Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hometown heroes…don’t believe the hype…they’re better than that

THE Answer are on the crest of a wave. But there is no sudden crash waiting for the hometown heroes any time soon.

The usual form is that as soon as any band reaches a certain level the media decides to knock them down a peg or two.

Don’t believe the clichéd crap, because The Answer have ascended that; they have become the true hometown heroes – humble super stars with an awe inspiring live presence to match the peerless classic rock excellence of their recorded output.

On Monday night at the Mandella Hall it was a hot and sweaty lesson par excellence for budding protégés – there are many that might claim the throne, but few can aspire to achieve the presence and sheer joie de vivre that County Down’s finest can achieve.

Kicking off with the power packed album openers off Everyday Demons, Demon Eyes was blistering and Too Far Gone was a rallying cry for the disaffected, disenfranchised majority.

The true measure of any act taking to the stage in Belfast is their ability to merge the new with the old; the tried and tested with the new vibe.

Old favourites can raise the hands, raise the voices and raise the tempo. But can they stand beside the likes of Come Follow Me, Under the Sky, and Preaching in front of an audience that can react with indifference?

From the dark tones of Why’d You Change Your Mind, through to the surge of positivism echoed with Cry Out doubters be damned! The Answer proved they are now ‘all growed up’.

From the tiered stadia supporting AC/DC to the intimate Mandella Hall The Answer command any stage, any time.

It is too easy to say a band performed with aplomb. It is too easy to heap plaudits upon any band. But when the band is The Answer it is more difficult to find sufficient praise.

One magazine described Cormac as an ‘affable scarecrow’ off stage. On stage he exudes presence. Paul’s lead playing has emerged ever more powerful and lyrical in recent months, while Mickey and James lay down a rhythm tighter than ever before, despite James recent injury.

But what is more they now feel their way through the set. Preachin’ may get the crowd singing along, but newer tracks like On and On and Tonight sit easily in the set.

And it is a band that can have the anthem for ‘Norn Iron’ Dead of the Night dedicated to the first newspaper to cover then (the Newry Democrat) on the day that the newspaper closed its doors. In other words The Answer may have played to hundreds of thousands of people on the AC/DC tour; they may have appeared on then David Letterman Show: but they never forget where they laid down their rock roots and earned the stripes needed for success.

It is with that confidence that The Answer can throw in the Ike and Tina Turner song Nutbush City Limits and have Answer balloons bounced across the venue

The Answer’s take on classic rockin’ can be easily dismissed by the sneering critics who forget the sheer unadulterated excitement of a proper rock ‘n’ roll gig. They dismiss The Answer at their peril.

Co Down’s finest…The Answer.

Now, if you have any questions we can offer The Answer…harder than quadrilateral equations…more down-to-earth than an earthworm…cooler than ice chips in a heatwave…The Answer are Northern Ireland’s finest.

PS: The Answer are so cool that, despite their hectic schedule, they took almost an hour to back the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People’s ‘Here We Are…Nowhere’ campaign at the Oh Yeah Music Centre. www.niccy.org/herewearenowhere. Cool, hard and caring...that'll be The Answer!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Free gig for teenagers

Wanna go to a free gig? Wanna meet The Answer? Wanna hear local acts like Shotgun, Dead Vito, and Escape Fails?

If you are between 14 and 18 and doing nothing between 4:30 and 7:30pm on Monday 29th June (i.e. today!) and your answer is YES to the above questions, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People is hosting a free gig to launch her campaign on play, leisure and things to do for young people at Belfast's Oh Yeah Music Centre.

Email john@niccy.org as soon as possible today to snag your free spot on the guestlist.

Special thanks to The Answer for their personal appearance!

Rock numbers

Sad fact...the post before this one was post number 666...which means this post is 667...neighbour of the beast :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Guitar Hero faces JP's wrath

Guitar Hero is a gaming phenomenon...and it has seen hard rock and metal acts given more exposure, as well as earning a few extra shillings for the acts. But now Jimmy Page (along with Jack White) have slagged it off (see story here).

They make some good points, but ultimately what harm is there in it...as they point out it could spoil some learning in terms of finger shapes and rhythms, but the benefits in terms of digit dexterity could outweigh that...your views?

