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.





Trucker Diablo and Gerard i2 for Tennent’s Vital

13 06 2012

A few weeks ago I was invited down to help chose the winners of the Untapped competition and today the acts who have bagged the slots on the bill for Tennent’s Vital have been revealed. Here’s the press release.

————————————————————————————————

TENNENT’S LAGER UNVEILS TENNENT’S UNTAPPED WINNERS

TRUCKER DIABLO & GERARD i2 WILL PLAY TENNENT’S VITAL

Tennent’s Lager is excited to reveal that local rising stars Trucker Diablo and Gerard i2 will join some of the biggest stars in the world at Tennent’s Vital this August.

Moira based rockers Trucker Diablo will play the festival on Day 1 alongside Foo FightersThe Black Keys and The Minutes on Aug 21st.

Strabane Hip Hop star Gerard I2 will have the incredible opportunity to perform on the same stage as The Stone RosesFlorence and The Machineand Rodrigo Y Gabriela on Aug 22nd.

Tennent’s UnTapped is a major initiative from Tennent’s Lager that unearths and supports the best up and coming music talent based in Northern Ireland and give bands the unique opportunity to perform on the main stage at Tennent’s Vital.

In its inaugural year, 250 artists submitted their tracks for consideration to the Tennent’s UnTapped website. A prestigious panel of music industry judges then chose sixteen acts to perform in front of audiences at a series of live showcases in Belfast and Derry-Londonderry in May.  After much deliberation, the judges have now decided that Trucker Diablo and Gerard i2 are the two acts that will open Tennent’s Vital in August.

 

Aisling Duffy, Marketing Manager for Tennent’s Lager NI comments:

“The standard this year has been outstanding and really reflects what’s going on in Northern Ireland’s grassroots music scene.  Tennent’s are proud to be supporting these new artists by giving them this unique platform and the chance to share a bill with some of the world’s best bands. We’re sure that Tennent’s Vital fans are going to be incredibly impressed by both Trucker Diablo and Gerard i2” 

One of the judges for Tennent’s UnTapped is Joe Dougan from The Limelight and Shine Productions.  He comments:

 “I think all the judges have been hugely impressed by the talent unearthed through Tennent’s UnTapped – the live showcases were a fantastic advert for the vibrancy and diversity of our local music scene. Trucker Diablo are a thrilling live band and their sound is made for the big stage. Gerard i2 impressed everyone with the energy and originality of his performance and it’s great to see the emergence of an authentic Northern Irish hip hop star. Both acts really stood out for us and I can’t wait to see them take to the stage at Tennent’s Vital.”

Trucker Diablo formed in early 2008 and soon built up momentum through the local support of fans and strong word of mouth across the internet.  Their self-released debut album “The Devil Rhythm”, features a guest appearance from fellow Northern Irish rocker and Thin Lizzy frontman, Ricky Warwick.  The band has also won praise from Joe Elliot (Def Leppard) and Cormac Neeson (The Answer).

Gerard i2 is a talented hip hop MC and lyrist from Strabane.  He’s already won much acclaim for his blunt, honest and thoughtful lyrics on the album ‘What I Like and Love’ and he’s picked up support  from both Radio Ulster’s Across the Line and BBC Radio 1 Introducing.

 

For more information about Tennent’s UnTapped please visit: tennentsvital.com/untapped and facebook.com/tennentslagerni.





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.





News From The North Weeks 61 and 62

7 09 2010

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Belfast-based riff behemoths LaFaro continue to steamroll their way to the top of the NI band food chain this fortnight with the announcement that they’re set to play at this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals. The four-piece will appear at the BBC Introducing stage and perform at Leeds on August 28 and Reading the following day. Also playing on those days are Blink 182 and Weezer, but since both those bands disappeared up their own bum holes years ago you’ve no excuse not to check out Johnny Black and Co. In other LaFaro news, the boys have been chosen to support seminal post hardcore heroes Helmet on their first European tour in yonks. Taking place over the months of November and December, the boys play Belgium, Holland and more and we can’t think of a better support act for Page Hamilton’s crew.

