Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Girl K - Neighbors

There's nothing that warms our heart more than a sumptuous yet vulnerable slice of indie-pop, which is why we're so taken by "Neighbors", the debut single from Chicagoan Kathy Patino, who records under the name Girl K. The song, which is about overlooking personal needs when giving to others, is a slice of surfy indie-pop in the mold of Alvvays, with a euphoric chorus reminiscent of "Next of Kin". A rather lovely piece of noise.

"Neighbors" is taken from Girl K's debut album "Sunflower Court", which is due out in Autumn.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Breaks - Honey

This is a song that I first came across a couple of weeks ago when I reviewed it as part of Fresh on The Net's Fresh Faves. Given that it's one that I have consistently come back to since then, it was only proper to give it a mention here at The Metaphorical Boat.

The Breaks are a Burnley bred, Manchester based band, who for the time being are happy to remain anonymous*. They released their debut E.P a few weeks back, and the track that gained our love from the release was the wonderful "Honey", a shoegaze-y wall of blissful noise that encapsulates everything I love about the sub-genre, like My Bloody Valentine with a poppier heart. Plus, the drum intro reminds me of "Killing of a Flashboy" by Suede, which is never, ever a bad thing.

"Honey" is taken from the band's debut E.P, the cheerily titled "Misery", which is out now

*Although curiously, the music video for "Honey" does seem to feature people who may or may not be in the band, including one fellow playing the guitar.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Northern Ireland Tunes - Round Up #38

So summer. That's a thing that is currently happening. Hope you are all enjoying sunning yourselves, enjoying time off and taking in a much new music as you can? What's that, not really much of the latter? Well just as well The Metaphorical Boat's here for you then.

There's been some rather fine new music from this neck of the woods in the last wee while, so here's a round-up of a few new tunes that we think will float your Metaphorical Boat -

Darren Doherty - Kites (featuring Lauren Bird)

Strabane resident Darren Doherty has been featured on these pages before, as part of his work with the band A Northern Light, who were responsible to two of our favourite local songs of the past few years, "Kill It" and "Paranoia". He's now recording under his own name, and recently released an album, "What You Do", which was recorded over a period of several months, with each track released the moment it was ready.

Our favourite song from the collection is "Kites". Not just because it features Lauren Bird, but because it is a brilliant, powerful stripped-back folk song. A rare delight.


Terry Conlon - Don't Lead Me On

Terry Conlon's got one of those voices that just couldn't come from anywhere else but here. The Cullyhanna native is releasing his debut album "Homegrown" in September, with "Don't Lead Me On" being the lead single. With a voice that is richer beyond his years and a tune that could cause increased lacrymosity, his music will strike a chord with fans of Ciaran Lavery or Foy Vance.



CATALAN! is the new music project from Ewan Friars, who is perhaps best known as a member of North Coast rockers Axis of. "Oka" is the first socially charged single, combining lyrics about indigenous people and social media with thumping beats and towering guitar riffs. If you were a fan of Axis of, and are also partial to a little bit of The Clash, you'll find something to love here.

There's a music video released to accompany the song, which contains quite a lot of symbolism that we are currently unable to interpret, in spite of our A Level Media Studies knowledge.


Emer Maguire - Belfast

We'd heard quite a few people talking about Belfast based singer/songwriter Emer Maguire recently, so were glad to be able to catch her live at the Pavilion at the weekend, playing what we believe to be her first full-band performance. It was a quite enjoyable performance, with covers of Muse & Lorde thrown in among her original material, and there was definitely enough going to make sure we keep an eye out for her in the future.

Of her original songs, the one that caught our ear was "Belfast", a great love/hate letter to the city (and funnily enough, the 2nd song we've heard about the city in the past 2 weeks). There's a nice hat-tap towards the Lisburn Road (a street that anyone who's studied at Queen's knows all too well), plus it's nice to hear a synth-bass being used in an acoustic-led song.