Free gig for 14-18 year olds

THE Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People is holding a free gig for 14-18 year olds at the Oh Yeah Music Centre on Monday. Admittance is strictly by invitation only.

Escape Fails are headlining, with Dead Vito and Shotgun also playing. There will also be a personal appearance by The Answer for pix etc.

If you want to snag one of the free tickets you MUST be between 14 and 18 (seriously you have to be!) and email john@niccy.org as soon as possible. Doors at 4:30pm, gig ends at 7:30pm.

Spit it out!

Another gig date for your diary: Spitknot (that's a Slipknot tribute band for the slow of reading) take to the stage at the Spring & Airbrake on August 8th with the rather excellent Sinocence and Residal Effect in support.

Tickets for this Distortion Project promotion are on sale now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Metal in the mainstream...

What the heck is it with the press these days...metal is in the mainstream with Maiden picking up Brit awards, Slipknot, Metallica and DC topping the charts across the world at the end of '08, and now Classic Rock devoting almost an entire magazine to metal.

CR is now one of the best selling music mags in the UK; it has even a prog rock spin off edition. This month's edition features a natty cover listing dozens of metal bands logos, and has features a plenty.

It touches on the genres and some of the history, and claims (not unfairly) that the grunge movement of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden et al was metal in all but name.

While the magazine makes many fair editorial comments it does go overboard on it New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal claim. This phrase, coined by Metal Hammer, gives hope to a lot of bands that are hopelessly stuck in a timewarp. While some acts have the ability to tap into previous bands work and inject a new twist to the magical formula the danger is that too many simply don the spandex, ripped jeans and retread the riffs.

Metal is at once comical and deadly serious, and its best exponents recognise this; absorbing the past and giving it new life (the transition between 70s metal, NWOBHM, thrash, prog metal, and the 21st Century vibe is acknowledged) is a trademark of the music form dubbed metal. However, such is the supposed stigma attached to 'heavy metal' that some acts seem determined to distance themselves - even the great Lemmy, before he embraced it once decried the dungeons and dragons tales; and the Ulster man who wrote the defining Holy Diver riff (Vivian Campbell) has dissed metal.

But, when it comes down to it, metal (and all its sub genres, sub-sub genres and disputes over where a band 'fits') has been around, will stay around and will always appeal to those who like loud, heavy rock music played with attitude. Belfast has seen UFO, Tesla, Down, Static X amongst recent acts gracing stages; not to mention the host of local talent.

When the music press has forgotten today's metal fixation there will still be fans and bands who, to paraphrase Gerry Adams "have never gone away ya know". Or in the words of the excellent comedy metal troupe, Steel Panther...DEATH TO ALL BUT METAL.

Stupid and intelligent, obnoxious and thoughtful, progressive and dumb, brash and introverted -metal is a beautiful contradiction that some will never get, but for the rest of us...raise the horns, raise a glass and gimme a hell yeah!

[This rant now ceases...I'm away for a cool Carlsberg and refreshing Jager to ease frayed thoughts and listen to some 'eavy fuggin metal]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No failure on the 10th

Escape Fails - long local favourites here for their hardcore metal - are headlining an All Ages gig on July 10th at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

Support comes in the shape of Valkaine, Circadian and Silver Cord. Doors at 3pm and entry is a measly three quid.

The gig is part of the TransBelfast series of summer events. More details here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

After the summer break comes...METAL

ROCKD's line-up after the...ahem...'summer break' will see Interrogate backed by Skypilot, Sinocence and Countervela. Usual 5pm doors music til 9pm.

If it ain't broke...

By guest reviewer Phil Bailie

THE summer showcase run of Sounds of Northern Ireland was back in Belfast at The Empire last week when Jackkniife, Take the Fifth, Million Dollar Reload and Pay*ola hit the revered venue in Botanic Avenue.

After the support slots warmed the crowd up Million Dollar Reload’s energetic front man, Phil Conalane delivered another charismatic performance.

