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 Christmas Special 2011

21 12 2011

Here’s a reprint of the festive edition of my fornightly Hot Press column. Readers may be interested to know that despite writing it in November, I managed to make it as Christmassy as possible.Yes, I am THAT good.


Words: Edwin McFee

By the time this latest missive from the North reaches you, no doubt you’ll all be getting ready to whip out your chestnuts in order to give them a ruddy good roasting on an open fire, so this issue I’ve taken a leaf out of Cliff Richard’s book, donned an over-sized reindeer themed woolly jumper and dug out some stories of NI acts who are getting into the festive spirit.

First up, rising Derry-based alt rockers Intermission are hosting a Christmas party in Mason’s  in their hometown on Dec 2 alongside Play On The Day North winners Mojo GoGo. The promising three-piece are also launching their debut EP ‘Escaping Dharma’ on the night and you can get a sneak peak of the slab of wax here: Produced, mixed, mastered and designed by multi-talented frontman Glenn Rosborough (who you may recall used to be a member of the well thought of Kharma 45) the record should help establish the boys as one of the North’s bigger players next year and we’re expecting great things from them in 2012.

Next up, the legend that is Mr Ralph McLean is broadcasting a special Christmas show on Radio Ulster on Dec 14 between 8pm-10pm and he will be joined by some ace local acts (which include Gareth Dunlop, Isobel Anderson, Matt McGinn, Paul Casey and Ruby Colley) who will perform some of their own songs as well as some festive favourites. Taking place on location at the Bronte Music Club in the Bronte Homeland in Rathfriland, Co. Down, the programme promises to turn even the most Grinch-like listener into a real-life Buddy the Elf, so make sure you tune in.

Sludge-loving noise rockers Comply or Die indulge their inner Kris Kringle for a show on Dec 15 at the Menagerie, Belfast and they’re promising a performance that will make Shakin’ (‘Merry Christmas Everyone’) Stevens’ legendary love of the Yuletide season pale in comparison. Backed by Larne’s the Burnt Reynolds, admission is £4 and rumours of free entry for anyone dressed in a Santa Claus suit could not be confirmed at the time of going to press…

Finally, one of NI’s brightest hopes Rams’ Pocket Radio rounds off a fantastic year by playing a gig at the Stiff Kitten, Belfast on Dec 23. Currently touring in support of the sublime ‘Dogs Run In Packs’ EP, Peter McCauley and Co. aim to cap off a great 2011 in style and the gig is a must-see for anyone who loves left of centre alt-pop. Miss it at your peril.