News From The North Week 106

23 07 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

This issue I thought I’d kick off proceedings with news about this year’s Tennent’s Vital festival which takes place in Belfast on August 21-22 at Boucher Playing Fields. Some of the more elephant-minded readers among you may recall that the festival organisers recently ran a competition (UnTapped) to find two up and coming NI-based bands to play at the shin-dig and this fortnight it has been revealed that no frills rock ‘n’ rollers Trucker Diablo and hip hop hero Gerard i2 have been selected to appear on the day. Beating off 16 other performers (apologies if that sounds like something from a mucky movie by the way) both turns truly deserve the opportunity and I’d like to wish them the best of luck for the event. For more info on the festival visit tennentsvital.com.

 

Next up, it gives me great pleasure to announce that drummer with the mighty Gacys Threads and all-round prince among men Stephen Currie has lined up another immense, neck-bothering release for his label Savour Your Scene Records. Specialising in Irish hardcore and metal, the enterprising tub thumper has been in touch to let us know about the impending cassette release of Dublin band Milestones’ new mini album Entropy. The date for your diaries is July 9 and on the same night, Milestones perform at Auntie Annie’s, Belfast and support comes from Death Of A Salesman and Katabolis, so make sure you check it out. For further details on the label and their roster of acts visit savouryourscene.co.uk.

 

It’s been a while since I last gave you news on the Stendhal Festival in Limavady and in those couple of months the organsiers have fleshed out the line-up for their festival in spectacular fashion. Taking place on Aug 17-18 at Ballymully Cottage Farm, the event now boasts (deep breath) Henry McCullough, Silhouette, Trucker Diablo, Triggerman, Mundy, Pat McManus Band, Mojo GoGo, Best Boy Grip, Intermission, Lantern For A Gale, Wyldling, Peter McVeigh and many more and you can view the full list at stendhalfestival.com. The organisers are also letting the general public choose which act receives the final slot on the line-up via their Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Stendhal-festival-of-art) so head over there after you’re done reading this.

 

Finally this fortnight, I’ve just enough room to tell you that the always incendiary Fighting With Wire have been added to the bill for the Tanglewood Festival at Narrow Water Castle (round Newry-way) on August 4. For more details have a wee click here tanglewoodmusic.co.uk.

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News From The North Week 105

14 07 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

By the time you read this latest missive, Co. Armagh’s kings of sledge-hammer rock Gascan Ruckus will have released their ace new single ‘Pieces’ out into the wild. Calling to mind the likes of bruisers such as the Bronx and Hot Snakes, the quartet have built up a live show that’s as ferocious as a badger that’s been booted in the balls and their latest slice of recorded sonic thuggery stands as some of their finest work yet, so pick up a copy via their Band Camp page pronto (gascanruckus.bandcamp.com). In the meantime check out the new, “one for the ladies” themed video for ‘Pieces’ here youtube.com/watch?v=HSvu57H3huo.

 

Next up, the line-up for this year’s Tanglewood Festival has just been announced and it’s a doozey (if you pardon the children’s TV presenter-esque phrase). Taking place at Narrow Water Castle (which is midway between Newry and Warrenpoint geography fans) the event returns for a second year and the fun starts bright and early on Saturday, August 4. Boasting a line-up of over 50 acts, the bash features the likes of Silhouette, Dead ‘Til Friday, Aslan and Runaway Go and entry is £20. With comedy shows, burlesque performances, plays and more also planned to happen across their many stages, it looks like a good day out and for further info visit tanglewoodmusic.co.uk.

 

Keeping proceedings in a festival-vein, June 16 sees the return of the Junk Yard festival in the Tunnel Bar, Portadown. Headlined by well thought of reggae type Natty Wailer, homegrown acts such as Trucker Diablo, the previous mentioned Gascan Ruckus, Wookalily, Microlip and more are on the bill and you can purchase tickets (which, at the time of going to press are TBC) from all Ticketmaster outlets.

 

Next, I thought I’d turn your attention to a new EP that came out at the start of the year which was tellingly titled ‘Rock Road’ by Belfast-based trio Tric. Full of swaggering, skyscraper-sized blues-influenced raunch ‘n’ roll, the record is full of tales of scandalous behaviour (‘Virgin On The Verge,’ ‘M.I.L.F.’) and it’s all delivered with vocals which channel the late, great Bon Scott courtesy of singer Dale Hunter. If you’re a fan of Rose Tattoo, Acca Dacca and Airbourne then you should check them out facebook.com/tricrock.