Hunkpapa - Rodeos

And concluding our round-up this month is Armagh band Hunkpapa. We have been reliably informed that the group are one of the most exciting new live bands to come out of Northern Ireland in recent times. We haven't seen them live yet, so we cannot vouch for the accuracy of that claim, but that is something that we hope to remedy at some point in the near future.

For now though, we'll just have to pleasure ourselves with the band's latest single, "Rodeos", which is a great alt-folk-rock single that comes off like a heavier Ben Howard.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Kelsey Kerrigan - Driving Around

Los Angeles resident and mentee of Ryan Adams, Kelsey Kerrigan,  has a real knack for tight indie-rock, if her single "Driving Around" is anything to go by. The song is a self-depreciating tale of meandering vehicular journeys, and calls to mind the songwriting of Courtney Barnett, and possibly a little bit of Camera Obscura thrown in there for good measure.

"Driving Around" is taken from an upcoming debut album from Kelsey Kerrigan.

Monday, 24 July 2017

The Metaphorical Boat is six years old today.

Happy birthday to us! It hardly feels like six years since the blog started to catalogue our musings on songs we happen to come across, so glad to still be doing if after all these years. Our thanks go out to all of you for reading the blog, and more recently, to all of you for listening to our recently launched podcast (shameless plug: don't forget to subscribe on iTunes!), and of course, to all of you wonderful makers of fine music, for whom your absence would have stopped this blog making its way past day 1.

And on this anniversary, let's take a minute to recognise one of our favourite songs of 2017 so far that we haven't covered on the blog up until now. Isle of Wight duo CHAMPS first caught our attention at the tail end of 2013 with the track "Savannah." Their new single, "The Garden Is Overgrown", is a pulsating synth-pop number with a cracking chorus at its heart, and bodes well for their upcoming album.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Lo-Fi Fun Factory - Sunny Belfast

This is one of those songs that probably might not make sense to people who live outside of "our wee province", but it's such a great little ditty nonetheless.

Lo-Fi Fun Factory is an alternative folk trio based in Belfast made up of Dan Tindall, Alan Thompson & James Canning. They've been together since 2010, and have released a smattering of songs in that time. However, it is their latest single, "Sunny Belfast", that has caught our attention, through its self-depreciating, yet still warm, tribute to the city.

A lot of the references might go over the head of those who don't live here, but for those of us that do, we are absolutely tickled by references to the Big Fish, trying to park anywhere near St George's Market, an economy that's being propped up by Game Of Thrones, and of course the ridiculous 20 mph speed limit that's been imposed on Belfast city centre.

It's a great, Penguin Cafe Orchestra-esque experimental folk ditty, although I would be curious to know how it goes down from people who are less familiar with Belfast and its foibles.

"Sunny Belfast" is available to purchase now, and is the first song from a new song a month project that is currently in progress.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

ÖZ - Do You Love Me

For a first single, "Do You Love Me" is one strong debut indeed. ÖZ is a producer based in Montreal whose influences cited include Jamie xx & London Grammar. 

"Do You Love Me" was inspired by a bad breakup, with ÖZ trying to imagine it from the perspective of his ex-girlfriend. It's a strong pop song, with an electronic pop style that is very current sounding, the sort of song that one could imagine realistically being a top 40 hit if it had a massive record company or money behind it. That it is a 1st single bodes well for ÖZ's musical endeavors going forward.

"Do You Love Me" is out now.

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Metaphorical Boat Podcast Episode 03 - Gerry Norman & Son of The Hound

On each episode of The Metaphorical Boat Podcast, Christopher McBride, the Captain of The Metaphorical Boat, will sit down with one of his favourite musicians, and over a cup of a lovely caffeinated beverage and a bun or tray-bake of the artist's choosing (The Captain always goes for Battenberg. Always), chat through the artist's life, musical highlights, and most importantly, how many sugars they take.

