News From The North Week 114

28 11 2012

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


Words: Edwin McFee      


As it’s that time of year where seeing ghoulies on every street corner is a common occurrence (steady now) this issue your humble correspondent has decided to kick off my latest missive with some news about a suitably spooktacular Hallowe’en hootenanny happening in Auntie Annie’s, Belfast on All Hallows’ Eve. Featuring a line-up full of some of the north’s most loveable misfits, the monster bash is headlined by those hell-raising head the balls Mental Deficiency and also on the bill (at the time of writing) are newly formed horror punks Little Miss Stakes, underground rap anti-hero/bikini-brief wearing deviant Roysta, sleaze rockers Filthy Angels and the Unprotected. There will be various tricks and indeed treats all night too and some Samhain-based sounds through the night courtesy of DJ Tramp Corpse and the cover charge for Shizznigh Presents Halloweeny is a mere £5.                                 

Next up, I’ve got some good news and bad news for you all. Word reaches us of the sad demise of two of the north’s most consistent bands-namely In Case Of Fire and Swanee River. In a statement issued on their Facebook site, ICOF mainman Steve said: “I’ve loved every second of being in ICOF. It’s been an amazing seven years, but the time feels right to bring it to an end. Thanks so much to every single person that bought/downloaded our music, came to a gig and spread the word about our band-it was because of you that we got to do what we love and for that I am truly thankful.”


While Swanee River posted: “Yes folks the rumours are true…Swanee River are closing business…for good. It’s a very sad time for the entire band; however there have been a number of factors contributing to this decision. Some factors were internal band tensions and others were external, though they are totally irrelevant now! In any case we are all very gutted and feel bad for our fans who have supported us continually. I personally have given everything in these last eight years, though now it is time to realise when to walk away.”

Keep your peepers peeled here for further info on what happens next for the members of both groups.


And now the good news, the mighty Here Comes The Landed Gentry have reformed. Yes readers, one of Derry’s best bands are coming out of retirement to play two charity shows (Oct 18, Sandino’s, Derry and Oct 20, the Cellar Bar, Draperstown) so if you’ve never seen the gin-soaked blues-roll boogie woogie merchants now’s your chance. Spoiler alert: they’re fucking awesome.

News From The North Week 68

4 12 2010

Here’s a reprint of my NI news column that runs every fortnight in Hot Press and as I led the piece with news about Gacy Threads I’ve also included their video for the immense ‘Sieving Secrets’ below. The clip was made by Red Cap Productions and looks fucking ace.


Words: Edwin McFee

Avid readers of this very column will already be aware of this writer’s love for the mighty Gacys Threads and with that in mind it gives me great pleasure to let you all know that the riff juggernauts are about to embark on a tour of Ireland and (quite possibly) beyond in the near future. Having just released their ace ‘Wolf Bridge’ EP (which is available via alongside a plethora of lovely T-shirts designed by Chris from White Dragon tattoo studio) the boys bring the noise to the likes of Limerick, Derry, Dublin and everywhere in-between from this Dec and the exact dates on where they’re performing are up on their website as we speak.

Possibly the north’s best party band Here Comes the Landed Gentry get the Crimbo vibe started early with the news of a Yuletide show in Gweedore, Derry this Dec 23 (or Christmas Eve Eve as Zig and Zag used to call it). The so-called “Annual Xmas Explosion” is sure to be a fun night and the venue of choice is the handily named Gweedore Bar. The band are planning to make copies of their debut album available on the evening too, so if you’re in the area make sure you check them out as they’re one of the best live acts in the country bar none.

Those lovely (and charitable) people at Common Grounds café in Belfast are once again on the lookout for acoustic performers for their Friday night gigs. At the moment there are a couple of dates free this month and next, so if you fancy letting your inner singer/songwriter free for the evening email the organisers at for more details. As all proceeds go to charity you won’t be paid, but we’ve been assured that you’ll get fed and hey, a free meal is the best kinda meal, right?

