2 07 2013

Here’s a reprint of my review of BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend that ran in Hot Press.



Boasting a bill that would make the Norse Gods of Valhalla whisper “hold on a second lads, this looks like it could be too much fun for us,” BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend is back in Derry with a bang and it’s crammed full of performers that would make the most pickiest festival punter’s mouth water. Hot Press has arrived bright and early on Sunday for the best line-up of the last three days and we’re just in time to see 30 Seconds To Mars scamper onstage. Led by singer, actor and former squeeze of Angela Chase (google it) Jared Leto, the band have grown into bona fide headliners over the last decade and open the main stage in style, provoking mass singalongs to ‘The Kill’ despite the 1pm start.


Sadly we miss Haim due to a scheduling clash, but we catch popstrels Little Mix and their canny cover of En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ impresses. Miles Kane is up next and he strides on to the In New Music We Trust stage clad in a fetching white suit which makes him look like the coolest ice-cream man on earth. ‘Inhaler,’ newies ‘Give Up’ and ‘Taking Over’ sound massive thanks to some amped up riffs that are fuzzier than a two year old tooth-brush and he looks ready to take things to the next level.


Wretch 32 on the other hand struggles to work the crowd and as a result there’s a mass exodus over to the INMWT stage as people want to get up close and personal with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. In fact, such is the excitement for the rapper, they’ve had to close the doors and refuse entry to hundreds (if not thousands) of punters, making for one of the most electric atmospheres this writer has experienced in moons. Looking like he hasn’t a notion what time or even day it is, the jet-lagged hip-hopper is welcomed like a hero and he returns the favour by dropping ‘Thrift Shop’ nice and early and the venue erupts.’One Love’ ably proves that you can be a mainstream rap act and not be a sexist, homophobic wanker, while ‘Can’t Hold Us’ sounds monstrous as the festival go-ers pogo as one causing the tent to quiver and shake like a blancmange on a bouncy castle and it feels like a watershed moment for the performer and one many won’t forget.


Jake Bugg is an odd way to come down from Mackle-Mania, but it oddly works, though Jessie Ware doesn’t quite hit the spot as we’d hoped she would. Paramore though, are a revelation and bursting with pop punk hits, putting on a world beating performance. Hayley Williams, as ever, is a joy to watch and ‘Misery Business,’ ‘Into You’ and more all sound immaculate.


After catching a bit of the robotic Vampire Weekend, Bruno Mars closes the star-studded event in style with a polished, hit-laden performance that proves he deserves his spot as the current prince of pop and as fireworks light up the night sky, we keep our fingers crossed it won’t be another nine years until the festival is back in the north.



2 05 2013

Here’s a reprint of my review of the new Paramore LP that ran in Hot Press a few issues ago.


Paramore (Atlantic Records)


Key Track: ‘Anklebiters’


On December 18, 2010, pop punk quintet Paramore were dealt a crippling blow when they were at the very peak of their powers. Co-founding members Josh and Zac Farro announced that they were leaving and to make matters worse, declared the band were nothing more than a manufactured front for flame-haired singer Hayley Williams. With the group’s squeaky-clean image already in tatters thanks to a leaked topless Twitpic of Williams and their already wavering punk credibility wilting due to some damning comments from her ex-band-mates (and in the case of Josh, an ex-lover too) it looked like Paramore were fast becoming the Jackass generation’s answer to Fleetwood Mac.


Their self-titled fourth record is their response to the last few years of turmoil and it’s a defiant call to arms which sees Hayley, bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York also come of age. A musically diverse, 17 track effort that showcases a band who have left behind their older, arguably simpler sound for a bigger, bolder approach, Paramore is one of the best break-up records you’ll hear all year. Opening with the barbed punk-funk of ‘Fast In My Car,’ the band flirt with reggae and gospel (Rospel?) on ‘Aint It Fun,’ country music on the gorgeous ‘Hate To See Your Heart Break,’ XTC-tinged new wave on ‘Now’ and 50s coffin rock on ‘(One Of Those) Crazy Girls’ and there’s some bitter-sweet ukelele-led interludes threaded through the whole opus too.


Lyrically Williams doesn’t pull any punches either and there are plenty of barbs aimed at her detractors along the way. Rather than being a pity party though, lines like “Let ’em spill their guts/Cos one day they’re gonna slip on ’em” (‘Interlude: Moving On’) are laced with positivity and tracks like ‘Still Into You’ and ‘Anklebiters’ are a starry-eyed joy to listen to. Your move Farro brothers…


Pure Love Added To Belsonic

11 07 2012

Yes readers,the mighty Pure Love (AKA ex Gallows warbler Frank Carter’s new band) have been added to the Paramore day at Belsonic in Belfast (Aug 19).

I genuinely think their set could be the show of the summer.If you don’t believe me, take a listen to this.It’s the single of the year so far.


Albums of ’09

8 12 2009

As things start to wind down, all the magazines are printing their lists of the year as not much else is happening. Last month you may remember I submitted my albums of the year for NME and Hot Press and as they’re now published I can post up what  I submitted (exciting, eh?). I haven’t seen Hot Press’ list yet, but I have seen NME’s and I think it’s quite similar so I’m on the same page as at least a few folk. Pick up this week’s copy as I’ve written some of the accompanying blurbs.

Anway-enough labbering-here’s my albums of the year (insert drum roll here)

Albums Of The Year (Edwin McFee)

1.      Gallows ‘Grey Britain’ (Warner Bros)

2.      Kasabian ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ (RCA/Columbia)

3.      Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘It’s Blitz!’ (Interscope)

4.      Therapy? ‘Crooked Timber’ (Demolition Records)

5.      The XX ‘XX’ (Young Turks)

6.      The Cribs ‘Ignore The Ignorant’ (Wichita)

7.      Morrissey ‘Years Of Refusal’ (Decca)

8.      Julian Plenti ‘Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper’ (Matador)

9.      Iron Maiden ‘Flight 666 Soundtrack’ (EMI)

10.    Lily Allen ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me’ (Regal)

11.    Amanda Blank ‘I Love You’ (Downtown Records)

12.    Karen O and the Kids ‘Where The Wild Things Are OST’ (DCG)

13.    Rancid ‘Let The Dominoes Fall’ (Hellcat)

14.    Spinnerette ‘Spinnerette’ (Anthem)

15.    Dananananaykroyd ‘Hey Everyone!’ (Best Before)

16.    Kill It Kid ‘Kill It Kid’ (One Little Indian)

17.    Paramore ‘Brand New Eyes’ (Fuelled By Ramen)

18.    Empire of the Sun ‘Walking On A Dream’ (EMI)

19.    Biffy Clyro ‘Only Revolutions’ (14th Floor)

20.   And So I Watch You From Afar ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’ (Smalltown America)