NME Review Of The Joy Formidable Live In Belfast

25 06 2010

The Joy Formidable

Spring and Airbrake, Belfast, Saturday, May 29

Shuffling onstage amid a wall of ear-buggering feedback, Welsh/English trio the Joy Formidable roll up their metaphorical sleeves and get straight down to business this evening, quickly serving up huge slabs of suicide rock “like they used to make in the ‘90s.” Yeah, their recycled sound borrows heavily from Veruca Salt and the Juliana Hatfield Three’s songbook, but the pure power pop suss of ‘Cradle’ and crowd favourite ‘Popinjay’ ensures that there’s more to the band than furious riffs and a front-lady who looks a little bit like (whisper it) Kim Gordon in her youth.

And while they’ve yet to unleash their debut offering (that’ll be happening later on in the year we’re told), a respectable smattering of the crowd sing along to every word of EVERY song as the pit heroes at the front throw the kind of mad shapes you’d expect at a party round Leatherface’s gaff. ‘Austere’ in particular (culled from their mini-album ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’) is a portent for the greatness to come and it boasts a sugar sweet melody coupled with a riff that’s fuzzier than a billy-goat’s bum. If Ritzy Bryan and Co. can make a record full of songs as good as that, then surely superstardom beckons. Either way, as it stands right now, we’re mad about the Joy. Edwin McFee

Advertisements




Big Gig 8-Friday, Nov 27

16 11 2009





Kill It Kid-NME Review

14 10 2009

Earlier this summer NME asked me to head down to the Spring and Airbrake and review up and coming types Kill It Kid (who were tops). A few weeks ago I also handled the review of their debut and here’s a reprint.

KILL IT KID

KILL IT KID

(ONE LITTLE INDIAN)

8/10

In many ways Kill It Kid going all 19th century on their debut is quite endearing. With the charts currently full of females foisting future sounds onto the masses, this Bath-based five-piece are bucking the trend with glee, making music for the misfits and giving us delicious little murder ballads (‘Private Idaho’) that seem more suited to a forgotten era than the day-glo obsessed 21st century. What makes the bluegrass and ragtime rhythms work is their skill at crafting a song though. The surging ‘Burst Its Banks’ is full of drama, the boy/girl duets between Chris Turpin and Steph Ward are just the right side of sweet and the stabbing fiddles and honky tonk piano parts add just the right amount of spice. Impressive stuff. Edwin McFee

DOWNLOAD: ‘Private Idaho’





Residual Effect

30 09 2009

So I’m back from Portugal, feeling slightly frazzled and dog-eared. I’ll post up some pics of Eddie’s Bar soonish, but for now, here’s a transcript of an interview with the mighty Residual Effect who are playing the Big Gig 6(66)  this Friday and if you’ve even the slighest interest in punk rock or metal then come down. It’s only 4 brick in and we’d love to see you there.

Residual Effect

For the last five years Residual Effect have reigned as one of Ireland’s high kings of metal and on Oct 2 they headline the Big Gig 6(66). This issue we met up with the band’s singer Micky Higgins to hear what it’s like being on the frontlines of the metal scene, why cops in Birckenhead don’t like Judas Priest and how tubs of butter can spontaneously combust in the so-called Crystal County.  

Ok, let’s start at the start-tell us the secret origin of Residual Effect. 

“Well, myself, Willie [Caulfield, guitars] and Anto [McKee, bass] formed Residual Effect from the ashes of Spindrift (remember them?) back in 2004. We’d taken a year off and were itching to get gigging again. We knew Antony Weston [drums 2004-2007] was free and Andy McCallister [guitar] was too, so we arranged a practice and it started there. For the first year or so we were driving to Dublin and back twice a week for practice. It was tough going.”

How’s the new(ish) drummer settling in?

“Gerry [Gallagher] came on board last April after Antony decided he wanted to do other things. He’d been a fan of the band already and knew the songs so he slotted right in. It’s worked well so far!”

 

We’ve heard rumours of a new EP. How’s it coming along?

“Yeah, we haven’t recorded in nearly three years! We’re working on a debut album, it’ll be a full length with 10 tracks. We’ve played some of the tracks live so people will be familiar with them, but the rest we’re keeping under wraps. We’re at the stage where we’re looking at studios and producers to work with-it’s an exciting time.”

 

What’s been your favourite gig of the year so far?

 “My personal favorite in the past 12 months was playing with Raging Speedhorn in the Bunker last October. It was their last ever tour and had a lot of sentimental value for me. We’ve been friends since they started out and we’ve played with them many times over the years. It was a good way to go out.”

 

And what’s been the most memorable (for the wrong reasons) over the last five years?