Turning our attentions to festivals at home, the always entertaining Joe Echo (plus full band) are slated to appear at this year’s Electric Picnic. After wowing the crowds at Oxegen, Mr Echo is all set to repeat that success with a performance on September 3, which also just so happens to be the release date of his new single ‘Tilly’s Cowboy’ and mighty fine it is too.

 If the recent gig by Iron Maiden and upcoming Irish dates by Guns ‘N’ Roses have whetted your appetites for destruction (see what we did there?) then check out the brand spanking new rock night called Hanger 18 which launches in the Pavilion bar in Belfast on August 20. Promising a slightly heavier music policy (think Pantera rather than Poison) the night begins at 9.30pm and rumours of a reduced cover charge being offered for anyone turning up in a patch-laden denim and leather outfit aren’t confirmed at the time of going to press (we joke because we care). The organisers are also planning another rock night called Redeemer (which is sponsored by Scuzz TV and Metal Hammer magazine) in the same venue and that kicks off on August 28 too.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Sludge loving post punks Comply or Die have re-entered the studio this fortnight to begin work on the follow up to their epic self-titled debut album. Early reports indicate the band are experimenting with longer song structures-albeit delivered in their own unique louder than everyone else fashion-and bassist Ian Pearce tells us that some of the new material is being ear-marked for an up-coming split cassette (remember them? No? Just me then…) with the Slomatics. Comply or Die are also gearing up to play a secret gig in a half finished bungalow which boasts an adjoining medieval graveyard in early September too. At the moment the trio are keeping the exact details to themselves, though we do know that it’s near Ballymoney and if you bribe their singer Michael with enough Icarus Line singles, then he’ll sing like a canary.

The mighty Trucker Diablo have just released their new record The Devil Rhythm and you’ll be pushed to hear a better classic rock album all year. Already a hit with their faithful followers, the album can be bought from the band directly at www.myspace.com/truckerdiablo. In other TD news, the boys have featured in a recent Facebook campaign to get them to support Thin Lizzy when they play in Belfast next February. Click on http://www.facebook.com/TruckerDiabloSupportPage if you’d like to see the riff monsters share the stage with Ricky Warwick and Co.

This September, the North Coast’s Under Stars & Gutters aim to beat those back to school blues by re-releasing their whole catalogue for free via American label Death To False Hope Records. While there are no official dates available at the time of going to press, keep checking www.myspace.com/deathtofalsehoperecords for punky goodness.

Speaking of new releases, the Beat Poets have penciled in October 4 for the launch date of their new single ‘Gravity.’ While we haven’t heard the recorded version of the tune yet, we’re sure it’ll repeat the success of their mainstream breakthrough track ‘One By One.’ The Poets’ VM Records labelmates Silhouette are also celebrating the news that their superb single ‘Volume Destroyed’ has just been added to Cool FM’s daytime radio playlist. Shauna Tohill and Co. will be joining the likes of Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon and the Killers on the airwaves and we can’t think of a better act to show the mainstream pop/rock world just how it’s done. For more news on Silhouette and the Beat Poets check out VM Records’ website at www.myspace.com/vexedmusicrecords.





News From The North Weeks 59 and 60

6 09 2010

Yup, it’s been a while since I posted up the Hit the North column I do for Hot Press, so here’s the last four for y’all (two today and two tomorrow) and as usual-if you’re in a band from Northern Ireland and have news for me, get in touch.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

With Glasgowbury just around the corner (July 24 in case you didn’t already know) we thought we’d dedicate this issue’s column to some of the bands who will be appearing at the bash in Draperstown, County Derry. First up, we’ve got some good news as headliners Fighting with Wire seem to be stirring from their self-imposed slumber and it appears that their plans for album number two are coming together nicely. In a bid to prove to us all that they’ve been spending their time off wisely, they’ve posted up a studio diary from Nashville on their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/fightingwithwire) and they’re promising there’s more to come, which makes this writer a very happy bunny indeed.

