John Corabi - Auntie Annie's, Belfast

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ATL | 15:09 UK time, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

John Corabi (Unplugged)
Auntie Annie’s, Belfast
Saturday, November 17th

Having played with or fronted the likes of Union, The Scream and Motley Crue – the latter on their genuinely impressive 1994 self-titled album – Pennsylvanian fifty-something John Corabi remains one of the most well travelled and well-versed hard rock performers in the business. With a CV with very few comparisons in the genre, tonight he brings his wide-ranging back catalogue and powerful voice to Belfast, stripped back and bare-boned.

Despite expressing disappointment at the poor turn-out at his two previous Irish dates on the current tour, Corabi has drawn a hefty crowd tonight – an eclectic melange of youth and experience; the curious and the heartily inducted. Kicking off with a swift one-two of Union tracks propped up on a stool – including single ‘Love (I Don’t Need It Anymore)’ – he is clearly on fine form; interspersing anecdotes and musings with vigorous yet minimalist renderings of songs faithfully echoed by tonight’s ever-growing audience.

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The Bonnevilles - The Retro, Portrush

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ATL | 13:35 UK time, Monday, 19 November 2012

the Bonnevilles Poster


The Bonnevilles, The Wood Burning Savages, Troublesome Bucks
The Retro, Portrush
Friday 16th November 2012

This evening is the first of a run of album launches for The Bonnevilles. Having just released their second studio album, “Folk Art & The Death of Electric Jesus”, the duo are travelling across the province to introduce new ears to their retro inspired fusion of blues and punk. 

But first, they don’t come more classic rock’n’roll than the Troublesome Bucks. The songs are pretty much standard fare with no frills attached, but this allows the skill of the musicians to stand out. These guys like a good guitar solo and aren’t afraid of a middle eight either. Fans of Rory Gallager won’t be disappointed by their sound, which is clearly influenced by his music. “Midnight Train” is the highlight of a tight set, showcasing a band of accomplished performers.

The Wood Burning Savages open with the dark, slighty eccentric chant of “High Rise” over the thrum of a six string bass. It’s a mixed bag; bright bouncy pop-worthy numbers, such as “Venus”, contrast with almost tribal driven beats. Thankfully the vocals of unlikely frontman Paul Connolly prevent it from getting a bit too bipolar. Don’t be fooled by his slight stature; jittering on his tiptoes, Connolly’s voice commands attention and stands out with an ethereal, quivering quality. There’s a moment when his guitar string breaks and he almost sends his mic stand careening offstage, but he battles on with the same momentum, unphased. “Goose” stands out for its splendid three part harmonies, whilst closing track “Thoughts of You” defines the stomping and impatient theme that runs through most of their music.

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Villagers - Black Box, Belfast

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ATL | 14:58 UK time, Monday, 12 November 2012


Villagers, SOAK
The Black Box, Belfast
Sunday 11th November 2012

'Your new stuff is amazing' shouts some guy. It's an amusingly polite heckle, yet no one really laughs. They're too busy nodding in enthusiastic agreement, bemused by these adventurous songs. It helps that the sound is immaculate, every little detail shining through. It's pretty much perfect, really.

Earlier though, we had Soak. Armed just with her acoustic guitar and a few rambling tales, she's a great scene setter, utterly captivating, full of intrigue. The curiosity that comes with such a talanted 16 year old soon dispels however - these songs are pretty universal after all, full of wisdom for one so young. 'Sea Creatures' remains the stand out and, given the masses penchant for a stripped down ballad, surely a future hit. Soak tells us there's Radio 1 daytime plays to look forward to this week and everyone cheers, knowing she's really on to something.

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