Band Of The Week: No Mean City

25 05 2010

**As originally published on – May 2010**

No Mean City have managed to create quite the buzz in the six months since their inception, having toured with My Passion, self-released their debut EP and played extensively around Ireland, included a recent ram-packed first headline show in their hometown, Derry. They’re currently battling for the chance to play at some of the UK’s big festivals through Red Bull’s Bedroom Jam competition, having already made it through to final stage and played a set live from their bedroom on an online broadcast which featured them alongside mega-metallers, Trivium.

Their non-stop efforts look like paying off, then. Leading lady, Jilly, recently took some time out to have a chat to us about how the band came together.

“I’ve been singing since I was about five and entered many competitions including ‘X Factor’ and ‘I’d Do Anything’. They weren’t very good for my confidence so I turned to modelling and acting instead. I then fell in with some friends who were gigging in Derry, they had me guest and it gave me a thirst again. I put the word out and ‘Hybris’ drummer Brian put me in touch with Paul (guitar) and Joe (bass) who were searching for a front-man at the time. We had a jam and had our first 3 tracks written within the week!”

So their search for a front-man found them a striking front-lady instead and No Mean City got straight to work in a frantic manner which they’ve continued ever since. Their formation was thanks to fateful meetings and their band name followed in similar fashion; “I have a favourite poetry book I’ve always keep handy for inspiration. I decided to play the old blind fold/open a page game – up popped a poem by an Irish poet called Patrick McDonagh containing the words “no mean city”. It stuck out for all of us, it was an instant agreement, it was fate.”

Their music is a raucous mixture of heavy riffs and pop-hooks citing influences including Refused, The Mars Volta and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs to name just a few. Jilly is an enigmatic front-lady; she is very much like a Northern Irish Karen-O, confident and quirky in the best kind of way, whilst the rest of the band provide a technically proficient and boisterously rockin’ backdrop to complete the dynamic. It works well.

Their progress so far is, however, largely down to good old-fashioned graft, as Jilly re-affirms when we ask if she has any tips for new bands; “The key is perseverance and promotion! It’s so hard for new bands coming through at the moment as people don’t have to look for music any more. Just keep working hard and when it seems like you’re banging a brick wall, don’t give up – sometimes you will feel like it, when you’re constantly playing to ten people but it will pay off!”.

It’s sound advice; hard work will be rewarded *if* you’re good enough. You can decide for yourself if No Mean City are good enough by checking them out on myspace, and if you like what you hear, vote for them in the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition. I’ve already voted and I think you should too. If they manage to win, it’ll be no mean feat for No Mean City.



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