Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Belfast to host first ever rock awards

I'VE posted about the NI  Rock Music Awards before, but in the tradition of lazy journalism, rather than re-type the official press release, we've done what many so-called rock mag journos do...copied and pasted the press release below.

Comments from me marked in red...

Belfast’s most prolific live bar is to hold the first ever Northern Ireland Rock Music Awards, as part of the city’s second annual Music Week.

The official announcement that Ma Nelson’s will host the prestigious new ceremony will be made this coming Friday evening (2 September), as part of the Lisburn Road venue’s first birthday celebrations.

The bar, formerly Hunters, was taken over in August 2010 by entertainment journalist Tina Calder. In the intervening year, the venue has hosted almost 1,000 live bands, covering every possible genre of music.

Tina said: “When I took over Ma Nelson’s, I decided to do two things immediately. Firstly, keep the name because the bar had been through so many changes another change would not be welcomed by the regular customers, and secondly turn it into a live music, rock and sports bar.

“By rock, we mean we cover everything from blues, classic rock, rock, metal and thrash to goth, punk, mod, ska, indie and alternative. [Editor's Note: As one who remembers the violence perpetuated by mods and skinheads on metallers and punks in the 80's we're not too sure about these, just yet - peace talks need to be entered into....get Skindred to play Ma Nelson's as a first step :)]There is no other bar in Northern Ireland who has dedicated themselves to these particular genres. Other bars do hold separate nights or live music events but none are fully based on this.

“By sports bar, we mean that we accommodate and welcome all sports fans. Primarily, we have been known as a football bar due to Northern Ireland matches and Linfield cup finals and the showing of Premiership and Championship throughout the football season.

“However, we are now working on a marketing plan that will start to publicise and promote everything from rugby, tennis and cricket to boxing, Formula One, American Football [I used to write about that professionally and play it badly too as anyone with the misfortune of seeing me play will testify!] and wrestling.

“On top of our new music and sports fans, we also welcome a lot of regular customers, many who have been drinking in the bar in excess of 30 years. Our policy is to bring Ma Nelson’s back to the magic of a local family owned bar in the heart of a community.”

It is only fitting that, in recognition of the venue’s work ethic in promoting live music, it has been chosen as the venue for the first ever Northern Ireland Rock Music Awards (NIRMAs), which are being held on Saturday 5 November – the night before the MTV EMAs.

Nominations for a wide range of categories will open this coming Friday (2 September), when details are announced at the weekly High Voltage rock club from 8.30pm.

A nominations shortlist from a public vote will then be judged by various panels of industry professionals who will name the winners of each category as well as overall winners in each of the groups.

Rock journalist Mark Ashby, co-founder of the Paradise City classic rock promotion and co-promoter of the NIRMAs, said: “In more than 25 years in and around the local music scene, I cannot remember a time when it has been more energetic, exciting and vibrant. [Damn right - difficult to keep up with all the talent...not counting when you're a diabolical diabetic who really, really shouldn't be 'Drinking Beer, Destroying, to borrow a phrase from Trucker]

“There are so many brilliant bands doing so much good stuff, it’s a real honour to be a small part of it. The local rock and alternative scene has rarely hit the headlines of the mainstream media [Maybe we should keep it that way...BBC and the others are so feckin' patronising when they cover rock and metal - comments on this point welcome!] but this only makes us stronger and more determined to succeed in doing what we love.

“These awards are our way of celebrating the alternative scene throughout Northern Ireland: every musician who picks up an instrument, records a song and gets up on stage deserves an award in my opinion.”
Tina Calder added: “The Northern Ireland alternative music scene has been crying out for recognition for years. All too often awards ceremonies will give accolades to the TV, film and showbiz industries and when music is discussed it’s more often than not commercial chart-topping acts who win.

“While it is undeniable that bands such as Therapy? Ash, Snow Patrol, Stiff Little Fingers, The Divine Comedy and many more have certainly made an impression from their roots here in Northern Ireland, it’s now time to look a bit closer to home.

“They may not be filling stadiums throughout the world but many of our local bands are playing up to six times a month to respectable crowds and have gained themselves quite a reputation on the local music scene.”

For more information or nomination packs, visit www.facebook.com/NIrockmusicawards or email NIrockmusicawards@gmail.com


Now when Friday rolls around nominate ye scurvy dogs!