Hot Press Live Review: Other Voices

11 03 2013

Last month I decamped to Derry to check out the filming of RTE’s music programme Other Voices. As well as some ace gigs to watch, I was put up in the Erin Suite (later renamed “the Edwin Suite”) which featured multiple tellys, my own living room complete with dining table/three piece suite and a class view. Check it out. Nice eh?

Anywho, here’s a reprint of the review that ran in Hot Press. Looking forward to getting back to Derry again at some stage this year.

OTHER VOICES-SATURDAY

THE GLASSWORKS, DERRY

Unless you’re currently residing in a galaxy far, far away, you’ll no doubt be aware that Derry has been declared the UK City Of Culture for 2013. With a veritable shed-load of events planned to celebrate the title, the Maiden City looks set to become a Mecca for music fans across the island and this weekend RTE’s Other Voices joins in the fun with a visit to the Glassworks. Taking a brief break away from its usual home in Dingle, the programme makers have assembled a stunning array of acts to perform on the intimate stage (which is bedecked with huge, lyric-branded plastic hearts) and Saturday’s night’s line-up is arguably the best of the lot, which is handy since Hot Press has just arrived to get an eyeful.

 

On first are Dublin quintet Little Green Cars who play a clutch of songs which all sound like future world-beaters. Just over a year since they first performed on Other Voices (an appearance which they described as “the highlight of their lives”) the band have grown in confidence and talent and their brand of emotive, folksy tuneage could put goose-bumps on-top of your goose-bumps. ‘The John Wayne’ in particular is a beautifully ragged tear-stained threnody and judging by the rapturous reaction tonight it looks like they’re set to join Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters And Men in the charts and hearts of the globe.

 

Next up is local lass made good Bronagh Gallagher who performs a batch of soul-infused songs backed by an ear-gasm inducing brass section and full band. Paying tribute to the likes of Al Green and Percy Sledge while putting her own stamp on things, the loved-up set takes us back in time to a bygone era and sees the be-fringed performer happily playing the role of torch singer and there’s a real warmth to the likes of ‘Not A Star.’

 

California-born but Manchester-based chanteuse Jesca Hoop is a different prospect altogether. Clutching her white guitar and sporting decidedly mad granny-esque hair, it seems like it’s not just her music that’s a square peg in a round hole, but that’s ok because we like “different” and the change of pace from nu-soul to unassuming Bjork and Kate Bush-inspired oddities is a welcome one. ‘Born To’ is a bona fide outsider pop classic that’s full of hooks that ache and it’s a real highlight in her short but sweet set.

 

Welsh warbler Marina And The Diamonds closes tonight’s broadcast in style with a stripped back collection of songs culled from both of her albums. Back to black (hair, that is), the singer tells us she’s a little nervous as she’s spent the last month or so doing nothing but “watching Jeremy Kyle” but you’d never know it as she prowls cat-like around the stage belting out ‘Bubblegum Bitch’ and ‘Hollywood’ like she’s the long-lost daughter of Brian Ferry and the low-key setting really highlights just how good her voice is.

 

After the broadcast, we spill out into the night to check out the Other Voices Music Trail and honourable mentions go to Wyldling, whose set at the Icon re-affirms that they’ve one of the best front-women in the country and Triggerman, whose blues-imbued, riff-laden rock lays waste-almost literally-to the heaving Mason’s bar and as first date’s go, Other Voices’ weekend in Derry is up there with the best of them.

EDWIN McFEE

 

 





Bye Bye 2012

31 12 2012

Yes kids, it’s that time again where we wave buh bye to the year and welcome in a new one. Instead of words this NYE,  I’ve decided to post up some pictures which sum up the last 12 months before finishing off with my top 20 LPs of 2012.

Thanks to all the bands, promoters, PRs and mates who hooked me up with records, gigs and good times.Here’s to 2013.

2012: The Year In Photos (And The Odd You Tube Link)

May 13, 2012. I’ll remember this day until they put me in a pine box.Kinda crazy to think that long after we’re dead, people will still be able to see us on this footage of City winning their first Premier league title. Can you spot me and my Da? Handy hint: We’re under the giant purple arrow….

Chilling like villains backstage at the Odyssey with the WWE alongside my brother and nephew.Also-big thanks to the Celtic Warrior Sheamus for hooking us up and being an absolute hero.

