Connect with us

Music

Local Performance Artists commit to making music, even though they can’t be in the same room.

Cartoon Bill and Ellen finally make it to the Love Shack where they perform a big finale in front of their digital audience.

Lockdown is affecting everyone, but two performers from Larne, Northern Ireland haven’t let that get them down.

15 Miles To…

Entertainer Bill ‘The Thrill’ Buchanan and singer Ellen McClure have recreated the B-52s hit, ‘Love Shack’. With an entertaining animated video to go along with their vocals, these two have gone to amazing lengths to keep their spirits up, all while hoping to raise those of the public too.

With bars and performance venues closed due to the ongoing pandemic, performers have found themselves with little income and even less to do. While many have turned to live streaming events to remain in the public eye, Bill saw an opportunity to take another route to entertain.

Entertainer Bill “The Thrill” Buchanan devised a plan to bypass social distancing measures by creating an animated world for the friends to perform.

Entertainer Bill “The Thrill” Buchanan devised a plan to bypass social distancing measures by creating an animated world for the friends to perform.

“Ellen [McClure] and I have always joked about the idea of recording a version of the track [Love Shack] after performing it together on a few occasions. So, I thought why not seize the down time and do it”

Lockdown Recording

However, restrictions meant the performers could not meet up and record. Instead opting to utilise home equipment to record their vocals separately, and collaborate online to bring their project to life, but where did that leave the idea of a music video?

“I’d started toying with animation software at the start of lockdown to keep myself busy, this soon morphed into the short-animated series D.A.D. (Daily & Dire) Jokes. So, when the idea of a music video came up, I thought if we can’t go outside in reality why not create an animated world where we could.”

Despite being forced to stay apart Ellen joked that they are ok with abit of distance between them.

“He’s [Bill] intense at the best of times, so being able to record my parts without him cracking jokes and bouncing around was actually quite nice.”

Singer Songwriter Ellen McClure is no stranger to playing in front of a live audience, but this time she performed in 2D.

Singer Songwriter Ellen McClure is no stranger to playing in front of a live audience, but this time she performed in 2D.

“Our running joke throughout recording was I seemed to be doing all the hard work in terms of singing, while he just got to talk his way through it. I think he made up for it on the animation side though, so I’ll let it go this time.”

The Finished Product

With vocals recorded, and their animated counter parts at the ready Bill set about piecing together the final product. The video went live on their Facebook, and social media accounts on Monday night for the entertainment of everyone at home.

Are the performers just as entertaining in cartoon form? Only by watching the video will you know the answer.

Music

James Arthur Announces Headline Belfast Show

James Arthur today delights fans by announcing tours of both UK & Ireland and North America in 2022.

The tour includes dates at Ulster Hall on 28th March and Olympia Theatre on 29th March.

Today’s announcement lands on a special day –  the fifth anniversary of the release of James’s global smash hit ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’.

James  will be performing songs from his upcoming new album ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’ alongside his classic hit singles and fan favourites.

James says: “I’m beyond happy about getting back on the road and seeing everyone again. Playing shows for my fans gives me life and that’s been taken away for the best part of two years so needless to say I’m itching to get back out there and perform for them again. Coming to a stage near you soon!

James has sold over 30 million records worldwide and has to date released three hugely successful albums ‘James Arthur’ (UK No.2), ‘Back From The Edge’ (UK No.1) and ‘YOU’ (UK No.2), alongside nine solo UK Top 40 singles. He has had two No.1 smash hits and was awarded a disc for reaching a billion streams on Spotify with ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, the No.1 global hit that brought the singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough back from the edge (it currently has 1.7 billion streams on the platform). James recently dominated the airwaves and charts with his storming collaboration with Sigala ‘Lasting Lover’. The track was a No.1 airplay song in the UK, No.1 on iTunes and Top 10 on the Official Singles Chart.

James recently signed a new record deal in the UK with Columbia Records, a co-deal with Columbia Records Germany, and announced his new album  ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’,  his 4th long play release, is coming later this year.

Continue Reading

Music

Foy Vance Set For SSE Arena Concert

Singer-songwriter Foy Vance is pleased to announce his largest ever headline show at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 02nd April 2022. Foy’s second studio album on Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records and the follow-up to 2016’s The Wild SwanSigns Of Life will be released on September 10 on CD, LP and digital formats and is available to pre-order. 

Signs Of Life is the sound of a beloved singer-songwriter at the peak of his powers. It’s also the sound of a man – a husband, a father, a sinner, a drinker – belatedly coming to terms with his demons. Driven by powerful percussion, “Time Stand Still” features a soaring, emotive vocal from Vance, who was struggling with an addiction to alcohol and painkillers at the time of writing.

“I had my first extended period off the road after twenty years of constant touring,” says Vance. “And I realised: wow, I drink two bottles of wine and at least a half bottle of vodka a day. I’d start the day with codeine to get myself sorted, and I’d smoke joints throughout the day. So I realised: I have so many incredibly bad habits here. I’m showing all the signs of death, getting ashen, grey, smoking more, drinking more, smoking more…I hit a wall.”

“It was my manager that made me get help,” Vance continues. “And in those moments, you do wish time would stand still. Can’t I just stop here and sit in this moment before I have to take up that mantle?”

Signs Of Life was recorded in three locations: Vance’s Pilgrim studio at home on the shores of Loch Tay in Highland Perthshire, another recording set-up in a nearby Dunvarlich House, and at Plan B’s Kings X studio in London. The album was written and played more or less entirely by Vance, with able assistance from young Northern Irish producer Gareth Dunlop. Serendipitously, Dunlop had been inspired on his career path by a chance encounter with Vance many years before.

“When I was around 14 years-old I wandered into a coffee shop in Belfast and saw Foy playing in the corner,” Dunlop explains. “I was completely spellbound by what I heard. It was a lightbulb moment that sent me on the road of wanting to discover my own voice and musicality. I would never have imagined that I would be co-producing a record with him 18 years later, and that I would be just as inspired and spellbound by what he does.”

Created out of the grimness of 2020, Signs of Life is an album of dawn after darkness, hope after despair, engagement after isolation, uplift after lockdown. It comes in bold sleeve artwork that reflects Vance’s desire to embrace all sides of everything, all humanity’s textures. Shot on a 160-year-old camera which does arresting things with colours and shading, the back image is of Vance as a bare-chested, bare-knuckle boxer. On the front, he’s in a dress, blonde wig and theatrical make-up.

“They’re just mad, striking images, and I loved the fact that it was male and female. You know, life’s extreme, life’s volatile, life explodes into reality sometimes, and stops just as quick. So to be struck by images on the cover made sense.”

At any time, Foy Vance’s new collection of songs would be a tonic. At this particular time, they can’t arrive a moment too soon. “That’s a huge part of it,” says Vance. “Signs of Life is about re-emergence – me in my own soft revolution, the world re-emerging in what we’re about to see as we hopefully go back to some semblance of normality. But just life in general – flowers growing through the cracks in Chernobyl. Life finds a way, doesn’t it?”

Continue Reading