The band pumped up the crowd playing songs off their debut album 'Anthems of a Degeneration', released in October 2008, to include the fantastic 'Livin' in the City'. M$R delivered a raunchy rock performance with guitar players B.A.M. and Andy Mack showing plenty of stage presence with a host of great guitar solos, whetting the crowds appetite for the final part of the night. By the end of their set, it had become clear that this band deserved to be sharing bills with the likes of BLS, Tyketto and Alice Cooper.

Saving the best for last, Pay*ola, who had recently headlined the Anlassen Festival near Frankfurt in front of no less than 4000 rock fans, stepped onto the stage and opened with the sublime 'The Colour Red'. This direct, driving opening got a great reaction from the crowd as singer Phil McCarroll began to introduce hits off the 'Try Everything Twice' album such as 'I'd rather be Dreaming' and the extremely catchy 'Love It'.

Vocally, Pay*ola were very impressive, as always, and Nick Joseph on lead guitar gave a phenomenal show of his talents, showing plenty of personality as the guys covered the AC/DC classic: 'Riff Raff'.

New songs off the upcoming album (to be released later this year), notably a track called 'Blindside', were also showcased but the band played out to 'Everybody Talks' and, of course, their very own rendition of DC's 'Rock 'n' Roll Damnation'.

There is a school of thought on Pay*ola that say it's a shame the band produce the same thing year in year out, without really pushing to the next level. On the other hand, believe in the phrase “If it ain't broke, don't fix it”...and it certainly isn't broke

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shooting from the hip...

In the 80s, when all was diverse in the hard rock and metal world a challenger to the chart throne nearly emerged as title contenders, before fading - unjustly - away. They were GUN.

And they are back, firing on all cylinders - and set for a Limelight date on November 8th. Tix are fifteen notes and available from all usual outlets.

[For those of you who can't quite - or are too young - to remember GUN they ripped up a new version of Cameo's Word UP (later also covered poorly by Korn) and were handpicked support for the Rolling Stones for their 1993 Urban Jungle tour]

Saturday's RockD offering

This week's offering from RockD at The Limelight on Saturday...

Hungers Mother. http://www.myspace.com/hungersmother

Double Wide. http://www.myspace.com/doublewiderocks

Bleeding Saints. www.myspace.com/bleedingsaints

Doors at 5pm, first band at 6pm.
Door tax 3.50. Music til 9!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The biffyness is back!

Okay, they're not exactly metal (and Baal hated them live!) but having seen Biffy Clyro on a number of occassions they have grown into a weird hybrid of prog rock pop indie loud melodic weirdness - quirky but good.

The Biffy are heading back to Belfast for an October 28th gig at St George's Market.

It could be said (and their blurb does!) that the Scottish trio are one of "the most influential rock bands in the UK right now". They release their new album in October with Garth Richardson (RATM, Red Hot Chili Peppers) on production and mixing from Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Faith No More).

The first single from the album, ‘That Golden Rule’, a "distinctively heavy and angular rock race of a song" will be released on 20 August, 2009.

Previously Biffy have played to sold-out shows in The Limelight, Spring & Airbrake & The Mandela Hall...and a Velvet Revolver's support slot that was ill-advised and Baal hated!

Tickets 18.50 on sale on Friday from all usual outlets.

Classic Rock Back in Fashion?

By Guest Reviewer Phil Bailie

The best selling music magazines aren’t Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Terrorizer or even the awful NME. They are Q and Classic Rock. Q only notices rock and metal when they deign to give it coverage, often with that sneering malice only the close-minded can manage. Classic Rock on the other hand celebrates rock and metal throughout the past four decades. Unsurprisingly it is experiencing the fastest growth in sales.

In Dublin on Friday night there was no doubt that classic rock is not only back in fashion, it is the musical heartbeat for young and old alike

Tesla kicked off with a spectacular set led by guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude, and notably, a rockin' show of vocals form singer Jeff Keith. Fresh from recording their new album 'Forever More', they more than did it justice, playing the likes of 'I Wanna Live'. Of course they played the classic 'Signs' but it was 'Love Song' that was, to coin a phrase, the dog's bollocks! An awesome ballad played to perfection.

After tearing up the Spring & Airbrake the night before Tesla suitably warmed up the Irish crowd.

