News From The North Week 113 (Hot Press)

30 10 2012

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


Words: Edwin McFee


If you’re the kind of reader who loves spiky indie tunes infused with punk rock sucker-punches and life-affirming garage-y goodness then you’ll be positively cock-a-hoop at the news that Belfast’s the Alice Kona Band have just unveiled their brand new track ‘Film’ for your aural pleasure. Snootier than a classroom of six-year olds during flu season, the tune is being given away for free to coincide with their appearance at this year’s Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin (they play the Merchantile on Oct 6 at 12.20am) and you can get your grubby mitts on the single via Fans of the Cribs should check them out.


Speaking of the Hard Working Class Heroes festival (which features 100bands and takes place in Dublin across three venues from Oct 4-6 inclusive) other NI acts making the trip over the border include Eatenbybears (who are at the Merchantile on Oct 6, 11pm), SertOne (Meeting House Square Oct 4, 9.20pm), LaFaro (Meeting House Square, Oct 5, 8pm), Conor Mason (the Grand Social, Oct 6, 7.50pm) and Little Bear (the Grand Social, Oct 6, 7.10pm),  so if you’re in the area check them out. For more details on the event visit


Next up, your humble correspondent has currently been enjoying having his ear-drums battered by the thunderous new Triggerman album Hail To The River Gods. A band that has been well and truly knackering necks of rock fans in their native Derry and beyond for the last few years, their third record is a suitably titanic sounding affair that’s recommended for anyone compelled by the power of the riff (‘Rise Of The Woodsmen’ especially is a future pit anthem). If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Triggerman before, imagine an aggression-fuelled fusion of Clutch’s grooves and Mondo Generator’s menace and for more information on the quartet check out


Keeping things in a heavier persuasion, the brand new NI super-group known as 7.5 Tonnes Of Beard have just recently debuted their first material online and what a suitably sick, twisted and sludge-laden affair ‘Grit’ is. Featuring a line-up that includes And So I Watch You From Afar’s Johnny Adgar, Residual Effect’s Micky Higgins and Gacys Threads’ Blane Doherty among others, the boys operate under a strict mission statement of becoming the heaviest band on the planet and the results so far is an experience that’s as nasty as an evening of passion with Julie Goodyear. Visit to check them out for yourself.

News From The North Week 107

9 08 2012

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


Words: Edwin McFee

In just a few days time, the lion’s share of regular readers of this column will no doubt be preparing to straddle the Sperrin Mountains in Co. Derry and break themselves off a piece of metaphorical rock ‘n’ roll action at the Glasgowbury festival. Featuring a bill consisting of some of this island’s brightest and best acts, the bash will be headlined by Therapy? and just recently the Larne/Ballyclare-born boys revealed that they will be debuting a slightly altered line-up for the July 21 event. Yes readers, standing in (temporarily, mind) for long-term tub thumper Neil Cooper is Alan Lynn, who you may remember beats the shit out of things for those riff-laden berserkers LaFaro.


A few days ago I caught up with bassist Michael McKeegan and he explained the situation:


“I suppose the biggest bit of news is that Alan from LaFaro will be drumming with us!” offered the Evil Priest. “Neil’s had to sit out a few shows due to a longstanding family commitment so (with Neil’s help and LaFaro’s blessing) we head-hunted the best young drummer around to fill in. We’ve been rehearsing and it sounds fantastic, he definitely will be doing the songs justice. Aim to maim…that’s the plan.”


So there you have it folks. If you’re making the trip to Draperstown you’ll be witnessing a wee bit of history and if you’re not going, well…consider me very disappointed in your actions. For more info visit See you down the front.


Next up, sticking with open air-based events, I’m particularly pleased to tell you that there has been a raft of NI additions (well, seven…) to the line-up for Electric Picnic. Leading the charge are festival stalwarts Rams’ Pocket Radio, Fighting with Wire, LaFaro, Mojo Fury, Axis Of and Master & Dog and rounding off the list are the utterly incendiary rap/punk hooligans Bomb City 7, who will no doubt steal the show at the shin-dig. The quintet of turns will play the Oxjam Wigwam and personally I think it’s only a matter of time before BC7 members Brendy and Kev play similar stages with their other projects Bee Mick See and Empty Lungs too.


Finally, I’ve just enough room to let you know the organisers of the annual Hard Working Class Heroes are on the lookout for acts to play at this year’s event (which takes place on Oct 4-6 across six different venues in Dublin). If you want to take part all you have to do is visit for more details. The closing date for submissions is July 26. You have been warned…

News From The North Week 40

23 09 2009

As promised in a previous blog, here’s the NI news column from the previous issue of Hot Press, Vol 33 Issue 17


News from the North

Words:  Edwin McFee

This October sees the return of the Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin and featuring in the line up once again are a whole host of NI’s finest. Taking place from Oct 16-18 in Temple Bar, the acts that are keeping the Northern end up are A Plastic Rose (who are seemingly everywhere these days), Cutaways, Escape Act, Here Comes the Landed Gentry (who are sure to be the highlight of the whole weekend), Kowalski, Not Squares, Pocket Promise, the Vals and Yes Cadets. Despite some noticeable exceptions, it’s a pretty great bill and we’ll be filling you in on more details over the coming weeks. For now keep checking for more info.

The mighty fine Oppenheimer are busy in the studio at the moment, working on album number three and they’ve come up with a rather unusual request via their website ( in case you didn’t know). The duo (who sometimes aren’t a duo, but never mind all that) want you, Joe Public, to help write two of their new songs, as Rocky from the band explains: “There will be two songs on the next album that we will write about anything you want. Anything at all.  If you want us to write a song about the time your friend fell asleep in a taxi cab on the way to watch a boxing match, and then you slapped them in the face so many times they lost feeling in their cheek for month, we’ll do it! If you want us to write a song about the tall ships visiting Belfast once every nineteen years, we’ll do it! We’ll give you a shout out on the album, a free album, free Oppenheimer gig entries and other goodies as and when we make them.” So there you have it. Personally we’re hoping they write about a handsome young Hot Press columnist from Newry and if you’d like to hear that too, then email pronto.

Finally this fortnight, the Thrones of Roll are releasing a new EP called ‘Video Store’ by putting on a gig on Oct 23 at the Black Box in Belfast. The chaps have also made a video for the title track and it was directed by Sean Duncan and you can have a butcher’s by clicking on the link It features the band dressed up as iconic film characters and it’s well worth a click or two.