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Bridie, In The Name Of Love

February 11, 2019

Bridie Monds-Watson was in her Manchester flat on Wednesday October 19 when management rang. It was a request from U2. Could she add her vocals to a track that would feature during the band’s performance the following night? It was for a section in the gig about women of the world, taking over. Sure, she said, and recorded her part two hours later. Next evening, she was in a private viewing area at the Arena, listening to her own voice over the speakers and getting a namecheck from Bono. Continue Reading…

David Quantick – Go West

February 10, 2019

Go West, the new David Quantick book is great. A gauche, antiques whisperer with a stash of John Peel cassettes steers towards Land’s End and ever-reeling havoc. Bits of tenderness, philosophy, ripsnort, bathos and calumny. Names pinched from the payroll of Ace Records and a contrary search for the verifiable and real. DQ writes sentences that snap into unguessable shapes. Wry and spry.

The Alternative Ulster fanzine had asked Jake for a song that they might use as a flexidisc. He obliged in February 1978, using the fanzine title to imagine an empowered, shared space, the punks united against the bigots. Jake says he was chiefly the author of the song, although Gordon Ogilvie had provided the wordplay of “alter your native land”. The song was declined by the fanzine but Stiff Little Fingers had another flaming tune in the songbook. Also, they were working on their version of Bob Marley’s ‘Johnny Was’. Some liberties were taken with the words, Henry says. Continue Reading…

The mission is to play three sold-out gigs on consecutive nights in Belfast, to pitch energy, smiles and exceptional cheer into a torpid season. Brand New Friend already prevailed in the summer festivals of 2018 and carried it through the later months when they piggy-backed arena shows with Snow Patrol and closed the year onstage with Ash, singing Wizzard and wearing the Santa hats. But would January tolerate another refreshment offer from Taylor Johnson? Continue Reading…

Anyone who read Milkman by Anna Burns will realise that a whole other tone has been expressed about Belfast during the conflict. Her version of Ardoyne is pressurised by both State and communal policing, the vice grips of a fearful time. Now there is another, wildly different version of the same cityscape. For The Good Times by David Keenan sometimes reads like a negative print of Milkman, fronted by gun-slinging paramilitaries who adore the tunes of Perry Como and create a dandified carnage like the boys in Scorsese’s Mean Streets. Continue Reading…

Radio Free Derry, 1969

January 9, 2019

At 7pm on January 10, 1969 they plugged in a pirate radio transmitter that had been smuggled up from the Irish Republic by friends of People’s Democracy. The transmissions were a feature that year, firstly from the Creggan and then from the top of Rossville Flats, an eight-storey feature of the Bogside. The equipment was installed by Jim Sharkey, an electrician from Rossville Street and father of Feargal. Radio Free Derry went out on 240 Medium Wave and involved Eamonn McCann, Eamonn Melaugh, Tommy McDermott, Ross O’Kane and a few others. Their reach was the Creggan, the Bogside and the Brandywell – 888 acres and 25,000 people. They played folk tunes, pop music and they talked about resistance.

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David Cavanagh

Aftershow at the King’s Hall, Belfast, September 22 1992. Nirvana have finished their last ever indoor gig in the UK, ending with a ferocious ‘Territorial Pissings’. Around 12,000 fans have been drunk, teenage, unbelievably joyous, puking in corridors and dry-humping in alcoves. Now Kurt sits alone on the floor of the hospitality area, his back to the wall, his hair hacked short, keeping himself low and unremarkable.  Continue Reading…

Foo Fighters In LA, 1997

November 24, 2018

Bamm Bamm! Who’s there? Why it’s Dave Grohl barreling through the hotel entrance with a cartoon grocery bag, brimming over with French bread, a sliced loaf and all the necessary vittles. He hails the doorman, crosses the corridor and stops. He then turns around and legs it back the way he came.
 Baam baam! The process is repeated until Dave – today’s video director, regular singer and songwriter and occasional drummer with Foo Fighters – has built up a sequence of takes. He checks his performance on the TV monitors and volunteers to try the scene one more time. Then he’ll be done, definitely.

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We Are Not Afraid

October 4, 2018

Civil rights150On July 3 1968 they blocked the lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge in Derry and sang ‘We Shall Overcome’. Most likely it was the first time the song had been used on the island for a disruptive purpose. Half a dozen people sat down on the disused railway lines, halting the official opening of this new route for cars across the River Foyle. Thus, they denied the new Unionist Mayor of Londonderry, Councillor William Beattie, his civic role.

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Good Vibrations, Lyric Theatre

September 6, 2018

Terri Hooleycrop2Good Vibrations is punk rock theatre in that it makes a significant noise with few resources. Cast members trade roles as Outcasts, cops, urchins and paramilitary boneheads. Like the ingenious folds of a Good Vibes record sleeve, the stage becomes a rock and roll sinkhole, a Derry parlour, a backstreet and a killing field.

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