Our guests on this episode of The Metaphorical Boat Podcast are two of our favourite local singer-songwriters. Gerry Norman, best known as the lead singer of A Plastic Rose, who is now recording under his own name, and Mick McCullough, who currently records as Son of The Hound

Listen or download now on Soundcloud or on iTunes:

Find out more about Gerry Norman on -
Facebook Twitter YouTube 

Find out more about Son of The Hound on -
Facebook Twitter Website 

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Metaphorical Boat Spotify Playlist - May/June 2017

For those of you who like your musical recommendations in playlist-able Spotify form, on a bimonthly basis The Metaphorical Boat posts a selection of songs that we have been enjoying over the prior eight weeks or so, containing songs that we've written about, new songs that we haven't written about but are enjoying nonetheless, and a few older but fantastic tracks that are currently floating our Metaphorical Boat.

Below you can find our playlist of songs that we really enjoyed in May & June 2017 2017. If you like what you hear, or just want another playlist to add to your growing list of playlists, then we really hope that you'll take the time to visit the playlist on Spotify and give it a follow. You never know, your new favourite song of all time could be somewhere on this playlist!

This month's playlist feature songs from established artists like Liam Gallagher, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Radiohead, Alvvays & The War on Drugs, songs from newer acts such as Fjokra, Sam Fender, Apache Darling, The Rhythm Method & Tom Adams, plus local acts like Lauren Bird (the most recent guest of our podcast), Glass Wings, Emmet McGonagle, TOUTS & Isobel Anderson. Lots of great music from lots of great people for your ear-based amusement.

In addition, as of 2017 The Metaphorical Boat has started a rotating playlist of songs, which we will update on a regular basis. You've seen it on the sidebar of our blog, now you get to see it in a blog post as well. Hurrah for duplication!

As soon as we come across a new song that we like, it will automatically go to the top of this playlist, and we will remove a song from the playlist as soon as it has been on it for 2 months, so if you give it a follow, you will always have a fine conveyor belt of fantastic music courtesy of us at The Metaphorical Boat. You can find the playlist as it stands as of now below -

Monday, 26 June 2017

Vokxen - Blood Vein

We haven't mentioned Co. Antrim based synth-pop quartet Vokxen on the blog for quite a while, last spilling digital ink on their behalf back in 2015 following the release of their debut single "Somebody". They've kept something of a low profile since then, although they were selected to be mentored as part of local music hub Oh Yeah! Centre's Scratch My Progress scheme.

They're starting to kick back into action now, and on the strength of their new single "Blood Vein", they are going to garner quite a bit of attention indeed. The song is a strong stormer of a synth-pop song, which called to mind the sound of late New Order, with strong, unconventional (for this genre of music anyway) vocals that may appeal to fans of London Grammar.

"Blood Vein" is available to download, in exchange for a modest fee, now.

Friday, 23 June 2017

BRØR - Backburner

It's quite a speedy return for us at TMB to BRØR, the fraternal duo from Armagh whom we last featured on the blog back in April with their driving rock debut single "Something New", which helped them to win Chordblossom's Kickstart competition. 

Which leads us on to the band's new single "Backburner", a song that has already won some love with the good people at Fresh On The Net and picked up some airplay on BBC 6music. "Backburner" sees a real change of pace for BRØR, being quite a sparse track underpinned by an arpeggiated guitar, and is a narrative driven song about being eaten alive by marital mistrust. It's a real bolt from the blue track from them, but one that is a rather fine one indeed.

The video's pretty great as well, and offers a bit of light relief from the somewhat dark lyrics, featuring a magician, puppetry and drag.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Metaphorical Boat Podcast Episode 02 - Lauren Bird

On each episode of The Metaphorical Boat Podcast, Christopher McBride, the Captain of The Metaphorical Boat, will sit down with one of his favourite musicians, and over a cup of a lovely caffeinated beverage and a bun or tray-bake of the artist's choosing (The Captain always goes for Battenberg. Always), chat through the artist's life, musical highlights, and most importantly, how many sugars they take.

