17 03 2015

So,issue 900 of Hot Press is out (yes,nine fucking hundred) and this fortnight I interviewed Ripper Street’s Charlene McKenna and hotly tipped singer Natalie Prass,waved a fond farewell to American Horror Story: Freak Show in‪#‎MyTVFortnight‬ and reviewed records by Swervedriver, the Answer and Cry Monster Cry. My ‪#‎TracksOfTheFortnight‬ include offerings from Therapy?, Race The Flux,More Than Conquerors, Paranoid Visions, Joanna Gruesome and more. Here’s to issue 1000.



22 11 2013

As we hurtle towards Crimbo, I plan on whacking up a fair bit of stuff in the coming weeks that sums up 2013, deadlines permitting (yep, key word here is “plan” ).

To kick things off, here’s a piece on Northern Ireland’s very own Grand-Daddy of them all-Glasgowbury, that originally ran in Hot Press during the summer.


The Answer, VerseChorusVerse and organiser Paddy Glasgow offer their thoughts on the final Glasgowbury festival. Edwin McFee is the man raising a glass.


On July 20, 2013 the much-loved, mould-breaking Mecca for Irish music that was Glasgowbury festival finished for the final time. It’s safe to say that the Eagle’s Rock, Co. Derry-based bash has had a massive impact over its 13 year existence, offering many musicians-not just from the north-a platform to perform their wares while also inspiring many other entrepreneurs to try something similar across countless counties on the island. With that in mind, we caught up with Tony Wright AKA VerseChorusVerse (a veteran Glasgowbury performer), Cormac Neeson from the Answer (the final band to play the festival) and of course, the event’s founding father Paddy Glasgow, to talk about the last ever trip to the Sperrins, its legacy and what happens next.


VerseChorusVerse: “Our gig on the Friday went from beginning to end in a glorious musical fashion. The band and I had an absolute blast. Jonny Black (guitar) was even happy at how it went, so that’s gotta count for something! We had people dancing-not moshing-but genuine dancing and people were singing along. Everyone that was in that tent left smiling-including myself and the guys


Looking back over the years, I’ve got so many good Glasgowbury memories to choose from. My first year with my old band was fairly special, as was last year as it was my first solo stint. I’ve got mixed emotions about it all ending. I’m going to miss it terribly, but I’m so thankful of the memories and good times. It was a yearly event in July that promoted togetherness and hope for the future for young and old alike, unlike that other event we have in the north in July, if you get what I mean (at least we still have Pride fest though!).


The festival instilled a real sense of worth into all of us musicians here. They treated us with respect and nurtured us all in a way that few of us had the chance to experience before. It also gave us all a sense of professionalism and self confidence that can be hard for a young band to muster at times. Glasgowbury, thank you. Thank you for everything.”


Cormac Neeson (The Answer): “It was a real honour to draw the whole festival to a close. There was a bit of pressure to do it justice but we got an awful lot of love back from the audience. From the word go there was a big mosh pit going on down the front. We got the Streetwise Samba Band to play with us for our encore on ‘Waste Your Tears’ and it was great to hear them beating out these great rhythms to our song. We closed the festival on a high and there was a lot of mutual love in the air.


I got to see some other acts during the day too. Hurdles were really good summer pop and Wyldling were amazing. [Frontwoman] Jilly St John is fantastic and she really sold her band to me. It’s electro pop and not normally my thing, but her enthusiasm and charisma sucked me in. I’ve a lot of time for a front person who gets onstage and gives it everything they’ve got. They’re definitely ones to watch.


We’ve played Glasgowbury three times in the past. We were there when it was just two tents on a football pitch in 2005-ish, whenever we were very much an upcoming band and Paddy took a chance on us. You could tell even then that it was a festival on the up. He had so much enthusiasm for giving young bands a chance and I’m sure he and his team will have plenty more to say over the years to come.”