 

Finally, I’ve just enough room to list some of the latest additions for Glasgowbury in Eagle’s Rock, Co., Derry. Joining headliners Therapy? are Mojo GoGo, Intermission, Droids plus a shedload more and for a complete list of the acts taking place on July 21 visit glasgowbury.com.





News From The North 101

25 05 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

While at the time of writing it may indeed be colder than a witch’s naughty bits, I’ve been reliably informed that Spring has most definitely, um, sprung, and with the news that summer is on the way it’s perhaps not surprising that many of NI’s festivals have started making some interesting rumblings recently. One of this year’s heavy hitters is most certainly the Sunflower Fest and their bill for 2012 helps make the bash one of the north’s potential best in the country. Taking place at Tubby’s Farm (just outside Hillsborough and about 20 minutes from Belfast) the three day event runs from August 17-19 inclusive and will feature four stages (the Finn McCool main stage, the Campfire Stage, the Barn and the brand new addition to the shin-dig that is the intriguingly titled Electric Disco Shed) a family area, a cinema tent and various other exciting spectacles too.

 

However, while the booking of the likes of the well regarded wordsmith that is Scroobius Pip and popular Free Staters Republic of Loose are undoubted aces up the organiser’s sleeve, it’s the NI acts that interest us the most and Sunflower Fest has assembled a great mix of artists from all walks of life. Some of the must see turns include Ben Glover, Fighting with Wire, Duke Special, Nasa Assassin, Lanterns on the Lake, the Bonnevilles, Boss Sound Manifesto and many, many more and the full list can be viewed at sunflowerfest.co.uk. Weekend camping tickets are now onsale for £49 via the Belfast Welcome Centre (as well as other approved outlets) and for a full list check out their official site.

 

Next up, it looks like Stendhal Festival are putting together a pretty stellar bill too. Taking place on Aug 17-18 at the Ballymully Cottage Farm in Limavady, the initial announcement includes Silhouette, the Gorgeous Colours, Axis Of, Furlo, Paddy Nash and the Happy Enchiladas, the Innisowen Gospel Choir and Wookalily and more will be confirmed as the months progress. For further details on the event, including tickets details, check out stendhalfestival.com.

 

Finally this fortnight, by the time you get your grubby mitts on this latest issue, Belfast-based singer/songwriter Michael Kerr will have unleashed his new EP The Australia Fund out into the wild. Influenced by classic tunesmiths such as Tom Petty, Cat Stevens and Van Morrison, the talented troubadour has been making all the right tongues wag of late and you can find out more info on him via his website michaelkerrmusic.com.





Silhouette At The Riff Raff Rooms Newry-Tomorrow Night

21 10 2010

If you’re nowt on tomorrow night, you should head to see the uber-good Silhouette at the Riff Raff Rooms in Newry town. Shauna and Co. have had an amazing 10 months so far and next year things look like they’re going to get even better and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the opportunities right now. If you haven’t caught the band before, they’re an ace mix of avant garde influenced awkward alt-pop and Victory At Sea-esque grandiose clatter and are getting better as the weeks progress. In fact it seems like no time at all when they were debuting the new line-up last year at my 30th birthday show and they’ve really gelled well together in such a (relatively) short space of time.

A few weeks ago I wrote a short piece on the gig for my column in Hot Press, so here’s a reprint. Incidentally, if any bands/promoters want featured in the Hit the North page get in touch. In fact while I’m at it, I’m also looking after the music pages in the Sunday Life for the next few months too, so if you want your gig featured there give us a shout  on here, Facebook, Twitter, or, if you’re that way inclined-you can talk to me via the medium of dance.

But enough waffling, here’s the Hot Press column and the poster for tomorrow’s gig. If I’m not covering a show elsewhere I should be down at this too, so come say hello. I’ll be the grumpy looking bloke with too many tattoos.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Ever since time began (well, the 80s) this writer’s homeland of Newry has been a bit of a wasteland when it comes to offering some much-needed teenage kicks. While the 60s and 70s saw the likes of Lizzy, U2 and Gallagher tread the town’s boards, (Rory that is, not those two eijits from Manchester) it seemed that the initial spark of a burgeoning live music scene unfortunately fizzled out like a firework that’s been left out in the rain. All is not lost though, as the good people involved with the Riff Raff Rooms have been steadily building up a reputation for themselves as the taste-makers of the border town and have made some excellent bookings in recent months which have whetted Hot Presses collective appetite and marked them out as ones to watch over the months ahead.

