Archives for September 2012

Thomas Truax - Love and Death, Belfast

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ATL | 16:49 UK time, Thursday, 27 September 2012

 

Thomas Truax,
Love and Death, Belfast
20th September 2012

It's been over two years since this singer songwriter extraordinaire graced these isles and you can tell, there isn't a seat in Love and Death tonight and people are crowding round vying for the best angle to see the mad scientist and his collection of home made instruments.

Firstly he brandishes the instrument known as 'The Hornicator', an old gramophone horn complete with strings on the end, a mic inside, a kazoo and various additional pickups. Lights go down and we begin with 'The Cannibals Have Kidnapped Our Nicole Kidman', he taps on The Hornicator to create a spooky beat, adding layer after layer of strings to create something quite astonishing. He then introduces another "band member", his drum machine 'Sister Spinster', what at first glance looks like an old toy Ferris wheel connected up to various small drums, bells and whistles.

 

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First Belfast Music Week Events Announced

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ATL | 15:06 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2012

 

The first 12 events of Belfast Music Week (running this year between November 4th -12th) have been unveiled.

Last year there were 170 events across the week so expect many more annoucements to follow in the coming weeks.The lineup so far is as follows:

 

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Villagers Announce New Album

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ATL | 14:27 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2012

 

Villagers have announced that their new album titled {Awayland} will be released on January 13th next year.

Recorded at Attica Audio studios in Donegal {Awayland} is the follow up to their 2010 Mercury nominated debut 'Becoming A Jackal'.

You can watch a trailer for the new 11 track record here and get your hands on the first single 'The Waves' from the 22nd of October.

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That New Band Smell - 7.5 Tonnes of Beard

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ATL | 10:51 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2012

 

This week's TNBS is one of epic proportions - not only in volume but also in facial hair (yes we kid you not!) read on dear listeners and prepare to be educated in the ways of rock by our Carrie...
Formed in limerick in 2008 their latest lineup sees childhood friends and new members unite to bring us a feast of thrash metal inspired tunes. Recently released debut EP "cry havoc" showcases the talents of this new lineup and we can't wait to hear more from them.

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Paloma Faith Belfast Show

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ATL | 10:13 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ulster Hall Exterior

 

Cockney chanteuse Paloma Faith is set to play the Ulster Hall on January 20th,

The singer who released her second album 'Fall to Grace' in May, will also play Dublin's Vicar Street on 21st.

Faith is also known for her acting career having starred in film and television.

MUSE, Mumford and Cribs dates

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ATL | 14:33 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2012

 

Three heavy hitters have confirmed live concert dates in Ireland today. 

MUSE will play the O2 in Dublin on November 3rd.

Mumford and Sons will play the same venue on December 16th with an Odyssey Arena, Belfast date on December 15th.

The Cribs, who supported the Foo Fighters at T Vital last month will play their own headline show at the Mandela HAll, Belfast on November 9th.

Paddy Casey, Mick Flannery for Gifted Live

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ATL | 15:17 UK time, Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Paddy Casey

 

Gifted Live at the Belfast Empire has announced two shows for November.

Paddy Casey will play an exclusive performance for a limited audience of 60 on Wednesday November 7th. Fans can apply to be in the audience through the Gifted Live Facebook page.

The following night, Thursday November 8th, sees Mick Flannery headline with special guests Heathers, Desert Hearts, Jerry Fish & the Mudbug Club and The Virginmarys.

Gifted Live returns next month on October 4th with the previously announced headliners Therapy?

The Making of... Fighting With Wire

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ATL | 14:10 UK time, Wednesday, 19 September 2012

 

Referred to as 'Chinese Democracy' (by the band themselves, at Pigstock), to say the second album from Fighting with Wire has been a long time coming is quite the understatement. The good news is it's now streaming here ahead of a release on Monday. A few listens suggests this bad boy was definitely worth the wait! As well as the band recording a session for us (which you can hear on Monday) we've also caught up with fiesty frontman Cahir O'Doherty to find out what makes him and his band tick....

 

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Torgas Valley Reds release 2004 album online

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ATL | 14:08 UK time, Wednesday, 19 September 2012

 

Torgas Valley Reds

 

Torgas Valley Reds' self-titled 2004 album has been made available online.

Torgas Valley Reds were a Belfast-based three-piece active from 2003-2005, featuring ex-Backwater members Barry Peak and Shaun Robinson, with Ryan McAuley on bass. The ten-track album was produced by Rocky O'Reilly. Barry subsequently went on to form Julip, whilst Rocky and Shaun formed Oppenheimer.

