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When Phil asked us to each do a review of the year, this was the thought that entered my head…….this year has almost been as glorious as sitting watching Gerry Armstrong score the only goal against Spain in 82 and how that year is regarded as a glory year in the realms of Northern Ireland football. Well 2010 for me in terms of Northern Ireland rock music has been just as glorious, this is mainly due to wider access to new music thanks to RRNI starting, and me making more frequent trips to gigs especially The Diamond to check out local bands. So, in no particular order, everything that I can remember that’s been brilliant about 2010.

Trucker Diablo – releasing my favourite album of the year, The Devil Rhythm, I’ve seen these guys many times especially over the last few months, and the new stuff they’ve been playing live is at least as good as anything on the album! Keep an eye out for them in 2011, with a #1 single on Amazon, their song Drink Beer, Destroy being added to Scuzz TV’s playlist and dates on the mainland UK and Germany lined up amongst other things 2011 looks like being Year of the Big Truck!

Last Known Addiction – After hearing Belfast Daze on RRNI and loving it, I checked these guys out in February in The Diamond and was blown away. Live they are a cracking band, and in their 2nd song released to RRNI – Dirt & The Dust, they have a song which is one of my all time favourites. Rising from support band to local bands at the start of the year to headlining Winterfest, supporting Girlschool, and releasing their first single proper on iTunes – Beer Machine – 2010 has ended well for these guys. Album launch is set for 26th February, you’d be mad to miss it!

Triggerman – for a band that effectively were dead and gone a year ago this year has finished brilliantly. At the start of the year they released their cd Brand New Day initially as a free download as they were on the verge of splitting, but a change of mind, new bass player and finally getting back on the regular gigging circuit again has kept these guys at the top of their game! I’ve loved Triggerman for about 7 years now, but standing in Katy Dalys in October watching Daniel P Carter from Radio 1 Rock Show banging his head to them and tweeting about how good they were should sum it up for you how good they are. Definitely the strongest reception at Winterfest too, at one stage there were concerns for the floor because people were rocking out so much!

Bandwagon – Strange in some ways seeing a band so young and playing music influenced heavily by 70s era rock but this 3 piece carry it off superbly and are excellent musicians. Have seen them a few times over the year and enjoyed every gig! Their single Get Used To It was no1 on as well

Black Freeway – 2010 has been a year of maturing for these guys, replacing their guitarist mid way through the year with 2 older more experienced guitarists was a masterstroke, allowing versatile frontman Matt Fitsimmons to concentrate solely on vocals has worked out well, and in the last quarter of the year the new 5 man Freeway have demonstrated a tightness and maturity that was hinted at in their gigs earlier in the year. They played a fantastic set opening for Danny Vaughn from Tyketto in the Rosetta a few weeks ago and I’m looking forward to hearing the new material they’ve been working on

Sister Marko – Have yet to see these guys live but they have a 3 track ep on iTunes and I’ve been regularly playing 2 tracks off it, Just Let Go and the superb Train From New York, if you like Mindcrime era Queensryche you’ll love the Train song

NASA Assassin – Having gained a superb live reputation I finally got checking them out towards the end of this year and all I can say is WOW! They left me speechless for the first 2 songs and I highly recommend you check them out live and the self titles song Nasa Assassin its like Faith No More on Crack! Superb band live looking forward to a full album in 2011!

Million Dollar Reload – Having been “quiet” recently aside from the odd few gigs, the reason became apparent over the summer when it turned out they’d had an enforced record company change. They have re-released a remastered remixed version of Anthems of a Degeneration and while I was sceptical at first about how different to the original album it may sound, 1 listen through on Spotify killed any scepticism I had! The album may be 3 years old but the new version is like a complete breath of fresh air all the tracks sound so much better sound quality wise and although its 4 songs lighter than the original, like a lot of things, slimming down can be really good! With a UK tour lined up as part of a 4 band bill and hopefully a new album in 2011 I’m hoping these guys finally get the break they deserve!

Worldsend – Their album has yet to materialise but I really like the 4 sampler tracks the band sent in, especially Warning sign which is very Queensryche Mindcrime in feel and live this year I’ve been very impressed with them especially frontman Eddie Currie. Hopefully the album will get released soon and I can finally hear it all! Ended the year opening for Toby Jepson and jamming some tunes with Toby including Little Angels Young Gods song!

Baleful Creed – Playing on the RRNI gig in January, have heard 5 tracks by this band and I’m quite intrigued to hear them live. Most recent download Needing Heaven reached no2 on go check it out for yourself!

Escape Fails – bit of a surprise these guys, had missed them on the gigging circuit but ending up in the last 3 of Kerrang’s Guitar Hero comp soon got people noticing them! They released a cracking free ep Fractions a couple of months ago and its like a less screamy version of 36 Crazyfists and I love it!

Double-Wide – Releasing one of the most discussed albums on must have been their highlight of 2010 lol! Seriously though, a cracking album, and in my opinion a brilliant cover of Dio’s Holy Diver in tribute to the man himself. I hope they release some new stuff in 2011, though their album still regularly gets loaded up on my ipod!

Cherry Suede – Hailing from Canada and with a large slice of acoustic based Jovi in their influences I was very impressed with the album these guys gave away free. They were also the first interview on RRNI as well. Looking forward to hopefully seeing them live on these shores in 2011!

Furyon – how this band have never been signed I’ll never know. Gravitas is a superb album, well worth checking out, from Brighton but produced in Chicago by Shinedown’s producer shows you how serious these guys are!

A Little Bitter – Again a band I’d seen maybe 5 or 6 years ago and picked up again on this year. Check out their awesome Ghengis video on Youtube. Cracking live 3 piece with 2 albums behind them!

Kesus – Another band whose reputation insisted I ahd to check them out, and I wasn’t disappointed, Desert Rock I believe is a good description of them and I’ll look forward to seeing more of them in 2011!

The Diamond – this venue has provided so many of my best memories of 2010, the team down there work really hard and the welcoming atmosphere is second to none! Over the year I’ve seen Dan Reed play 3 awesome gigs, Toby Jepson twice, Ricky Warwick, Summer Minifest, Winterfest, and so many local bands. Looking at their line up in the first 3 months of 2011 just blows me away, considering they’re in a wee village 30 miles from Belfast! Jaded Sun, Virgin Marys, Ricky Warwick, Gun, Dan Reed, Warrior Soul, as well as the LKA Album launch!

Of course the year wouldn’t be complete without mentioning all the new friends I’ve made over the year via the gigs, RRNI, facebook etc, at the minute the scene in Northern Ireland is at the strongest I’ve seen in a long long time, and long may it continue that way! You and me we’re in this together now……


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