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Draperstown Weekender!

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ATL | 13:56 UK time, Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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Friday: Mayhem Funk, The Last Generation, The Dead Presidents, Nic Stringer, The Institute, Allie Bradley, Pocket Billiards
Saturday:Crystal Canyons, Puerile Honey, The Last Generation, The Institute* (Acoustic), Chocolate Love Factory, Ciaran Lavery, Gascan Ruckus, Mental Deficiency, Cedric Has A Name, Junior Johnson, Furlo, Paul Casey, In Case Of Fire

The Cellar Bar, Draperstown - home of the G Sessions - is known for its mighty atmosphere and eclectic line ups, and this weekend looks set to be no different, with Dead Wing promotions are doing their best to maintain this state of affairs with a three day festival in the venue, delivering all manner of musical treats. By the time The Dead Presidents arrive, the whole bar is up on its feet. With their funky sound and captivating front man Matthew Wilson, it is impossible not to dance and have a huge smile on your face, no matter how silly you look in the process.

A mixture of acoustic acts in the front bar provides a different experience, but in the main room, Pocket Billiards end Friday night perfectly. The eight-piece are having so much fun it's hard not to become part of it. Fast, punchy songs have the whole crowd skanking and dancing and at one point limbo-ing to the ground. By the time they finish they leave everyone wanting more. 

Saturday has more surprises in the shape of The Last Generation, a young band with plenty of riffs. Singer Jude has a fantastic voice, and they project a strong stage presence, covering Metallica and exchanging banter with the audience.

Andrew McCloskey of The Institute really stands out. With snow, rain, and hail all being thrown out of the sky outside, it’s very cosy in the front bar, and his music really suits the mood. Telling the crowd thay he scrapped most of his songs and started fresh only the week before, it’s hard to believe him, given the charm he brings to the stage.

By the time Junior Johnson performs, a large crowd has taken over the small front bar, and the atmosphere is electric. It feels like you’re sitting in a friends living room watching him play, making you want to stay there all night and not have to go back out in the miserable outdoors of Mid Ulster. Luckily there's still more music to come.

Mental Defiency - as always - are bonkers and have the place in stitches. Between their ridiculous outfits (which include masks, a body morph suit, a thong, pyjama bottoms and a top hat) and their interaction with the crowd, it's hard not to let go and just enjoy watching the madness unfold in front of your eyes. They might not be taken seriously but they are fun and have catchy songs.

In Case Of Fire close the weekend in fine style. The boys bring a tight energetic set and have the crowd singing along the whole time.

Overall Dead Wing Promotions did a great job of creating a wonderful weekend of live music and top notch banter. Bring on the next one!

Carys McMorran

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