Part of the venture’s current appeal lies in their recent union with the 27 Club. Already a staple event in Warrenpoint, the club is masterminded by Beat Poets’ tub thumper Mark Dinsmore and has featured everyone from NI heavyweights And So I Watch You From Afar to General Fiasco over the years and it looks like they’re planning to repeat that success in Newry. Kicking off the union with a gig on Oct 22 by the insanely talented (and arguably one of the best performers in the country right now) Silhouette, there are also plans for shows from the whiskey-soaked lunatics that are Here Comes the Landed Gentry on Nov 19 and the always impressive Cashier No. 9 too and we’d like to wish them every success in the world.

Speaking of success, the annual local band love-in that is Glasgowbury has once again been nominated for several categories in the UK Festival Awards. Paddy Glasgow and Co. are in the running for Best Small Festival and the Grassroots Award (which are voted for by Joe Public via http://uk.festivalawards.com/) as well as the industry selected Promoter of the Year and Line-Up of the Year and fingers crossed they’ll come away with something as we’d love to see the lads channel their inner Halle Berry for their acceptance speeches.

Finally, NI’s all-conquering kings of metal Gacys Threads have announced that they will launch their second EP ‘Wolf Brigade’ with a gig on the night before Hallowe’en at the Pavilion in Belfast. Having supported the likes of Fear Factory, Cancer Bats and August Burns Red in the past, the band’s star has been in ascendance this year and the new four track release leaves us hungry to hear a full length LP from them. For more info check out www.myspace.com/gacysthreads.





News From The North Weeks 61 and 62

7 09 2010

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Belfast-based riff behemoths LaFaro continue to steamroll their way to the top of the NI band food chain this fortnight with the announcement that they’re set to play at this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals. The four-piece will appear at the BBC Introducing stage and perform at Leeds on August 28 and Reading the following day. Also playing on those days are Blink 182 and Weezer, but since both those bands disappeared up their own bum holes years ago you’ve no excuse not to check out Johnny Black and Co. In other LaFaro news, the boys have been chosen to support seminal post hardcore heroes Helmet on their first European tour in yonks. Taking place over the months of November and December, the boys play Belgium, Holland and more and we can’t think of a better support act for Page Hamilton’s crew.

Turning our attentions to festivals at home, the always entertaining Joe Echo (plus full band) are slated to appear at this year’s Electric Picnic. After wowing the crowds at Oxegen, Mr Echo is all set to repeat that success with a performance on September 3, which also just so happens to be the release date of his new single ‘Tilly’s Cowboy’ and mighty fine it is too.

 If the recent gig by Iron Maiden and upcoming Irish dates by Guns ‘N’ Roses have whetted your appetites for destruction (see what we did there?) then check out the brand spanking new rock night called Hanger 18 which launches in the Pavilion bar in Belfast on August 20. Promising a slightly heavier music policy (think Pantera rather than Poison) the night begins at 9.30pm and rumours of a reduced cover charge being offered for anyone turning up in a patch-laden denim and leather outfit aren’t confirmed at the time of going to press (we joke because we care). The organisers are also planning another rock night called Redeemer (which is sponsored by Scuzz TV and Metal Hammer magazine) in the same venue and that kicks off on August 28 too.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Sludge loving post punks Comply or Die have re-entered the studio this fortnight to begin work on the follow up to their epic self-titled debut album. Early reports indicate the band are experimenting with longer song structures-albeit delivered in their own unique louder than everyone else fashion-and bassist Ian Pearce tells us that some of the new material is being ear-marked for an up-coming split cassette (remember them? No? Just me then…) with the Slomatics. Comply or Die are also gearing up to play a secret gig in a half finished bungalow which boasts an adjoining medieval graveyard in early September too. At the moment the trio are keeping the exact details to themselves, though we do know that it’s near Ballymoney and if you bribe their singer Michael with enough Icarus Line singles, then he’ll sing like a canary.