Paddy Glasgow: “The final Glasgowbury was absolutely brilliant. It was a time mixed with celebration and a certain amount of sadness in our hearts, but for me we went out on a high and the sun gods shone down on us, which made it even more special. When we first started there weren’t any platforms for music [in NI] outside of the two main cities, but now there’s loads and while I wouldn’t call us trail blazers, someone had to ignite that and someone had to start that ‘can do’ attitude and we did it.


When I went to tourism bodies when we first began, they weren’t interested in anything ‘local’ but now it’s all ‘local.’ There’s local music on their TV adverts and local breaks and gigs are all plugged now too, so maybe the ‘wild mountain man’ was right 13 years ago, eh? [Laughs].


It’s the end of Eagle’s Rock but it’s not the end of the ‘Small But Massive’ ethos. The Glasgowbury group has always been about the musician and what happens in the future…? Well, people might just have to wait a bit to find out. I said it onstage on July 20 and I’ll say it now ‘Look out for a Small But Massive stage near you.’”


News From The North 104

21 06 2012

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

Oh,I have some interesting news for bands from the North next week by the way…


Words: Edwin McFee

First up, I’d like to kick off this fortnight’s column with some Fighting with Wire news that is absolutely fandabbydozy (as the slightly creepy Scottish swingers the Krankies might say). Yes readers, the always awesome Derry trio have signed with London label Xtra Mile Recordings and their second album Colonel Blood will finally arrive on record shop shelves on Sep 24 (insert “whoops of joy” here). Recorded in Nashville in 2010, the band found themselves in a frustrating situation when Atlantic Records (their label at the time) essentially did absolutely nothing for the band and Cahir and Co. were in limbo as a result. After a spell spent pondering hanging it all up and going their separate ways, it would seem that everything’s turned out great for the well thought of rockers as not only have they escaped the clutches of their major label, but they’ve also managed to keep their record too and all you lovely people will be able to buy it this September. Nice one.


Speaking of well thought of rock bands, the absolutely iconic trio that is Ash celebrate their 20th birthday with a party at the Relentless Garage in London on June 17. Hosted by comedian Josie Long, the night looks like it’ll be a veritable ton of fun and any self-respecting acolyte of the pop-punkers should check it out. Happy birthday boys (and occasional girl!) and keep me some cake. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting in a corner and generally feeling grumpy because I recorded over Ash’s first demo back when I was a surly teen.


Next up, staying in county Down (where all the best people hail from *cough*) NI’s kings of classic rock the Answer have announced that they will perform their debut album Rise in its entirety at the Empire, Belfast on July 5. Hosted by the Gifted Live club night, also performing on the evening will be Bee Mick See, David Kitt, the Riptide Movement and Cosmo Jarvis and there’ll be recorded sets from General Fiasco, Shake! and Droids too. Admission is £10 and if you’re too cheap to attend, you can watch it all online at Well, that is if some of you cyber people can tear yourselves away from Tulisa’s home video of course…


Finally, news reaches us that Master and Dog have signed up with Canadian record label Matchless Minds and join a roster that includes The Man Whom, Verse Chorus Verse and Arms of the Girl. Expect their second LP to come out in September.

News From The North 83

27 07 2011

Here’s a reprint of last fortnight’s NI music news column that’s been running in Hot Press for the last 3 and a half years. Will try and post more of these up on a regular basis..


Words: Edwin McFee

Fresh from playing a suitably super sweaty homecoming gig in the cosy confines of Quinn’s in Newcastle on June 30, Glagowbury (and Knebworth) bound long-haired retro rockers the Answer have just announced a string of dates for the rest of Ireland this autumn. Taking in the length and breadth of the island, Cormac and Co.’s latest jaunt sees them go back to their roots somewhat as they continue their preparations for their up-coming third album Revival and the seven date trek will be a treat for anyone who’s always wanted to see the boys in a more intimate setting. Kicking off at Dolan’s, Limerick on Sep 30, the four-piece then move on to Whelan’s, Dublin on Oct 1, Roisin Dubh, Galway on Oct 2, Cyprus Avenue, Cork on Oct 3, the Diamond Rock Club in Ahoghill, the Nerve Centre, Derry on Oct 7 and they finish off the tour in style at the Hideout in Warrenpoint on Oct 8. At the time of going to press, the Answer’s hugely anticipated third album hasn’t got a release date yet, but we’ll keep you posted on their movements over the months ahead.