“Can I have more than one answer to this?! Going on stage in Blackburn to no-one but the barman two years ago was pretty grim. Getting our van clamped in Dublin when we supported Soulfly in 2006 and using our first proper gig pay to unclamp it was another memorable one and having the local constabulary raid a gig in Birkenhead (same tour as Blackburn) whilst we were two songs into a set and threaten to arrest Willie for playing the riff to ‘Breaking the Law’ was something we won’t forget. Yeah, we’ve had a few moments…….”

 

What about these rumours about tubs of butter spontaneously combusting during you appearance at the Lowend Festival in Waterford….?

“Haha, damn the internet for rumours! You’d best ask another Belfast band about that, who don’t ‘sit down!’ We spent the whole weekend in the local church praying for everyone’s souls. Honestly……”

 

What was the one moment growing up where you decided you wanted to be in a band?

“I’d always wanted to be in a band, from I was a wee lad rocking out to ‘Appetite for Destruction.’ Then I was kind of thrown into it, I started out playing the drums when I was 15 because my friend’s band needed a drummer. I had my kit for a week and we played our first gig in the Rosetta in December 1994. I quickly decided I was pretty crap at it, so then I decided to try singing, I’m still deciding if I’m crap or not.”

 

Do the Residual boys get along with the rest of the Irish metal scene? Do you feel like you fit in?

“We might, ahem, possibly have a bit of a reputation for enjoying ourselves too much… but seriously though, I think we get on great with most people. They might not all like or enjoy the music we make and play, but if the dedication and feeling behind it is similar then we have something to talk about. The Irish metal scene has its many genres and sub-genres, but it’s a great community. We’ve never cared about fitting in though, it’s never been about that. If you’re in a band and that’s all you worry about-you’re in the wrong game.” 

 

Personally this writer feels it’s about time the Big List put on a metal and punk gig. How do you feel about playing a show which roots aren’t strictly in the metal scene?

 “It’s a good thing. These things should happen more often in Belfast because there’s A LOT of talent hiding out there and this sort of gig is the perfect exposure. There’s gigs like these almost every night in other parts of the UK and they work. We’re really looking forward to it and we’re really grateful for the chance to play. Oh, and I promise we’ll behave…..”

Residual Effect, the Lobotomies and Gacys Threads play the Big Gig 6(66) on Oct 2 in the Spring and Airbrake. Admission is £4. For more information visit www.myspace.com/residualeffect.





Guilty Pleasures-the Lobotomies

25 09 2009

Next week (Friday October 2, homes) the Lobotomies, Residual Effect and Gacys Threads play the Big Gig 6(66) in the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast. Now I know you’ll all be at it, but here’s a Guilty Pleasures piece I did with one of my favourite punk bands the Lobotomies to plug the show that I thought you might like to read.  

GUILTY PLEASURES

Everyone’s got at least one skeleton in their closet and musicians are no different. Each month at the Big List we aim to find out just what they are and expose them to the nation. This month we’ve the Lobotomies singer/guitarist Kev Bones confesses to having a crush on chav loving popstrel Lily Allen. Enjoy.

“Guilty pleasures you say? This is a difficult one indeed. I play in a hardcore punk band and punk audiences unfortunately are among the most (dare I say it) narrow minded in the world when it comes to genre acceptance. Therefore a large amount of what I listen to could be considered a guilty pleasure in the eyes of those who live by the rules of punk rock 101.

Thankfully I’ve never been one to care much about other people’s opinions on my music tastes, but I can admit to feeling a little bit guilty about listening to a few bits and pieces…

Right so, it’s confession time. I’m going to come straight out and say I absolutely adore Lilly Allen. Ok, maybe she first caught my attention for reasons other than her musical talent but then after a proper listen I realized I genuinely liked her tunes too. Her first single ‘The Fear’ from her second album is a complete gem. It drew me in and I decided to check out the rest of the record and much to my surprise (and horror) I loved it! These days when I discover new music it’s mostly obscure ear-drum bashing American hardcore or thought provoking political folk singers, not English pop stars. My inner crusty punk is telling me “Don’t listen to this corporate drivel, it’s meaningless, mass produced and probably completely manufactured,” but I do listen to it anyway and I bloody love it.

Oh dear, a few punk rock scene points lost. I suppose the only thing I didn’t feel guilty about was downloading both her albums for free. I mean I’ve admitted to thinking she’s genius but I still don’t think she needs my money!”

 The Lobotomies play the Big Gig 6(66) on Oct 2 alongside Residual Effect and Gacys Threads at the Spring and Airbrake. They also launch their album ‘Big Bang Hangover’ with a gig at the Pavilion on Oct 23. www.myspace.com/thelobotomies.