Few local bands can boast having sold out New York City's Mercury Lounge, scored three showcase gigs at the SXSW festival in Texas and numerous successful gigs throughout the UK, all in the space of a year.
The band who can are Driving By Night, set to make another appearance a little closer to home at Auntie Annie's on Belfast's Dublin Road, on Sunday night. Most of the band's current line-up originally hail from mid-Ulster and, prior to the formation of Driving By Night, enjoyed some reasonable success with Nineties indie band, Tiler. The show comes just as the band are about to head back to the studio to record an album due for release this summer, and just prior to playing a gig at Berlin's RockStar Models Fashion Show the following week.
Their 2007 single Fears of Men, and their 2008 release Departure, are still getting airplays on both sides of the Atlantic and Driving By Night are deservedly regarded as one of Northern Ireland's 'must see' local bands.There's also what's billed as a partly-acoustic set from support band Push Borders, which includes members of Red Sirus, Patiosounds and Desert Hearts and admission is set at a very recession-friendly £2.
Some of the best songs ever written deal not with the usual themes of boy-meets-girl, unrequited love and heartache, but contain a strong social, political or thought-provoking message.Songs Of Protest, which takes place at the Oh Yeah Music Centre on Thursday, celebrates the work of the world's more cerebral songwriters who have made their mark on the public's conscience with their lyrics. A panel of local experts from the arts world will be discussing society's ills, as expressed through depression-era dustbowl ballads, 1960s anti-war anthems, punk, rap and by the current output of the new voices of dissent. There are also live performances from contemporary local muso-politicos Tin Pot Operation, Cara Robinson, Acoustic Dan, Joe Mulheron and Scream Blue Murmur. Doors open 7pm and admission is free.
The theme more-or-less continues in Lavery's tonight and tomorrow as mini-punk festival, Nuclear Winter Fest, gets underway, with up to 20 bands delivering their own, abrasive musical take on life's various iniquities. Tonight's line-up features Thee Radicals and Runnin' Riot, while Saturday's bill includes Bomb The Music Industry, Wretch and The Lobotomies. Doors open tonight at 7pm and things kick off tomorrow at 3pm.