News From The North Week 108

7 09 2012

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


Words: Edwin McFee

First up this fortnight, I’d like to introduce you all to a (relatively) brand spanking new band from Derry called Making Monsters that recently have set my “ace new band senses” a-tingling (well, I hope that was my “ace new band senses…..”). Indulging their inner Jean Grey and rising phoenix-like from the ashes from No Mean City and Hybrid, the female-fronted four-piece have just launched their self-titled EP and it’s recommended for fans of neck bothering, hook-laden metal. Available to buy via their website ( and at gigs, the opus is worth the price of admission alone for the final two cuts ‘Sink Or Swim’ and ‘This Snake Bites’ and they stand as some of the best local tuneage I’ve heard all year. The former is a punchy, pit anthem that has a chorus to die for, while the latter is as venomous as a bite from the walking dead (and reminds this writer of ‘Head South’ by Pretty Girls Make Graves) and both feature jaw droppingly good vocals from Emma Gallagher. In short-check them out.


Next up, as I’m writing this latest missive, like many other readers, I’m regularly thigh deep in mud whilst clad in an always fetching poncho at the moment. Now before any wags leap to the conclusion that I’m trying out a new life choice inspired by 50 Shades Of Grey (#topical) I should remind you all that we’re now at the mid-way point of festival season, hence the garb. So, with that in mind, here’s a brief update on some of the north’s up-coming open air events.


Over the last few months there have been more additions to the Sunflower Fest, Hillsborough which takes place on Aug 17-19. Some of the added acts include Pocket Billiards, Runaway Go, Grainne Duffy, Clown Parlour, NI Soul Troop, Colum Sands, Suzanne Savage, Indigo Fury, the Delfinos, Yellow Car No Return, the Red Velvetines, Malaika, Bernadette Morris, the Couth, Axis Of, the Urges, My Fellow Sponges and Concrete Circus and you can check out the full line-up here


Finally this issue, if you fancy being the last act added to the Stendhal Festival in Limavady (Aug 17-18) you better get your metaphorical skates on. Their Facebook page ( are letting the public choose who will play alongside a line-up which already features Henry McCullough, Mundy, Mojo GoGo and more and your deadline is Aug 1. With the likes of Empty Lungs, Uber Glitterati and others all battling it out for a spot, it looks like no matter what the out-come-the public wins (yes, I went there).

News From The North 102

31 05 2012

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


Words: Edwin McFee

A few months ago, you may recall we informed you about a new initiative called Untapped that was master-minded by the head honchos behind the upcoming Tennent’s Vital festival which aimed to promote the local music scene by offering four lucky acts the chance to open the main stage at this year’s shin-dig in Belfast. Well, this fortnight, the organisers have revealed the names of the final 16 turns who will be fighting it out for a much coveted slot alongside the likes of the Stone Roses, the Foo Fighters and more on August 21-22 and they’ve also confirmed that they will perform at four showcase gigs in both NI’s capital and Derry in May.


Kicking off in the Limelight, Belfast on May 16, Master and Dog, Gerard i2, Havana House Party and Jepettos all duke it out for a spot on the bill, then the following night in the same venue Trucker Diablo, City of Stars, Peter McVeigh and Futurescope all lay the (sonic) smack down. After that, the Tennent’s Untapped competition takes itself off to the Bound for Boston in Derry on May 23 and features Best Boy Grip, A Northern Light, Rachel Austin and Mojo Gogo battling it out, while the next night features Droids, Morning Claws, Pretty Child Backfire and Two Glass Eyes. I think you’ll all agree that the final 16 are a pleasingly diverse mix of acts from different genres and sub cultures and I’d like to wish everyone the best of luck.


Next up, keeping proceedings on a festival tip, the brand spanking new Link Fest in Derry have just revealed details of their line-up and the bill is as solid as the Incredible Hulk’s armchair if we do say so ourselves. Taking place on July 13-14 and at multiple venues (which include Mason’s, the Playhouse, the Castle, Bound for Boston and Gweedor) some of the acts include Our Krypton Son, By Any Means, Furlo, Wyldling, Triggerman and Making Monsters and for more details check out


Finally this fortnight, I’ve just enough room to remind you all about ska punk deities Pocket Billiards tenth anniversary gig at the Mandela Hall, Belfast on May 12. Doubling as a release party for their second album Last Chance To Dance the show is set to be a doozy (yes, doozy) and Axis Of, Bomb City 7 and Chewing on Tinfoil are the support acts. The band have also uploaded new track ‘So Many People, So Little Time’ onto and it sounds awesome, so check it out.