Here’s a clip of Therapy? playing ‘Exiles’ at the Tall Ships in Dublin this summer.Y’know…I might refer to myself as “the wonderful Edwin McFee” for the duration of 2013 (the quality’s amazing, eh…..?). Mad props to the Therapy? boys.

My fanzine, Generation Why, (which started the ball rolling on this mental job of mine) celebrated its tenth birthday.

There was a lot of party rocking in a variety of different places with a number of different people this year.Here’s to more adventures.

I finally got that Iron Maiden mask I’ve always wanted.

…and that Betty Banner tattoo I’ve always been looking for too.

And lastly (but certainly not, um, leastly…) here’s my Top 20 LPs of 2012.It’s been a great year for records and hopefully 2013 will be just as good. Happy New Year and Up the Irons!

1) Therapy? ‘A Brief Crack Of Light’

2) Gallows ‘Gallows’

3) Hot Water Music ‘Exister’

4) Best Coast ‘The Only Place’

5) The Gaslight Anthem ‘Handwritten’

6) Wolfsbane ‘Wolfsbane Saves The World’

7) Triggerman ‘Hail To The River Gods’

8) JD McPherson ‘Signs And Signifiers’

9) Cloud Nothings ‘Attack On Memory’

10) Hour Of 13 ‘333’

11) Cheap Freaks ‘Bury Them All’

12) The Jim Jones Revue ‘The Savage Heart’

13) Bobby Conn ‘Macaroni’

14) James Levy And The Blood Red Rose ‘Pray To Be Free’

15) Mystery Jets ‘Radlands’

16) DZ Deathrays ‘Bloodstreams’

17) Master And Dog ‘Master And Dog’

18) Band Of Horses ‘Mirage Rock’

19) Baby Woodrose ‘Third Eye Surgery’

20) Alabama Shakes ‘Boys & Girls’





Metal Hammer Top 20 Albums Of The Year

13 12 2012

The Christmas/end of year Metal Hammer is out this week and as is customary, the Top 50 albums of 2012 (voted for by writers for the mag like myself) are revealed.Sadly this year, there wasn’t enough room to print the individual lists of all the scribes (boo!) but since I’m awful good to you Dead Horse readers I’ve posted up mine below.

Towards the end of the month I’ll also post up the less genre-specific list I sent to the other mags I write for,but for now, without further ado, here’s my pick of the heaviest records of ’12.

01) Therapy? ‘A Brief Crack Of Light’ (Blast)

02) Gallows ”Gallows’ (Venn Records)

03) Wolfsbane ‘Wolfsane Save The World’ (Cargo)

04) Triggerman ‘Hail To The River Gods’ (Triggerlad Records)

05) Hour Of 13 ‘333’ (Earache)

06) Down ‘Down IV Part 1: Purple EP’ (Roadrunner)

07) Pulled Apart By Horses ‘Tough Love’ (Transgressive)

08) Gacys Threads ‘The Ignorance Of Purity’ (Savour Your Scene)

09) Turbonegro ‘Sexual Harassment’ (Volcom)

10) Trash Talk ‘119’ (Odd Future Records)

11) The Cult ‘Choice Of Weapon’ (Cooking Vinyl)

12) Rolo Tomassi ‘Astraea’ (Destination Moon)

13) Tankard ‘A Girl Called Cerveza’ (Plastic Head)

14) Pelican ‘Ataraxia/Taraxis’ (Southern Lord)

15) Purified In Blood ‘Flight Of A Dying Sun’ (Indie Recordings)

16) Orange Goblin ‘Eulogy For The Damned’ (Plastic Head)

17) Witchsorrow ‘God Curse Us All’ (Rise Above Records)

18) Paranoid Visions ‘Escape From The Austerity Complex'(Plastic Head)

19) Steve Harris ‘British Lion’ (EMI)

20) Corrosion Of Conformity ‘Corrosion Of Conformity'(Plastic Head)





Q And A: Triggerman (The Big List)

24 11 2012

Here’s a reprint of a Q and A I did with Triggerman that ran in the Big List last month.Well I think it was last month anyway.I’m getting terribly forgetful now I’m in my early 30s…

Triggerman Q and A

Continuing our catch-up with some of the music scene’s latest and greatest acts, this month we meet Derry’s very own monsters of rock Triggerman.

 

Hi folks and welcome to the Big List. First off, your new record ‘Hail To The River Gods’ is out now. Can you tell our readers a little bit about it?

