Posts Tagged ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’


It’s that time again…

October 8, 2010

Just a quick post to plug the new issue of AU. It’s out around the place now and we have published a list of stockists in Dublin here. Be quick though – it’s flying out. Or you can always subscribe.

On the cover, as you can see, we have Cee Lo Green while there are also big interviews with Ice Cube, Karl Hyde from Underworld and Randy Randall from No Age. We also have Kiran Acharya with his own inimitable look at the creationism debate, following on from Northern Ireland Culture Minister Nelson McCausland‘s provocative pronouncements.

Elsewhere in the mag, you’ll find a feature on fixed gear bikes (we ask, are they for dickheads?), as well as And So I Watch You From Afar, Les Savy Fav, Shit Robot, Yann Tiersen, Solar Bears, Isobel Anderson, Torche, Therapy?, Darkstar, Timber Timbre, Mount Kimbie, The Frames, William Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, HEALTH, and more.


You can now read the mag online by clicking here.


On ASIWYFA and the advantages of meeting your interviewees…

September 12, 2010

All photographs: ASIWYFA, photographed in Portrush for AU by Carrie Davenport

I had a few post-work pints with AU writers Francis Jones and John Freeman yesterday. Fra was the editor of the mag before me, and we’ve both been involved with it for about five years. His day job has changed but he still contributes regularly and is a good friend. John is from Manchester and found out about us through a mate of his who is obsessed with Duke Special – when we had Duke on the cover a couple of years ago, this guy got hold of a copy and showed it to John, who got in touch, pitched some work and soon became one of our main feature writers. However, he had never in his 40 years been to Northern Ireland so after interviewing Jeff Tweedy for our Wilco cover feature he took the opportunity to fly over for the band’s debut NI gig, at the Open House Festival. After innumberable phone calls and emails it was good to finally meet him.

Anyway, we were chatting about the mag and music writing in general, and got on to talk about the interviews we do. Being based in Belfast, most of our interviews are done on the phone – we are normally either previewing a gig to be played here, or the artist is promoting a new album. Either way, the interviewee is unlikely to be in Belfast. On certain occasions it does work out (sometimes we interview bands when they are here to play a gig, especially if they are about to release an album soon after) and of course we often interview bands from Northern Ireland.

Any music writer will tell you that a face-to-face interview is always preferable – there is only so much you can do with an interview based solely on words down a phone line. When you meet up with an interviewee, however, there is so much more to play with. Context, geography, even something as simple as facial expressions and body language make a huge difference.

With that in mind, and because I haven’t posted it up here yet, here’s an interview I did with And So I Watch You From Afar in March last year, just before their debut album came out. The photographer Carrie and I went to their own patch – Portrush – for the day and chatted to them in Barry’s Amusements, the Harbour Bar and on the beach. It was a fun day. Read the rest of this entry ?


AU61: Let Our Enemies Beware breaking through piece

January 4, 2010

I love being able to shout about new bands that I love. That’s all this is – do yourself a favour and give them a listen. I can’t wait to get the opportunity to see them live.


MEMBERS: Shareef Dahroug (vocals, guitar), James Boast (guitar, artwork), Adam Elwin (guitar, vocals), Christopher Boast (drums).
FORMATION: Chatham, Kent, 2005.
FOR FANS OF: And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Fugazi, Slint.
CHECK OUT: Against Karate, out now on Smalltown America.

It’s not overstating things in the slightest to say that Let Our Enemies Beware are one of the most exciting rock bands in Britain. For the time being, the Kent quartet fly under the radar, but surely not for long, because once word spreads about their utterly inspired debut album Against Karate, there will be no stopping them. “The band is a cathartic thing, I suppose,” says the band’s brilliantly unhinged frontman Shareef Dahroug. “It’s shaking off the usual boredom and drudgery of everyday life by shouting at a lot of people in the dark and them, for the most part, thanking us for it.”

The band came to our attention via the good people at Smalltown America records, who got involved after spotting them playing live in London. From there, a spot on one of the label’s Public Service Announcement compilations (#9 if you’re interested) and a tour with our very own And So I Watch You From Afar and LaFaro followed, and now LOEB have a rabid, slavering beast of a full-length to show for it all. This is 20 years of noisy bastard guitar music neatly distilled into 45 minutes – the mean ferocity of Shellac, the heart-bursting conviction of At The Drive-In, the creepy atmosphere of Slint and the utter fucking mayhem of …Trail Of Dead when Conrad’s in one of his moods. “Live, we are the aural equivalent of a nervous breakdown,” says Dahroug. “You can decide whether it’s any good for yourself if you don’t mind losing your hearing to find out.” Believe us, sir, we’ll take that risk.


New issue of AU out now!

December 15, 2009

So yes, the new issue of the mag is in the shops, featuring, as you can see, a rather beatific-looking Gary Lightbody. I interviewed the man on the phone and was able to quiz him on the band’s history as well as where they are at now, and the future. Aside from that, we have our Irish Albums of the Decade list – 50 of the island’s finest over the last 10 years. In all, 339 different albums were voted for*. ASIWYFA’s victory was by a huge margin – almost half of voters had their album somewhere in their top 20. It was a landslide. See the bottom of the post for the full list, as well as my own. Read the rest of this entry ?


AU57: AU Tour feature

June 1, 2009

Just by way of explanation, this was a lead news feature to promote the AU/Livewire Irish tour that the mag put together to celebrate its sixth birthday in June 2009, featuring And So I Watch You From Afar, Adebisi Shank and a host of local supports.

