Interview: Therapy? (Sunday Life)

26 11 2012

Here’s a reprint of an interview I did with Therapy? for the Sunday Life that ran ahead of their Gifted Live show.

As Sunday Life is a newspaper, you have to write in a different style but I enjoy the change of pace and indeed discipline.It keeps things interesting. Anywho, I’ve also added the video for the boys’ new single ‘Before You, With You, After You’ that was filmed on the night.I’m sure if you hit pause at the right time you can probably see my mush in there too,so there’s a bonus treat for you…

If you happen to live in the UK, Therapy? are out on tour right now, so if you bump into them, buy them a pint of Black Milk and tell them your pal Edwin says hello.

Return of the Kings

This Thursday night sees local legends Therapy? return to these shores to play a headline show at the Empire Music Hall in Belfast. Part of the monthly Gifted Live showcase gigs, which is are broadcast live online at, the evening features the cream of Ulster talent (such as Fighting with Wire and Silhouette) and the Larne/Ballyclare born band are eager to make the event a home-coming to remember, as bassist Michael McKeegan explained when Sunday Life caught up with him.

“It’s always good to be back in Northern Ireland playing and we’re all chuffed to be doing the Gifted Live show as apparently it goes out live online, so we’ll have fans watching from all over the world at the same time as the show is happening, so that’s a new one for us. Also, there’s a ton of other killer NI acts playing as well, so it should be quite a night.”

Currently enjoying life as the God-Fathers of the NI music scene, the iconic act have become one of our most popular and well-regarded exports over the last two decades. At the moment the trio, who are completed by singer/guitarist Andy Cairns and drummer Neil Cooper, are touring the length and breadth of Europe in support of their critically acclaimed 13th album ‘A Brief Crack Of Light’ and Michael reveals that it’s not just the boys’ musical chops which are winning rave reviews these days, it’s their football skills as well.

“Probably one of the highlights of the summer festival season was non-music related,” recalled Michael. “We supported Linkin Park at an old airfield just outside Moscow and as Euro 2012 was in full flow, the national TV channel asked us (jokingly, I think) if we wanted to play in their onsite five-a-side football tournament. We’d just performed an hour long set in the blazing sun, but fancied a go at it anyway, so we joined in. Even though it was a bit hectic, we managed to win the thing, beating Russia’s equivalent of the Red Arrows (no joke) in the final. You should’ve seen their faces getting beaten by us lot.”

“The rest of the festivals were all universally great this year,” he continued. “We’re lucky in that we can appear on quite ‘heavy’ festival bills and then also on more diverse ones with pop and electronic artists. Two Austrian shows with Billy Idol were particularly good and he had a super cool band and crew and we also did a show with Tricky in Luxembourg which was great as I’d never seen him live before.”

This year also saw Therapy? headline the Glasgowbury festival in Eagle’s Rock, Co. Derry and for Michael (whose band helped scores of Ulster acts break into the mainstream throughout the nineties and beyond) topping the bill at an all-local event was a particularly proud moment.

“Glasgowbury was a lot of fun,” he said. “We’d been looking forward to that show for ages and the crowd and atmosphere didn’t disappoint. It was definitely one of the best, most memorable festivals we’ve done over the years and fair play to the organisers for inviting us up. Also, special mention must go to Alan Lynn from LaFaro who was filling in for our drummer Neil, who was on ‘paternity leave’ at the time. Alan did an amazing show with LaFaro, then walked over to our stage and went straight into a 60 minute set with us, pausing only to change his shirt. I don’t think he could walk for a week afterwards.”

With their ever increasing back catalogue quite rightly establishing Therapy? as bona fide national treasures, the band’s genre-straddling, almost un-pigeonhole-able sound has won them followers from numerous sub-cultures, but even Michael confesses he was surprised when it was revealed that British soul singer Any Winehouse was a fan of the band during the recent BBC4 Arena documentary The Day She Came To Dingle.