The album has been released through Howl Records and can be streamed and downloaded on Bandcamp here.

Gig of the Week: Culture Night

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ATL | 16:48 UK time, Tuesday, 18 September 2012

 

We've not made life easy for ourselves, recommending not just one gig but an entire evening of events, with 200 odd acts playing over 90 venues!

In a nutshell, Friday sees Culture Night take over the streets of Belfast with shows, exhibitions and gigs taking place in and around a number of well known venues in the town. While we don't recommend making a specific plan (that sort of goes against the whole point), it may be worth having a nosey at their website just to get your head around the sheer scope of what's on offer.

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Stevie Mac - The Pavilion, Belfast

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ATL | 15:38 UK time, Tuesday, 18 September 2012

 

Stevie Mac
The Pavilion, Belfast
Sunday 16th September 2012

Stevie Mac, for me, has always been about the electronic beats- whether it be with Uber Glitterati or work with Marty Byrne, I have always massively enjoyed his indulgent electro pop. Walking into the Lagan Sessions tonight, I quickly see this will not be the case. Seemingly exclusively acoustic, I am instantly curious how my electro local hero will get on.

Following an opening by the night's (strangely matched) organisers, totally irreverent and comical Steve and serious, heartfelt Dave, Stevie takes to the stage with nothing more than his acoustic guitar. I am curious to hear this, given that Stevie Mac is a man I have down purely as an electro artist.

The opening track, 'Cleansing Fire', showcases that Stevie is more than capable of achieving depth through acoustic stylings. Nonetheless, I can't help thinking. when he breaks down to just vocals and percussive guitar, that I would really like to hear him with a full band. He understands, and more importantly is really good at layering music, so should exploit this with a group. 

 

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Fighting With Wire Stream New Album

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ATL | 14:10 UK time, Tuesday, 18 September 2012

 

Fighting With Wire are streaming their new 11 track album 'Colonel Blood' for free before its release next Monday (September 24th).

 

This is the second studio album from the Derry 3 piece follwing their 2008 debut 'Man Vs Monster'. If an album preview isn't enough of a Fighting With Wire fix for for you then be sure to tune into Monday's show to hear the guys live in session with us.

Check out the stream of 'Colonel Blood' click here.

That New Band Smell - PigsAsPeople

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ATL | 15:34 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2012

 

Shalom! 25-year-old Brian Coney here, taking a well-earned break from the sudden influx of happy-go-lucky, starry-eyed first year university students making my life an absolute misery (oooh grumpy pants - ED). Kidding, of course! I love students (kind of). Either way, it's Freshers Week, a new term, a new start, and with that comes literally countless gigs reminding us how good we have it on the local music front. Here's my pick of three bands to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

Heavy Set Bayonet – Mr Hyde

Although they describe themselves as indie, Heavy Set Bayonet are one of a number of young (pop/)punk-centric bands to come out of a thriving Derry scene in the last year or two. Formed in 2010, their "dynamic, aggressive yet vaguely danceable" sound is in abundance on their two 4 track EPs - Remember All The Bits and Talk To Me, Tell Me- earning them support slots with the likes of Pulled Apart By Horses, Blood Red Shoes and Fighting With Fire. ‘Mr. Hyde’ is hands down one of their strongest tracks, hinting at some excellent stuff to come from the four-piece.

 

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Frightened Rabbit, Amidships - The Empire, Belfast

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ATL | 14:10 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2012

Frightened Rabbit

 

 
Saturday 15th September
The Empire, Belfast

Given the following that Frightened Rabbit have developed since the release of their 2008 breakthrough The Midnight Organ Fight, it is no surprise that, with gig-goers straining to catch a glimpse of the stage from the uppermost reaches of The Empire, the venue is almost packed to the rafters as support band Amidships take to the stage.

The Belfast septet provide a fitting warm up for tonight's headliners, producing melodic folk that emanates a warmth perfectly suited for the setting with 'Oceans and Layers' in particular proving to be a high-point. As they progress towards the end of the set, the drums are given an increasing prominence, providing a drive that sees a well-received performance culminate in an enthralling crescendo.

Opening with 'The Modern Leper', it becomes glaringly apparent that Frightened Rabbit will not have any battle to win over an already heavily partisan crowd. From the outset, each and every note is lapped up by the throng surrounding the stage.