AU tour



Here at AU, we like a good shindig. For our launch party back in 2003, Therapy? laid waste to the Mandela Hall in Belfast. On a sunny Sunday in 2006, our third birthday saw the cream of NI bands take over the Spring & Airbrake, Limelight and Katy Daly’s in Belfast in an all-day, three-roomed extravaganza. And last year’s fifth birthday saw us repeat the trick in Derry, as Sandino’s played host to Fighting With Wire and the best of the new breed. This year, however, we’re going one better.
Read the rest of this entry ?


AU56: And So I Watch You From Afar live review

May 1, 2009

ASIWYFA Mandela April 2009
Pic by the incomparable Matthew Alexander Patton (

APRIL 4 2009

The last time ASIWYFA played this hall as part of their A Little Solidarity festival in November, they left Fighting With Wire’s headlining set feeling like an anti-climax. No such worries this evening – this is unequivocally their night and the bar just keeps on rising. We are gathered – packed in, actually – to celebrate the launch of ASIWYFA’s debut album, and after support slots by Adebisi Shank (incendiary on the big stage) and the Lowly Knights (a bit bland if we’re honest, as much as they look the part) the four horsemen of the the apocalypse stride on, each freshly tattooed with the band’s iconic new logo, to run through the album in sequence.

As good as that new record is, it’s no substitute for seeing this band live, and tonight is the absolute epitome of what they are all about. Think about it for a second – this local instrumental band has packed out the 750-capacity Mandela Hall, before they’ve even released their debut album proper. The balcony is closed to accommodate close friends and family, but they surely could have filled it, too. And the huge crowd isn’t just here out of curiosity, either; this is their band and they are ready to let them know it. The moshing starts with track one, ‘Set Guitars To Kill’, and hundreds of people join in with the joyous “woo!” in the middle of the song. And so the album continues, fierce and spectacular, complemented by an awe-inspiring light show, a feeling of sheer joy amongst the crowd and the always-entertaining sight of the seemingly possessed dervishes on stage.

As with the record, there is slight lull in the middle of the set, but given the way it begins with four of the most stunning tracks you will ever hear live, there’s no shame in that. Later, Tony actually admits that they forget to play ‘If It Ain’t Broke, Break It’, but no matter. The main part of the set is completed with ‘These Riots Are Just The Beginning’ and a delirious ‘Don’t Waste Time Doing Things You Hate’, complete with Lowly Knights and assorted others forming a celestial choir high in the balcony. And then, all too soon, it’s encore time. ‘The Voiceless’ sounds as good as ever, while ‘Eat The City, Eat It Whole’ blends into old favourite ‘Mount Kailash’ for a punishing, gargantuan finale that feels like it is never going to end, but in a good way. During ‘Eat The City…’, an enthusiastic fan crowd-surfs his way into the less-than-welcoming arms of security, who try to strong-arm him out of the venue. Tony Wright stops the band and implores them, “He can walk, you don’t need to drag him!” Seconds later, he’s up on stage, dancing like a loon, before stage diving back into the maelstrom to loud cheers. After the song finally ends, Tony’s fellow guitarist Rory Friers executes a perfect stage dive of his own, and the band form at the front of the stage for a well-deserved bow. How they are going to top this is anyone’s guess.


ATL: And So I Watch You From Afar live review

February 2, 2008

This is the first review I did for ATL, and I ended up writing most of it the morning after, hungover, in work. ATL deadlines show no mercy! It’s up on their site here.

ASIWYFA Limelight
Pic by Graham Smith


These four destroyers from the Causeway coast sure know how to create an event. Following on from their ‘Tonight The City Burns’ collaborative gig and EP late last year, they’re curating four more major Belfast shows in 2008. This, the first, sees them joined by Frenchmen Papier Tigre, north coast hombres Panama Kings and Derry’s finest, Fighting With Wire. All are excellent, and the excitement is palpable as the lights go down for ASIWYFA‘s headline set. They’ve come a long way in the last couple of years. When they first appeared, their four-piece post rock drew just a little too heavily from Mogwai and Explosions in The Sky. Fine influences of course, but ASIWYFA lacked a little in individuality and the art of putting on a show. That’s all history now though, as the last few shows the band has done have been nothing short of breathtaking in their power and showmanship.

Strangely enough the gig starts a little flat, almost as if the band is too willing to impress. ‘Clench Fists, Grit Teeth… Go!’, sounds frantic and ragged and a new song doesn’t quite hit the mark. As they head towards the meat of the set though, it all starts to fall into place. Another new song sees the band head further into the math rock direction indicated by ‘Clench Fists…’. Beginning with guitarist Rory Friers tapping out a melody, the rhythms and guitar work recall Belfast’s We Are Knives. All neck-snapping, clean riffs and Chris Wee’s virtuoso drumming, it’s another step forward for the band. Thereafter, ASIWYFA launch into a triple whammy the like of which no other band in Northern Ireland can match. ‘I Capture Castles’ – the first track on the mini-album – is monumental, and it’s followed up by the equally seismic ‘The Machine’. And then to round things off, the glorious ‘The Voiceless’ slays with Tony Wright’s beautiful picking holding the whole thing together.

The band shuffle offstage and the still-large crowd (at 12.45am) bay for more. As they return, Rory sheepishly says that they hadn’t planned an encore, but would play a song again so we can all “fucking rock out”. It’s ‘Clench Fists…’ and this time they absolutely nail it. With grins as wide as the Bann, Rory, Tony and man mountain bassist Johnny thrash around the stage to the crushing riffs and time changes, sounding for all the world like they won’t be long for this scene. This band is already massive in sound and presence. Trust us, this is only the beginning.

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