“I always knew Amy was into a broad range of music but yeah, that was indeed a bit of a shock to hear she’d listened to us as a teenager,” he said. “Likewise, Therapy? were all fans of hers too. She was an amazingly talented artist and her passing was a massive loss for decent music.”


Therapy? headline Gifted Live at the Empire Belfast on Thursday, October 4. Tickets cost £10 from Ticketmaster and the gig will be broadcast on


Edwin McFee


i Music July 24

26 07 2011

Last Sunday I looked after John McGurk’s music pages in the Sunday Life, so here’s a wee reprint. It’s always fun writing the spread and I was happy to see it plugged on the front page.

i Music with Edwin McFee

Iron Maiden 

By the time you read this, heavy metal demi-gods Iron Maiden will have just started the leg of their most extensive British tour in years. A veritable institution these days, the band have sold a staggering 80million records to date, currently fly around in their own customised plane (which is captained by the singer Bruce Dickinson and has been dubbed Ed Force One after their zombie-fied mascot Eddie), have seen their 15th studio album ‘The Final Frontier’ enter number one in the album charts of 30 different countries (including the UK) and once they reach Belfast in ten days time they’ll have performed to a whopping two million fans worldwide on their current tour.

While the six-piece continue to receive little in the way of radio-play and mainstream media coverage, they remain one of the most successful bands of this or any other generation and the “family-oriented” attitude of their fans’ (which range from six to 60 year olds) help make their shows a one of a kind experience. On Wednesday, August 3, the legends return to Northern Ireland 15 and a half years on from their gig at the Maysfield Leisure Centre for a performance in the somewhat roomier Odyssey Arena and in many ways this full-on UK tour is a thank-you from the band for their followers’ years of support. Clearly excited to be trekking around his old stomping grounds, Maiden’s bassist, founder and main creative force Steve Harris had this to say on the subject

 “Everything in the Maiden camp has been so full on these last five years or so that we haven’t travelled around the UK to play for our home fans for almost that long. These fans supported us by coming to Twickenham Stadium, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Download and more recently Sonisphere, so we thought we should get off our backsides and do the travelling this time and get round the country to see them all. We very much look forward to playing all four home countries and a couple of places we haven’t been for a very long time- Aberdeen and Belfast!

“We intend to take the full stadium show into the UK arenas and fit everything we possibly can into each venue,” he concludes. “The set list will be different to last year’s tour. Of course we will play more songs from the new album and some other recent material, but we intend to include a healthy dose of older fan favourites too for those who haven’t seen us before, plus a spectacular light show and stage set, not forgetting, of course, …Eddie!”

Iron Maiden plays the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Wednesday August 3. Tickets for the show range from £41.50-£46.50 and are available from Ticketmaster. Support comes from Dragonforce and doors open at 6.30pm.


Tonight If, like this writer, you’re spending your Sunday lying in a muddy field in the Sperrin Mountains (and they say this job is glamourous…?) then you’ll be pleased to learn that the organisers of the previous day’s Glasgowbury Festival are putting on a gig tonight in the Cellar Bar, Draperstown for those with no homes to go to. Aptly dubbed-Glasgowbury: the Aftermath, the local line-up (TBC at the time of going to press) is sure to sate your thirst for live music and admission is £5. Here’s hoping complimentary Alca-Seltzers are provided on the house…

Monday Gigs are thin on the ground on Monday in the wake of Glasgowbury, but if you’re still hungry for music-based hi-jinks check out the Alternative Pub Quiz in Katy Daly’s, Belfast. The fun starts at 9pm and entry is £1.

Tuesday This Tuesday we predict many a Mod fan will be dusting off their Vespa’s for a trip down to Dublin to see the Who’s Roger Daltrey perform the near-mythic rock opera Tommy in its entirety. Taking place in Marlay Park, tickets range from E39.50-E44.50 and are available from Ticketmaster. While we’re not sure if the leather-lunged singer still has the pipes to belt out the big hits, we’ve no doubt that he can still play a mean pinball (I’ll get my coat..).

