30 06 2014

Here’s a reprint of my review of Katy Perry’s gig at the Odyssey that ran in Hot Press.




It’s the very first night of pop queen Katy Perry’s mammoth 107 date world tour this evening. Not that you’d know it, mind, as the singer looks completely comfortable and at ease right from the get-go thanks to weeks and months of gruelling rehearsals. Opening with a flawless version of monster hit single ‘Roar,’ tonight’s performance is a no-expense-spared, eye-popping experience. Split into six sections (plus an encore), Perry’s Prismatic World Tour takes us on something of a musical journey through time and visits ancient Egypt, a ’90s rave and an MTV Unplugged-esque setting (to name but three) along the way, much to the delight of the capacity crowd.


Acrobats, musicians, a massive cast of colourful dancers and, at one point, a pimped up pantomime horse, share the triangular-shaped stage with the “California Gurl” all night and aside from the kinda creepy cat-themed part of the show, Katy delivers a master-class in slick arena pop, despite being struck down with a bad case of the sniffles during her 10 day stay in Belfast (“I didn’t expect it to rain as much as it does here” she offers at one point…).


A stripped back, acoustic version of the beautiful ‘The One That Got Away’ and a truly thrilling rendition of newie ‘Legendary Lovers’ steal the show for this reviewer, but the likes of ‘Teenage Dream,’ ‘Part Of Me’ and ‘E.T.’ all impress too, as does her extensive collection of wigs which are sure to make Donald Trump green with envy.


‘Firework’ ends proceedings with a bang and sees Perry deliver a powerful, goose-bump inducing vocal performance and while it may only be the first date of her tour, I’m sure that both the hardest working women in pop and her fans will remember tonight for a long time to come.




Katy Pery At The Odyssey Review

9 12 2011

So, a few days ago I posted up a video of the Horrible Crowes covering Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream,’ so today I thought it might be cool to reprint my review of the aformentioned lovely lady’s gig at the Odyssey a month or so ago that ran in Hot Press.

Oh and the pic below is stolen from Ramsey Cardy.Go check him out at 

Katy Perry at the Odyssey, Belfast

Tonight, in front of a sold out crowd of blue wig wearing mini-me’s, multi-million selling hit factory Katy Perry kicks off the 109th show on her never-ending California Dreams World Tour with ‘Teenage Dream’ and in just three minutes she effortlessly justifies why she’s one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. Backed by a white suit sporting band, the singer (who is celebrating her birthday in a few hours time) is every inch the perfect performer and belts out the likes of ‘Waking Up In Vegas,’ ‘Ur So Gay’ and ‘Peacock’ without breaking a sweat.

But this evening’s show isn’t just about the songs. She’s also woven a typically bonkers back story into the performance which tells the tale of a girl named Katy who works in a butcher’s shop and is secretly in love with the unfortunately named Baker’s Boy. After enduring an especially grim day cutting up meat, she goes to bed and wakes up in techni-colour sweet-filled world where she spends most of her time searching for her cat Kitty Purry (get it?). Needless to say it’s all as pink and fluffy as Louie Spence’s living room, but it helps fill the time between costume changes nicely.

 There are loads of highlights to tonight’s performance and Katy also has plenty of interaction with the crowd throughout the show. Just before ‘I Kissed A Girl,’ the ball-gown and red and yellow feather boa clad singer encourages a male fan to take his shirt off before dragging him up onstage to poke a little fun at him. “Your name’s Keith?” she coos. “That’s my dad’s name. Maybe you can be my daddy tonight. Is that too creepy?” Yes Katy, yes it really is…

Still, we’ve got the likes of the nu-crunk future classic that is ‘E.T.’ to help banish the weird images from our brains and the stripped back rendition of ‘The One That Got Away’ (which also features a brief run-through of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’) shows that Katy can still charm a crowd without all the bells and whistles. At certain points the storyline does get a little bizarre (mid-way though, giant meat props hang from the rafters like something out of Morrissey’s worst nightmare) and we kinda wish she crammed in a few more songs instead of making room for dancing slot machines, quick change magic acts and sexy Hulk Hogan outfits, but the likes of the storming ‘Hot ‘N’ Cold’ ‘Thinking Of You’ and Mario Balotelli’s favourite song ‘Firework’ ends the show in spectacular fashion.

Edwin McFee

i Music July 24

26 07 2011

Last Sunday I looked after John McGurk’s music pages in the Sunday Life, so here’s a wee reprint. It’s always fun writing the spread and I was happy to see it plugged on the front page.

i Music with Edwin McFee

Iron Maiden 

By the time you read this, heavy metal demi-gods Iron Maiden will have just started the leg of their most extensive British tour in years. A veritable institution these days, the band have sold a staggering 80million records to date, currently fly around in their own customised plane (which is captained by the singer Bruce Dickinson and has been dubbed Ed Force One after their zombie-fied mascot Eddie), have seen their 15th studio album ‘The Final Frontier’ enter number one in the album charts of 30 different countries (including the UK) and once they reach Belfast in ten days time they’ll have performed to a whopping two million fans worldwide on their current tour.

