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.

News

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 tennentsvital.com.

 

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 savouryourscene.co.uk.

 

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 stendhalfestival.com. The organisers are also letting the general public choose which act receives the final slot on the line-up via their Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Stendhal-festival-of-art) 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 tanglewoodmusic.co.uk.





Trucker Diablo and Gerard i2 for Tennent’s Vital

13 06 2012

A few weeks ago I was invited down to help chose the winners of the Untapped competition and today the acts who have bagged the slots on the bill for Tennent’s Vital have been revealed. Here’s the press release.

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TENNENT’S LAGER UNVEILS TENNENT’S UNTAPPED WINNERS

TRUCKER DIABLO & GERARD i2 WILL PLAY TENNENT’S VITAL

Tennent’s Lager is excited to reveal that local rising stars Trucker Diablo and Gerard i2 will join some of the biggest stars in the world at Tennent’s Vital this August.

Moira based rockers Trucker Diablo will play the festival on Day 1 alongside Foo FightersThe Black Keys and The Minutes on Aug 21st.

Strabane Hip Hop star Gerard I2 will have the incredible opportunity to perform on the same stage as The Stone RosesFlorence and The Machineand Rodrigo Y Gabriela on Aug 22nd.

Tennent’s UnTapped is a major initiative from Tennent’s Lager that unearths and supports the best up and coming music talent based in Northern Ireland and give bands the unique opportunity to perform on the main stage at Tennent’s Vital.

In its inaugural year, 250 artists submitted their tracks for consideration to the Tennent’s UnTapped website. A prestigious panel of music industry judges then chose sixteen acts to perform in front of audiences at a series of live showcases in Belfast and Derry-Londonderry in May.  After much deliberation, the judges have now decided that Trucker Diablo and Gerard i2 are the two acts that will open Tennent’s Vital in August.

 

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

“The standard this year has been outstanding and really reflects what’s going on in Northern Ireland’s grassroots music scene.  Tennent’s are proud to be supporting these new artists by giving them this unique platform and the chance to share a bill with some of the world’s best bands. We’re sure that Tennent’s Vital fans are going to be incredibly impressed by both Trucker Diablo and Gerard i2” 

One of the judges for Tennent’s UnTapped is Joe Dougan from The Limelight and Shine Productions.  He comments:

 “I think all the judges have been hugely impressed by the talent unearthed through Tennent’s UnTapped – the live showcases were a fantastic advert for the vibrancy and diversity of our local music scene. Trucker Diablo are a thrilling live band and their sound is made for the big stage. Gerard i2 impressed everyone with the energy and originality of his performance and it’s great to see the emergence of an authentic Northern Irish hip hop star. Both acts really stood out for us and I can’t wait to see them take to the stage at Tennent’s Vital.”

Trucker Diablo formed in early 2008 and soon built up momentum through the local support of fans and strong word of mouth across the internet.  Their self-released debut album “The Devil Rhythm”, features a guest appearance from fellow Northern Irish rocker and Thin Lizzy frontman, Ricky Warwick.  The band has also won praise from Joe Elliot (Def Leppard) and Cormac Neeson (The Answer).

Gerard i2 is a talented hip hop MC and lyrist from Strabane.  He’s already won much acclaim for his blunt, honest and thoughtful lyrics on the album ‘What I Like and Love’ and he’s picked up support  from both Radio Ulster’s Across the Line and BBC Radio 1 Introducing.

 

For more information about Tennent’s UnTapped please visit: tennentsvital.com/untapped and facebook.com/tennentslagerni.





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.