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NI Rocks

The local rock scene seemed to go from strength to strength during 2010.

On the recording side, highlights for me were great new album releases from Stormzone, Trucker Diablo, Worldsend and Double Wide, the EP from Bandwagon and a new record contract for Million Dollar Reload and re-release of Anthems of a Degeneration. Things are looking good for 2011 with an album release date in February for Last Known Addiction and hopefully something on the way from Swanee River, Black Freeway, Soundstone, Million Dollar Reload and a few others.

I attended almost 50 gigs locally during 2010, the majority of these featuring only local bands. Whilst it is great to be able to see so many gigs involving local bands, it is unfortunate that so many are poorly attended. There has always been a tendency for some “rockers” only to attend the big name gigs or shows by tribute acts, which is their loss. No doubt the economic situation has also had an impact and it could be argued that fans of local rock music are spoilt for choice.

A personal highlight from these local gigs would be Million Dollar Reload’s acoustic set in the Diamond Rock Club. This was an awesome night of music and entertainment that would be hard to surpass. The summerfest and winterfest in the Diamond must also rate high on anyone’s list for great events in 2010. Some great nights too at the Rock Radio NI gigs in the Pavilion. Highlights for me - Last Known Addiction’s two appearances, the Trucker Diablo/Double Wide/Triggerman show and seeing the new Black Freeway line-up for the first time when they played with Inch High. SONI continue to put on some great gigs :Trucker Diablo, Bandwagon, Last Known Addiction and Stormzone in The Empire stands out. The Distortion Project brought some great acts to Belfast as well as showcasing local bands – the Saturday afternoon gigs in The Limelight being a favourite. I should also mention the Hels Bells nights in Bangor and the Let There Be Rock nights in Draperstown although I have to admit that I haven’t managed to make it to either yet.

Some great bands played here during 2010, though I didn’t get to all the shows. The best gig I attended was Slash in The Mandela Hall – a truly amazing night. Slash’s album was probably the best of 2010 too. Other outstanding gigs for me would be Dan Reed, Tygers of Pan Tang and Girlschool in The Diamond; Winger and Y&T in Spring & Airbrake; WASP in the Mandela Hall and Danny Vaughn in The Rosetta.

The idea of NI Rocks was to promote local rock bands and gigs and when I started in 2009 MySpace was the best base for it. During 2010 it expanded to Facebook and Twitter. More recently the listings have been moved to the Rock Radio NI website.

The launch of Rock Radio NI during 2010 has provided a great opportunity for local rock bands to be heard further afield. The NI Rocks A-Z Show, Nik’s Battle of the Bands and the Friday NI Rocks Show all aim to promote local bands as well as playing a mix of “classic” rock music. The shows have also been great fun to put together; even starting to do the vocal links has been less daunting than expected, though I’ve no plans to give up the day job for DJ’ing!!  Recording and editing Nik’s interview with Danny Vaughn was a real experience and education and something we both enjoyed. Doing the e-mail Q&A session with Clifford Hoad of Kings of the Sun was also a great pleasure.

Hopefully Rock Radio NI and the local rock scene will continue to grow in strength in 2011.


Last Updated (Monday, 27 January 2014 23:30)