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Mickey McCullagh

…lovable as per, Mickey McCullagh (he does sound like an Irish superhero to be fair) never fails to cause magic in front of the lens. This photo was taken two years ago at Auntie Annies.

April 17, 2011 | No comments

I feel tired, and very empty – in fact I am questioning at this point if I have anything left to give. Not in terms of desire, merit or quantity, but of design. I’ve always prided myself on trying (and like anyone, oft failing) to be there for my friends, many times at the expense of myself – be it lending them a hand, answering calls at three in the morning to console broken hearts, or making sure that a warm drink and a smile is present as well as an open ear.

About the only thing that makes me really happy is being there for other people – and I don’t feel like I have that luxury to spend in return; to have someone to share my own self with in times of need. Not that I’d pressure the return of action, at least I would hope people didn’t think that way. It would be nice though.

I can’t help but wonder where people are when I too call in the early hours of the night.

…and how many times I should try before giving up.

It really puts things into perspective. At times like this, I appreciate so much that Sigur Rós exists. I think back to entire days spent listening to them, feeling the grass and the warm sun; wanting it to never fall. Wishing it to hang there, enveloping my world in a bubble of that singular experience forever.

A crowd of people wander across the street, and as I watch them I think about each of their lives – about how they see their individual worlds, what they do and who they share them with. How happy some of them look, yet I’m sure cares and worries sit underneath their exterior.

Do they too care about the world, or do they only care about that which effects their travels?

The sharper edge of purely enjoying practically everything is that it’s hard to find people who are quite as extreme in thought as myself, of equal force – and when I finally do, enthusiasm wanes, people change, and I’m left standing once more looking for a swimming partner. They are truly hard to come by; and most unfortunately are scared off.

I used to think I’d never change at all. Deep down I will always be filled with childish hope, but now I fear that on the outside all the shit I wade through each day will eventually cause a crack, or engulf that little ball of happiness – if it hasn’t already. The amount of barriers I’ve already become too accustom to putting up to deal with people I am beginning to take for granted. They’re becoming reflexes rather than actual thoughts. Maybe that’s what is changing, what compromising (as a more direct statement) your personality is. Call it growing up…

Who are these people, really, that inhabit my own life, who travel through it often at arms length? I want to hug them, to hold them and experience life with them. To share my world, and to see their own, and savour in these shared moments together. Sure what else is there?

A Million Moments‘ by Irish band Hybrasil has just started playing, and it couldn’t be more fitting as I look out across Belfast as it transitions into sun-touched hills and fields, the bus rattling around me. This tiny little city, up here in the North of a small little island – filled with people who are so very sheltered from the reality of the world in some respects. Blinded even, by the idea that our collective experiences make us the point of the sword. They don’t. What we’ve experienced culturally as a country is individual, and yet so very backwards. In all areas of modern life, this entire island is still playing catch up.

Proof‘ by I Am Kloot comes on, and I’m struck by the idea that it’s about time I ended this ramble.

I am better when I don’t think.

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Experience

From the mouth of Rory Friers, whose birthday it is today – of the ever inspirational four piece And So I Watch You From Afar.

“We’ve learnt a lot more about doing this on such a full-time level. We’ve really strengthened up individually and as a unit, and we’ve got a really strong group of people around us now who help make sure everything is running the way we need it to be. Having Smalltown on board brought that next level we needed for the album. They’re so good to us, they really give us loads of room to try stuff out and take risks.

We learnt only to jump off speaker stacks when there’s someone there to catch you. We’ve learnt that Ireland as a whole has an amazing music scene which is easy to take for granted. We learnt that some people won’t understand that it can be really difficult being away from home all the time and will become pretty cold-hearted towards you. We’ve learnt that you’ve got to become as thick-skinned as possible to keep pushing towards what you want from life.

We’ve learnt that we have the most amazing, supportive friends and family in the world. We’ve learnt that regardless of having to make peoples’ Christmas presents for the first time in twenty years because you literally don’t own a penny, if you’ve been in Kerrang or played the Mandela Hall, some people will think you’re rich. We also learnt that six Irish guys at their first ever European festival with a free bar the night before they play a main stage isn’t a good idea. We learnt never to try and drive from Leeds to Vienna in one go, even if Faith No More are playing because despite what Google Maps says, it will take twice as long. We learnt that no matter how much you have it serviced your van will break down on the Autobahn.

Chris learnt not to ask the woman on stage in a venue where the sound “man” is because predictably she IS the sound man and will be very offended.”