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Open House Festival Announces 15 Free Friday's

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ATL | 14:27 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2012

 

Open House Festival have just announced that for the next 15 Fridays they will be putting on free live music and DJ set nights at  various venues throughout Belfast.

The first Free Friday is tonight at The Gallery and will feature DJ sets from Kowalski and the CTRL DJ's as well as live music from Ryan Vail. Each night will kick off at 6pm with a full lineup to be annouced shortly.

Villagers UK and Ireland Tour Headed to Belfast and Dublin

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ATL | 12:49 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2012

 

Villagers have confirmed their UK and Ireland tour dates will see them playing the Black Box in Belfast on Novemeber 11th and Whelan's in Dublin on November 13th. Villagers are due to release their second album next year following the sucess of their 2010 Mercury Prize Nominated Debut 'Becoming A Jackal' 

 

The Making of...Kab Driver

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ATL | 09:58 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2012

 

Kab Driver

 

About time this series investigated 'The Making Of' a creative, forward thinking electronic artiste, of which there are several in Northern Ireland. David Baxter is responsible for a notable few - namely Filaria and Kinnego Flux (with Brian Greene). But he speaks to ATL under the alias Kab Driver, to celebrate the release of a debut album on the Lyon based Airflex Labs imprint. Also worth noting he's partially responsible for Reset, one of the most experimental music night's in Belfast town!

****

The first record I bought was Twisted Sister 'Come Out and Play', aged 4 or 5, recommended from my elder bro. The Prodigy -  'Fat of the Land' was probably my first proper record.

The last records I bought were: Throwing Snow - 'Clamour' EP (vinyl), Amalia - 'Art Slave' (CD), Traxman - 'The Mind of Traxman' (digital).

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More Big Names For Arthur's Day Lineup

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ATL | 13:42 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2012

 

Mumford and Sons, Primal Scream and the Fun Lovin' Criminals have been added to this years Arthur's Day celebrations lineup. Music fans have until the 16th of September to vote to bring one of the headline acts including the likes of  Example, Fatboy Slim and Texas to play at their local pub on the 27th of Septmeber.

Those who aren't lucky enough to have one of the headliners play their local can visit any of the 500 music events taking place at various venues across the north and south.

Gig of the Week: Foyle Folk Festival

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ATL | 10:49 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Foyle Folk Festival

 

Remember last week when we said festival season was over? Well....almost. Derry has one more to offer, albeit without your mud, dodgy burgers or a portaloo in sight. Five years this festival has been flourishing up in the Maiden city with this year's line up arguably the most impressive and varied they've ever had. Wally, percussionist with Cashier #9 (and general man about town up in the north west) presents this in a nutshell:

"We are delighted to have a musician of Andy Irvine's calibre on board, accompanied by a really strong Northern Irish line up including Cashier and Robyn G Shiels. The intimacy and atmosphere of this festival make it a fan and band favorite! It's looking likely that this years fest could be the best yet!"

Add to the acts Wally mentioned the likes of Our Krypton Son, Farriers and The Ard Ri Band (plus many more) and you have yourself a very pleasant day of music, indeed!

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The Foyle Folk Festival takes place at the Cafe Soul Courtyard off Shipquay Place this Saturday September 15th.

More Artists Dublin Bound: Ladyhawke and Omar Rodriguez Lopez

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ATL | 10:30 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A few more exciting gigs have recently been announced in Dublin including Ladyhawke whose UK and Ireland tour will pass through the Dublin Academy on November 6th. Ladyhawke aka Pip Browne released her second studio album 'Anexiety' back in June.

Omar Rodriguez Lopez of At the Drive In / The Mars Volta fame will also play the Button Factory on October 2nd promoting his new solo album 'Octopus Kool Aid' released back in July.  

New live music night for Limelight 2

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ATL | 15:39 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2012

 

Transmit Poster

 

Belfast promoters Pure Savage are launching a new live music night later this month.

Transmit will take place on Thursday nights at Limelight 2 (formerly The Limelight). The launch night on Thursday 20th September will feature Ram's Pocket Radio, Pretty Child Backfire and Katherine Philippa.

Line-ups announced so far include:

27th September - Seven Summits, Elspeth and Psychojet
4th October - No Dancing Presents: Yes Cadets, Desert Hearts plus special guests

That New Band Smell - Axecatcher

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ATL | 13:07 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2012

 

It's that time again when Carrie Davenport takes over the airwaves for that new band smell. Bringing the loudest and best new rock and metal, your ears will thank you for listening but your neighbours might not (but hey they're too old anyway turn it up to 11 and make em suffer!)