AOR legends Journey gave the best performance of the night. It’s hard to believe that Neal Schon spotted vocalist Arnel Pineda on Youtube, singing covers of Journey songs. For a 41-year-old this guy showed more charisma and stamina than many other younger singers.

The set began with the familiar sound of the keyboards from 'Separate Ways' and the band were met with a deafening roar from the crowd. This new look Journey, showcasing the year – old album 'Revelation', were electrifying from the start.

The most memorable moment of the entire night came when the first few notes were sounded from the grand piano in 'Don't Stop Believing' as the roof was blown off the O2 Arena, only to be blown off again when the guys topped off an amazing set with 'Any Way You Want It'.

Journey on their own would have been worth the full asking price of a single ticket...simply awesome!

With Whitesnake…well the best of Coverdale’s days seem to be well behind him on the strength of this performance. It's a sad day when a great vocalist such as Coverdale has to use a reverb/echo technique on his mic. Has age perhaps caught up with the guy? Although he coped well with the low notes in songs such as 'Is This Love', the old crooner struggled to hit the pitch on songs like 'Here I go Again'.

Their situation was not helped when Doug Aldrich experienced sound problems during the opening song 'Best Years', perhaps a fore-warning of some of what was to come.

Musically, however, the band were sound enough with Doug Aldrich as the tent pole of the group, holding the show together. The crowd in Dublin were treated to a classic guitar battle between both Doug and Reb Beach.

As it was the 25th Anniversary of the 'Slide It In' album, the O2 was also treated to 'Guilty of Love', while classics such as 'Love Ain't No Stranger' and 'Still of the Night' were executed brilliantly! Other tracks such as the limp 'Can You Hear the Wind Blow' and the acoustic rendition of 'The Deeper the Love' should have been expunged from the setlist to allow room for more well rounded tracks.

Def Leppard were a completely different band from the one that played last June at the in Belfast and in the best possible way. It was the first night of the tour and they sounded absolutely fantastic. Opening with 'Rocket' they then tore into a fiery cover of Sweet's 'Action'. It quickly became clear why it was Def Leppard headlining and not Whitesnake. While Whitesnake's acoustic set was less than impressive, Lepps produced a winner with 'Two Steps Behind' and an acoustic version of 'Bringing on the Heartbreak' which exploded into a massive electric solo from Phil Collen.

The setlist, in general, was much better than the one which Whitesnake offered, producing all the classics such as 'Animal', 'Photograph' and 'Hysteria' whilst integrating 'C'mon C'mon' and the excellent 'Nine Lives'. And when it came down to vocals, Joe Elliot was streets ahead of Mr.Coverdale.

The obligatory encore included 'When Love and Hate Collide', which was apt considering Ireland was the country where that song managed to hit Number One! Once the final note had been strummed and the ballad had come to an end, Joe Elliot had only one question for the crowd as he introduced 'Let's Get Rocked'. The balconies were bouncing as the addictive drum and bass played on.

Def Leppard were truly phenomenal and Journey were the show stoppers on the night. Whitesnake, in comparison, were let down by the vocals in a set rescued only by Doug Aldrich.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Can you teach old rockers new tricks?

UFO have been around for 40 years. Yep, you read that right. They've been a gigging, album recording, hard partying, line-up changing heavy rock outfit for longer than the so-called Troubles lasted on these few square miles of earth. Can they still cut it?

On Friday night at the Spring and Airbrake one among the many young pretenders for classic rock glory laid down a heady mix of classic rock vibes before the veterans took the stage. The Maiden City rockers, Swanee River, produced a welter of pounding tracks, laced with a hint of the Stones, a dash of Zepp and more than a nod to Free.

Thanks to the success of The Answer, doors are beginning to open for local hard rockers. Swanee River are among those pushing at those doors. With an engaging frontman and a varied groove more gigging will hone their set and performance yet further. A name to look out for.

But, the crowd was really only there to see UFO, and for many it was to see if they could still cut a swathe through a stage.

It was never likely that the veterans would receive a luke warm reaction given their performance two years ago at the same venue. But that was two years ago. Apart from a new (and very energetic) replacement for the ill Pete Way, this was the same crew. The same jaded, old crew? Nah. Old rockers like this are a real gem on the music scene and a treat to watch.

