Belfast's Stiff Kitten bar and club has a long-standing reputation for staging innovative club nights, as well as hosting some of the best international DJs. Now they're set to add another string to their bow by launching a live, local music showcase night. Next Wednesday sees the first of a series of events to be held at the Bankmore Square venue, featuring a strong line-up of well-established, as well as up-and-coming, bands currently making waves on the local circuit. Headliners Six Star Hotel need no introduction to gig-goers, having played blistering sets at just about every venue in town, as well as having just completed several dates in the Netherlands and a successful month-long tour of Denmark. As well as sharing a stage with the likes of The Young Knives and YSPWSD, they've been in the studio, working with producers Richard Flack and Mark Aubrey on their recently-released debut LP, A Kind Of Crusade. Support on the night comes from Panama Kings, whose spiky guitar and frenetic keyboard sound have earned them comparisons with Modest Mouse, Pixies and the eternally-referenced, early Eighties post-punkers, Gang Of Four. Completing the line-up are Mojo Fury.
No local band has even come close to repeating the success of Londonderry punks The Undertones who, with a little help from John Peel and Terri Hooley, burst into the charts 30 years ago with their timeless classic, Teenage Kicks. It's testament to their longevity that the song can still fill a dancefloor at alternative club nights and the band, even without the distinctive lead vocals of their original frontman, can still pull a respectable crowd when they play live. They headline a gig tonight the Mandela Hall at Queen's which celebrates 30 years of the Good Vibrations label alongside Shame Academy, the brainchild of Greg Cowan (Outcasts) and Brian Young (Rudi), as well as ubiquitous young bucks, The Panama Kings.
The next monthly instalment of monthly bands beano Trident takes place tomorrow night at Lavery's, with three rooms' worth of the best alternative music, courtesy of live acts and DJs. Highlights include an appearance by funk stompers the NI Soul Troop and Belfast's indie-rock, art school, chess-club kids Duchampions. Doors open 8pm and £3 before 10.15 or £5 after buys you access to all three rooms.