Bap (vocals/guitar): “We are really happy with how the album came out and how it’s being received; it’s very humbling to have so many people say nice things said about it. We recorded it in Einstein Studios with the lovely Frankie McClay who has been so good to us we can’t thank him enough. He managed to get the sound that was in our heads onto disc, although I frustrated him at times using technical terms such as ‘wanting it to sound earthy and woody,’ [laughs]. But we got there eventually. The songs all feel very organic and that’s portrayed in the lyrics. In fact, some are directly influenced by some old folk songs and sea shanties-as in the title track, which is about hardy men heading to sea and leaving their loved ones behind.”

 

For me, ‘Rise Of The Woodsmen’ is a definite album highlight and one of the best tracks you’ve ever done. What’s your own personal favourite on the new record and why?

Bap: “Well, at the minute I think it’s a toss-up between ‘Thon Strange Brew’ and ‘The Flower of Life.’ We all love the way ‘Thon Strange Brew’ grooves along that wee bit differently from the rest of our songs and we love doing it at sound check too. Also, ‘Flower of Life’ is another sound check favourite and we love the weight of the track and the fact it’s got more riffs in it than we usually put in and is a lot of fun to play.”

 

To these ears, ‘Hail To The River Gods’ sounds more groove-based this time around, would you agree?

Bap: “Well I think there a lot more cohesion on this album as there have been a few lineup changes over the years, but we have settled into a really good groove with each other and that seems to be coming out through the songs. And we do love getting into a big groove and rocking out.”

 

For the unenlightened, can you fill our readers in a little on the Triggerman origin story?

Dixie (bass): “Triggerman are a four-piece band formed in Derry by Bap and our guitar player, Niall in the early 2000’s. Over the years there have been a couple of line-up changes. Our drummer Rory joined six years ago and I joined the lads in 2010.From day one, the band has written songs based around big riffs, big grooves and big choruses. The important thing to us is the song. It’s easy to make a load of noise, but there has to be a song in there for people to remember.”

 

Do you feel like veterans of the NI rock and metal scene or do you feel you’re only getting started?

Bap: “Well the band has been in existence for 10 years but with lineup changes over the years it has been a stop start affair. We seem to have well settled into it now with this line up so it does feel like we are only getting started. It’s all a learning process anyway and as the saying goes-every day’s a school day.”

 

It was a hell of a summer for you that finished with Triggerman supporting Sepultura at the Limelight in August-that must have been a highlight for you?

Bap: “That was amazing, we were so happy to have been asked to do that gig-it was like Christmas come early. Sepultura were such a big influence way back from ‘Beneath the Remains’ on up. I learned a lot about riffs from trying to play some of their songs. They were absolutely immense in the Limelight. Derrick Greene is such a powerful frontman and a nice guy to boot. I was a bit nervous, but we really enjoyed the experience and were really happy with how we played and the reception we got was really nice. So thanks to everyone who cheered us on.”

 

You also played some of the more mainstream festivals such as Glasgowbury. Do you feel it’s important for metal and rock acts to appear on less genre-specific bills?

Bap: “It’s great that we get asked back to play Glasgowbury regularly as it’s a good festival to play and we love it up the mountain and we always seem to go down well. I would love to see a few more heavy bands on the bill but then I am biased towards the heavier end of the spectrum. I do think it’s good to really mix up a festival with loads of different musical genres represented as it increases the flavour. The one thing about the Glasgowbury setup is they aren’t afraid to try new things and they are constantly trying to keep things fresh and current which is great. We also played the Stendhal Festival in Liamavady which had a real eclectic mix of music and had a really great vibe. I definitely think that festival has a very bright future and hopefully they will ask us back again too.”

 

How do you feel about the general perception of louder bands in NI? Do you think acts like Triggerman get a fair crack of the whip?

Bap: “I think the louder bands are starting to get noticed a bit more as people are looking for something a bit different. I think we do get quite a fair crack, but we would all love to be playing a few more bigger shows as we would really like more people to hear what we have to say, but in saying that, the small, in your face intense shows are always great to do. Those are the ones where the energy is really flowing.”

 

For more information on Triggerman visit www.triggerman.co.uk. ‘Hail To The River Gods’ is out now. 