Yes, Phil Mogg is getting on a bit and is nowhere near as mobile on stage as previously, but he still has pipes that can raise the rafters. And he had the audacity to claim that he was dealing with a bit of a croak! Singers throughout the country can only wish they sounded this good without a croak.

UFO are also a band that is both courageous in song selection, and knowledgeable enough to give the crowd what they want.

Kicking off with the bluesy Save Me off the excellent new album The Visitor, the band raided some less well known tracks, before really settling in. In a rather endearing move Mogg announced they would be giving Hell Driver, off The Visitor, one of its first outings. He then produced a folder with the lyrics which he laid in front of his monitor speakers. Many a singer would baulk at this, but for Mogg it seems that getting it right is more important than false vanity.

Of course UFO cast aside pretence. They collectively know that if someone pays their ticket price (or wins one on this site!) they expect to hear the songs that made them love the band.

It can be too easy for some bands to fall into self-parody, or worse cabaret style routine. The way UFO, and other bands that have been kicking about a while, is to feed off the audience reaction throughout the set. And the only way to get that reaction is to pace the set well, and keep ramping up the performance to a suitable climax.

This was by no means a perfect set. At this early stage in the tour the cues between Mogg and virtuoso guitarist Vinne Moore were a little off, with Mogg sometimes appearing ready to end the song before Moore had finished his widdling.

And therein could possibly lie a weakness in the band. Moore, like many of the axemen who have slung a six-string for UFO, is a phenomenal talent. Whether it be blues tinged intros, mid-80's hard rock riffing or pure out-and-out shredding Moore is among the best. Sometimes, however, it is a little too much. Sometimes the solo outros could lose half-a-minute. Equally his outstanding lengthy solo could be trimmed.

However, he is an engaging character on stage. Posing, pouting and smiling as only a real talent on the guitar should. He, like all the band, understand the importance of making eye contact; of realising that rock and metal are paticipatory events, and the punters deserve to be acknowledged.

UFO delivered the classics that we all recall fondly and in a live setting we sing, chant and bounce around to. Lights Out, Only You Can Rock Me, Rock Bottom, Love to Love, Doctor Doctor, and Shoot Shoot were all delivered with aplomb.

Can you teach old rockers new tricks? Not really, but there are a lot of the newer bands that could learn and prosper from paying attention to what this 40-year-old band do live and on record.

[And Mr Mogg...that kilt was a fashion faux pas!]


The winners of the Down StaticX competition will by now have received an email letting them know they've won a pair of tickets to the Mandella Hall show. Thanks to everyone for entering. We've had an overwhelming response to this and the earlier UFO competition!

If you didn't win tickets there are still a few tickets left for Down, available at Katy Daly's or on the door.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Visitor - finest UFO album in years?

WHEN UFO touch down at the Spring & Airbrake on Friday night, it will be on the back of what just could be their finest album outing in years. The Visitor hit the shelves last week, with classic rock magazines touting its white-man's blues credentials. Occasional slide guitar and a honky tonk vibe it is an easy comparison. Opening tracks Saving Me and On The Waterfront lay down a slick blues sound.

But this is an album with more depth than a little slide guitar.

Last outing, Monkey Puzzle, was a solid outing, but one in which the band were looking over their collective shoulder at a 40-year back-catalogue. There was a whiff that if they stuck to the same formula their next CD should come with free pipe and slippers.

With The Visitor they have shrugged off any such delusions with ease and shifted just far enough away from the comfort zone the band could have become stuck in. Vinnie Moore provides the soulful licks without ever letting go of the fact that UFO are one of the definitive British hard rock acts. For every blues tinged solo there is a hard edged riff. Stop Breaking Down, Hell Driver and Stranger in Town tap into the classic sound, but still manage to sound fresh.

UFO have always managed to mix the pipes of Phil Mogg with a mix balanced between riffage and subtlelty. For all the headbanging fun of a Doctor Doctor there has always been the balance of the likes of Looking After NO. 1 (Obsession album). Here that balance is on Forsaken - a tale of loss and heartache that can only be told through bitter personal experience. This isn't emo, this is real emotion.