Our guest on this episode of The Metaphorical Boat Podcast is Strabane singer/songwriter/ukulele wielder Lauren Bird, who sits down with Christopher to talk about her new album, "The Inbetween", scoring soundtracks, loving pop music, and what the music scene is like in Strabane.

Listen or download now on Soundcloud or on iTunes:

Find out more about Lauren Bird on -
Facebook Twitter Website | Bandcamp

Saturday, 10 June 2017

The Metaphorical Boat Podcast Episode 01 - Owen Denvir

On each episode of The Metaphorical Boat Podcast, Christopher McBride, the Captain of The Metaphorical Boat, will sit down with one of his favourite musicians, and over a cup of a lovely caffeinated beverage and a bun or tray-bake of the artist's choosing (The Captain always goes for Battenberg. Always), chat through the artist's life, musical highlights, and most importantly, how many sugars they take.

Our guest on this episode of The Metaphorical Boat Podcast is Belfast singer/songwriter/viola player Owen Denvir, who sits down with Christopher to talk about his classical upbringing, the differences between the music scene in Edinburgh and Northern Ireland, his "Motion Picture Soundtrack E.P", and about receiving support for his intricate cover videos from Coldplay.

Listen or download now on Soundcloud or on iTunes:

Find out more about Owen Denvir on -
Facebook Twitter Website | Bandcamp

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Metaphorical Boat Podcast Episode 00 - Aidan Logan

We've been floating on The Metaphorical Boat blog for nearly six years now, and have spent the best part of six years doing what we do best, namely finding the best new music, then writing about said music. Well, some would argue that there are other things that we do better, but for the sake of argument, go with us on this point.

So after six years of writing about music, we have decided to try something outside of the written word, and enter the world of the spoken word. Hence, The Metaphorical Boat is proud to launch its first ever podcast. About 10 years later than everyone else in the world, but hey, better late than never.

In each episode, the Captain of The Metaphorical Boat, Mr Christopher McBride, will sit down with one of his favourite musicians, and over a cup of a lovely caffeinated beverage and a bun or tray-bake of the artist's choosing (The Captain always goes for Battenberg. Always), they will chat through the artist's life, musical highlights, and most importantly, how many sugars they take.

The first ever guest, on Episode 00* of The Metaphorical Boat Podcast, is Aidan Logan. Aidan is a Belfast based singer/songwriter who is gearing up to release his new E.P "Turbulence". On the podcast, we talk about his musical influences, what the music scene is like in Belfast, replacing Garth Brooks, playing in Nashville, and most importantly, what his favourite bun is.

Listen or download now on Soundcloud (iTunes etc will hopefully follow in the next few weeks):

Find out more about Aidan Logan on -
Facebook | Twitter | Website

*We are cleverly calling this episode 00 of the podcast, for if for some unforeseen reason the podcast doesn't progress beyond this episode, we can write it off as a one-off, or pilot episode. See, we're not just pretty faces. In fact, some would say that we're not even that.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Basement Revolver - Johnny Pt. 2

We all enjoyed "Johnny", the debut single from Hamilton, Canada based trio Basement Revolver, didn't we? The answer to that is yes. Yes indeed we did. For that single went on to accumulate over half a million streams on Spotify, and the eponymous E.P that it was taken from picked up a lot of love from all the cool blogs.

Well, it turns out that the band loved "Johnny" so much that they've written a sequel to it. Actually, 'loved' is probably not the best operative word, seeing as "Johnny Pt.2" was written directly in aftermath of the break-up with the titular fellow. In comparison to the more wistful "Johnny", the follow-up seems quite a lot more forceful & hopeful, underpinned by the punchy drums, and the central refrain of "my doors will always be open for you", a statement not of yearning for the past, but of hope for a fresh new future. Another solid slice of reverb-drenched indie-pop from Basement Revolver.

