Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, formerly of The Beautiful South, were in Belfast last night promoting their new duets album What Have We Become, with a concert at The Limelight.

I never got to see The Beautiful South, who split up in 2007 due to “Musical similarites”, during their heyday, so this was the next best thing.

However, there are enough options for those wanting to relive The Beautiful South, with a Dave Hemingway led group, The South, also touring. All we need is Brianna Corrigan and Dave Rotheray to form their own group.

It was billed as “Performing material from their new album, and songs by The Beautiful South and The Housemartins”, and that’s what it was, an anthology of Paul Heaton’s career.

One of the first hits they played was “Old Red Eyes Is Back”, introduced as “A song about drinking”. Not sure if the lighting guys meant it, or it happened by fluke, but the stage lights went red as the opening notes were played.

To keep up with the anthology theme of the night, Heaton told stories between songs, reminiscing about past visits to Belfast, listing all the bars he’d drank in, and how the first thing he did upon flying into Belfast to go to a vending machine for a packet of Tayto crisps.

He then continued to talk about his love of Tayto, trying to do a deal with the audience that “I’ll buy your Tayto if you buy our albums”

On the stage was a series of paintings, painted by Paul, Jacqui and their keyboardist, of famous Northern Ireland folk. Like a gameshow host, Heaton invited the audience to guess who they were, with whoever guesses right taking it home.

Only one person won, correctly guessing that Jacqui Abbott had painted a portrait of Mary Peters holidaying in the Algarve.

The hits continued, including the Jacqui Abbott led hits such as “Rotterdam” and “Don’t Marry Her”, as well as Housemartins hits such as “Happy Hour” and “Me And The Farmer”

When introducing one of those Housemartins hits, he recalled how they won a battle of the bands, with the prize being to support Gary Glitter at Hull City Hall, which they withdrew from when they discovered they were having to pay for the, um, honour.

They came back for not one, but two, encores. The second of which, featured an a capella performance of Caravan Of Love.

Most of the big hits were performed. There was no “Perfect Ten” on the playlist. This gig, came quite close to a Perfect Ten.

(I’d go eight or nine, since you ask)

In other gig related news, I saw Suggs : My Life In Words And Music. It was part music, part stand-up, but totally enjoyable, as Suggs relived anecdotes from Madness through to their early days, heyday, split, and various comebacks.

It was a show that debuted at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012, the week after i’d left. I’d been waiting for almost two years to see that show, and it was worth the wait.

Talking of Suggs, i’ll be going to see him doing his day job in December. That’s as lead singer of Madness, not host of Night Fever.

Looking forward to this. Hope it’s as good as the time I saw Madness in August 2012.

Two weeks today, i’ll be seeing Wonder Villains doing a rooftop gig at the Oh Yeah Centre to celebrate the release of their debut album. Really looking forward to this, a fantastic band.

The week after that, i’m off to HMV in Donegall Arcade for an instore gig by Runaway Go, who I had previously seen at Belsonic last year.

The week after (yes, I know) i’m off the see Bray to see James for the 4th time, having also seen them at Belsonic last year.

At that concert, they’ll be supporting Paloma Faith, who I saw at Ulster Hall last year.

After that, it’s a bit of a break until August when I head to see The Killers at Tennent’s Vital. Guess what? I’ve already seen them. February 2013.

What i’m looking forward to at that gig, is seeing Bastille. I’ve never seen them before, so looking forward to that.

In terms of possible gigs, i’m thinking about going to Tom Odell/Kodaline at Belsonic. Undecided as yet. I like Tom Odell but I don’t know much about Kodaline.

Meanwhile, i’m on the lookout for a ticket to Erasure at Ulster Hall in November. They’d sold out within minutes before i’d a chance to purchase one.

Incidentally, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott have announced a new tour for the winter. No Belfast date as yet. If they do announce one, i’d recommend you go.

Photo Album


  1. Pingback: PAUL HEATON AND JACQUI ABBOTT – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 12.4.2016 | Analogue Boy In A Digital World

  2. Pingback: PAUL HEATON AND JACQUI ABBOTT – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 21.10.2017 | Analogue Boy In A Digital World

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