Summer’s here and up and down the UK and beyond bands are hauling themselves through rain, mud, occasional sunshine and irritating TV presenters as another festival season gets in full swing. So with 2011 already careering towards July, it seems like a good time to sit back, take stock of the first six months of the year, and sort through the best of what has been hogging the speakers at Live4ever so far. Is rock n roll music currently in a state of stagnation? Hmm, let’s just say, judge for yourself…
Is your favourite album so far not included? Why not leave us a comment below to recommend your own stand-outs from the first part of 2011.
In the world of rock’n'roll, boys will be boys. For Abandcalledboy it’s taken a slight change of name to relaunch themselves head-first into their familiar vicinity of deranged-sounding riff rock and unpredictable performances.
Yes, there has been an entire month’s worth of material to update you all on – but first, and truly with some delirious sense of need, last weekend’s Pigstock Music Festival needs to be highlighted. A special case being only my second year in attendance, and having had the pleasure of witnessing Pigstock solidify not into the foundations of some weekend jaunt in a field but (pardon the food reference, we’ll get to that) a Christmas dinner with all of the (in this case, pork, and lots of it) trimmings.
A few names immediately spring to mind when thinking of home town performances of the dizzyingly colossal variety. Muse brought the coast of Devon to a standstill with their Seaside Rendezvous. Oasis pencilled in a gathering of sixty thousand at the ground of their beloved Manchester City and last year Snow Patrol‘s umpteenth homecoming was the single highest-attended concert Northern Ireland had ever seen. But all of those are hard to compare to a Belfast gig from And So I Watch You From Afar.
April was (and always appears to be) a hectic transitional month which is packed with single releases, album launches and the inevitable build up to the summer festivals. Coming at the right time after the January post-Christmas dull period, ‘business as usual’ takes hold. Bands start appearing from dishevelled practice rooms and recording studios out into the Spring sunshine, shirts tucked in and sunglasses on. The dates for many gigs that were put into plan during the colder months finally come around and venues start popping club nights out of nowhere. Ladies of course, begin to roam the streets wearing a little less as the temperature rises.
Yes even here in Belfast.
All in all it is merely the tip of the iceberg as May and June set the hammer for the hard working bands to fly off on tour across the United Kingdom and now to Europe after the escapades of our flag holders. In return, over the coming weeks, we shall see the influx of bands jetting to here on their own tours from as far flung international settings as America or New Zealand, that will compliment the steady flow of British talent dropping noise across Ireland; providing support opportunities for those planning on spending their year a little closer to home.
It’s an exciting time, the first footfalls of an energetic march that will end around September as the days grow shorter again. For now, and to introduce you to life here in the North…
Irish instrumentalists And So I Watch You From Afar have made their new album ‘Gangs‘ available to stream and download digitally on Bandcamp.
Belfast has been brought to its knees by a community of acts steadily rising and roaring since And So I Watch You From Afar first alerted the country to a scene then largely unrealised with their mini-festival A Little Solidarity just over two years ago.
The Irish giants rock Belfast three times in a day…
On December 17th And So I Watch You From Afar treated fans in Belfast to a trio of special gigs to mark the end of their headline European tour and their return to Northern Ireland for the end of the year.
Well, here was something different. And by different I mean mind blowingly fucking ridonculous. Cumbersomely silly band-name notwithstanding (starting with a coordinating conjunction worked better for … And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, and they even threw in an ellipsis at the beginning), And So I Watch You From Afar (henceforth to be abbreviated ASIWYFA, which is still kind of a pain in the ass to type), the instrumental quartet from Belfast, tore the roof off of Santos Party House while playing in New York (09/30) on their first full scale US tour after making a name for themselves gigging and recording in the UK.
Read it again. That’s Glasgowbury. Not to be confused with Michael Eavis’ Worthy Farm extravaganza – this is Glasgowbury, and it’s got nothing to do with anything in Scotland. Glasgowbury is Northern Ireland’s premier independent festival which showcases almost universally home-grown talent.
As the brainchild of Irish singer-songwriter Paddy Glasgow (now the name makes sense!) the non-profit event has gone from strength to strength. Starting in his back garden with a hundred people in attendance, this year it shouted “Happy tenth birthday!” from the top of the Sperrin mountains to thousands of music lovers.
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