Wednesday Hailed by Christy Moore as one of the best songwriters to emerge in the last ten years, acoustic troubadour John Spillane visits Belfast tonight for a gig in the Black Box. Admission is £10 and doors open at 7pm.

Thursday Duke Special performs in the relatively cosy confines of Sandino’s in Derry this Thursday night for a hugely anticipated show. Admission is £12, doors open at 9pm and if you’re in the area this gig is a must-see.

Friday Fresh from their chuckle-some performance at this year’s Oxegen, Limerick-based lunatics the Rubber Bandits bring their show to the Stiff Kitten in Belfast on Friday night. Admission is £12 and tickets can be bought via Doors open at 9pm.

Saturday This Saturday Belfast-based alt-pop singer John D’Arcy performs for free at Head Records in Victoria Square, Belfast. Kicking off at 2pm the bill also includes Feldberg, Southern and Dr Lilt.



This week i Music would like to offer our sympathies to Belfast-bound pop-stress Katy Perry. In a recent posting on Facebook the singer revealed that’s she’s been struck down with a nasty case of food poisoning and has been forced to reschedule a couple of dates on the American leg of her tour. At the moment the star who famously confessed to kissing a girl and liking it (me too! We have so much in common…) is currently celebrating shifting over 1 million copies of her new single ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ in the U.S. alone and we’re assured that by the time Oct 24 rolls around she’ll be ready to rock the Odyssey for her sold out show. Best keep her away from any suspicious looking potato bread just in case though, eh….?

New offerings this week include Joss Stone imaginatively titled comeback album ‘LP1’ and teen sensation Justin Bieber’s DVD Never Say Never (we’ve refusing to make any jokes about that one for fear of being hounded on Twitter for the next decade) but if it’s pure power pop at its best you’re after then check out local tunesmith John D’Arcy latest (and greatest) new single ‘Barcelona,’ which is available via all major downloading platforms as well as from his official site

i Music June 12

13 06 2011

Every so often I look after music spread in the Sunday Life for my good friend John McGurk and it’s always good fun to write. Here’s a reprint on my pages from yesterday.

i Music with Edwin McFee


This week, hot on the heels of his recent win at the Ivor Norvello Awards, i Music caught up with Villagers mainman Conor J. O’Brien in Belfast ahead of his performance at Custom House Square on June 25 as part of the always entertaining Open House Festival. A shy and soft-spoken character, the unassuming singer/songwriter is an insanely hot property in the music world at the moment thanks to his swoon-some debut album ‘Becoming A Jackal’ and he told us he can’t wait to once again perform in front of his ever-growing legion of Ulster fans.

“I’m thrilled to be playing at the Open House Festival in a few weeks time with Fleet Foxes and the Low Anthem,” he smiled between bites of his sandwich. “I played the festival last year and it was hands down easily one of my favourite shows I’ve ever done-so I can’t wait to do it again. Hopefully, it’ll be just as good.”

With a sterling line-up and (hopefully) some good weather on the cards, Villagers’ latest gig has all the hallmarks of being an absolute triumph and, after scooping the gong for ‘Best Song Musically And Lyrically’ for the single ‘Becoming A Jackal,’ expect Conor and Co. to steal the show.

“I still can’t believe I won the Ivor Norvello,” offered the critically acclaimed songwriter. “Luckily we were on tour in the UK at the time and we got to go and pick up the award in person, so that was fun. I got to do a somewhat awkward speech too and then we were back in the tour bus and that was that, but it’s always nice to know that people out there appreciate what you do.”

With tentative plans already being made for their second album, expect many more people to “appreciate what they do” over the months ahead. Catch them while you can.