Sounding a bit like Dethklok from metal animation Metalocalypse made real, Visceral Attack live up to their name with sheer aggression pummelling their guitars to within an inch of their lives. Spikedeath is a soothing ballad (ahem) about Mortal Kombat - who wouldn't love that!!

MOTH
MOTH or Mourning of the Heretic to give them their full title, hail from a dank dark practise room in Derry and pedal tunes of death, despair and general misery dwelling. That said their songs have a haunting atmosphere, sometimes soothing other times engrossing and infused with horror

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Gig Bonanza for Dublin: Stars, Calexico, Of Monsters & Men

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ATL | 11:56 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Canadian band Stars

 

Canadian band Stars will return to Dublin this November in support of their sixth studio album called 'The North' which was released earlier this month. They will play The Academy on the 30th of November.

Arizona band Calexico will play a seated show at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin on Thursday the 14th of  February. They recenlty released a new album called 'Algiers'. Tickets go on sale this Thursday.

After a succesfully packed tent at Electric Picnic at the start of the month, Of Monsters And Men have confirmed they will play the Olympia Theatre, Dublin on the 21st of February.

Fake Blood return to Belfast!

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ATL | 17:02 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2012

Fake Blood

 

Fake Blood will play the Stiff Kitten, Belfast on the 6th of October, replacing Rudimental DJ's who where originally scheduled for that date.

Fake Blood will release his new EP “YES/NO” on Different Recordings next week.


Screendeath will support on the night.

Musicians Wanted!

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ATL | 15:56 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2012

Hofesh Shechter poster

 

Renowned dance company Hofesh Shechter will be performing as part of next year's City of Culture in Derry~Londonderry. The 16 world-class dancers will be backed by a 30 piece live band and organisers are holding open auditions on the 11th, 12th & 13th of September at the Nerve Centre to find local musicians to form the band.

String, guitar and drums players are sought and those succesfull will be paid for their involvement. For more information visit www.liftfestival.com.

Gascan Ruckus stream New EP 'Buddies'

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ATL | 13:29 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2012

 

Gascan Ruckus are streaming their new EP 'Buddies' released today via their bandcamp site.

Click hear to check out the 5 track EP from the Middletown based four piece featuring their latest single 'Pieces' released back in May. 

The band are about to embark on a 14 date European Tour that starts on Wednesday.

They will also be playing some dates in Northern Ireland for the release of 'Buddies' including Belfast at the Stiff Kitten on October 12th, Derry at Masons on the 13th and Ballycastle at a TBC venue on the 20th. Support comes in the form of The Rupture Dogs, Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters and Event Horses for the Ballycastle date. 

Swanee River Announce Split

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ATL | 13:03 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2012

 

Derry based four piece Swanee River have just announced via their facebook page that they will be breaking up.Vocalist Steven Horner has the following to say in a message to their fans:

'we are all very gutted and feel bad on our fans who have supported us continually. I personally have given everything in these last 8 years, though now it is time to realise when to walk away.'

'We would like to thank anyone who has ever supported the band, bought our music, give us a gig, played our songs on the radio or even gave us a passing compliment…it all helped make our journey very special'

'It's very emotional walking away however there are new projects on the horizon already so keep your ears to the ground'

The announcement also included the promise of a string of final shows (details of which are yet to be announced) in Derry, Ahoghill and Belfast.

Swanee River have been together since 2005 and released their debut album 'Smoking Jacket' back in May 2011.

Second Date Added For Ed Sheeran Odyssey Gig

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ATL | 11:22 UK time, Friday, 7 September 2012


Ed Sheeran

 

Due to popular demand Ed Sheeran has added a second date to his Odyssey gig in January. The multi-platinum singer songwriter whose debut album '+' was released back in September will now play the previously announced Thursday 10th date as well as another on Wednesday the 9th. 

 

Mojo Fury Unplugged!

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ATL | 11:30 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2012

 

Mojo Fury have announced a special acoustic show at the Empire Music Hall, Belfast on Thursday the 11th of October. 

Also on the bill is Dave McPherson (InMe), Like Statues and Jamie Neish

 

Mojo Fury are about to embark on a short UK tour later this month with Anneke Van Giersbergen (The Gathering).