While the six-piece continue to receive little in the way of radio-play and mainstream media coverage, they remain one of the most successful bands of this or any other generation and the “family-oriented” attitude of their fans’ (which range from six to 60 year olds) help make their shows a one of a kind experience. On Wednesday, August 3, the legends return to Northern Ireland 15 and a half years on from their gig at the Maysfield Leisure Centre for a performance in the somewhat roomier Odyssey Arena and in many ways this full-on UK tour is a thank-you from the band for their followers’ years of support. Clearly excited to be trekking around his old stomping grounds, Maiden’s bassist, founder and main creative force Steve Harris had this to say on the subject

 “Everything in the Maiden camp has been so full on these last five years or so that we haven’t travelled around the UK to play for our home fans for almost that long. These fans supported us by coming to Twickenham Stadium, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Download and more recently Sonisphere, so we thought we should get off our backsides and do the travelling this time and get round the country to see them all. We very much look forward to playing all four home countries and a couple of places we haven’t been for a very long time- Aberdeen and Belfast!

“We intend to take the full stadium show into the UK arenas and fit everything we possibly can into each venue,” he concludes. “The set list will be different to last year’s tour. Of course we will play more songs from the new album and some other recent material, but we intend to include a healthy dose of older fan favourites too for those who haven’t seen us before, plus a spectacular light show and stage set, not forgetting, of course, …Eddie!”

Iron Maiden plays the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Wednesday August 3. Tickets for the show range from £41.50-£46.50 and are available from Ticketmaster. Support comes from Dragonforce and doors open at 6.30pm.


Tonight If, like this writer, you’re spending your Sunday lying in a muddy field in the Sperrin Mountains (and they say this job is glamourous…?) then you’ll be pleased to learn that the organisers of the previous day’s Glasgowbury Festival are putting on a gig tonight in the Cellar Bar, Draperstown for those with no homes to go to. Aptly dubbed-Glasgowbury: the Aftermath, the local line-up (TBC at the time of going to press) is sure to sate your thirst for live music and admission is £5. Here’s hoping complimentary Alca-Seltzers are provided on the house…

Monday Gigs are thin on the ground on Monday in the wake of Glasgowbury, but if you’re still hungry for music-based hi-jinks check out the Alternative Pub Quiz in Katy Daly’s, Belfast. The fun starts at 9pm and entry is £1.

Tuesday This Tuesday we predict many a Mod fan will be dusting off their Vespa’s for a trip down to Dublin to see the Who’s Roger Daltrey perform the near-mythic rock opera Tommy in its entirety. Taking place in Marlay Park, tickets range from E39.50-E44.50 and are available from Ticketmaster. While we’re not sure if the leather-lunged singer still has the pipes to belt out the big hits, we’ve no doubt that he can still play a mean pinball (I’ll get my coat..).

Wednesday Hailed by Christy Moore as one of the best songwriters to emerge in the last ten years, acoustic troubadour John Spillane visits Belfast tonight for a gig in the Black Box. Admission is £10 and doors open at 7pm.

Thursday Duke Special performs in the relatively cosy confines of Sandino’s in Derry this Thursday night for a hugely anticipated show. Admission is £12, doors open at 9pm and if you’re in the area this gig is a must-see.

Friday Fresh from their chuckle-some performance at this year’s Oxegen, Limerick-based lunatics the Rubber Bandits bring their show to the Stiff Kitten in Belfast on Friday night. Admission is £12 and tickets can be bought via Doors open at 9pm.

Saturday This Saturday Belfast-based alt-pop singer John D’Arcy performs for free at Head Records in Victoria Square, Belfast. Kicking off at 2pm the bill also includes Feldberg, Southern and Dr Lilt.



This week i Music would like to offer our sympathies to Belfast-bound pop-stress Katy Perry. In a recent posting on Facebook the singer revealed that’s she’s been struck down with a nasty case of food poisoning and has been forced to reschedule a couple of dates on the American leg of her tour. At the moment the star who famously confessed to kissing a girl and liking it (me too! We have so much in common…) is currently celebrating shifting over 1 million copies of her new single ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ in the U.S. alone and we’re assured that by the time Oct 24 rolls around she’ll be ready to rock the Odyssey for her sold out show. Best keep her away from any suspicious looking potato bread just in case though, eh….?

New offerings this week include Joss Stone imaginatively titled comeback album ‘LP1’ and teen sensation Justin Bieber’s DVD Never Say Never (we’ve refusing to make any jokes about that one for fear of being hounded on Twitter for the next decade) but if it’s pure power pop at its best you’re after then check out local tunesmith John D’Arcy latest (and greatest) new single ‘Barcelona,’ which is available via all major downloading platforms as well as from his official site

Hot Summer, What A Bummer Part 2

12 10 2009

The second festival I covered this year was about a month after Download and it was the much talked about Oxegen. This year’s bill was the best ever-specky indie kids could get their kicks from the likes of Blur and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, goths had Nick Cave and Nine Inch Nails, pop kids had Katy Perry and Lady GaGa, rockers had Therapy? and Eagles of Death Metal and dance heads had their own tent. We camped out as usual this year BECAUSE I AM HARDCORE (not in the “I’m hardcore/I’m a Straight Edge wanker” way-in a comedy way of course) and the weather was probably the worst I’ve ever experienced. Still, the music was great and thanks to the Hot Press people being so understanding, I didn’t have to review Kings of Leon so I could watch Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds instead. Result!

