Bands Join 'Benefit' Charity Gig

LaFaro, Axis Of, Ed Zealous and others to perform at Mandela Hall on December 15 in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support

On December 15, the Mandela hall will play host to the cream of Ireland's alternative music scene when And So I Watch You From Afar, Axis Of, LaFaro and Ed Zealous, amongst others, come together for a very special charity gig.

Benefit is a fund raiser in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, and was organised in memory of Bart Lyons, who sadly past away from bowel cancer in March 2012, and who played with members of ASIWYFA and Axis Of in their band, Sons of Burlap.

'Early in 2011 we started Sons of Burlap with the hope of playing some songs together live,' recalls Rory Friers of ASIWYFA. 'Now, nine months after the passing away of our guitarist and front man, the late great Bart Lyons, we're about to play our first show.

'Benefit has been organised in memory of the big fellow himself as a way to raise money to prevent the thing that finally took him from us. Bart was an amazing dude. I grew up playing music with him, my father and our flutist, Phil O'Connor.

'It's going to be an awesome coming together of generations in honour of our buddy,' Friers concluded. 'I just hope we can fill the Mandela Hall and give a nice big cheque away at the end of it all. Bart would have loved all this.'



Benefit aims to raise £8,000, and is organised in association with club nights Animal Disco and Radar. Many Northern Irish musicians, promoters, venues and music lovers have come together to support Friers and fellow organiser, Graham Smith, to make Benefit one of the gigs of the year.

Bands from north and south of the border are set to feature. The current line up sees ASIWYFA, LaFaro, AxisOf, Eatenbybears, Ed Zealous, Bats, More Than Conquerors, No Spill Blood, Sons of Burlap and The Continuous Battle Of Order confirmed to perform, with possibly more acts to be announced.

Lar Kaye of No Spill Blood was full of praise for the effort and drive of Friers and Smith in putting together such a impressive line up at short notice. Benefit will be No Spill Blood's second gig in Belfast.

'When Rory approached us about playing the benefit show it was a simple decision. To be involved in something with so many great bands is fantastic, and the cause of the show is of huge importance to everyone.

'A lot has to be said for ASIWYFA in taking the time to organise this show. They are some of the hardest working people I have ever met, and they deserve everything positive that comes their way. It is an honour to be playing this show, and hopefully it will demonstrate the power we all share in the arts when we come together.'

Aiden Kelly of Eatenbybears said he 'cannot wait to see Bats and No Spill Blood for the first time, and our good friends Axis Of and Ed Zealous. We've been touched personally as a band by cancer, and it is something that sadly will affect most of us in some way, so it's all the more important to support causes like this. Plus the music is going to be insane.'

Benefit will be ASIWYFA’s first hometown show in some time, and though 2012 was a monster year for music in Belfast, the city has rarely enjoyed a line-up this good. With tickets selling for £8 plus booking charge, and every penny going to charity, it’s a Christmas cracker not to be missed.

Tickets for Benefit, which is taking place in the Mandela Hall at Queen's University on Saturday, December 15, are available now from the Ticketmaster website. For more information visit the Benefit Facebook page.