Let’s put The Limelight back in the limelight

22 06 2010

**As originally published on TheUnsignedGuide.com – June 2010**

I started a blog recently listing the Top 5 venues in Belfast when the news came in that the one(s) that I had pencilled in to top the list had just gone into administration. It was pretty shocking news, to me at least; the bars and venues that hosted the majority of my boozy times since starting University almost a decade ago, aren’t actually rolling in it after all. Wow. I know I don’t go as much as I used to now that I’ve got a full time job but I thought they’d cope.. I didn’t drink that much, did I?

The pub chains, CDC Leisure Ltd and Tarwood Limited were appointed an Administrator on 15 June. The business includes Auntie Annie’s, Katy Daly’s, The Limelight and The Spring & Airbrake. The venues will continue to trade as normal while they “assess all potential future options”. The directors of the companies bought the venues for a reported £13m in 2007. Belfast musos are in shock – there’s a Facebook group to join (‘Save CDC Leisure!’), talk of a ‘rally’ and a benefit gig – it’d take quite a few benefit gigs to turn around a company that was bought at that price, but the fact that people care so much is testament to CDC Leisure.

Indeed, I’ve organised events in CDC venues and they’ve been nothing but helpful and easy to work with. And the pubs themselves are amongst the few in Belfast where it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing or what you look like, you can go and have a laugh, there’s no pretenses and no hassle. Not to mention the sheer number of bands that have played there over the years, you name ’em, they’ve played there – The Strokes, Oasis, Franz Ferdinand, Jeff Buckley, the list literally goes on and on and on. I remember one of the first gigs I saw there was Ash in 2000, when they were supported by a little known indie band from Bangor, Snow Patrol. Not that I actually saw Snow Patrol that night, I was still outside trying to formulate a plan to get past the bouncers while they were playing. Oh, to be seventeen again.

It’d be a HUGE shame if these venues stopped trading. Aside from the fact that they’re top boozers, CDC also organise a massive number of top gigs in Belfast – not just in their own venues but throughout the city – so the live music scene would be significantly worse off without them.

So if you were thinking about picking up tickets to a gig, now’s the time to do it. And if you’re like me and used to spend several nights a week in the Limelight as a student, maybe it’s time we had a reunion and did it again, not just for nostalgia’s sake, but for the sake of live music in Belfast.



Deadonmusic launch new website

10 06 2010

**As originally published on TheUnsignedGuide.com – June 2010**

Deadonmusic are a one-stop Belfast shop for musicians who predominantly work with unsigned artists and have several years experience in getting musicians noticed in the press, online and at their live shows – whether you’re looking for a swish new website, merchandise, poster designs or even if you’re looking for a gig in Belfast, Andy and Scott can help you out.

They’re primarily involved with the alt-folk/country scene, having organised shows for acts such as Basia Bulat and David Ford, but they’ve also recently set-up the online presence for Belfast’s premier redneck-rockers, Lafaro, too, so they’re into all sorts. Andy and Scott have established themselves as two of Belfast’s most reliable muso’s, not only working independently (including running a weekly country club called ‘Outlaw’ in Belfast’s oldest pub, McHugh’s) but also helping out with shows for some of Belfast’s top festivals such as the Open House, Cathedral Quarter Arts and Belfast Nashville Songwriter’s Festivals to name a few.

Deadonmusic have just re-launched their own website, after sprucing it up and giving it a Gok-style makeover. Having just finished admiring his handywork, resident web-urchin, Scott, gave us a few minutes of his time to tell us a bit about what it takes for unsigned bands to succeed, “There’s a lot of hard work involved – if you’re serious about your music and willing to put in the effort with promotion and really up for a dynamic live show then you could go far!”.

So if you’re a Belfast band and you’re wondering how to go about getting your first gig, here’s some pointers from Scott as to what Deadonmusic look for when putting a line-up together, “We’ll not necessarily look for how many Myspace friends you’ve got or what your friends are saying about you but we will listen to your tunes, check out any pics and videos you might have and do a bit of Googling, so an online presence is vital when dealing with promoters, the press or just about anyone else these days. We’ve got a little helpful list of do’s and don’ts over on the contact page of our site. If you think you’ve got what it takes and we think you’ve got what it takes then let’s go!”.

Sound good, aye? Dead on.

The next Deadonmusic show features Ben Glover, Thom Southern and The 1930’s in McHughs, Friday 18th June 2010.

You can check out the brand spanking new Deadonmusic site and get in touch with Scott and Andy by visiting:


Captain Kennedy release a ‘worthy’ single

1 06 2010

**As originally published on TheUnsignedGuide.com – June 2010**

Captain Kennedy are a 7-piece indie-folk band from County Armagh who’ve been slowly building a name for themselves over the last few years, having released EPs and shared stages with the likes of Mumford and Sons, Foy Vance and Laura Marling to name a few. They’re gearing up for the release of their forthcoming album, See You When I See You, with the release of the single, No Friend Of Mine, but this single is as important for a little boy called Brian Kerr as it is for Captain Kennedy.

Brian is suffering from a terminal illness called Fanconi’s Anaemia, and it’s his wish to go to Florida with his family to ride the big roller-coasters. The Brian Kerr Wish Fund has been set up to make his wish happen. This cause is one close to the heart of Captain Kennedy as Brian’s cousins Stephen and Laura are members of the group, and as a result, all the proceeds from the sale of their single will be donated to the Brian Kerr Wish Fund.

The single itself is a catchy, retro piece of laid-back, emotive Irish folk with melancholic vocals and a simple but engaging melody; it’s a perfect song to kick back in your rockin’ chair in front of a blazin’ fire with your pipe and slippers. And maybe a nice bowl of stew. It’s heart-warming yet wistful; the soundtrack to a dreamy Ireland of days gone by.

So it’s not just a worthy cause but a great song too, so do your good deed for the day, pop along to Bandcamp and do your bit.


For more information on The Brian Kerr Wish Fund (including other ways of donating), visit the Facebook group: