Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's music scene has never been more vibrant... and here's the proof

By Maureen Coleman

Next week, in the run-up to the MTV EMAs, the spotlight will fall on Northern Ireland's vibrant music scene as a host of concerts and events get under way in Belfast.

For the first time ever, the Northern Ireland Music Awards (NIMAs) will take place at the Ulster Hall on Wednesday, November 2, celebrating the best of local music.

Organised by Oh Yeah and AU magazine, and hosted by David 'Rigsy' O'Reilly (Radio Ulster's Across the Line) and Emma Fitzpatrick (Citybeat), the NIMAs will recognise legends like Stiff Little Fingers as well as the young bands and artists at the forefront of Northern Irish music.

Jonny Tieran, publisher of AU magazine, said: "Northern Irish music is in the rudest of health right now, with young bands like Two Door Cinema Club and And So I Watch You From Afar gaining global recognition, as well as a vibrant local scene.

"We have a better support network than ever before, with great recording studios, media outlets, photographers and filmmakers all helping Northern Irish musicians reach greater heights. These awards are a celebration of all that."

Stiff Little Fingers will be performing on the night, along with And So I Watch You From Afar, Japanese Popstars, Cashier No 9 and General Fiasco.

Tickets for the NIMAs are priced £12 and are available from the Ulster Hall.

So who are the bands to look out for?

* Wonder Villains -this indie-pop quartet from Londonderry have been described as 'musical sunshine'. Still in their teens, the group have already played with Scouting for Girls and New Young Pony Club and are in the running for the Oh Yeah Contender's Award at the NIMAs.

* And So I Watch You From Afar - This North Coast instrumental rock group have toured all over Europe and recently announced a deal in North America with management and record label Sargent House to release new album Gangs.

* Cashier No 9 - The Belfast-based band recorded their debut album with David Holmes, represented Belfast at London's Electric Proms and were 'band of the day' on www.guardian.co.uk

* The Japanese Popstars - One of electronic music's biggest live draws, the Derry trio released their second album Controlling Your Allegiance this year, with the likes of The Cure's Robert Smith and Editors' Tom Smith providing vocals. They've also remixed for Kylie Minogue.

* Two Door Cinema Club - This Co Down band is one of Northern Ireland's most successful musical exports, with a series of singles, sold-out shows all over the world and main stage performances at Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds.

* LaFaro - The Belfast-based rock band recently launched their second album Easy Meat to widespread acclaim. They've supported Ash and The Pogues and will perform next Friday at the Ulster Hall with Therapy? and the Answer.

* General Fiasco - One of Northern Ireland's most popular young bands, the Co Derry lads have played Oxegen, Belsonic and Reading/Leeds as well as support to Snow Patrol at their Ward Park gig last year. Their single Something Sometime was picked by Zane Lowe as 'Hottest Record in the World".

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