Fleet Foxes, Villagers and the Low Anthem perform at Custom House Square in Belfast on June 25 as part of the Open House Festival. Tickets for the event cost £38.50 and are available via Gates open at 7.30pm.


Tonight According to our spies located in pharmacies all across the country, sales of hair spray has shot up by nearly 100 per cent this past week and that can mean only one thing-80s poodle rockers Journey and Foreigner are back in town. Performing at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast tonight, both bands are promising to play the hits and it should be a fun evening of nostalgia is you’re into that kind of thing. Tickets range from £44-£46 and are available from Ticketmaster and doors open at 6.30pm.

Monday There’s not much happening across the Province on the live music front on Monday, so our advice is to check out the Katy Daly’s Alternative Pub Quiz in Belfast if you’re still looking for tune-based shenanigans. It’s a pound to enter and starts around 9pm.

Tuesday One of the front-runners of the thrash-punk scene back in the land before time (ok, it was during the 80s) D.R.I. blazed a trail that many are still following to this day and on Tuesday night you can catch the reformed rockers give the young ‘uns a much needed history lesson when they play the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast. Tickets are £15 and available from Ticketmaster and doors open at 7.30pm.

Wednesday Nu-grunge types Dinosaur Pile-Up play the Speakeasy in Belfast this Wednesday night and while they can’t promise any real live T-Rex’s, they can guarantee colossal riffs aplenty. Doors open at 6pm and tickets (which are available from Ticketmaster) cost £8.

Thursday Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller guitarist Steve Cradock rekindles his love affair with Belfast for another show at the Spring and Airbrake this Thursday and the gig is a must if you’re of a Mod persuasion. Tickets are £14 and can be obtained from all Ticketmaster outlets and doors are at 8.30pm.

Friday Three hotly tipped local up and comers by the names of Event Horses, B.O.Y. and Tied To Machines take a trip to South Down this weekend to play a gig in the Hideout in Warrenpoint and it should be a great show by all accounts. Admission is £5 and everything kicks off at 9.30pm.

Saturday Those much loved peddlers of eccentric indie sounds Gomez return to Belfast on Saturday for a show at the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast. Support comes from Little Comets, doors open at 8.30pm and tickets (which are available from Ticketmaster) cost £17.


This week Oxegen-bound singer (and arguably the most exciting British pop artist of her generation) Jessie J has hit out at some of the more (ahem) creative people in the press for making up stories about her that just aren’t true. Taking her crusade to Twitter, the ‘Price-Tag’ singer tweeted:

 “I have had a tough week according to the press. I’ve been in a plane crash, I’m having a baby and now I’m in hospital after an accident in rehearsals. Can I smell Bulls***? Can I smell rumours? Can I smell lies? Can I smell get a job and stop making stuff up?”

Y’know, if we were that way inclined we’d probably say something like “You go girl,” at this point, but we’re not, so instead we’ll tell you that the starlet (alongside the likes of Beyonce, the Black Eyed Peas, Ke$ha, Coldplay and more) plays the Oxegen Festival in Punchestown on July 8-10 and more information on the bash is available via We’ll see you there.

Next up, the lovely people involved with the Belsonic festival at Custom House Square in Belfast have unveiled the names of their final two headliners for the summer and they are (*insert drum roll here*) urban superstar Tinie Tempah (who performs on August 22) and house DJ Tiesto (on August 26). Both acts join the already confirmed Beady Eye, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Dizzee Rascal, Primal Scream, Elbow, Plan B and the Specials (as well as full supporting bills) and full ticket details for each day are available via

Therapy? Poster

18 09 2009

Yesterday I called down to the Sunday Life offices to collect a present that my friend (and one of Ireland’s best newspaper journalists) John McGurk picked up for me a few months back.Now John is a cool cat and is easily one of the nicest and most genuine people in the media and needless to say his present was great (an old school Therapy? poster). I have to say it is one of the most thoughtful presents I’ve ever received, so just thought I’d post a picture below. Thanks John!