FWW’s label mates LaFaro have also been indulging in web-based wonders ahead of their Glasgowbury slot and have unveiled their very own smart-phone app. If you’re into that kind of wizardry, you can now download the application for free and get news, tour dates, photos, music and more onto your mobile and it’ll keep all you nerds up to date on their activities.

 Mojo Fury frontman Michael Mormecha’s vaudeville-flavoured side project Clown Parlour have taken the unprecedented step of making their debut album The Sum Of Sounds available for free this fortnight via their Bandcamp page (http://clownparlour.bandcamp.com) and very good it is too. After wowing us all with their technicolour performance at last year’s Glasgowbury, we’re keen to see how they fare this year (considering everyone can now listen to the album at their leisure) and we’re expecting them to steal the show, so make sure you check them out.

General Fiasco are another act who are sure to get tongues wagging, especially now that their debut Buildings is out on record shop shelves. As well as doing a turn in Draperstown, the three-piece will be playing at (deep breath) Sonisphere in Knebworth, the Underage festival in London, Summer Sonic 2010 in Japan, the Frequency festival in Austria, Highfield festival in Denmark and Reading and Leeds at the end of the summer, so if you’re on your holidays and happen to be in any of those places, make sure you go and support them.

Finally, we’ll leave you with some gossip to chew on. Just recently we’ve heard that while last year’s Glasgowbury headliners And So I Watch You From Afar aren’t officially slated to appear on the bill this year, expect some sort of appearance from band members during the course of the day. Details on where and when are scarce at the time of going to press (he said mysteriously…).

News

Words: Edwin McFee

By the time you read this, your humble correspondent (and countless others) will no doubt be scrubbing off the mud and muck from Glasgowbury and generally feeling a bit bummed out that the festival season is near over. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the West Belfast Feile (www.feilebelfast.com) is just about to kick off and on the local front they’ve got a cracking gig in the grounds of City Hall to keep us out of trouble on August 7. Featuring the likes of Mojo Fury, Axis Of and the Vals on the bill, the gig starts at 2pm.

 Now, on to news of a slightly more salacious nature. The absolute beast of a band that is Dutch Schultz have been busy beavering away behind the scenes recently and they’ve just filmed a video for their new single ‘LA Cuntfucker’ (they’re silver-tongued devils, aren’t they?). According to a band insider, the clip, which features go-go dancers and local burlesque troupe the Whistlebait Babies, was also slated to feature an appearance from local musician/actress Cara Cowan, but she pulled out fearing it would damage her image (we can’t think why….). Anyway, the track itself is a fantastically blood thirsty three minutes or so that should do well for the boys when it gets an official release date.

Lisburn based lovers of epic alternative rock Deadlights have very kindly made their ace new EP ‘Pieces. Ripcord. Words’ available to download for free this month. All you have to do to get your virtual mitts on the three track release is click on http://deadlights.bandcamp.com and it’s as simple as that. The four-piece are also streaming some new songs on their MySpace site (www.myspace.com/deadlights08) and as ever the band have a string of live dates coming up which include playing in Moira on August 5, Lisburn on August 13 and the Sunflowerfest in Hillsborough on August 20.

Speaking of festivals, the rock ‘n’ roll killing machine that is Trucker Diablo continue their quest to kick as many asses as possible by playing a show at the Rock & Blues Custom Show festival in Derbyshire on July 30. Also on the bill are legends such as Wishbone Ash and for more information check out www.rockandblues.uk.com.

Finally, it’s with a certain amount of sadness that we announce that the Black Bear Saloon have closed their metaphorical doors for good. The four-piece have decided to go their separate ways after three years together and we’d like to wish all the band members luck in their future endeavors. Now, somebody hand us a hanky. Sniff.