News From The North Week 113 (Hot Press)

30 10 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

 

If you’re the kind of reader who loves spiky indie tunes infused with punk rock sucker-punches and life-affirming garage-y goodness then you’ll be positively cock-a-hoop at the news that Belfast’s the Alice Kona Band have just unveiled their brand new track ‘Film’ for your aural pleasure. Snootier than a classroom of six-year olds during flu season, the tune is being given away for free to coincide with their appearance at this year’s Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin (they play the Merchantile on Oct 6 at 12.20am) and you can get your grubby mitts on the single via alicekonaband.bandcamp.com. Fans of the Cribs should check them out.

 

Speaking of the Hard Working Class Heroes festival (which features 100bands and takes place in Dublin across three venues from Oct 4-6 inclusive) other NI acts making the trip over the border include Eatenbybears (who are at the Merchantile on Oct 6, 11pm), SertOne (Meeting House Square Oct 4, 9.20pm), LaFaro (Meeting House Square, Oct 5, 8pm), Conor Mason (the Grand Social, Oct 6, 7.50pm) and Little Bear (the Grand Social, Oct 6, 7.10pm),  so if you’re in the area check them out. For more details on the event visit hwch.net.

 

Next up, your humble correspondent has currently been enjoying having his ear-drums battered by the thunderous new Triggerman album Hail To The River Gods. A band that has been well and truly knackering necks of rock fans in their native Derry and beyond for the last few years, their third record is a suitably titanic sounding affair that’s recommended for anyone compelled by the power of the riff (‘Rise Of The Woodsmen’ especially is a future pit anthem). If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Triggerman before, imagine an aggression-fuelled fusion of Clutch’s grooves and Mondo Generator’s menace and for more information on the quartet check out triggerman.co.uk.

 

Keeping things in a heavier persuasion, the brand new NI super-group known as 7.5 Tonnes Of Beard have just recently debuted their first material online and what a suitably sick, twisted and sludge-laden affair ‘Grit’ is. Featuring a line-up that includes And So I Watch You From Afar’s Johnny Adgar, Residual Effect’s Micky Higgins and Gacys Threads’ Blane Doherty among others, the boys operate under a strict mission statement of becoming the heaviest band on the planet and the results so far is an experience that’s as nasty as an evening of passion with Julie Goodyear. Visit sevenandahalftonnesofbeard.fourfour.com to check them out for yourself.





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.





News From The North 102

31 05 2012

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

News

Words: Edwin McFee

A few months ago, you may recall we informed you about a new initiative called Untapped that was master-minded by the head honchos behind the upcoming Tennent’s Vital festival which aimed to promote the local music scene by offering four lucky acts the chance to open the main stage at this year’s shin-dig in Belfast. Well, this fortnight, the organisers have revealed the names of the final 16 turns who will be fighting it out for a much coveted slot alongside the likes of the Stone Roses, the Foo Fighters and more on August 21-22 and they’ve also confirmed that they will perform at four showcase gigs in both NI’s capital and Derry in May.

 

Kicking off in the Limelight, Belfast on May 16, Master and Dog, Gerard i2, Havana House Party and Jepettos all duke it out for a spot on the bill, then the following night in the same venue Trucker Diablo, City of Stars, Peter McVeigh and Futurescope all lay the (sonic) smack down. After that, the Tennent’s Untapped competition takes itself off to the Bound for Boston in Derry on May 23 and features Best Boy Grip, A Northern Light, Rachel Austin and Mojo Gogo battling it out, while the next night features Droids, Morning Claws, Pretty Child Backfire and Two Glass Eyes. I think you’ll all agree that the final 16 are a pleasingly diverse mix of acts from different genres and sub cultures and I’d like to wish everyone the best of luck.

 

Next up, keeping proceedings on a festival tip, the brand spanking new Link Fest in Derry have just revealed details of their line-up and the bill is as solid as the Incredible Hulk’s armchair if we do say so ourselves. Taking place on July 13-14 and at multiple venues (which include Mason’s, the Playhouse, the Castle, Bound for Boston and Gweedor) some of the acts include Our Krypton Son, By Any Means, Furlo, Wyldling, Triggerman and Making Monsters and for more details check out facebook.com/linkfest.

 

Finally this fortnight, I’ve just enough room to remind you all about ska punk deities Pocket Billiards tenth anniversary gig at the Mandela Hall, Belfast on May 12. Doubling as a release party for their second album Last Chance To Dance the show is set to be a doozy (yes, doozy) and Axis Of, Bomb City 7 and Chewing on Tinfoil are the support acts. The band have also uploaded new track ‘So Many People, So Little Time’ onto pocketbilliards.bandcamp.com and it sounds awesome, so check it out.