Rodriguez for Belfast in November!

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ATL | 10:44 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2012

Rodriguez

 

The American singer-songwriter Rodriguez has confirmed he'll play at the Empire Music Hall, Belfast on Wednesday the 28th of November.

 

Rodriguez  released albums in the early 1970s which had little success in the states, but he became huge in South Africa with his debut release called 'Cold Fact'. Later he became reclusive, with rumours of his death being circulated.

In 2012, a documentary called 'Searching for Sugar Man', followed the journey of  two South African fans trying to find Roqriguez. which brought his music back into focus. 

David Holmes featured the track 'Sugarman' on a mix album called, 'Come Get It, I Got It' back in 2002. Holmes will be a special guest on the night.

Belfast Music Week Returns!

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ATL | 15:17 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Belfast Music Week Logo

 

The Belfast Music Week will return from the 4th to the 11th of November. Organised by Belfast City Council and co-ordinated by the Oh Yeah music centre, the week is set to bring music tourism to Belfast as well as support for local talent.

There will be a series of announcements for events over the next few weeks in additional to those released today.

 

Some of the events confirmed today include:

  • Urban Affinity Community Festival to help young people learn more about DJ-ing, rapping and recording.
  • ‘Band Jam’ talent search.
  • BBC Radio 1 DJ Benjy B will host dance music project aimed at encouraging the recycling of electrical goods and the ‘entrance fee’ will be any handheld electrical item
  • GiftedLive will stream a special gig live from The Empire Music Hall featuring local and international talent. Acts to be confirmed.
  • A night with Punk legend Terri Hooley
  • Blues night aimed at seniors
  • keynote speeches by industry leaders
  • lunchtime playbacks of classic albums by NI artists
  • special film events at QFT
  • The ultimate Belfast Music Quiz.
  •  

    GrassStock Festival!

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    ATL | 10:38 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2012

    GrassStock

     

    A new festival called GrassStock is being launched today in Belfast.

    The festival will take place on Saturday the13th of October at The Hudson Bar and The Haymarket Arcade in Belfast with a focus on local bluegrass, roots and acoustic music.

    Acts confirmed include The Down & Out Bluegrass Band, The White Mansions, Wookalily, Acoustic Dan & The Black mountain River Dipsos, The Dogg Ruff String Band and many more.

    For more information visit grassstock.moonfruit.com.

    if you would like to submit your music for consideration at this year's festival please email a link and short biog to grassstockfest@hotmail.com.

    Gig of the Week: More Than Conquerors

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    ATL | 10:08 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2012

     

    Gig of the week time on the ATL blog and with festival season (and what a season!) finally done and dusted, it's back to dark venues and sticky floors.

    This week we're sending you to Auntie Annies and evening in the company of More Than Conquerors. The band are about to go out on a two week UK tour and we can look forward to a diary of their adventures published right here. So consider this a going away party, of sorts....here's Danny from the band with your formal invite.

    'We're really excited to be playing belfast again, it's always great to play a home show before setting off on tour. We're going to be playing some new tracks off the upcoming album too that's due out early next year which we're all really proud of so it'll be good seeing the response from the crowd as we play them live.

    Due to unfortunate circumstances the original bill has been changed so we've now got our friends from The 1930's opening and Pretty Child Backfire as main support. Two great hometown bands with different sounds so that'll make it worth getting down early for. Kris and Jamie are also currently making some limited edition, hand made t-shirts that we'll be selling on the night.'

    ****

    More than Conquerors, Pretty Child Backfire and he 1930s play Auntie Annies, Belfast this Thursday night. Their UK tour starts on Saturday.

     

    Belfast Festival at Queens lunched!

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    ATL | 15:42 UK time, Tuesday, 4 September 2012

    Belfast festival at Queens Logo

     

    Now in it's 50th year, the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queens 2012 programme was launched earlier today.

    As previously announced Beach House, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Buena Vista Social Club, Ray Davies and Van Morrison will all play the festival.

    Running from the 19th of October to the 4th of November, the festival will host comedy, talks, music, dance, theatre, visual art and film.

    For the full programme visit belfastfestival.com.

    Gig Round-Up: Ed Zealous, Strait Laces, Documenta...

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    ATL | 12:03 UK time, Tuesday, 4 September 2012

    Documenat Gig Poster

     

    Documenta Drone Pop will launch their sophomore album at Voodoo, Belfast on Friday the 5th of October.

