The occasion of a new video from STRENGTH N.I.A. is a time to sit up & pay attention. Their self-described “Werewolf Pop”, indigenous Derry music made on pieces of dead machinery was so effective & affecting that, to do things right, I asked a friend who knew a bit more about the band to contribute their views. In July of 2016 Paul Pj McCartney, a stalwart of & an authority on the Derry scene kindly wrote this piece. If you missed it it’s just a click away. Strength N.I.A’s new song “Brendan Bradley” to my ears, sounds like the most complete realisation yet of a manifesto to reflect the culture of their city in their music.
Brendan Bradley was a footballer from Derry in N.Ireland, he holds the record for the most goals scored by an individual in League of Ireland soccer history. His career spanned from 1966 – 1986. Brendan Bradley grew up in the Creggan area of Derry, a Catholic estate that was a ‘No Go’ area for the British army during the troubles in Northern Ireland. It was during this time that Brendan was detained by the British army at a border checkpoint in the 1970s whilst traveling between the North and the South of Ireland for football games. The British army could detain people at will under the Terrorism act of 1974. Brendan was later released and went on to become a true Irish sports legend scoring a total of 235 goals.
What a song this is, spare & true with a haunting beauty. A celebration of a local sportsman who made his mark on a wider stage. The video is filmed in the city & features the new Derry City stadium at the Brandywell. When I visited last year the Candystripers were playing out of town, it’s a place I must visit when I return. Singer Rory proudly wears the shirt worn by Owen de Gama, a South African & the only player in the league with his own fan club, in the 1988 FAI Cup Final. I love music, I love football & I love this song. Congratulations to the band & all involved. Strength N.I.A. play a show at the Nerve Centre in Derry next weekend. That’s not one to miss.
My good friend Mickey Rooney has knocked around the music scene a bit. I know, judging from the mix that is always playing whenever I get in his motor, that he has great taste in guitar music. So, when he throws his support behind CHERYM it’s only polite to give them a listen &, of course, he’s right. Cherym, formed in early 2017, are guitarist/singer Hannah Richardson, her long-time friend Lauren Kelly on drums & bass player Nyree Porter who explained “it just clicked we got on and they all wanted to be my friend”. Their first single “Take It Back” is exactly the kind of fresh energetic Pop-Punk you want to hear from a bright young band & it goes like this…
I know, good isn’t it? As Damian O’Neill, still an Undertone, now a Monotone, said “I’m just about to play it again”. The song deservedly caught the attention of local & national radio. You can own it by clicking on “Buy” in the link above. On 12th of May “Mouth Breatherz”, a new EP will be available, live dates across Ireland & the UK are planned as are BBC radio sessions. All the latest news is on Cherym’s Facebook page & I suggest that you get on to them early because these young women have a live set of impressive original material & if you wait until the end of the Summer there will be a long queue.
On my first night in Derry I saw the WOOD BURNING SAVAGES play an acoustic set. My impression that they were good guys was confirmed when later in the weekend one of their members picked us up in his van & took us home at 1 a.m., sparing us the hoo-ha of finding a taxi that is traditionally part of a night out in the city. The four piece were formed in 2012, played the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury in 2014 & have plenty of experience gigging all over Ireland & the rest of Europe. What I saw that night was very enjoyable but I’m getting the impression that I did not catch W.B.S. in full effect. From what I’ve heard & seen since these guys like to rock.
“Stability” is the debut LP by the Wood Burning Savages & will be available next week on the 27th of April. Frontman Paul Connolly says it’s “a collection of songs about a working class furious at years of empty promises”. You can judge for yourself from the clip above for “Purple Heart” & another for the rifftastic “I Don’t Know Why I Do It To Myself”. They are both full on & very good. Paul isn’t always furious, here he seems happy to help out one of the city’s less fortunate with a copy of the album. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that. Kevin is one of the nicest people in Derry & lucky enough to be married to the lovely Ali). You can satisfy all your Wood Burning Savages needs by visiting their website. Me, my fancy is taken by the combination offer of a CD & a rather tasty band tee shirt.