Next up, promising alt/punk trio Event Horses have had to reschedule the night of their launch gig for their new ep ‘Dance With The Devil.’ Initially planned for June 24, the hard hitting band from Ballycastle have now confirmed that August 9 is the new date for your diary and their venue of choice is the Carrick A Rede bar in Ballintoy, so make sure you check them out if you’re in the area. Event Horses seem to have made all the right tongues wag of late and your humble correspondent is planning on keeping an eye on them as the weeks progress, but in the meantime you can check them out on Facebook at

Finally this fortnight, we thought we’d give you an update on the Sunflowerfest which takes place on Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough from August 19-21. This year’s line-up has expanded since we featured it last and the likes of Trucker Diablo, the Bonnevilles, Silhouette, Roysta, Pay*ola, Kasper Rosa and more have been now added to the bill, making it one of the strongest around. A festival of “love, positivity, tolerance and smiles” the organisers are donating £1 from every ticket sold to the people of Haiti and a further £1 from every weekend ticket to Bernardo’s (NI) which can only be a good thing, really. Yoga, meditation, aroma therapy and workshops are also planned for the event and all the latest ticket details are up on their site ( now.

News from the North week 45

2 12 2009

This fortnight’s Hot Press is on the stands now so here’s a reprint of the previous issue’s NI bands column!


Words: Edwin McFee

On November 30, one of NI’s most promising acts the Beat Poets release their new EP ‘The Making’ via all major download sites and their official online store ( The four track opus is currently played by U105fm and sees the four-piece from Warrenpoint showcase a softer side than we’ve seen before, opting to take their foot off gas for just a moment. The title track is a corker with the (slight) change in direction a welcome one and we heartily recommend you pick it up. The boys are also gearing up for the release of the debut album which comes out next year and features Greg (Manic Street Preachers) Haver, Dave (Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder) Way and Neal (The Answer, Fighting with Wire) Calderwood on knob twiddling duties and this writer for one can’t wait. On December 3 the band will also headline a special, one off showcase at the Spring and Airbrake in Belfast that aims to promote the best of the Newry/Warrenpoint music scene and the lineup features Ozzmium, Forgetting June, Indy Artworx, This Year’s Black and LTR and admission is only £6 so make sure you head down to support them all. Rumours of free Friar Tuck’s snack boxes and Timoney’s ice cream for those who turn up wearing Beat Poets t shirts have yet to be confirmed from the organisers at the time of going to press…

 Fancy the chance to support the high kings of indie synth pop Oppenheimer for their all ages show at the Spring and Airbrake this December 19? Well, all you have to do is email with your band’s details and some MP3’s before November 30 and you could be the lucky winner. The only stipulation Oppenheimer have put in place is that your group must be in their teens, so if you’re in your 30s we advise that you shave off those beards, buy some guy-liner and pretend you’ve had a tough life. Don’t worry, Hot Press has your back. The winner will be announced on December 1 so good luck.

Congrats to local rockers Swanee River who have bagged the much coveted support slot for the Answer’s Ulster Hall gig on December 14. The band kicked more ass than Jean Claude Van Damme at this year’s Glasgowbury so if you’re planning to go to the show make sure you get down early to see them. Tickets for the Answer’s homecoming gig are selling fast, but there are still a few left and you can get your mitts on one for £17 courtesy of Ticketmaster. We’re already dusting down our leather jacket in anticipation.

Hot Summer, What A Bummer Part One

9 10 2009

Now it’s October and it’s as cold as a nun’s nether regions, I thought it might be a good idea to post up some of the festival reviews I did this year as a reminder of warmer times. I took it fairly easy this year and covered Download for NME, Oxegen for Hot Press and Glasgowbury (again for HP) and I’ve some great memories for each of them.