    While Strait Laces have confirmed the line up for their final gig. Dublin's Jogging and Derry's Droids will support at the Stiff Kitten, Belfast on the 21st of September.

    Ed Zealous will headline Voodoo, Belfast on the 20th of October. With support from Go Wolf and DJ sets from EatenByBears & resident DJs, the gig marks a special one off return for the Animal Disco gig night.

    The Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast will host a free showcase with A Plastic Rose, Wonder Villains and Pretty Child Backfire on Wednesday the 12th of September.

    Electric Picnic 2012

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    ATL | 18:36 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2012

    crowds at the festival

     

    Welcome to The Electric Picnic - where it's perfectly acceptable to drag a two year old girl through some mud in a painted cart.

    Kids are everywhere (and by 'kids' we mean actual toddlers - not the 'kids' who were supposed to turn up to wreck the place because The Killers were playing). Toddling around Mindfields, on their dad's shoulders in the Electric Arena, rolling about the grass at The Main Stage. They're making us behave - who wants to swear in front of a two year old, let alone fall about drunk?

    The weather helps - three days of glorious (yet bearable) sunshine and light breezes. The ground is relatively firm and a lot of people turn up on Sunday wearing their shorts.

    The food helps - green curries better than those in noted Thai restaurants, ostrich burgers like you get at the Continental Market and beers you would actual buy for a quiet drink in the house. A selection of wines at one stall, some ridiculous looking cupcakes at another. And you rarely have to queue. Everyone here - punters and security alike are in such good form - no aggro, no hassle. It's a beautiful thing.

     


    Nine years this festival has been running yet it still feels secretive, a special club. Very few of us understand why there's a single door to nowhere in Body & Soul, or why that stage in the forest is built into a ship, yet we're happy to pretend it all makes sense. This is a festival where brand new Icelandic pop courtesy of relative unknowns Of Monster & Men is way too big for a 3,000 capacity arena. Where their fellow Icelandic minstrels Sigur Ros can headline an entire day. Thankfully, it's also a festival that welcomes a mess of Irish talent - the bill is sprinkled with a number of notable acts from up North. But we'll get to that.

    Friday eased us in. Five minutes at Grandaddy made for 'The Crystal Lake' and 'AM 180' - genuine classics. Metronomy and The Maccabees justify their achingly cool reputation and haircuts with proper songs. Christy Moore wins the battle of old skool v. nu skool - the likes of 'Joxer' and 'Ride On' feel as familiar as 'Happy Birthday' afterall. Ed Sheeran is a worthy runner up, showing off a decent flow during 'You Need Me' with his cover of 'Chasing Cars' sung by several hundred girlfriends on shoulders. They're lapping it up.
    Wonder Villains

     


    Earlier Wonder Villains opened the Electric Arena. New songs 'Blonde' and 'Tiger' show great promise, but just as it is for Rainy Boy Sleep, Not Squares, Gareth Dunlop and A Plastic Rose later in the weekend, there's only a handful of people their to witness the first few songs. Each of these band's profile in the south is much lower than we assumed which is a little disappointing. Each gathers a healthy crowd by midway through their set, new fans onboard, which we guess was the whole point of them being here.

    Early Saturday is well spent lazing about Mindfields. The market makes for a decent lunch, eaten in the company of some spoken word. Yesterday we had a Vaccines q&a and Ed Sheeran on Today FM to keep us company, today it's a young lady waxing lyrical about previous EP indulgences and the state of the nation in general. Not great. Some comedy is a better option - the Comedy Tent MCs are seeing how much 'stuff' they can fit in some poor guys afro. Daft.


    Saturday's musical line up is a little crazy. We see Dexy's theatrical set go nuclear when a souped up 'Come on Eileen' is played before one of three unforgettable highlights of the weekend - Ham Sandwich on the Cosby stage. Niamh Farrell is nailing that Donna Summer cover and it turns out 'The Naturist' is just as good as 'I Feel Love'. We didn't even need those confetti cannons. The Irish love-in continues - David Kitt is reprising his classic 'The Big Romance' album with a little help from Richie Jape while Turn turn back the years, legends in their own backyard.

    Then there's Villagers. Oh my. That first album was incredible, the second is blatantly much better. 'The Waves' has jaws dropping - all these new songs do. Conor O'Brien will be a superstar this time next year. Even Bono is watching though we're not sure why that's important.

