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'Twas grim oop north
Annual article: The NI music scene in 2005 provided as much excitement and fun as your average Irish League season.
Colin Carberry, 09 Jan 2006
here’s an ad doing the rounds at the moment that’s putting my telly at serious risk.
Two French guys are sitting in a plush Parisian bar and, between ostentatious hair flicks and repositioning of sunglasses, they talk enviously about an absent friend. Said Monsieur, it seems, is currently to be found in Belfast, where, after a quick scene cut, we find him at the mercy of a number of local wise-arses who take the piss out of his accent and trick him into buying them a round. Because he’s French, you see, and therefore unable to deal with the manifold complexities and subtleties of life in ‘our wee country’.
Given the open arms with which Belfast and Northern Ireland have welcomed its overseas immigrants over the past few years (and, as the PSNI will confirm, our locals seem to have lost little of their enthusiasm for robust ‘initiation’ ceremonies), one can only wonder at the rationale that inspired this particular campaign.
Accordingly, I feel impelled to use this end-of-year bye-bye to apologise.
It’s been a depressingly quiet year for music. During the last twelve months, the local scene has provided as much excitement and fun as the average Irish League season. But we’ll use this occasion to try to emphasise the positive.
Phil Kieran, Danny Todd and Martin Corrigan continued to make an impressive noise with Alloy Mental – injecting some much needed energy into the otherwise disappointingly flat Faithless/Kings Of Leon headliner at this year’s Vital event.
The year ahead is probably make or break for the trio. Then again, in their many various guises over the years, they’ve all heard that before. Any act that can whip up a dust storm in both Shine and Auntie Annie’s has to have some kind of chance.
Oppenheimer’s pristine sound was an unlikely, but most welcome, contribution from two long-term combatants on the Belfast scene – Shaun Robinson and Rocky O’Reilly. Mixing light-on-its-feet melodic electronic pop with the off-centre, lo-fi playfulness of Yo La Tengo, they proved to be the year’s most surprising treat.