This is a band that could be collectively seen as a bunch of old codgers. But even grumpy old men can stretch arthritic limbs and touch a vibe that the Johnny-Come-Latelys would struggle with.

Listen to the aforementioned track On The Waterfront. For any of us who have sat in the fading summer sunlight on the beach at Ballyholme, the promenade at Carrick, of the shores of Loughs Neagh or Erne, this is a track to raise that can of beer or bottle of cider in sweet memory.

Yes, two listens to The Visitor will make you want to toast these legends of hard rock.

Importantly, sounds from The Visitor sit perfectly comfortably with the rest of the UFO back catalogue. They will be the balance, the foil and the counterpoint to make old and new songs alike sound fresh.

UFO play the Spring & Airbrake on Friday 12th June. Tickets are still available at Katy Daly's and at the door, priced £20.
The Visitor is out now in SPV/Steamhammer.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Quireboys make return Belfast trip

"If you were to get the Stones, The Faces, Humble Pie, Aerosmith, Mott The Hoople, Slade, ACDC and other great rock n' roll bands of their era - mix them together, add some great stage presence, 6 great personalities and some top songs - then invite them and all your best mates to your house for the best party ever - you would probably get something close to a Quireboys gig."

Well at least that's what it says in the blurb...mix in a few pints of booze and it's well on the way to singalong with the Quireboys, grins plastered across every face. The blurb continues:

"Dismiss The Quireboys at your peril because Homewreckers & Heartbreakers – and the string of rollocking, good-time live shows that have followed it – are among the classic rock’n’roll events of the year. " Couldn't agree more!

The Quireboys will be stopping of at Belfast during their UK tour, they play Spring & Airbrake on Friday 4th December. Tickets are £16.00 are on sale from all usual outlets from Thursday.

Your keen!

Thanks again to everyone who entered the UFO competition, and thanks to everyone who is trying one of two sets of tickets for Down. Have to say that you lot are keen! Remember the Down/StaticX competition ends on Saturday at 11:00pm. Check the previous post for how to enter.

For all of you heading to UFO (and if you're not, why not!) I'll post a review of their latest platter, The Visitor tomorrow evening.
Tickets are still available for Friday's gig at the Spring & Airbrake from Katy Daly's and usual outlets.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Win tickets to see Down and Static X

Iconic metal supergroup Down are set to return to Belfast with a June 15th show at the Mandella Hall. Supporting the legends are reborn 90s techno metallers Static X.

Our friends at CDC have two pairs of tickets up for grabs.

To win one of the two pair of tickets up for grabs answer this question:
Name one of the bands fronted previously by Down singer Phil Anselmo?

Email your answers here.

Competition closes on Saturday June 13th at 23:00
Winners will be notified by email.

Sham and Shame for The Empire

Quick note for all the old punks out there...Sham 69 are to play The Empire on July 4th. Altogether now..."If the kids are united, then we'll never be divided."

Support from Shame Academy.

Friday, June 05, 2009

When potential is realised - Interrogate deliver on early promise

Interrogate have been a band knocking around the local scene for a few years, promising much and oozing with potential.

With the release of new CD 'Scarred for Life' potential has transformed into the proverbial real metal deal.

The raw fury of debut EP Unbroken has been honed into a subtle rage. The fury has not gone - merely sharpened, focussed on a blend of targetted hostility.

From the opening words of 'Tear This Place Down' on Victim to the final incantation on This Bruise Interrogate have hit on a potent mix that absorbs infleunces and turns them into a metal maelstrom.

Andy's vocals explore a hitheto undiscovered range, mixing the harder edge with a clean, emotional, and at times melodic delivery. This range is on show in particular on Losing it All, already a firm live favourite.

On Choda in particular Mark's guitar moves from the riffage live followers know so well to produce more studied lead playing.

Throughout the rhythm section of Darren and Stephen nail the songs' intent down, also both lending backing to Andy's vocals.

Interrogate have perservered and been through more trials than many could have coped with. Those stories are too personal for a blog or a review. That they have endured and emerged.

The sheer depth of album closers Sorrow Remains and This Bruise more than anything demonstrate that this is more than a debut album; this is a statement.

Producer Neal Calderwood has helped Interrogate develop, but this is a band ready to take on much more than before. This is a band standing ready. This is another testament to the sheer talent on the Northern Ireland scene.