"Johnny Pt.2" is taken from the band's upcoming E.P "Agatha", which is released on July 21st.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Great Escape - Saturday May 20th 2017

The final day of The Great Escape has drawn to a close, as we leave the better than okay town of Brighton for another year, with all the music that came with it. We saw lots of great music, as well as lots of music that we didn't get around to - as is sometimes the way with TGE, large queues meant that we weren't able to get in to some of the artists we would have liked to see, like Ibibio Sound System, Childcare & Jane Weaver. 

But we did get to see lots of great music on Saturday, so here is what we saw, complete with our hastily taken pictures: 


Location: Latest Music Bar

The day was kicked off with some rock music direct from Korea. Really fantastic and surprisingly diverse sounding set of songs, and a really charismatic lead singer who really got the crowd going. Plus they gave me a stuffed toy to mark the Winter Olympics in Korea in 2018, so extra marks for them. Evanescence would perhaps be the closest musical comparison by our reckoning.


Location: Queen's Hotel

Their lead singer sure is a right old hairy fella. (Note to the band - you have our permission to use that quote in any press releases you send out).

Quite nice tropical infused indie. Quite a big crowd for them in one of the smaller venues.

The Rhythm Method

Location: Komedia

We didn't expect to like The Rhythm Method as much as we did, but we were absolutely blown away by their stagecraft. Fronted by quite possibly the campest hard lad we've ever seen, the duo (plus guest vocalist) put in a blinding set of contemporary sounding, socially deft tunes, like a cross between The Streets and a lower budget Pet Shop Boys. The crowd went bananas for them, and given the positive reception we've heard from others for their set, this could prove to be a breakthrough moment for the band. 

 Penelope Isles

Location: St Mary's Church

We stumbled across this local band playing in a church right next to the hotel we were staying at. We must say that it was the perfect venue to see the band, for their lo-fi indie-rock stylings sounded incredible with the acoustics offered by the venue - we don't think we've heard drums sound so good before.

Luxury Death

Location: Horatios

Probably the only band we saw during the weekend that actively bored us. Still, at least it gave us the opportunity to walk all the way to the end of Brighton Pier. You get a lovely view of the sea from there.

The Kolin

Location: Queen's Hotel

We caught the tail end of the Hungarian band's set. Their tunes were okay, but their lead singer had us all laughing, as he sarcastically joked about how much money and fame they were going to get as a result of playing at The Great Escape, and gently took the proverbial out of their guitarist.

The Monotones

Location: Queen's Hotel

Our second Korean band of the day. The band opened the set joking about their matching outfits ("we were going for The Beach Boys, but ended up like the Backstreet Boys"), and launched into a pretty decent set of rock songs, culminating in an unexpected cover of "Disco 2000".

Parekh & Singh 

Location: Patterns

An absolutely lovely set of dreamy pop songs from the dapper Indian band. "Newbury Street" and "Philosophize" were the highlights of a set that was 30 minutes of pure loveliness.

Drones Club

Location: Green Door Store

What a way to finish our time at the Great Escape 2017. Dressed like a cross between astronauts in training and paramilitaries, Drones Club put in a blinding set of electronic dance tunes that were part rave, part revolutionary call to arms. "Hurricane" is quickly becoming our favourite song of the year, and the ecstatic reaction of the crowd just showed us exactly why that is. It was definitely the highlight of our festival, and sets Drones Club out as a band that we feel are going to be incredibly important over the next 12 months, in one way or another.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Great Escape - Friday May 19th 2017

So Day 2 of The Great Escape has come to its conclusion. Despite it being a much brighter day than day 1, where it rained so much that several streets had to be re-designated as rivers, it was a less intensive day in terms of who we went to see. Still, it gave us the opportunity to explore several acts whom we were unfamiliar with before the festival began. And here they are, alongside our hastily taken photos of each act - 

One Word. Supervisor

Location:  Komedia Studio

Kicking off the day with some Swiss psychedelic-rock. Quite War on Drugs-y, if that's your type of thing.

