The NI top 6 (things) of 2011
January 11, 2012 Chris Caldwell 0 Comments
This was originally intended as a top 5 but I’ve just realised its actually 6 so there you go! Also I’d state these are in no particular order but I’m sure Sigmund Freud would argue there’s no such thing. As such I present PastieBap’s NI top 6 of 2011!
This was the year of Mental deficiency! The got management, they released a bloody brilliant album, they filled the Black box for the album launch and they invaded the Edinburgh fringe festival. They also managed to support larger bands in a variety of venues. The most amazing part of this feat is that they weren’t just random bands they were supporting, they were bands that would be playing to the exact crowd that would appreciate their music, thus exposing them to a much larger audience. But more importantly an audience that would appreciate their musical stylings! I was there for both The Rubber bandits and the Electric six gigs and both times they played to fairly sizable audiences and i would suspect at least half of the audience at these gig would’ve been people that had never seen Mental Def before. It’ll be in an interesting 2012 with the difficult second album looming and a watchful eye waiting to see where they go from here.
Expanding to 2 days and with an improved lay-out this year saw a stellar line up and improved attendance for Pigstock. In my opinion much better than Glasgowbury as the lack of outside influences and the real ‘Small Festival’ feel. I enjoyed it so much I’ll be attending next year regardless of line up. Also regardless of that ridiculous hill you have to walk up to get there.
The visitors came. The stars came. the whole thing went off without a hitch and it was a brilliant way to show case Belfast to the rest of the world. Snow Patrol done what they do and people who like Snow Patrol told me it was good. I was in Belfast with a few mates that weekend and the buzz was evident around the city. The build up was fantastic with Music Week putting on a spate of gigs showing off the great and good and creating a great deal of hype (and debate) around the province.
The Black Box
Best venue in Belfast. Again showing its versatility the Black Box put on no end of Brilliant events throughout 2011. Poetry, Magicians, Gigs, Cabaret, Album launches, fundraisers the list goes on and on. it really seems that there very little that can’t be put on in this venue. It’s versatility is unbounded. The green room i felt really came into its own as well making this a regular spot for people even when there wasn’t something on in the Black Box itself. A great place for some coffee, a few beers and even a slice of Pizza.
I also need to mention the amount of performances put on in the green room ranging from comedians to Art displays and everyhting in between. A place with a real community feel but located so centrally is great to have and a great place to show off how far Belfast has come in passing years. A great venue in a great location and a real asset to the Cathedral Quarter as a whole. They recently received news that they had secured £25,000 in funding to help them reach their aim of being self sufficient so it seems like we’ll have the Black Box for the fore see able future.
The Wonder Villains
I saw them at Glasgowbury early in the afternoon on one of the side stages and was blown away. Next they were playing the Oh Yeah centre on culture night then BAMM! They’re playing on Radio 1 in the Maida Vale studios! For a band so young they’ve accomplished a lot so far. They’re insanely catchy brand of all out retro indie pop was bound to catch on and in 2011 it did just that. I can’t wait to catch them playing bigger and bigger gigs in 2012.
Belfast Culture Night
Brilliantly publicised through Social networking sites that ultimately lead to a word of (virtual) mouth campaign that at times had filled my time line with people talking about it. This ensured that Culture night was a huge success! The Streets of Belfast and particularly the Cathedral Quarter where absolutely hoaching with people and the mixture of music, art, plays, food and everything else. Everywhere you went was something else going on and all for free! Now for next year they just need to get the licensing arangements so we can wander between venues with our drinks!