As I was getting a train to Dublin last month, I picked up a booklet advertising the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival as reading material to pass the time on the journey.

When browsing, I saw that Echo and the Bunnymen would be performing at the festival, and that tickets would only cost £10. This was a no-brainer, not even worth thinking about.

Upon my return to Belfast, I immediately went and purchased a ticket.

Apologies for the delay in posting this blog, as technical glitches with Twitpic meant I wasn’t able to get photos uploaded for ages.

I’d been to Custom House Square for concerts. It doesn’t take a lot to fill it, and if you can get it full, it makes for a good concert.

To my surprise, the concert was to take place in a indoor marquee rather than an open air concert which usually takes place at this venue.

Support was provided by appropriately named local act Joe Echo. He was OK, nothing special. Can’t say I was going to rush to buy his CD after the concert.

I love Echo and the Bunnymen, and I mean, I love Echo and the Bunnymen.

I actually got into the band in 1997 with their ‘Evergreen‘ album and their comeback hit ‘Nothing Lasts Forever

I’d never actually heard of them and thought they were a new act, not realising that they were releasing their first new material in nearly a decade after reforming.

As a result, I purchased their Best Of album ‘Ballyhoo‘, and fell more in love with them, especially songs like ‘The Cutter‘, ‘Killing Moon‘ and ‘Bring On The Dancing Horses

The setlist for this concert was mainly drawn from their 80s singles, with ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ being the only song since their 1997 reformation being included on the setlist, which is a pity as ‘What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?‘ (1999) and ‘Flowers‘ (2001) have some excellent songs on it.

The band are very much these days a two piece of Ian McCullough and Will Sergeant (Les Pattison left the band and Pete De Frietas died in 1989) and assembled backing musicians.

Singer McCullough is the leader of the band and his influence his felt on stage as his berating of backing musicians usually results in them doing what he wants.

The phrase “Less is more” best describes McCullough’s on stage performance as he just sings. No dancing or anything else, just singing.

At times, he was off-key and out of tune, but it was part of the charm of the performance. It’s not X-Factor you know.

The band were electrifying, and the lack of lighting in the venue meant there was an element of mystery surrounding their performance.

After leaving to a rapturous reception, the band returned to do an encore, performing ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’, before merging it into a cover of ‘Walk On The Wildside’, alternation customised lyrics of “Hey babe, take a walk on the Merseyside” and “Hey Belfast, take a walk on the wild side” and then merging into a cover of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ by The Beatles.

A tenner well spent.




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