…full article here.

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Many things come to mind post-Glasgowbury – not least of all that I get the blues after such an all-encompassing high point as standing up the Sperrins (ahem, aye so I’ll admit my geographical misdemeanour in calling it the Mourne mountains for the last few weeks – not sure where that verbal balls up came from – we’ll just say enthusiastic swift ignorance) listening to some of the best music in the world. It’s also hard to top the connected social feeling from seeing all and sundry, reeling back down to normality can be a tough transition.

Aside from the obvious thank you to each and every person involved and in attendance at the festival, there was a number of other memories which stood out as making this year’s Glasgowbury particularly sentimental.

– receiving a dedication from the cheeky sods that make up More Than Conquerors. Meant the world, genuinely.

– getting to sit in the throat of And So I Watch You From Afar’s performance whilst all buzzed and whirled around me.

– proudly seeing Team Fresh and Pocket Billiards début at the festival to a practical riot respectively each.

– running into Electric Mainline’s Stephen McCauley in the campsite, whilst towing two chairs along at a sprint. At the time I don’t quite think I realised just how that must have looked.

At this point I thought it pertinent to pass over the reigns to a few of the masses, the collective music community that I rattle on so much about – each and every one of us has a story to tell, and an experience to share; individually they mean something to each of us, but together they hopefully become so much more.

Brian Magill

What a great day. The festival just gets better every year. I know most of the plaudits will be reserved for the blistering sets from Fighting With Wire, LaFaro & ASIWYFA, but for me to wax lyrical about those three would just be laziness, really.

For me, the three bands that stood out were Pocket Billiards, Team Fresh and Adebisi Shank. Pocket Billiards were so up for it, and you could tell from the moment they walked out on stage that they were there to have a great time. I hate this ‘too cool for school’ shit you get with a lot of bands nowadays; it’s ok to enjoy what you’re playing (!). They are the quintessential party band and really deserve a bit more exposure.

As for Team Fresh, they had the unenviable task of hitting the stage at the same time as And So I Watch You From Afar. You’d be forgiven for thinking that a) they might be playing to an empty tent and b) that it would rub off on their performance, but they gave it everything they had, and a lot of people (myself included) were sucked in by the racket emanating from their tent. Another bunch who know how to have a good time and entertain. We’ll need to get them up to Derry soon!

Adebisi Shank are a phenomenon. They confuse and delight in equal manner, and are as punk rock as you’re likely to find in this day and age. The new tuneage was head twistingly superb, and the old favourites were there in force. You know you are seeing something special with these guys, when someone as talented as Jonny Black turns to you mid-set and shakes his head in both envy and disbelief.

Oh, and it didn’t rain. What a bonus!

Colm Laverty

Like Christmas for NI music. Dozens of my favourite local acts, veterans and newcomers alike, all helped create that feeling of unity (a rarity for festivals). My love for the day can be epitomised in one moment, where I faced the sky with my eyes closed, just as the last chords of Fighting With Wire rang out, thinking, “These aren’t just songs, they’re the soundtrack to our lives”.

Danny Morton (More Than Conquerors)

Although it was Glasgowbury’s tenth anniversary it was my first time at the festival, or at any festival for that matter; so needless to say I was uncertain about what the next twenty four hours held in store for me. Apparently, ‘a lot’ of free booze, loud music and the absolute best of banter! It would be so easy to fill a week or month with great gigs in Belfast during term time, but you don’t actually realise the amount of incredible bands that we have knocking about until you hear most of them in only one day!

The only bad thing about Glasgowbury seems to be that you’re completely spoilt for choice – how can you choose between Strait Laces, ASIWYFA and Team Fresh? You do your best and no matter where you end up you’ll have a pint, a group of mates and memories that will last a life time…

Diane Greer (Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas)

We had high hopes for Glasgowbury 2010 and we had a fantastic time. I couldn’t believe the crowd we pulled, all ages, shapes and sizes, the place was packed. There were moments when I looked into the crowd and they were all singing and smiling back at us and I felt really moved. I know our album (When We Were Brave) is doing really well, I know the reviews are great, I know we have good things ahead but nothing, absolutely nothing will ever compare to what I felt, in fact we all felt it… and it was mighty!

