Joshua Burnside at The Duncairn, Belfast

 On Friday evening (30th November), Joshua Burnside brought his UK tour in support of latest EP ‘All Round the Light Said’ to the impressive surroundings of the Duncairn Arts Centre in North Belfast. The former church has been renovated to keep the beautiful interiors much the same, with large, arched windows and stained glass prominent. Playing an acoustic set in such surroundings, Burnside provided a set that felt almost spiritual. 


Tearing through a setlist of songs spanning his debut full length album, 2017’s NI Music Prize Album of the Year ‘EPHRATA’, his newest EP and songs pre-dating both, the audience was captivated throughout the hour-long set. Of course, breaks in the immersed silence while Burnside was playing occurred from time-to-time. In particular, during songs such as ‘Blood Drive’, ‘Holllllogram’ and ‘Tunnels, Pt.2’. This trio of tracks from ‘EPHRATA’ not only had the crowd’s toes tapping, but had the majority singing along. A warm atmosphere endured throughout the night, with the crowd bursting with nothing but pride and adoration for a local musician proving his salt.


The political undertones of playing in the North were noted by Burnside just before performing ‘Red and White Blues’, a song condemning the UVF that he said is always popular when he plays in the ‘glorious East’, but wasn’t sure of how it would go down in North Belfast. “I was too young to care what flag was flown above me…Don’t paint my pavement red, white and blue, I’ll paint it grey it’s my street too” he croons to a silent audience, all focused upon the lyrics that resonate with a large proportion of those of us from Northern Ireland. Burnside describes perfectly the frustration of growing up on one side of the divide, but not supporting the extremes of that side.


Although noting that his “witty banter” isn’t great – especially when tuning his guitar on stage – I’d say Burnside isn’t as bad as he thinks. “So I have one song left alone, one with the band, then we’ll walk off and sit down and you guys will say ‘one more tune, one more tune!’ and we’ll all feel great and play another tune’, he joked to the crowd before doing so. Sitting amongst the crowd at the back of the room, to a room full of unending applause, Burnside laughed and took the stage for one final tune. The chosen ‘last tune’ was ‘Northern Winds‘, a stand-out track from the newest EP. It’s a song that builds as it grows, and elicits goosebumps and silence from the crowd until the refrain kicks in and everyone sings along: “oh where is my little swallow / I have no golden armour to share / you may clock out my blue eyes / tear out my tongue, tear out my tongue / well I’ve seen this iron sky before / and I’ve sang this sorry song one too many times”.

As the drums build and the song becomes textured with a canon of vocals, the crowd evidently doesn’t want the gig to end. With Joshua Burnside’s final bow of the evening and as a lengtly applause from the audience endures, it’s clear to see that the shared space of The Duncairn has achieved the focus on shared experiences and culture that it was established to achieve. A wonderful night of local live music, and one the crowd surely won’t forget.

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Fox Colony – Fragile: An 11-minute snapshot of modern love and life

A cold, windy night on Tuesday 11th September. A night where you couldn’t be blamed for wanting to sit in with a cuppa, but that’s not how things work in Belfast. The sesh was calling, and Fox Colony were dropping their new EP ‘Fragile’ in Voodoo – how could you ever pass it up?! An impressive crowd thought just the same, and braced the elements to witness an evening of live bliss and musical energy.

A jaw-dropping line-up featuring some of the ‘best-bits’ of the local Northern Irish music scene helped make this launch one to remember. Derry’s finest punk-rockers Cherym and our electronic queen Roe were joined on the support slots by the newcomers from the North Coast, sweater cult. The latter opened the evening with a rapturous set of rocking anthems; an impressive set for a band who only released their first tracks at the end of June. Cherym then came on all-guns blazing, ripping through punking tune after tune as if it’s easy – a flawless set once again, but you really can’t expect anything less from the band who have been nominated for multiple Northern Ireland Music Prize awards. Another nominee for multiple NI music prize awards and another flawless perfromance came from Roe. The former QR Underground perfromer impressed once again, with a set perfecting the art of electronic pop.

The main event, the headline slot from Fox Colony, did not disappoint. The band who describe themselves as ‘fuzzy indie-pop’ came to the stage in a now-packed-out Voodoo, amidst an ecstatic applause from fans and friends alike. Playing old fan favourites such as ‘Baseball Bat’ alongside the tracks from the new EP, Fox Colony proved why so many had came along to witness their euphoric launch. ‘Fragile’ reads like an ode to modern love and life, with the title track finishing the album on a note that shows no matter how we feel, there is fragility to be found in each of us. The leading single and first track from the EP, ‘Supermarkets’, is a sweet pop-rock delight with a powerful guitar riff and  catchy chorus that rings out with a refrain of “I’ve been stuck in my mind / you keep taking my time / how can it be worked out / when you keep taking my time.” It’s a song that screams of modern perills, such as overuse of the internet, climate change, businesses valuing profit over employees, and toxicity in relationships, but still comes across as a fun-filled track that will get you jumping along at a gig. You can check out the new music video for the track below:

 Continuing into the EP, the synth intro on ‘Don’t Keep Me Here’ provides a shake-up, but doesn’t throw off the tempo of the previous tracks. Another song that will get you headbanging along at a show, and follows on well to the slower ‘Fractured’, a song fanning out from the light guitar riff that pushes it along. This is a tune that already seems to be a fan favourite, with a lot of the crowd already singing along.

The newest addition to Fox Colony’s discography is a delight and a happy welcome to the ever-growing category of ‘local bangers.’

Make sure to check the band out over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and you can listen to ‘Fragile’ over on Spotify.