Delaney Davidson

Location: One Church

This New Zealander was a bit of a surprise. Delaney Davidson appears to be the Antipodes' version of Tom Waits, with his blues-rock sound, grizzled, gin-soaked vocals and tales of lust and murder. It was interesting to see a loop pedal being used to create that sort of throwback blues-rock, which isn't something we've seen in the live arena before. Top marks for using an antique microphone to nonetheless recreate that antiquated sound.

La Jungle

Location: Sticky Mike's Frog Bar

Belgian electroclash. Some nice noises, but nothing that really grabbed us...


Location: The Black Lion

...for straight afterwards, we witnessed the true kings of Belgian dance-punk, Goose.

It was surprising to see the veteran band play at The Alternative Escape, and at such a small venue, but their set was nonetheless impeccable. Really great songs, and a quite subdued yet effective lighting arrangement too. Will have to dig into the band deeper as a result.

The Age of L.U.N.A

Location: Patterns

At a festival like The Great Escape, we do think it's a good idea to dip your toe into musicians in a genre that you may not exactly enjoy, for if there's one place you're likely to find some of the most exciting practitioners of each genre, it's at The Great Escape.

We're not the biggest fan of hip-hop, but we thought that we'd take a change of The Age of L.U.N.A on the recommendation of another music blogger. Although they weren't really our cup of tea, there were many things to like about them - the production on their songs is quite strong, we did enjoy their mash-up/shprt mixtape of hip-hop classics like "Ready or Not" and "Ghetto Superstar", plus we must give top marks for any rap group that plays live sax of stage.

Busty & The Bass

Location: One Church

We definitely didn't think that we'd be treated to Canadian brassy-funk in a church at The Great Escape, but treated we were. The packed out crowd really enjoyed the performance, with much dancing and arse-slapping (?) abound.


Location: The Mesmerist

We discovered last minute that the artist responsible for making one of our favourite songs of 2016, Draper, was playing. The set from the electronic artist saw him adding live synthetic percussion to his pre-recorded tracks, with lights synchronized to the performance. Great songs, wish it felt a little bit more live though.

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Great Escape - Thursday May 18th 2017

Day 1 of The Great Escape has come to its conclusion, and we begin to digest all the music that we consumed in our first day at the festival. Here are the artists that The Metaphorical Boat witnessed on the opening day, complete with our usual hazy, badly taken pictures - 

Confidence Man

Location: Komedia

The first band of The Great Escape was definitely our favourite of the day - cool danceable pop tunes, complete with semi-improvised, semi-choreographed routines from the lead singers. A fun time was had be all by the end of the set. Not sure we get the significance of the costumes of the backing musicians though, who were dressed like gothic beekeepers.

The Lottery Winners

Location: Queen's Hotel

The in-between song banter from the Salford band had many people in the audience (metaphorically) rolling on the floor in fits of laughter, which as a result meant that it's possible that we liked The Lottery Winners more as people than we did as musicians. That's not to say they weren't good though - they've got some cracking little indie-rock songs in their set, somewhere between Feeder and The Pixies.

Dat Brass vs Brass Funkeys

Location: Jubilee Square

Jubilee Square played host to not one, but two brass bands with a twist in Thursday afternoon. Dat Brass took it in a hip-hop direction, with the band covering songs like "Clint Eastwood" and "Stronger" with a strong brass flavour, with the Brass Funkeys, as their name suggested, taking a more funk orientated approach to their music.

It all culminated in a "Brass Off", where the two bands alternated performances, throwing shade at each other between performances, with Dat Brass taking the proverbial out of Brass Funkeys being conservatory trained, and Brass Funkeys mocking Dat Brass for playing too many covers. Dat Brass just about won for us, but we did enjoy both bands' spin on the genre.