When people know the words of your songs it stops being an ‘us’ and ‘them’ thing and becomes a shared experience, one which everyone plays a part in and I was definitely overwhelmed by it. We are gaining a reputation for making people feel good, and that’s a two-way thing. Paddy writes great songs but unless people like them then they are just that – good songs – it’s something when people start to tell you how they relate to them, how they make them feel. Glasgowbury 2010 will live forever in the memory of Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas – and we are grateful for that.

Graham Smith (Music Photographer)

Having attended Glasgowbury over the past six years I have been able to watch it grow, in every respect, in to what it is now: a vibrant, entertaining, relaxed and exciting showcase for the incredible talent this country holds. I have said it every year and I will say it is again for 2010….this really was the best year yet.

Jason Hawthorne (Yes Cadets)

Playing on the mainstage was such a buzz, seeing people dancing to our music in the sun; that has definitely made my Summer so far (thank you weather god!). Given the weather and the lovely response, clashing with two of my favourite bands (Adebisi Shank and Not Squares) didn’t seem to matter anymore, apart from the fact that I didn’t get to see them rock out.

Roll on next year!

John Gribbin (Building Pictures)

When I landed at the festival site around eleven on Saturday morning there were a few ominous grey clouds floating around the Sperrin Mountains, but thanks to a few strong gusts of wind and a bit of the old Irish luck it cleared up and the weather was glorious!!

As a wise man said to me, “Only Paddy Glasgow can get good weather in July“…such is the unpredictability of our bloody Summer! I parked up the car, and took a walk down to the festival site just before the doors were opened just so that I could take in the spectacle of the setting. It really does amaze me to think that four thousand people descend upon a mountain to dance their socks off to a load of local bands!!

It really is very special!!

Lisa Byrne

As far as birthday parties go, this has to have been the best I have been to! My fourth year at Glasgowbury didn’t disappoint. The best year I’ve had to date. I squeezed in as much music as I possibly could in the twelve hour running time and loved every minute of it. Not Squares were an absolute treat of a find and I’ll be going to a lot more of their gigs in future.

Here Comes the Landed Gentry, Furlo, Colenso Parade and ASIWYFA amongst too many others stood out for me; along with the mighty Cashier No.9!

O.M.G!

Niall Lawler (Axis Of)

For something we’d been building up for over a year, Glasgowbury completely blew away our expectations. Landing a slot on the main stage was something else. For a hardcore band like us, getting slots like that simply shouldn’t happen, getting the crowd the size we did furthered the general absurdity of it all. The only downside of the whole event was some amazing memories which were forgotten due to the later celebrations. I think it goes without saying, but we are massively grateful to Paddy, Dermot and the rest of the team for recognizing our hardwork and believing in us. No festival has come close to Glasgowbury in my eyes, long may it continue.

Rion McCartney (Here Comes The Landed Gentry)

As both a punter and musician, I have been attending this great festival since 2003, and this year like so many had again another diverse and exciting line up. For me it’s great to listening to bands who you never hear but always see/hear their names being mentioned, meeting people from other parts of the country who dig what the band are doing and having a good old booze up and a boogie!

Another personal highlight for me this year was HCTLG headlining the Spurs Of Rock stage to a jam packed capacity crowd, with people singing the words of the songs back to you.

The amount of preparation put into the process of the festival deserves a tip of the hat to Paddy, Stella and all the hard workin’ crew, without these people doing what they do who knows what I would have been doin’ last weekend…

…for this, I Salute You All!

Slaine Browne (Team Fresh)

First time playing Glasgowbury; we were a bit worried that no one would come to see us as it was our first time here and our older, wiser brothers were playing in the G-Sessions tent right beside us. By the first few bars of ‘Trojan‘ the tent was half full, by the end it was full to the brim, people crowd surfing, a mosh pit going for the entire set, the smoke machine blew up making Niall and Chops invisible for most of the show.

As soon as we finished we ran outside and across to the G-Sessions tent to catch the end of our comrades set, Dunbar ran up and stage dived into the crowd. We all reconvened in the camp site and got dinner, got our energy levels back up for Pocket Billiards and continued to crowd surf for the rest of the night. I remember leaving their set and collapsing on the grass in front of the main stage where I remained for the rest of the evening smiling at all passers by – then back to the camp site for more ‘Craic Fuel’ (tropical juice and vodka) and general ganch and bantering with everyone there.

