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Reasons To Be Happy – And Sad
Good and bad tidings this forthnight. On the positive side, General Fiasco have stopped pandering to the playlisters and released a scrumptious new single. Less positively, the wonderful Cat Malojian are no more. Pass the Kleenex.
Colin Carberry, 24 Nov 2011
Peter McAuley’s Rams’ Pocket Radio have, similarly, been drawing quite a bit of attention to themselves of late. Longer and longer guest-lists at their shows, management deals, support gigs with Snow Patrol, slots at Glastonbury – it’s been a year of spectacular progress. As if to acknowledge 2011’s benign karma, Rams’ are planning a hectic run-in. A new EP, Dogs Run In Packs, is out now, while an extensive Irish tour will run through much of December, culminating in a Belfast gig at Stiff Kitten on December 23. They could be playing bigger barns before long, so take advantage of this opportunity to see them up close.
It would, of course, be remiss of me not to mention the big awards ceremony that Belfast recently hosted.
So here goes. An obligatory (maybe necessary?) pre-prandial bun fight did little to dampen the mood at the inaugural Northern Ireland Music Awards. A lifetime achievement nod for Stiff Little Fingers filled in some back-story to the night, but with the likes of Cashier No. 9, The Japanese Popstars, ASIWYFA, and the aforementioned Fiascos and Villains all in attendance too, the main celebratory focus was – quite rightly – on the here and now.
News that Robyn G. Shiels picked up ‘Best Solo Artist’ gladdened the heart. The consistency of the Kilrea man’s output (both tonally and in terms of quality) speaks of someone with a fierce independence of spirit. However, given the treacherous commercial conditions he and artists of his ilk are having to navigate, we shouldn’t be sniffy about the morale-boosting properties of a bauble like that.
And it will be a brave performer who tries to wrestle it off him next year.