Location: Bleach

We saw Anteros at the festival last year, and loved them so much we had to see them again. They've added some great songs to their set since last year, like "Drunk" & "Bunny", but it is the old favourites like "Breakfast" that seem to go down the best with the heaving crowd. Blondie still seems like the closest comparison in sound. 


Location: Hotel Pelirocco

Electronica act PATHS put in a good performance in Hotel Pelirocco, although unfortunately the size of the venue means that the light show doesn't have the same impact as it has in previous gigs from the act.


Location: Sallis Benney Theatre

Howl were one of the bands that we knew little about before seeing them, and came out incredibly impressed. The band remind us of a modern day Stone Roses, with their baggy influenced songs like "Lost" really winning us over. 

Brian Deady

 Location: Sallis Benney Theatre

Cork fellow Brian Deady has a really strong, soulful voice, although sometimes during the set it felt like he didn't have the tunes that it deserved behind it. "Clap Both My Hands" is a genuine banger though, very O Brother, Where Art Thou.


Location: The Hope & Ruin

For a band that's only been together a few months, Outlya feel incredibly polished already (although given that the members had been in a band together previously, it's not that unexpected). A really strong set of songs very much in the mold of Coldplay.

The Amazons

Location: The East Wing

Only caught the tail end of this hotly tipped band, but we can definitely say that they do indeed make music.


Location: The East Wing

When a band starts their set with an acapella cover of "Archie, Marry Me" by Alvvays (a song we first discovered during our first visit to The Great Escape in 2014), then you know that you're going to enjoy their set. Great indie-rock songs with sumptuous 4-part harmonies are the order of the day for Flyte.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Great Escape 2017: Artists To Watch

From Thursday 18th May through to Saturday 21st May, Brighton will be playing host to The Great Escape, a music festival that for fans of new music offers a smorgasbord of great live acts.Over 30 venues across Brighton will play host to hundreds of acts over the three days from 12 in the afternoon to well after midnight, with even more venues opening their doors for free events as part of the Alternative Escape. We attended the festival for the first time in 2014, and again in 2016, and this year, your humble captain is once again heading over to soak up the sun, atmosphere, and most importantly, the bands, for those three days.

With so many bands playing, it can be hard to decide who to go to see. From experience, we love going to a venue at random without any forethought and discovering a new favourite band that we'd never heard of before. This happened with us with Alvvays when we saw them at our first festival in 2014, and has a surprising knack of happening whenever I'm queuing up to get the free hot-dog that the Australian showcase puts on every year - third time lucky this year? However, it's always worth picking out a few artists beforehand that we'd like to check out, either because it gives us an opportunity to see some new and emerging bands for the first time (especially given our location, as Belfast isn't usually a first port of call for artists at the start of their career), or to see some bands we've enjoyed in the past in a completely different environment. 

So to give you a taster of what to expect, here's a couple of artists that The Metaphorical Boat are intending to see at The Great Escape, and very much hope that you hope to see as well. We should also note that although Ten Fé, Anteros and INHEAVEN are playing this year and I hope to see again this year, they were included in last year's preview, so am not including them again.

All aboard for The Great Escape. and if you see me at the festival, please be sure to say hello. I am usually to be found wearing my captain's hat, and I promise you I'm friendly! - 

Beauty Sleep

Venue - (1) The Hope & Ruin
(2) Jubilee Square

Date/Time - (1) Friday, May 19th 2017 - 2:30pm
(2) Friday, May 19th 2017 - 10:30pm

Why do I care?

The Belfast dream-pop trio have given us such sumptuous gems like "The Dark" & "Living Right", so if you want some chilled-out guitar pop, then these are the guys for you.


Venue - Queens Hotel

Date/Time - Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 1:30pm

Why do I care?
The 'tropical indie' band got us excited with their song "Better at Getting Worse", and if they've got a few other songs of that caliber in them, then we'll be in for a real treat.


Venue: Queens Hotel

Date/Time - Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 3:30pm

Why do I care?
They've given us one of the best songs of the year so far in "Kiss?", and having supported Bastille recently, the band are clearly being marked for big things, so it may be your last chance to see them in such a small venue. 