Wish it was three days long…

Stephen McCauley (BBC Electric Mainline)

Glasgowbury has always been the temperature gauge for Northern Irish music but this year was extra-special! Maybe it was just that everyone wanted to celebrate the 10th birthday together but it felt like anything was possible! It felt truly joyous! As long as I live, I will never forget the atmosphere in the G-Sessions tent when And So I Watch You From Afar played. Fans were swarming around the outside of the tent trying to get in and this was before the band came anywhere near the stage! It was the worst kept secret in history that they’d be the surprise guests on the day and the sense of anticipation was electrifying! I watched it all from the back of the stage, speechless once again!

I was busy in the early afternoon trying to record a special edition of Electric Mainline from the artists’ car park and my abiding memory was LaFaro arriving in their red van straight from the ferry, on their way back from a gig in Glasgow the night before. They’d barely slept, they’d driven for hours, Alan climbed out of the van in crutches, they borrowed two guitars, crowded around a few microphones and played an absolutely heartstopping acoustic version of “The Ballad of Burnt Dave“. It was so great just to see everyone again!

It’s a festival like no other – may it last forever!

Steven Rainey (BBC Introducing)

It’s fast becoming a cliché to say, but this year Glasgowbury exceeded all expectations, taking this uniquely Northern Irish experience into uncharted territory. After ten years of supporting and promoting music in Northern Ireland, the festival has become the ultimate showcase of what this country’s musicians are capable of.

Looking around during Fighting With Wire’s headlining set, pride swelling within my bosom, I couldn’t help but think, “I wouldn’t swap this for any other experience in the world”.

Thomas Camblin (MojoFURY)

Glasgowbury, what a day! I love the fact that a small (but massive) festival can generate so much excitement with in a community.

My festival highlight was standing on the ‘smallbutMASSIVE’ mainstage while LaFaro blew the place apart…Alan Lynn is an absolute hero. The man, with damaged tendons in his kick drum foot, just back of a week’s tour, still beat the shit out of the kit.

Truly extraordinary!

With all of this said, from bands, fans, photographers and writers, there is only one last thing to re-state…

Paddy, Stella, Dermot, Niall, Sharon, Bobby and all the rest – from the very bottom of all our hearts, thank you for all of the efforts you have put into making the Glasgowbury Music Festival what it is.

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Band Biography

Striking out from Belfast on a raft of youthful enthusiasm and with a sound built upon strong founding influences such as Fleetwood Mac and Oceansize through to Opeth and The Mars Volta; instrumental act Kasper Rosa have been moving from strength to strength since the release of their first EP. Packing out the launch night at the Spring & Airbrake and receiving merits from BBC Northern Ireland’s Across The Line and Introducing radio shows. Coming out of the blocks fast they supported Sub Pop Records’ Seattle favourites Earth at just their third ever gig, adding quickly to their growing impact on the circuit with a tour alongside English rockers Alright The Captain. All this whilst still being just a few months free of their creative womb.

From their conception in April 2009 Dave Shannon, James Bruce, John Ryan McCormick and Steven Butler have been increasingly getting involved with various fronts on the music battle zone. Regularly seen out DJing, the band have also taken part in a Nirvana Unplugged tribute and performed at the launch night of the popular Skinny Love club. On the media side of things they have been asked to record live sessions with Rory McConnell’s BBC Introducing and Stephen McAuley’s Electric Mainline; whilst also gaining the attention of compilation releases and pod-casting opportunities over at Bandwidth Films, Live @ Serc Mapa and NIChart.

This coming May, Kasper Rosa are set to perform their most prestigious show to date, adding their particular brand of honed noise to 65daysofstatic’s Mandela Hall show in Belfast on the 14th. Throughout the rest of 2010 Kasper Rosa will be touring their wares extensively along the length and breadth of the UK. Early June sees the band combining their sonic forces with close friends A Plastic Rose to take on the mainland; whilst short Irish tours alongside Axis Of and Ozric Tentacles are pencilled in for late June and October respectively keeping the home audiences well in sight on their radar. October will also see the band take to the stage for another performance at club night Skinny Love in Auntie Annies; pairing up with fellow Field Records‘ act Maybeshewill. Capping off their plans thus far for the year is their participation at and co-organizing of the first mini-festival in a six year running annual celebration called ‘Cosby Fest‘, which is set to kick off in July.

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The Space Shuttle

“For a minute there I thought this was a picture of Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary in one of their aircraft doing a volcanic ash test flight – one can only hope…”

“I have to second Eamonn’s comments – witnessing a shuttle launch in the flesh is class…”

“Watchin’ one blow up is some craic too.”

Wit like only the Irish have…

April 19, 2010 | No comments

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