But most of all this is an album that sits comfortably alongside any so-called major label release in your CD collection.

Congratulations to the UFO ticket winners

Congratulations to the UFO ticket competition winners. All will have tonight received a confirmation email!

For those who didn't win, thanks for entering and look out for a Down competition next week.

UFO play the Spring & Airbrake on Friday, June 12th. Tickets available at Katy Daly's and all usual on and offline outlets. See you all there!

Musing on Muse

With Muse confirming a Dublin date (November 6th at the O2Point) rumours are abounding whether they will slot in a Belfast appointment at the Odyssey.

There is space on the tour schedule, but it will all come down to economics in the end!

After RockD on Saturday

If, after RockD on Saturday, you still haven't had enough metal head up to the Rosie where the first heat of the battle to snag an opening slot at Bloodstock Open Air takes place.

First into the ring are: Decayor, Exsisting, Threat, Hybris, and Sadisture.

Doors are at 8:30pm

Don't forget to enter our UFO tickets competition

Don't forget to enter our UFO competition! Five pairs of tickets donated by the kind folks at CDC. And if you missed the venerable classic rockers in July of 07 you've really got to see them this time around. And if you did see them in 07, then you're sure to want to see them again!

To win one of the five pair of tickets up for grabs answer this question:
Name the epic double live album UFO released in 1979?Email your answers here.

Competition closes on Friday 5th June at 23:00
Winners will be notified by email.
Please note that this is an over 18s show

Firebird, Gentlemen's Pistols...busy weekend at Ormeau Avenue

This weekend promises to be a busy weekend of metal at Ormeau Avenue. On Friday night the Spring and Airbrake hosts Firebird, Gentlemen's Pistols, ably underscored by Skypilot and Hunger's Mother. Doors at 9pm

Then for the regular RockD slot at The Limelight Condemned, Cursed Sun and These are the Clouds hit the stage. Doors at 5pm.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Win tickets to see UFO in Belfast

SEMINAL hard rockers make their return to Belfast on June 12th. And our friends at CDC have five pairs of tickets up for grabs!

UFO last rocked a packed Spring & Airbrake in 2007, on the Monkey Puzzle tour. With new album The Visitor released today it marks an important milestone for the band that has been an influence on everyone from Kirk Hammet through to Steve Harris. The Visitor is the band's 20th studio album and 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of the band's formation.

To win one of the five pair of tickets up for grabs answer this question:
Name the epic double live album UFO released in 1979?

Email your answers here.

Competition closes on Friday 5th June at 23:00
Winners will be notified by email.
Please note that this is an over 18s show

Upcoming Distortion Project gigs

The Limelight
Saturday 6th June. Condemned + Cursed Sun + These are the Clouds. 5pm, £3.50
Saturday 13th June. Dead Zebra + Stone Crow + Valkaine. 5pm, £3.50
Saturday 20th June. Hungers Mother + Double Wide + Bleeding Saints
Saturday 27th June. Electric Red + 99 Miles of Bad Road + Zero Point Zero. 5pm, £3.50
Saturday 18th July. Interrogate + Skypilot + Sinocence + Countervela. 5pm, £5.00.

Spring & Airbrake
Friday 5th June. Firebird + Gentlemans Pistols + Skypilot + Hungers Mother. 9pm, £10
Sunday 14th June. Prong + Die so Fluid. 8pm, £17
Friday 28th August. Onslaught + Devilmakesthree + Overoth + Cursed Sun. 8pm £11
Friday 23rd October. Amon Amarth. 9pm, £18
Tickets for all the above are now available from Katys Dalys, Auntie Annies and all ticketmaster outlets. Web bookings: www.ticketmaster.ie, www.geturticket.com. Credit card hotline 0870 2434455

Monday, June 01, 2009

Social Distortion fundraiser

The monthly Social Distortion fundraiser is this Tuesday (June 2nd) with Existing Threat bringing a thrash vibe to bear on the Black Box, while Escape Fails will be bringing the post-hardcore party to town.

No tickets, but a fiver donation to the haematology unit at the Royal Belfast Children's Hospital will get you through the door.