michael anthony wright

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The news has come to my ears that this year’s Glasgowbury Music Festival lukewarm from the weekend last, will be the final cry out over the mountain for Ireland’s largest and by far best independent music festival – some dare say the best festival period.

It is truly, sad news – however the legacy of what was achieved amongst the crowds of people involved; be it audience members, magnificent bands, reams of folk who volunteered and helped keep the sheep from joining in on the action, or the main men and women themselves the organisers will not be forgotten soon.

I am sure we’ll see a little bit more massive yet from that direction of the world.

…I could wax lyrical all day on what a privilege it was to walk through the gates at Eagle’s Rock, and even lend a very small paw on occasion, and the impact it has had on my life; but for now I’ll just say goodbye in the best way I can, with a few pictures.

…tiny drops create massive oceans, given time – and I have no doubt that the motions caused out in Mid-Ulster will not be long to cause larger waves.

Thank you Paddy and all of the enigmatic (Eagle-matic?) cohorts.

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‘A Month In The North, Pigstock Festival Special’

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.

Having traversed campsite, field, parties, said slow roasted pig and stage alike with a grin on my face, here’s a quick run-down of how the weekend in Killinchy panned out.

Hailing from that ‘North Coast Triangle‘ and drilling home the sheer quality of music coming from there, Bomb City 7 almost took down the entire main stage early on Friday night with a final song invasion (and I don’t mean just five or six tenacious individuals) inspired with every ounce of their punk-rap spirit – there was no stopping their Pigstock debut turning into a riot and they truly made a unique mark and name for themselves as a festival worthy band to watch out for.

Tearing round the stage, beards and all – Axis Of showcased part of what Pigstock is really all about, delivering a much heavier range of bands in comparison to its lighter brothers coming up in the height of Summer. Another North Coast band (as too are And So I Watch You From Afar and Team Fresh – you could almost call the line-up a coastal takeover.

In completely professional fashion Mojofury gave the crowd the perfect build-up towards the end of Friday evening – it was simply a shame that they didn’t have the chance to play their brand of insightful noise that little bit longer, the crowd baying for an encore that just wasn’t technically able to be catered for.

The new post-album songs already have their place amongst the ones we’ve lovingly seared into our minds, and with the album launch just a fortnight beforehand really we were spoiled with second helpings of Michael Mormecha’s emotionally charged sing-a-longs.

The swiftly twisting weather and injuries held over from their recent tour were never going to stop what was perhaps a more relaxed (post-album launch they’ve really nothing left to prove in our eyes, at least for a while the lads can certainly have been said to have earned a rest) and yet powerful performance from And So I Watch You From Afar.

Attempts by crowd members to stage dive, and generally get involved in the action were too numerable to count, but with the cheekiest of successes one of ‘The Rupture Pups‘ (pictured further down) managed to get on stage to work Rory’s (Friers) pedals for him during ‘A Little Bit Of Solidarity‘.

There is so much that could be said about the involvement and want for success that the home audience, and now too their growing international audience, has for these four lads – the absolute sonic-pinnacle of what has come from these shores.

…now, with a pause for critical thought – in a two day festival it’s sometimes hard to balance the two line-ups out. One day either having ‘that band’ (in this case, ASIWYFA) or the other simply not being populated with enough real strength to see the weekend through for tiring audience members.

Heading for the campsite, I was left thinking how Saturday was going to best this – and it did prove to be lighter for the most part, lacking the same power of the ‘heavyweights’, but it was actually very welcome structured as it was, with many of the younger bands being given fantastic opportunities to show off.

Many had pushed the night before right to the limits and were still crashed out in their tents, but a sizable majority still managed to turn out into the frequently wet sunshine to rock out. Despite a few technical hitches with soaked pedal-boards The Rupture Dogs once again showed themselves to be a realistic successor to Fighting With Wire/LaFaro as an angry, growling sonic outfit.

They even have their own successors lined up in the two young lads who have been dubbed ‘The Rupture Pups’, letting them take to the stage for the second year in a row to regale the crowd.

If anyone had fun last weekend, it was definitely them.

abandcalledboy meanwhile have been salivating for the opportunity to ply their sounds at festivals this year, and with a reputation for destroying both equipment, stages and themselves in the process of their shows, they caused some distress for security (the men in florescent jackets had a long weekend looking back over all of this, poor souls) – and despite a thinned audience they held all rapt; bouncing, bloodied as they were throughout their set.