The mighty Trucker Diablo have just released their new record The Devil Rhythm and you’ll be pushed to hear a better classic rock album all year. Already a hit with their faithful followers, the album can be bought from the band directly at www.myspace.com/truckerdiablo. In other TD news, the boys have featured in a recent Facebook campaign to get them to support Thin Lizzy when they play in Belfast next February. Click on http://www.facebook.com/TruckerDiabloSupportPage if you’d like to see the riff monsters share the stage with Ricky Warwick and Co.

This September, the North Coast’s Under Stars & Gutters aim to beat those back to school blues by re-releasing their whole catalogue for free via American label Death To False Hope Records. While there are no official dates available at the time of going to press, keep checking www.myspace.com/deathtofalsehoperecords for punky goodness.

Speaking of new releases, the Beat Poets have penciled in October 4 for the launch date of their new single ‘Gravity.’ While we haven’t heard the recorded version of the tune yet, we’re sure it’ll repeat the success of their mainstream breakthrough track ‘One By One.’ The Poets’ VM Records labelmates Silhouette are also celebrating the news that their superb single ‘Volume Destroyed’ has just been added to Cool FM’s daytime radio playlist. Shauna Tohill and Co. will be joining the likes of Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon and the Killers on the airwaves and we can’t think of a better act to show the mainstream pop/rock world just how it’s done. For more news on Silhouette and the Beat Poets check out VM Records’ website at www.myspace.com/vexedmusicrecords.





Church of Noise 5

23 06 2010

Here’s a reprint of Church of Noise 5 that ran in issue 199 of the  Big List.

Church of Noise

Local music news

Earlier this year, your humble correspondent made his way down to the Square Peg in Warrenpoint to help out judging a battle of the bands. With six acts on the bill and the prize worth £2500 it was a tough decision choosing a winner, but ultimately we gave the nod to Silhouette (AKA Shauna Tohill and her band of musical marauders). This month she releases her new single ‘Volume Destroyed’ on May 24 via VM Records (which was part of her prize) and while we have yet to hear a copy at the time of going to print, we’re sure it’s an amazing piece of work. Produced by knob twiddler extraordinaire Neal Calderwood, the release coincides with a full-on Irish tour and Shauna has also planned a special party in Belfast on May 29 to officially launch the slab of wax so keep your eyes peeled on www.myspace.com/silhouetteofficial. Here’s hoping she saves us some cake.

 Remember how a few issues back we mentioned the new Take it to the Bridge festival in Banbridge (www.takeittothebridge.info)? Well it seems like the organisers have scored a bit of a coo as they’ve managed to bag themselves the Futureheads to headline the day (not literally of course, as that would be illegal). Yes readers, the Sunderland-based affecionados of tight jeans and spiky riffs are making their way over for the bash on July 3 and a little birdy tells us that our mention of the chicken burgers from Friar Tuck’s was what ultimately sealed the deal for the four-piece…

News reaches us this issue that Derry’s dance supremos Japanese Popstars have inked a deal with the mighty EMI/Virgin records. Now that they’re backed by possibly one of the largest labels in the universe, their as yet untitled second record (out June 5) should see the trio become one of the biggest acts on the scene today and we can’t think of a band more deserving. Staying with the trio for a second, they release a new single called ‘Destroy’ on May 28 and it features vocals by legendary funk punk warbler Jon Spencer (from the Blues Explosion) and very good it is too. Expect Decky and Co. to be announcing festival dates soon as they slowly unveil their plans for global domination.

Finally, if you’ve even the slightest interest in punk rock, local history, or even (gasp) politics, then we urge you to check out the fantastic documentary about the much missed venue/youth centre Giros, which was lovingly put together by NVTV. For those (like this writer) who didn’t grow up in Belfast during the 80s and 90s and also for those who perhaps have never heard the name before, Giros was a much needed home away from home for hundreds of punks and alternative kids over the years and provided a space for gigs and spoken word performances and also featured a vegetarian/vegan café. While the building closed in 2004, its spirit still lives on in some of the original volunteers and the documentary features some great interviews from the old guard and it’s well worth a watch. Check it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7R_tJpihHs.

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

Edwin





Silhouette-Volume Destroyed

29 05 2010

I saw the video today for Silhouette’s amazing new single ‘Volume Destroyed’ and thought I’d post it up here as a wee treat. A great video for an amazing track.