Fist up was Download. Personally I’d like to see a lot more punk bands on the bill, but it was still a great weekend. We got a hotel this year, had a Pot Noodle party on the Sunday, got random body parts sun burnt and Michael McKeegan stood me up during Def Leppard (just joking McK!). But enough of all that, here’s the NME review-

Ever since the dawn of time (well, the ’80’s) Donington has been the spiritual home for boozed-up denim-and-leather clad clans who yearn for nothing more than a few days in the sun banging their heads and playing their air guitars. Despite the digital-age name-change from Monsters of Rock in’03, it has remained a rite of passage for any self-respecting rocker.

Leading the charge in Friday afternoon are The Blackout, an act who have the right ghd-fringed look, but sadly fail to have an original thought in their heads. Sacramento’s Middle Class Rut, on the other hand, are thinking outside the box and although they’re one of the lighter bands on the bill, they pull the right rigorous shapes to charm the crowd, thereby dodging the piss-bottles.

Speaking of a load of old piss, latest addition to the reunion bandwagon Limp Bizkit waste no time launching straight into ‘Break Stuff’. Now we all know that the Bizkit are bad, but it’s one hell of an opener, waking up thousands of the crust-covered crowd. With his red baseball cap once again perched on his baldy head, Fred Durst looks a bit like a giant penis as he bounds around the stage throwing gang signs and using language your mother wouldn’t like, but you know what? ‘Nookie’ might make us feel as dirty as rummaging through Jodie Marsh’s knicker drawer, but their performance is a definite guilty pleasure.

Going on the amount of T-shirts and ill-advised glam-metal haircuts on display it would seem that Mötley Crüe‘s brand of rampant sexism is once again back in fashion. A minute into ‘Kickstart My Heart’ the mystery of why the doughnut stand ran out of produce seems to be solved as portly prima-donna Vince Neil waddles around looking particularly pleased with himself. While he may be, er, a little “lived in” these days he’s still a great frontman. Macho posturing aside, they deliver a surprisingly hit-filled set, too.

A mere novelty, though, compared to Faith No More who are on world-beating form, still working the same frenetic chemistry that made them such an interesting prospect in the ’90s. Ever the joker, Mike Patton comes hobbling onstage with a cane, clad in crimson. Whether it’s ‘Epic’, ‘From Out Of Nowhere’, ‘Midlife Crisis’ or a short-lived rendition of Lady GaGa’s ‘Poker Face’, you can’t take your eyes off their performance for even a minute.

Patton is clearly in his element, hiding behind the red velvet curtain during ‘Easy’ as if ashamed of the novelty hit and poking fun at the crowd (“Hey, this is an ’80’s festival, right?”). As he closes with a set of show-off sit-ups during set closer ‘We Care A Lot’ it’s clear that Faith No More are still more than fit for the task. One of the sets of the year.

The following two days don’t quite live up to that standard, but there are are a few tasty nuggets to keep us entertained, such as a heavier-than-thou slot by Down, with former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo giving a powerhouse performance. Northern Irish newbies In Case Of Fire and The Answer are maturing in leaps and bounds, the latter sounding like future headliners. Marilyn Manson’s show is a typically run-of-the-mill affair, with the God Of Fuck seeming more like the God Of Fuck All these days. When he dry humps the stage he looks like an OAP in need of a hip replacement rather than an Antichrist Superstar. Now that really is shocking…

Comeback kids Therapy?, however, only seems to get better with age. Their current release, ‘Crooked Timber’, sounds monstrous live and they’re strong runners-up for band of the weekend. More than happy to confirm that metal and cool are not natural bedfellows, Def Leppard close ceremonies for the weekend with some fromage-fuelled anthems, leaving us to conclude that if ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ makes us wrong, then we don’t ever want to be right.

Edwin McFee