News From The North Week 110 (Hot Press)

21 10 2012

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


Words: Edwin McFee

First up this issue I’m pleased to bring you a story that will warm the cockles of your cold, black hearts. Picture the scene, if you will. On a (possibly) warm and sunny day at the start of August (just go with it…) a young 11 year old lad from Pennsylvania called Will strode onstage alongside his mates to perform a song at Camp Lindenmere. With all and sundry expecting to hear a cover of the tried and tested likes of Nirvana (snore) and Maroon 5 (the horror!) then clap politely afterwards, the plucky pre-teen opted to think outside the box and showed off his impeccable taste by choosing to perform ‘Tupenny Nudger’ by Belfast’s very own rock beasts LaFaro instead. Awesome, eh? As if that wasn’t cool enough, it’s all been captured on video and you can have a watch here Proof, if ever it were needed, that youth isn’t always wasted on the young. More of this sort of thing!


Next up, those generous souls Unquiet Nights have decided to treat you all by making four tracks from their ace album 21st Century Redemption Songs free to download via their site So, if you haven’t had a chance to check out this promising rock ‘n’ roll band, now’s your chance. The trio, who are based in NI and Italy, have been receiving a bit of airplay from 2fm at the moment and if you’re a fan of the Charlatans, Tom Petty and rock songs with classic choruses then you should have a listen.


Speaking of “promising,” Dungannon singer/songwriter Chris Steenson (AKA Cedric Has A Name) has just announced he’s teaming up with Canadian label Matchless Minds. The company, who are operating in Belfast as well as Ottowa and Dublin, have previously released offerings by The Man Whom, VerseChorusVerse and Master & Dog and this latest union will no doubt be a fruitful one (that sounds kinda dirty, doesn’t it?). For more info on Cebric Has A Name visit


Finally this issue, it’s with a heavy heart that we inform you that indie outfit Morning Claws are sadly no more. At the time of writing, the band will be preparing to play their final show at the Forfey Festival and afterwards that’s it from the well-respected up and comers. If you want to remember the good times, visit and over the months ahead we’ll keep you updated on the further adventures of the group’s former members. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to mourn their passing by playing ‘Gone Too Soon’ by Michael Jackson on repeat. Sniff.

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.