Taking time to relax and enjoy the festival atmosphere, last year’s headlining band A Plastic Rose were down simply for the experience this time out.

Employing equal parts madness, the racing of tents and genuinely causing as much havoc as possible; Dave (Reid), Troy (Heaton) and (an un-pictured) Ian (McHugh) ravaged the campsite and festival grounds for as much entertainment as was humanly possible.

Team Fresh have been off the gig circuit for a while now, pulling together new material and generally solidifying their sound into something even more poignant than beforehand. Pigstock marks an almost serious return to form for them, a statement of intent for the year ahead even – and opening with new song ‘1985‘ (a blinder with more than just their usual political underscoring) is ample evidence of that.

Team Fresh just before going on-stage looked every part the unit; as per, another band with a proponency for the provocative (like their younger cousins Bomb City 7) their fan favourites ‘Barbwire Empire‘ and ‘Rhythm Tradition‘ managed to get the tired heads perking up, ready for the rest of the evening.

And So I Watch You From Afar’s Jonny Adger and the rest of the band continued to enjoy the festival throughout the weekend too, making a point of catching many of their friends down plying their audio-wares.

…and honestly who’s going to realistically turn their nose up at a weekend of beer and burgers (made entirely of pig), in a field, with your mates?

One of the absolute highlights of the festival was the Dylan-esque (and I stress to say that so honestly) Dolbro Dan taking to the main stage before math-rock juggernauts Adebisi Shank – possibly the most welcome shock to a decidedly tired audience from the night before, and just an incredibly touching change of pace.

I don’t think I’ve ever been asked by so many people in the front row “…who is this guy again, where can I get his stuff?” – despite with a little patience on everyone’s part, Dan eventually introduced himself with his final song.

I decided to relax after a stressful yet blessed weekend and enjoy headlining band LaFaro simply as an experience, I even brought a seat (don’t laugh) down near the stage and decided to just camp/rock out just to the right of the crowd with BBC Northern Ireland’s Paul McClean.

They were dirty, heavy, long of beard and just the right amount of angry. It was also with a sad sigh that we also appear to be waving goodbye to Herb Magee, their bassist – announcing his departure from the band halfway through set, and what better send off than capping a festival that has honestly delivered the first, and potentially the best of the season already here in Northern Ireland.

What more needs to be said (in reference to the above set of disheveled characters) – the sun crests over us all on the Sunday and no one was ready to settle down. Tent racing (as mentioned beforehand) was again rife, tentpole-saber battles with members of abandcalledboy ensued, games of football with Gacy’s Threads left no drunk staggering target un-aimed at, and general tomfoolery was abound.

Roll on next year.

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Michael Anthony Wright

…I have all of the love in the fucking world for Tony, now, even more so because despite the fact that he was in tender form on Friday evening, he still managed to rock like an absolute (beautifuluniversemaster) champion.

May 31, 2011 | No comments

A short update on the Pigstock Music Festival over the weekend there, I’m still in sausage-bap recovery mode. The entire set will no doubt be up inside the next day or so.

Bomb City 7 invoked the ancient rite (riot) of the stage invasion early on Friday.

Axis Of tore the place a new one despite the gathering clouds.

Friday evening’s headliner And So I Watch You From Afar, attacked the crowd through pouring rain to much jubilation, repeating the performance quality that so clearly has run from their recent album launch right through their tour.

The Rupture Dogs (and their counterparts, The Rupture Pups) were one of the highlights of Saturday mid-afternoon.

Deliriously wonderful singer-songwriter Dolbro Dan took stage to a soaking wet late afternoon, but those who were brave enough of heart were given plenty of enjoyment from his lyrical goodness.

…and of course, nothing could say “begorah we’re tired but yet ready to get back to Belfast to laugh at wired Ewoks” than a good oul’ group photo.

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The entire set of photos will be up in the gallery later on this evening, but for now here’s a little teaser of the rest of their set.

Much love.

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And So I Watch You From Afar

…during A Little Solidarity, back in 2008.

Check out their new album, ‘Gangs’, out now.

It be the most interesting thing since that time there was sliced bread, cut with acid.

April 28, 2011 | No comments

Many thanks to everyone tonight for coming down to enjoy some tasty music and have a quick scan of the ‘I’ve Yet To Look, But I Hear Good Things’ photography exhibition. It went times better than I was genuinely hoping for and it was nice to see plenty of faces that I’d been away from for a while.

