Final Hot Press NI News Column Of 2010

16 12 2010

Here’s a reprint of my final Hot Press NI news column of the year!


Words: Edwin McFee

Christmas comes a little early this week for music lovers in the North thanks to a project named You Are Music. Master-minded by the people behind A Plastic Rose and Di Di Mau Records, the travelling showcase tour intends to provide some sonic excitement all across the country as well as hopefully encouraging more people to get involved in the scene in any shape or form they fancy. At the moment they have a nine show jaunt in the works and the dates for your diary are as follows (deep breath):

Dec 4-Mojo Fury, Cashier No. 9, the Jane Bradfords and John D’Arcy play at the Cellar bar in Draperstown while Fragments, Anna Purna, Chocolate Love Factory and the unfortunately named Love Sausage Disorder appear at the Common Rooms in Dungannon. Dec 16-Kasper Rosa, Colly Strings and Once Before Take Off play at the Top of the Town in Omagh. Dec 17-Silhouette, the Rupture Dogs, Paul Shelvin and Kasper Rosa perform at the Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast. Dec 18-A Plastic Rose, Axis Of, Key of Atlas, Colly Strings and Pretty Child Backfire appear at the Mandela Hall in Belfast. Dec 22-Gacys Threads and A Northern Light are in Dicey’s, Strabane and finally, on Christmas Eve Eve (that’s Dec 23 for all of you who didn’t grow up watching Zig and Zag on the Den) Fighting with Wire, Treble M, Echo Falls, Dr Gonzo and Where the Noise Lives are in the Nerve Centre, Derry, Bomb City 7, Before Machines, Jifubuki and Off the Reservation are in the Retro, Portrush and And So I Watch You From Afar, Team Fresh and More Than Conquerors play a very special show in the Hideout, Warrenpoint.

For more information on the events (and for details on how you can become involved) check out their website

Next up, it’s with a heavy heart that we announce that No Mean City have went their separate ways nearly a year to the day since they first formed. Despite being nominated in this very magazine’s Hot for 2010 list and playing festivals such as Download, Sonisphere and T in the Park, the old “musical differences” has reared its ugly head and they’ve sadly decided to call it a day. We’d like to wish all the members the best of luck for the future and we’re now off to listen to ‘Gone Too Soon’ by Mickey Jackson. Sniff.

But before we leave you, keep your ears out for a new band called Silence Convicts ( featuring members of the Lobotomies and Gacys Threads to name but too. They’ve only just formed, but I’ve a feeling they’ll start 2011 with a bang…

Church Of Noise 4

21 05 2010

Want more Church of Noise? Oh, go on then..

Church of Noise

Local music news

Congratulations to former Big Gig alumni No Mean City who are celebrating the news that they have reached the finals of the Red Bell Bedroom Jam Sessions. Thanks to a tireless internet campaign which involved the Derry four-piece guilt tripping their online mates into voting for them (hey, it worked didn’t it?) they’ve made it into the final 16 and compete for a chance to play at Download, T in the Park and more this summer. However, just because they made the top 16 doesn’t mean you can’t vote again, so check out to do your bit.

It’s time for good news/bad news for anyone thinking about going to the Pigstock festival in Killinchy. While original headliners LaFaro have sadly had to pull out due to touring commitments, A Plastic Rose have stepped in to close proceedings. Taking place on May 29, the bash also features the likes of Swanee River, Pocket Billiards, Mojo Fury, the Lowly Knights, Gentry Morris and more on the bill and it looks like it should be a great day out. Tickets cost £25 (which includes camping) and are available from the official website As if that wasn’t enough, organisers have assembled a free (yes, that’s free cheap skates) warm up gig at the very fine Daft Eddy’s bar and grill on Sketrick Island, Killinchy on May 8 too. The line-up features Black Mambas, Shades of Jonah and the Glory Holes (do us a favour, NEVER google “the Glory Holes”) and Pigstock head honco’s are selling camping tickets at the knock-down price of £20 for one night only.

 Speaking of LaFaro, remember how last month I was giving off because I hadn’t heard their new record yet? Well, while this month I’m still sans their self-titled slab of wax sadly, I can tell you that they’ve announced a third date to their residency in the Menagerie in Belfast. Costing a mere fiver, the gig takes place on April 28 and tickets are available from so if you were dilly dallying on getting one for the April 26 and 27 shows that sold out, you’d have to be a real numpty to miss out on this one too. Now, where’s this bloody album then?

See y’all next month folks. Up the Irons.


Hot For 2010

2 02 2010

Last December I was asked to suggest a list of some of the best new Irish bands for Hot Press’ Hot for 2010 feature (that ran in last fortnight’s issue). I sent off a batch of names of people who I thought were doing something a little different and most of ’em made the shortlist. Below is four of my picks, who I interviewed for the spread. Go check ’em out and see what you think.