Day one consisted of travelling down, getting drenched, interviewing Duke Special on camera then meeting Brody Dalle, catching up with the Therapy? boys, drinking some beer and spotting Udo from Accept ( What he was doing there I’ll never know, but he seemed to get my phone number outta somewhere. Hmmmm…

Day two was a total washout. After Yeah Yeah Yeahs I thought I was a goner (probably should’ve followed Carrie’s lead by getting hammered on wine) but it cleared up nicely for old Nick who put on the show of his life. Day three saw us leave after Katy Perry (who was amazing) but not before torrrential rain soaked us so badly my phone drowned in my pocket. Still, the GaGa and Katy more than made up for it.

Anyway, I covered day two for Hot Press, and here’s the reprint that I lovingly typed up while caked in mud.

Oxegen Day Two (July 11)

Kicking things off bright and early, New Jersey blue collar punks the Gaslight Anthem arrive onstage 20minutes late and grinning like seven year olds who just won a year’s supply of sweets. Currently the subject of many a bro-mance (ahem) singer Brian Fallon is a charming devil and his band play cuts culled from their second record The ’59 Sound. It’s safe to say that the boys are on a total Tom Petty/Bruce Springsteen trip (in fact they even cover ‘American Girl’ as a homage) but their honesty and warmth make songs like ‘Great Expectations,’ ‘Old White Lincoln’ and the title track sound enormous.

The same can be said for Aussie outfit Howling Bells too, who play our very own Hot Press Tent. They might have been beset by a bucket-load of mishaps (their guitarist’s luggage was sent to Istanbul, they missed their ferry, they had to drive for 30 hours straight and according to singer Juanita Stein they stayed in a whore-house in Amsterdam) but they’re clearly loving being onstage and their set is a dreamy, ethereal clutch of tunes that sound like Florence and the Machine only, you know, good.

 Sadly we couldn’t actually fit into the Green Spheres tent for the Saturdays (boo) but we did manage to catch them play ‘Work’ and let’s face it, considering it’s the only song they have we didn’t miss too much. Eagles of Death Metal are another of today’s disappointments. Much like their mates in Spinnerette they spend far too much effort trying to be cool when they should let their music do the talking. Jesse ‘Boots Electric’ Hughes may have the tidiest ‘tache of the weekend, but the witty onstage patter just isn’t enough anymore.

Passion Pit in the Hot Press Tent on the other-hand are the exact opposite. They let their futurist funky white boy rhythms say it all and have the whole crowd unintentionally dancing like Bruno. Yeah Yeah Yeahs over on the main stage give us a powerhouse performance despite the torrential rain and a guitar amp which seems hellbent on electrocuting Nick Zinner. Karen O’s lime green leggings might make her look a little bit like a demented mutant frog, but she’s the perfect frontwoman this evening. Their set is a mix of old and new material and ‘Rockers To Swallow,’ ‘Cheated Hearts’ and ‘Date With The Night’ are definite standouts in a Herculean performance.

We spend the next few hours not knowing who to check out catching Pete Doherty, the Mars Volta, Doves and Bloc Party but coming away from the performances feeling a little unsatisfied. We’re mostly ticked off by the former Libertines man, largely because he’s still singing songs like ‘Fuck Forever’ as if they were anthems of a generation even though his most hardcore acolytes are finally starting to realize he’s a dried up old pantomime dame.

But, with the sound of the Pet Shop Boys plastic performance still ringing in our ears (‘It’s A Sin’ was great) we make our way over to the O2 Stage to catch Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Oxegen debut. Playing a festival pleasing set, old Nick has the crowd in the palms of his hands wasting no time bashing out ‘Deanna,’ ‘Henry Lee’ and ‘Dig, Lazarus Dig.’ The ominous night sky and mud covered ground only seem to add to the performance with the singer virtually begging for some thunder and lightning during the stomping rain-dance that is ‘Tupelo.’ As per usual, Nick plays his customary role of the possessed preacher man with aplomb stabbing into the night air with his fingers and flailing his arms around like a madman. Highlight has to be the gorgeous ‘Ship Song’ which pleases the lovers and the loveless in equal measure but ‘The Weeping Song’ and a tamer version of ‘The Mercy Seat’ are runners up. The Bad Seeds bring their show stealing set to a close with ‘Stagger Lee’ which is as brooding and menacing as this writer had hoped. Sadly we only get one song for the encore as Nick calls out Shane McGowan, who in fairness looks like he’s had one too many light ales. Even the singer seems bemused by the Pogues’ frontman’s state and embraces him, laughs good naturedly and closes the performance with a bow. What a legend.

Edwin McFee