    The Roots

     

    Those not watching a hot-panted Bronagh Gallagher from up a tree (hello, John Rocha) are at The Roots, who are schooling every band on the planet. No bass here, instead a marching band tuba. That guitarist is outrageously good and ?uestlove could drum in his sleep. They're covering Guns n' Roses, Minnie Ripperton, Sinead O' Connor and James Brown, seemingly all at once.

    Then, a moment. A young lady is down the front with a banner suggesting she may be a good choice to sing 'You Got Me' with the band. Rolling the dice, they invite her onstage. That din is a mixture of encouragement and tension - we're not sure what's going to happen here - can this random member of the crowd actually sing? Turns out she's amazing. The band smile and laugh, ?uestlove takes a photo and the entire arena is a noisy sea of smiling faces. Three hours of The Cure playing 'the hits' is suddenly something of an anti-climax.

    Hot tubs

     


    Things settle down on day three. ATL wanders through Body & Soul, taking in all sorts of random curios - art installations, laptop battles and the scantily clad in hot tubs. During the day it seems a little tired here, to an EP veteran anyway. A lick of paint, some kind of new spin - anything to reignite the place. At night, however, it all makes sense again. This is a place to get lost in. Schedules are torn up.


    Not by us, however - it's back to the music. Cashier #9 have filled the Cosby Arena - the first Northern Irish band of the weekend to do so. Well, Bomb City 7 and Axis Of have filled the Oxjam tent - granted that only took about 25 people. A lovely place to be all the same - Lafaro and Rams will also play what's essentially a Northern Irish takeover.

    Inevitably, Guy Garvey is proving once again he's the nicest man on the planet. Bigging us up constantly (he's a massive fan of EP, that becomes clear), he'll invite the Irish Youth Choir onstage for 'Lippy Kids' before toasting us all with a little local whiskey. 'One Day Like This' is just….well you get the picture, I'm sure.

     


    It's a warm up for The Killers, a 'controversial' booking. Combined with the fact Oxegen wasn't on this summer, some quarters assumed this pop acts addition to the bill would make for a mods and rockers style stand off, ruining the festival. Absolute nonsense of course - this is the nicest, most respectful gathering we've seen at any Irish festival (let alone any Electric Picnic) and The Killers go down very well. Other people are watching Glen Hansard cover Van and The Divine Comedy or James Murphy's gloriously deep and suitably dark DJ set at the dance tent. No biggie.

    Sunshine and every form of entertainment imaginable. Nice people, many in colourful fancy dress, all getting a little silly, forgetting themselves. Impossible to top.

    Electric Picnic then. Worryingly perfect.

    Words: Rigsy
    Photos: Carrie Davenport

    *******************************************
    For a day by day round up go here.
    For pictures of the weekend click here.

    Gig Round-Up: Ed Sheeran, Glen Hansard, The Staves, Bell X1....

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    ATL | 15:32 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2012

    Ed Sheeran

     

    Fresh from their appearnaces at Electric Picnic this weekend, a number of acts have announced new dates in the coming months.

    Ed Sheeran will play the Odyssey, Belfast on January 10th and the O2 in Dublin on the 11th. Tickets go on sale this Friday (7th Sept) at 9am.

    Glen Hansard has confirmed he'll be playing the Ulster Hall, Belfast on December 16th and Vicar Street, Dublin on December 18th.

    Bell X1 head out on an acoustic tour around the island this November, stopping by the Empire Music Hall, Belfast on Thurs 22nd Nov and An Culturlann, Derry on Saturday the 24th.

    The Staves return to Belfast on the 24th of November as part of their UK & Ireland tour in support of their debut album, 'Dead & Born & Grown' which will be released in October.  They'll play the Limeight and support will come from Luke Sital-Singh.

    Alabama Shakes play the Olympia on November 14. Pre sale beigns tomorrow morning at 9am and general sale is at 9am this Friday.

    Meanwhile, Newton Faulkner has confirmed he'll be playing the Mandela Hall, Belfast on Saturday the 6th of October for a 14+ show.

    Stillpoint EP launch!

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    ATL | 15:13 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2012

    Stillpoint EP cover

     

    Belfast's Stillpoint will release their second EP at the Bunatee Bar, Belfast this Thursday. Entitled 'Some Lessons Hurt Like The Truths They Contain' , the release contains 5 new songs.

    Having recenlty parted ways with their original drummer, John Gillen from Nocturn will fill in on drums for the launch.

    Support on the night comes from Droids, Deadlights and Window Seats.

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