Confidence Man

Venue - (1) Komedia
(2) Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
(3) Horatio's

Date/Time - (1) Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 12:10pm
(2) Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 11:30pm
(3) Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 1:30pm

Why do I care?
The Australian band have been firmly on our radar since we fell head over heels with their earworm-y pop number "Bubblegum" a few months back. The videos of them performing live show a group that put on an amazing yet barmy performance, although how well it'll go down in the sort of venues we're used to at The Great Escape is anyone's guess. Might be an idea to see them at one of the larger venues they're playing at.

Drones Club

Venue - Green Door Store

Date/Time - Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 11:15pm

Why do I care?
Drones Club appear to be a mixture between an electronic music collective and a cult - their live performances are described as "devotions". With their visually arresting image, their choreographed dance moves, and irresistibly catchy tunes, Drones Club feel like an act that are going to be important, way beyond their music. 

Ibibio Sound Machine

Venue - Paganini Ballroom

Date/Time - Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 9:15pm 

Why do I care?
Fronted by Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine fuse West-African funk with electronic elements to create something quite special. We've been an admirer of their unique sound for some time, so we're really relishing the prospect of seeing them live at last, particularly when they've got such great songs like "Give Me A Reason", which sounds like it could be the theme tune for a Ghostbusters remake set in Nigeria.

Isobel Anderson

Venue - (1) The Hope & Ruin
(2) Unitarian Church

Date/Time - (1) Friday, May 19th 2017 - 12:00pm 
(2) Friday, May 19th 2017 - 7:30pm

Why do I care?
The first time we saw Isobel Anderson, when she was playing alongside fellow blog favourites Lauren Bird & Ciara O'Neill, she had injured her hand, so was performed entirely acapella, yet completely captivated ourselves and everyone in the room. She's likely to have a bit more backing playing in Brighton, but with several critically acclaimed albums under her belt, as well recent attention for her most recent alt-folk single "Flint Shingle", then you'll be in for a real treat at the festival.

*Update 16/5/17 - Isobel Anderson has pulled out of  The Great Escape due to illness*


Venue - The Hope & Ruin

Date/Time - Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 8:30pm 

Why do I care?
One of our favourite  performances at The Great Escape 2014 came from the band Port Isla. They've now gone their separate ways, but three members of the band are now going under the name Outlya. They've taking a poppier direction than their previous incarnation, but they've already delivered a few great songs, so will be worth a listen.

Parekh & Singh

Venue - Patterns (Upstairs)

Date/Time - Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 9:45pm 

Why do I care?
The dapper duo from Kolkata have been creating a stir with their dreamy-pop numbers, so if you want a heap of pure georgeousness fed into your ears, these guys seem to be the ones to provide it.


Venue - Hotel Pelirocco

Date/Time - Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 4:30pm (part of the Alternative Escape).

Why do I care?
Northern Irish musician Jules Shawe went solo this year after being involved in several local bands over the past few years with her new project PATHS, and after winning over blogs with her cool, electronic sound, she is now playing her first gig outside Northern Ireland at the Great Escape. She's got a heap of great songs in her arsenal, and with a pretty sweet live visual setup, it would be a shame to miss out on it. 

Swimming Tapes

Venue - Coalition

Date/Time - Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 7:00pm 

Why do I care?
Because I said so.

Plus, they've got some lovely jangle-pop songs like "Tides",  and members of the band used to be members of other much loved NI bands like Kowalski & CODA. 

The Rhythm Method

Venue - (1) Brighthelm Centre
(2) Komedia

Date/Time - (1) Thursday, May 18th 2017 - 1:30am 
(2) Saturday, May 20th 2017 - 2:45pm

Why do I care?
Whether you think of them as a disco-infused version of The Street, or the Sleaford Mods with some actual melodies in them, the cheekily-named duo have some really enjoyable tunes infused with pop-culture references.