The exhibit will be running at Love & Death Inc on Anne Street until this Friday, where it will then move across to the Crescent Arts Centre for the A Northern Light, Intermission, Chris Campbell & Paper Boats and Linebacker Dirge gig for the evening before – all being well, moving to Lisburn.

Thoughts are still being pooled on that one – and I’m absolutely enthused by the feedback and general response from everyone. As you may imagine I couldn’t keep my hands off of the camera during the evening, but there were plenty of people down snapping away so hopefully there are plenty of other photos knocking about over the course of the next few days.

…and a photo by Alan C. Beck of two rather odd looking fellows, looking at photos.

If anyone can guess who they are, they win nothing.

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As usual I like to do these things spun on a coin…

Monday 11th April
– Love & Death Inc.
– 10a Anne Street
– Belfast

As part of a Shizznigh Promotions night of music featuring:
– Cedric Has A Name
– Chris Campbell
– Giles/Novak
– Linebacker Dirge
– Paul Corrigan
– Tony McHugh
– VerseChorusVerse (aka. Michael Anthony Wright)

Short Notice, but sure that’s me in a nutshell…

Over the last few years I have had the privilege of being involved with music in Northern Ireland via my film and photography work. In particular I have formed a strong attachment with the documentation of ‘working’ bands with as little of an agenda as possible – other than to show them to the world as I see them through the viewfinder.

‘Good, Bad & Ugly’ – all can be presented well via the right visual context.

When I look back through my work and where I’ve been aiming it; it is striking to me how little that we see of the real people behind the music these days – what with the control and limitations placed down by publicists and managers who rarely seem to grasp that the icons of old were part created via the humanizing force of seeing their true faces in many cases. Showing their characters not as a contrived, perfected vision or thought but as actual people.

As an audience looking in, we connected more with them as humans compared to the majority of today’s over polished images that wander the stage.

Everyone is talking about our music at present, and all the efforts of those involved are beginning to show the first glimmers of actually paying off. This year holds exciting times ahead with MTV Europe’s decision to hold its awards ceremony in Belfast. A spotlight is coming our way, and hopefully come November this year we will get an opportunity to showcase ourselves.

All of these photos have been taken in the last ninety days – hopefully helping to show just how much is happening at present with Northern Irish music.


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…it’s been a long weekend, a long week, em.

Right, February is over. Wow.

Well, practically.

I was so pleased to bump into James Lyttle (and you Adam, ya’ wee dote) at Kasper Rosa’s celebratory party last Thursday. It has been too long and, well – as I’m sure you all know by now relationships are important to me. I really just cannot wait to hear the new MojoFURY album, it is going to be fucking played to the death in my general area for a long time to come.

It’s occurred to me recently how life is transitioning, moving (no pretension of direction mind) quick at present. Things are happening, bands are growing, people are growing (sometimes a little too quickly for their own good).

It is, as always, interesting to observe.

So, I’ll be updating and reorganising this entire blog (or well, my big bit of it – the contributions section is just dapper the way it is) over the next few days to try and give the multitude of rambles on here some sort of, order. Even going so far as deleting some old and quite frankly shit postings.

Since the start of the year, I’ve started writing (as I’ve probably made you aware of by now in that insufferable way – by choking you loquaciously*) for both The Unsigned Guide and Tolling For The Mute – as well as been pressing ahead with this ‘big scary’ collaborative art/photography exhibition with Andrew Dunbar and now with the creative force that is Graham Smith. Things are still being worked on, very loosely at this stage still – and when is art not – but we will hopefully have brought the project to fruition before the Summer is out.

Plans are afoot, as, they, say.

Secondary to all of that, it’s been a busy month, lots of being out and about with the camera, as I do – so many times in fact that I am a bit shocked. The oul’ uncluttered desktop does not look quite so uncluttered as it once did, laden with folders as it is. Though effectiveness still remains.

Also, I was given a very warming mention in the latest issue of GO Belfast (hit up page 36) magazine as one of their ‘Ones To Watch’ for 2011 (alongside friend, and phenomenal street artist Marian Noone) on the creative front. So, em, watch out.

That was pretty cool, thanks Jenni.

Having said all of that, I promise to have updated all of my recent work over the next few days, from Cashier No.9 at the Ulster Hall, through to the wonderful little Eatenbybears who have the potential to really make some serious sound-waves if they build on what they’ve put into action so far.

…oh and check this out.

*thanks Mickey.

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And So I Watch You From Afar

…during soundcheck at last year’s Ulster Hall gig.

September 28, 2010 | No comments

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