Hot For 2010

No Mean City

“It all kinda started through a mutual friend,” begins No Mean City’s uber vixen Jilly St John. “I had been making little guest appearances on friends’ acoustic sets while out on the raz and I got a buzz from it, so I basically texted everyone I knew telling them that I’d like to start a band. I was introduced to Paul [Monk, guitar] a few days later and we had written our first two tracks together within the week.”

While they may only be babbies in the NI music scene (they formed a handful of months ago) the Derry native’s live shows have already got tongues wagging from those in the know. Fronted by former model Jilly, the quartet’s penchant for drunken tattoo parties mixed with their ability to craft a sugary hook over a satisfyingly chunky riff have marked them out to be a very exciting prospect over the next 12 months. Don’t believe us? Have a listen to their cheeky cover of Nelly Furtado’s ‘Maneater’ on their MySpace for proof.

“It was actually my idea to cover ‘Maneater’” laughs Jill. “I felt that the track suited the bravado and sex appeal I wanted as a female vocalist in a mainly male dominated genre of music.”


SEE THEM: The Pavilion, Belfast (February 27)

Two Door Cinema Club

Already bigged up by the likes of Kanye West and the Beeb, 2010 looks like it’s set for the taking for Bangor’s electro lovers Two Door Cinema Club. The trio are currently poised to unleash their debut record (released via Kitsune) Tourist History in March and after a quick listen Hot Press can confirm that it’ll be one of the Irish releases of the year.

“I have to admit, we’re a little bit nervous at the moment,” confesses Kev Baird. “When you give up pretty much everything else in your life to be in a band, your first album is quite a big deal. We’re super excited as well though. We’re more excited than nervous I think. We can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

“We know that there are a lot of expectations surrounding the album but we’re trying to not let it affect us too much. We’ve had our game plan for the next wee while sussed before any of that happened, so it won’t change what we’re going to do. That Kanye thing blew us away though. Especially when we found out it was Daft Punk who told him about us! At the end of the day though, we’re just really happy that people are appreciating what we’re doing and we’re looking forward to the summer even though we don’t think we’ll see our families and girlfriends for quite a while….”


SEE THEM: The Limelight, Belfast (Feb 22), Dolan’s, Limerick (March 2), Roisin Dubh, Galway (March 4), Stiff Kitten, Belfast (March 5), the Button Factory, Dublin (March 6), Sandino’s, Derry (March 7).

Rams’ Pocket Radio

Rams’ Pocket Radio are another brand spanking new band on our list, but when you watch the experimental outfit (which is centred around lynchpin Peter McCauley) you’d be forgiven for thinking they’ve been on the live circuit for years.

 “Rams’ Pocket Radio started after my first band [Ego] split.” says Peter. “During that period I was playing drums in Mojo Fury but I had a lot of creative energy that I wasn’t using so I started a collaborative project with a friend. We tracked some stuff in his studio but after a few recordings we realised that we weren’t collaborating, we were just sessioning on each others’ music. I had fully formed ideas in my head and I wanted to see what would happen if I captured that on record without going through a collaborative, translation process.

“It was a big leap and it took a good while to build up the courage to do it,” continues the musician. “Most of the experience I had musically up to this point was either playing drums for a band or sessioning for someone else. After some recordings, I drafted in some experienced musicians to play the stuff live. At the time it felt like a risky move as I hadn’t fronted a band before, but after winning the Music Quest battle of the bands a few months ago I felt convinced that we were on the right track.”


SEE THEM: Rams’ Pocket Radio don’t have any shows booked at the time of going to press.


Clown Parlour

While Lisburn’s Clown Parlour (a band who showcase Mojo Fury frontman Michael Mormecha’s more avant garde ideas) may have been a studio project for the last eight years, it was only a matter of months ago that he decided to take the genre straddling side project on the road and this writer for one is glad that he did.

 “The live band only came together in early ‘09 so that I could tour the EP I released,” smiles Michael. “I was lucky enough to have friends and great players around me to pull off what was on the recordings.”

Employing a range of theatrical elements, the Clown Parlour live show is pure, undiluted fun and with a debut album currently in the works, it shouldn’t be too long before they play in your town.

“I feel real particular about how Clown Parlour is presented live, because it’s almost like a self portrait to me and I’m excited about what’s coming up in 2010. The album is nearly finished and that will be followed by a release tour. We’re also launching the official website and online shop soon too (as well as shooting a few videos in the new year) so that is definitely enough stuff to keep me outta mischief I reckon.”


SEE THEM: The Speakeasy, Belfast (January 30).

Big Gig 8-Friday, Nov 27

16 11 2009