Post also published on Queen’s Radio: https://www.queensradio.co.uk/single-post/2018/09/12/QR-Music-Review-Fox-Colony—Fragile-An-11-minute-snapshot-of-modern-love-and-life

Around the World in Three-or-so Weeks

After months (sorry!) of not blogging, I’m finally back at it. For my first post back from my accidental hiatus, I thought i’d write about the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in those two or so months.

All I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember is travel. Numerous failed plans and disappointing Summers later, this year I finally got to get my foot on the travel ladder.

I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks of my Summer travelling. It started with a week long holiday in Dubrovnik, Croatia followed by 2 weeks travelling around the East Coast of America.

At the time of writing, it’s been just over a month since I’ve returned home (aww). I’m now back to uni, to an already immensely stressful final year, and the post-holiday depression has truly kicked in. As I’m working (or procrastinating), all I can think about is how much I’d love to be back soaking in the Croatian sun; getting lost in the streets of Dubrovnik’s Old Town. Or how I’d love to be wandering through New York, looking around a city so familiar it’s as though I’ve been there all my life.

This post is for my own memory than anything. A way I can look back on this wonderful Summer, mostly through photos.

      Dubrovnik, Croatia

20170824_105655            Dubrovnik’s Old Town from Fort Lovrijenac (The Red Keep in Game of Thrones !)

20170823_132358                Park Gradac – the scene of GOT’s Purple Wedding (Conveniently located beside our apartment…)         

Top left to right: Coffee on the last day; the Old Town from the City Walls; cobblestoned streets of the Old Town; and the best meal I’ve ever had (? ? it was amazing – prawn, salmon and cream tagliatelle)

America: New York, NY; Providence, RI; Boston, MA

This was the big one – the trip I’ve wanted to do for a looooong time. When I was 10 (10 years ago, jeez) I went to America with my family for 3 weeks. We travelled around the West Coast, beginning in LA. Ever since then I’ve been itching to go back, and now that I’ve been again I already can’t wait to get back!


New York, NY

The trip to New York was probably the most my phone camera has ever been used…

All the tourist stuff, from top left to right: Brooklyn Bridge – as we were staying in Brooklyn, it only seemed right to do the walk across on the first day; A white rose in a name at the One World Trade Centre to mark the deceased’s birthday; The city view from the Empire State building (my fear of heights went nuts); Times Square at night.

Left to right: Building art in Soho; An awkward photo after being bombarded by mascots at Times Square (long story); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or ‘The Met’ if you wanna sound cool and artsy; SHOPPING ! ! in Soho

Left to right: The ‘Friends’ Apartment – unfortunately no sightings of the gang themselves, but insane to be in such a familiar place; A street in Greenwich Village – this was probably my favourite part of New York – such a chilled out district packed full of cafes and record stores; The view from Central Park – a brief visit to the park was the pit stop we needed.


Boston, MA

The two days we spent in Boston were wet and humid, but not miserable. The beauty of the city still managed to somehow shine through. A highlight of our time here was the bus tour we took throughout the city, which brought us over to Cambridge where we visited MIT and Harvard.

Left to right: The walkway beside the Charles River – we visited at the perfect time of year where the leaves on the trees were starting to change; The quad at Harvard University – was such a surreal place to visit.


TL;DR: Jane had a fun Summer where she got to travel to places on her travel bucket list and got too invested in feeling American.

murica               Feelin’ a wee bit patriotic in Mystic, CT.

Mexican, Not Mexican’t

To christen this page, it only seems right that my first review features a restaurant I’ve been waiting a long time to visit. After endlessly creeping the Instagram location tag for what feels like forever, on Saturday evening I finally found myself sitting in the cosy surroundings of La Taquería.

DSC0026 (Credit: http://licensedandcateringnews.com/belfast-embraces-taste-mexico/)

Located on Castle Street in Belfast, is a modest restaurant you may not know is actually there unless you go out to seek it. It’s snuggled above a local newsagents, and is comfortingly small without coming across as claustrophobic.

La Taquería literally means “the taco shop” – and tacos are exactly what this place does best. It features an extensive list of tacos with all sorts of fillings, which pair well with the extensive list of Mexican tequilas and cocktails on offer.

For my first visit, I was completely conflicted on what to order as everything on the menu sounded unreal (also as I’m massively indecisive). To make things even harder on the decision front, they run a huge specials list featuring starters, mains and even drinks.

To begin, we ordered cocktails….when in Rome, and all that.

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I ordered the Mezcal Mule while my boyfriend settled for the Classic Margerita. The Mule was made up of mezcal (an agave based spirit), tequila, ginger, passionfruit and lime. It was garnished with a chunk of ginger, a sliced chilli, and a wedge of lime. For a drink, it was SO refreshing, but the more you drank, the spicier it seemed to get (not a bad thing!)

When ordering food, my inner-indecisive-demon pleaded for me to opt for what seemed to be the safest option on the menu. In an attempt to remedy this and live vicariously, I asked the waitress serving us some questions regarding the chorizo tacos I was interested in. Her great help led to me disregarding the safe option of pork tacos for the more exotic option.

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And aw man was I glad I swayed that way – the chorizo tacos were incredible. Ground pork flavoured with chipotle chilli and ancho chilli; the perfect combination of smokiness and spiciness. Our server suggested we opt for some sides to share, so we ordered the frijoles refritos (black bean mash) and papitas fritas (crispy potato cubes with chipotle mayo). Both were amazing, but the frijoles definitely stood out for me – nothing seems as satisfying as basting a tortilla chip with this stuff. Pro tip: try it inside a taco. You won’t regret it.

All in all, the tacos offered by La Taqueria aren’t the tacos Belfast deserves, but definitely the tacos it needs.