News From The North Week 108

7 09 2012

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


Words: Edwin McFee

First up this fortnight, I’d like to introduce you all to a (relatively) brand spanking new band from Derry called Making Monsters that recently have set my “ace new band senses” a-tingling (well, I hope that was my “ace new band senses…..”). Indulging their inner Jean Grey and rising phoenix-like from the ashes from No Mean City and Hybrid, the female-fronted four-piece have just launched their self-titled EP and it’s recommended for fans of neck bothering, hook-laden metal. Available to buy via their website ( and at gigs, the opus is worth the price of admission alone for the final two cuts ‘Sink Or Swim’ and ‘This Snake Bites’ and they stand as some of the best local tuneage I’ve heard all year. The former is a punchy, pit anthem that has a chorus to die for, while the latter is as venomous as a bite from the walking dead (and reminds this writer of ‘Head South’ by Pretty Girls Make Graves) and both feature jaw droppingly good vocals from Emma Gallagher. In short-check them out.


Next up, as I’m writing this latest missive, like many other readers, I’m regularly thigh deep in mud whilst clad in an always fetching poncho at the moment. Now before any wags leap to the conclusion that I’m trying out a new life choice inspired by 50 Shades Of Grey (#topical) I should remind you all that we’re now at the mid-way point of festival season, hence the garb. So, with that in mind, here’s a brief update on some of the north’s up-coming open air events.


Over the last few months there have been more additions to the Sunflower Fest, Hillsborough which takes place on Aug 17-19. Some of the added acts include Pocket Billiards, Runaway Go, Grainne Duffy, Clown Parlour, NI Soul Troop, Colum Sands, Suzanne Savage, Indigo Fury, the Delfinos, Yellow Car No Return, the Red Velvetines, Malaika, Bernadette Morris, the Couth, Axis Of, the Urges, My Fellow Sponges and Concrete Circus and you can check out the full line-up here


Finally this issue, if you fancy being the last act added to the Stendhal Festival in Limavady (Aug 17-18) you better get your metaphorical skates on. Their Facebook page ( are letting the public choose who will play alongside a line-up which already features Henry McCullough, Mundy, Mojo GoGo and more and your deadline is Aug 1. With the likes of Empty Lungs, Uber Glitterati and others all battling it out for a spot, it looks like no matter what the out-come-the public wins (yes, I went there).

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.


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


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


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 The organisers are also letting the general public choose which act receives the final slot on the line-up via their Facebook page ( 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

News From The North 103

12 06 2012

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


Words: Edwin McFee

Over the last few months music lovers in the north have been treated to a veritable treasure trove of ear-gasm inducing line-up announcements from various festivals dotted all around the six counties. With Pigstock, Stendhal and more really stepping up and putting together some great bills, many people were left wondering what the grand-daddy of them all that is Glasgowbury would had in store this year. Well, ponder no more loyal readers, as Paddy Glasgow and his team have proved once again that they’ve got more surprises up their sleeve than Paul Daniels and this year’s bash is looking like it’ll be the best yet.

Taking place in Eagle’s Rock, Co. Derry on July 21, the headliners will be none other than NI national treasures Therapy? and this writer couldn’t be happier to see one of the north’s most iconic and important bands close proceedings in style. Also on the bill are the Japanese Popstars, LaFaro, Our Krypton Son, the Wonder Villains, Farriers and a veritable shed-load more and you can view the up to date line-up on Tickets for the festival are on sale now via and are priced at £40 for the Bear Grylls types among you who want to camp and £30 for general admission.

Speaking of Farriers, the well thought of alt country/Americana/roots/Irish trad types are currently gearing up to release their debut album ‘Years Ago In Our Backyard’ on May 27. Elephant minded readers will remember we told you that the band opted to fund the record by offering bespoke packages such as signed albums and one-off performances etc to their fans in return for their moolah (as part of the Pledge scheme) and the tactic paid off in spades as they raised £4445 in total. Featuring ten tracks of sweet and tender tune-age, Farriers officially launch the opus with a gig in the Black Box, Belfast on May 27 with special guests, Gareth Dunlop and Three Blind Wolves. For more information visit

Finally this issue, the always incendiary Bee Mick See is releasing his debut album ‘Tales Of Self Preservation Gone Wrong’ on May 25 and if you’re a fan of super-charged, punk infused hip hop then you should check it out. The rapper launches the album in the Hudson, Belfast on May 25 and gig attendees will receive a code to download the record for free so make sure you head down. The video for his beyond awesome new single ‘Punk Hoplican Dissidents’ can be viewed at