Intermission, Lantern For A Gale, Wyldling, Peter McVeigh and many more and you can view the full list at The organisers are also letting the general public choose which act receives the final slot on the line-up via their Facebook page ( so head over there after you’re done reading this.


Finally this fortnight, I’ve just enough room to tell you that the always incendiary Fighting With Wire have been added to the bill for the Tanglewood Festival at Narrow Water Castle (round Newry-way) on August 4. For more details have a wee click here

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.


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


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 and it sounds awesome, so check it out.

Tennent’s Vital Head-Liners 2012

20 03 2012

Without further ado, here’s the deets….






Tues 21 Aug




Weds 22 Aug






Tennent’s Vital & MCD are proud to announce that Foo Fighters and The Stone Roses will headline this year’s festival, at Boucher Road Playing Fields,Belfast on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd August.

Joining our two mammoth headliners on the most exciting bill ever seen at a festival in Northern Ireland are The Black Keys on August 21st and Florence + The Machine on August 22nd.

Foo Fighters make their long awaited Northern Irish debut at Day 1 of Tennent’s Vital. Last year’s phenomenal festival and arena tour was a huge commercial and critical success.

Most recent album ‘Wasting Light’ went straight to No.1 in 12 countries and was hailed as their best yet.  At the 2012 Grammys, Foo Fighters walked away with 5 awards, taking their all-time total to 11. Last month, they were also recently crowned ‘Best International Group’ at The Brits.

With a back catalogue featuring the massive anthems The PretenderBest of YouAll My Life and Everlong, and a frontman as iconic as Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters at Tennent’s Vital is essentially un-missable.

The Black Keys’ latest album El Camino hit No.2 in the US and received 5 star reviews worldwide.  The Independent proclaimed it “the most powerful, compelling rock album of the year.”  The Black Keys previous album Brothers won three Grammys, was Rolling Stone Magazine’s album of the year and has now sold over one million copies.

Guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach says of El Camino“where this record is going to shine for me is playing the songs live.  This record is more straight ahead rock and roll – raw, driving, and back to basics.”  We like the sound of that!

Headlining Day 2, The Stone Roses bring their much anticipated reunion tour to Tennent’s VitalThe Stone Roses’ seminal music defined an era and their eponymous debut album is widely considered to be among the greatest albums of all time.  Their pioneering fusion of soaring guitars and infectious dance rhythms can be seen on anthems Made Of StoneI Wanna Be AdoredLove Spreads and I Am The Resurrection.

The band’s long-awaited ‘live resurrection’ has thrilled fans across the globe. All 220,000 tickets for their 3 Manchester shows sold out in an hour and tickets for their date in Dublin’s Phoenix Park proved equally popular.

With the original line up of Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni back together, The Stones Roses’ ‘Third Coming’ promises to be unforgettable.

Joining The Stone Roses on Day 2 of Tennent’s Vital is Florence + The Machine.  The UK chart topping ‘Ceremonials’ has seen Florence + The Machine hit new heights achieving massive success around the globe.   It includes the stunning singles No Light, No Light and Shake It Out.


Florence’s mesmerising debut Lungs sold over three million copies, won the coveted Brits ‘Best Album’ award and etched itself indelibly into the popular consciousness. Her performance at the MTV VMAs was watched by almost a billion people, and the following day she was the most Googled person on the planet.


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

“We’re delighted to confirm the line-up for Tennent’s Vital 2012.  We knew 2011 would be a hard act to follow but the line-up announced today is in our opinion the most exciting ever seen in Northern Ireland.  The prospect of seeing Foo Fighters’ first ever show here, the reunion of The Stone Roses and the incredible talents of Florence and The Machine and The Black Keys over two nights in Belfast is incredible and I’m sure our fans are as thrilled as us.” 


Fans of Tennent’s Vital on Facebook can get exclusive priority access to the Tennent’s Vital pre-sale from 9pm, March 20th. to find out how to reserve your ticket before they go on sale to the general public.

Ticket Information

Tickets for both days of Tennent’s Vital 2012 will go on general sale from 9am Wednesday 28th March, priced as follows:

Tues 21 August – Foo Fighters | The Black Keys : £49.50 incl booking fee. Strictly limited to 8 per person/transaction.


Weds 22 August – The Stone Roses | Florence + The Machine £49.50 incl booking fee.  Strictly limited to 8 per person/transaction.

Tickets can be secured via our official ticket partner

Tickets are also available in person from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide or via the 24hr Telephone hotlines: (NI & UK) 0844 8472455/ (ROI) 0818 719 300.

Tennent’s Vital is an over 16’s event.  However, a parent aged 25 and over can take up to two under 16’s to the show.  Parents will be required to show age identification and sign a consent form in order to gain admission on the day. Under 16’s must be accompanied by their parent at all times.