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.

Hot Summer, What A Bummer Part One

9 10 2009

Now it’s October and it’s as cold as a nun’s nether regions, I thought it might be a good idea to post up some of the festival reviews I did this year as a reminder of warmer times. I took it fairly easy this year and covered Download for NME, Oxegen for Hot Press and Glasgowbury (again for HP) and I’ve some great memories for each of them.

Fist up was Download. Personally I’d like to see a lot more punk bands on the bill, but it was still a great weekend. We got a hotel this year, had a Pot Noodle party on the Sunday, got random body parts sun burnt and Michael McKeegan stood me up during Def Leppard (just joking McK!). But enough of all that, here’s the NME review-

Ever since the dawn of time (well, the ’80’s) Donington has been the spiritual home for boozed-up denim-and-leather clad clans who yearn for nothing more than a few days in the sun banging their heads and playing their air guitars. Despite the digital-age name-change from Monsters of Rock in’03, it has remained a rite of passage for any self-respecting rocker.

Leading the charge in Friday afternoon are The Blackout, an act who have the right ghd-fringed look, but sadly fail to have an original thought in their heads. Sacramento’s Middle Class Rut, on the other hand, are thinking outside the box and although they’re one of the lighter bands on the bill, they pull the right rigorous shapes to charm the crowd, thereby dodging the piss-bottles.

Speaking of a load of old piss, latest addition to the reunion bandwagon Limp Bizkit waste no time launching straight into ‘Break Stuff’. Now we all know that the Bizkit are bad, but it’s one hell of an opener, waking up thousands of the crust-covered crowd. With his red baseball cap once again perched on his baldy head, Fred Durst looks a bit like a giant penis as he bounds around the stage throwing gang signs and using language your mother wouldn’t like, but you know what? ‘Nookie’ might make us feel as dirty as rummaging through Jodie Marsh’s knicker drawer, but their performance is a definite guilty pleasure.

Going on the amount of T-shirts and ill-advised glam-metal haircuts on display it would seem that Mötley Crüe‘s brand of rampant sexism is once again back in fashion. A minute into ‘Kickstart My Heart’ the mystery of why the doughnut stand ran out of produce seems to be solved as portly prima-donna Vince Neil waddles around looking particularly pleased with himself. While he may be, er, a little “lived in” these days he’s still a great frontman. Macho posturing aside, they deliver a surprisingly hit-filled set, too.

A mere novelty, though, compared to Faith No More who are on world-beating form, still working the same frenetic chemistry that made them such an interesting prospect in the ’90s. Ever the joker, Mike Patton comes hobbling onstage with a cane, clad in crimson. Whether it’s ‘Epic’, ‘From Out Of Nowhere’, ‘Midlife Crisis’ or a short-lived rendition of Lady GaGa’s ‘Poker Face’, you can’t take your eyes off their performance for even a minute.

Patton is clearly in his element, hiding behind the red velvet curtain during ‘Easy’ as if ashamed of the novelty hit and poking fun at the crowd (“Hey, this is an ’80’s festival, right?”). As he closes with a set of show-off sit-ups during set closer ‘We Care A Lot’ it’s clear that Faith No More are still more than fit for the task. One of the sets of the year.

The following two days don’t quite live up to that standard, but there are are a few tasty nuggets to keep us entertained, such as a heavier-than-thou slot by Down, with former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo giving a powerhouse performance. Northern Irish newbies In Case Of Fire and The Answer are maturing in leaps and bounds, the latter sounding like future headliners. Marilyn Manson’s show is a typically run-of-the-mill affair, with the God Of Fuck seeming more like the God Of Fuck All these days. When he dry humps the stage he looks like an OAP in need of a hip replacement rather than an Antichrist Superstar. Now that really is shocking…

Comeback kids Therapy?, however, only seems to get better with age. Their current release, ‘Crooked Timber’, sounds monstrous live and they’re strong runners-up for band of the weekend. More than happy to confirm that metal and cool are not natural bedfellows, Def Leppard close ceremonies for the weekend with some fromage-fuelled anthems, leaving us to conclude that if ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ makes us wrong, then we don’t ever want to be right.

Edwin McFee