Sludged up heavy types Slomatics have just re-emerged from Start Together Studios in Belfast with five brand new tracks under their arms. If rumours are to be believed the new songs feature accordions, moogs and bicycle wheels so it should sound interesting if nothing else. Two of the cuts are ear-marked for an up-coming split cassette with Comply or Die and the other three are for a split 12”/CD with Liverpool band Conan and both will be released early next year via Head of Crom Records and Aurora Borealis. For more news of Slomatics check out their MySpace ( for future gig dates and a sneak preview of ‘Hold The Skull.’

Hot Summer, What A Bummer Part 3

16 11 2009

The final festival I was at this summer was the much talked about Glasgowbury in County Derry. According to the ramblings of some internet user names, this bash is the best thing to happen since Fonzie stuck his boot up the jukebox in Arnolds’ hole and while I appreciate the spirit of the event, I wasn’t quite as spell bound as others.

Still, a fun day was had and here’s the reprint of my review that ran in Hot Press.


Eagles Rock, Co. Derry

Nestled in between some mountains, Glasgowbury might be a bit scarce on bogs and burger vans, but it more than makes up for the lack of facilities with the amount of talent on offer. Featuring a veritable truck-load of NI acts plus one Free State interloper the Mighty Stef (more on them later) the festival is more of a statement than anything else-telling the major labels and mainstream bands to get screwed, in the nicest possible way of course. With literally dozens of performers filling up four tents, it’s impossible to see everyone, so here’s a brief taster of the cream of the crop.

New kids on the block We Are Resistance put in an encouraging performance during the afternoon as did Furlo, who packed their tent out, but things really kicked off once the Black Bear Saloon arrive onstage a little bit later on. Despite a shaky start (and by “shaky” we don’t mean they played a cover of ‘Green Door’) the four-piece find their groove three songs in with the phenomenal ‘Face The Future.’ Frontman Aaron is clearly relishing the chance to perform outside of Belfast for a change, promising free blowjobs for all and bigging up guitarist Peter’s, er, unique skills. By the end of their hook-laden, groove-fuelled set the tent fills up just in time for the singer to successfully encourage everyone to push themselves against the barrier so he can “have a Joe Dolan moment and touch everyone’s hands” during ‘First Against the Wall.’ Classic stuff.  Hopefully this show will mark the rise in the ranks of the Black Bear Saloon, as frankly they’re getting far too good to be ignored for much longer.

Dutch Schultz put on a tight as hell performance too with Willy clearly in his element, shaking a bottle of Buckfast at the crowd, bemoaning the fact that they don’t make good porn anymore and generally blowing the heads off the front row with ‘LA Cumfucker.’ Sadly the usually impressive Mojo Fury don’t quite click today though. We’re not sure whether it’s the newer material or their lack of life onstage that’s hampering the set, but by the time we see frontman Mike in his other incarnation as singer of the weird and wonderful Clown Parlour, he seems much more at home playing odd, vaudeville-inspired songs than with his day job so maybe he just needs a break.

The Beat Poets on the other hand just seem to get better with every show. New song ‘One By One’ gives us an excellent teaser for the long awaited new album, ‘Ghosts’ has a nasty bassline and a filthy chorus and final song ‘Bloodline’ is now a bona fide fist in the air anthem. The great acts just keep coming too, with The Mighty Stef’s brand of booze-inspired shanties making a believer out of this writer, Here Comes the Landed Gentry charming everyone with their mash-up of blues and rockabilly and sounding like Satan’s house band (they even play an encore) and LaFaro bludgeon the crowd with their utter sonic violence.

 Local indie pin-ups General Fiasco also put on a hell of a show with the normally soft-spoken Owen maturing into the consummate frontman. There are definitely a few songs you could describe as filler in their set (‘First Impressions’) but the sheer pop suss of ‘Rebel Get By’ and ‘Ever So Shy’ mark the boys out to be next year’s potential headliners. Finally it’s left up to And So I Watch You From Afar to close things in style. Their take on instrumental punk rock has made them one of the most exciting Irish bands on the scene right now and ‘Clench Fists, Grit Teeth, Go!’ and ‘Set Guitars To Kill’ are fast becoming as essential as oxygen. In a perfect world ‘A Little Solidarity Goes A Long Way’ would be the NI national anthem, but for now, we’ll settle for it being the unofficial soundtrack to Glasgowbury ’09. See you all next year.

Edwin McFee

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.