It was a busy Saturday for me, having to make a quick dash from the celebrations at Windsor Park to Custom House Square to see Echo and the Bunnymen perform as part of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

The 5.30pm kick-off (I booked my ticket for this before the kick-off was moved) wasn’t ideal, and made me worry that I might actually miss part of the show.

Thankfully, that was not the case, being able to get a lift and arriving just after 8pm, with the stage time being confirmed for 9.15pm making me feel a bit more at ease.

When I arrived, there was plenty of space on the floor.

The support, if you will, according to the e-mail I got from the organisers in advance of the show, was a DJ set from Terri Hooley.

In true Hooley fashion, you could hear his influence even though he wasn’t in the room, a curated playlist of 80s/90s Indie/Guitar Classics entertaining the crowd.

For me, this would be a long awaited first concert of 2022. I’m not sure how I managed to go until the last day of April without seeing one.

Unfortunately, this concert, like everyday life, was spoilt by “The Belfast Disease”.

No matter where I went in the venue, the stench of cigarette and vape smoke was overwhelming.

Was it too much effort to have a tent for all the fucking tramps to go to, well away from the main venue?

Having the main front door wide open and letting them congregate there was the arrangements here.

Absolute fucking scum. Let’s not sugarcoat it, let’s just call it what it is.

Don’t even reprimand me for my language. If anything, i’m being lenient.

Why are we, as a society, normalised to living in a smoke riddled shithole?

Why do we just shrug and accept it?

Politicians like to talk about “Inclusivity” but it’s about more than flags and murals, it’s about being able to actually enjoy what Belfast has to offer.

I can’t do that if I have to hold my nose and cover my mouth to protect myself when i’m going to a concert

I’ve already had to stop going to outdoor concerts because of it, to my own detriment as i’ll be missing out on Simple Minds, Stereophonics and Madness this Summer.

It’s not worth it. It’s not worth going to an outdoor concert as I usually find myself literally struggling to breathe.

There’s no point in confronting someone, nobody will back me up and i’ll get thrown out for causing trouble.

There’s no point in raising it with Venue Staff, nothing will get done.

Let’s lose this attitude of turning a blind eye to vaping, that “It’s not proper smoking”.

It fucking well is and i’m not going to tolerate having it blown in my face when i’m at a concert.

Or indeed, any social situation.

Belfast, as a city, really needs to up it’s game.

We live in a society that works to appease our absolute worst rather than letting our best lead.

Please don’t make CQAF become an event not worth bothering with, because it’s an event I look forward to hearing announcements about shows as they usually have stuff I like and enjoy.

It won’t be worth it if i’m going to have to put up with this every time I go to a show.

Back to The Bunnymen, and it was the usual drill, going through the hits. Well, it was a show called 40 Years Of Magical Songs.

Amongst those played were Rescue, Bring On The Dancing Horses, Seven Seas, Bedbugs and Ballyhoo, Villiers Terrace, Nothing Lasts Forever, Never Stop and Lips Like Sugar.

Ian McCulloch’s famously big hair isn’t as big these days, smart and short is the order of the day from what I could see. The lighting was such that you could only see his silhouette, adding even more to the mystique and enigma.

Will Sergeant casually sat there, strumming his guitar, enjoying life. As a side note, he is one of the more entertaining follows on Twitter. He only set it up to plug his autobiography.

McCulloch managed to fit some rants inbetween songs.

He fondly remembered a concert at Ulster Hall in “1980-something”.

A quick look at Setlist doesn’t list a Ulster Hall gig in the 1980s (there was one in 1998) but a quick Google search suggests there was a King’s Hall gig in 1988, which was moved there from Bangor Leisure Centre.

He added that Belfast was like Liverpool but without all the shit bits, being the only place outside Liverpool, apart from Leeds, where people can understand him.

There was also a List Of Twats. with Boris Becker at the top of it, proclaiming “Boris Becker, what a twat” while adding Shaun Murphy to the list, being incredulous that he continues to get Commentary gigs.

I had to Google who he is, turns out he is a Snooker Commentator.

I’m not sure if Ian McCulloch is an avid Snooker fan or just keeps an eye out for the other Ian McCulloch.

If I ever go to an Aerosmith concert, i’ll keep an ear out to see if Joe Perry talks about Snooker.

He also mentioned his joy at the potential of Everton getting relegated, although he may have jinxed that as they won 1-0 the following day.

As it turned up, they stayed up, to the disappointment of the entire nation.

Onto the encore, and we were treated to The Cutter and The Killing Moon, but surprisingly, as i’m sure a lot of people were anticipating it, no People Are Strange.

Unfortunately, this would be only show of CQAF. I wouldn’t have minded going to Shaparak Khorsandi and/or Lucy Porter, but it clashed with my trip to Edinburgh.

A bit ironic, as I usually go to Edinburgh to see Comedy, now i’m missing out on Comedy because i’m going to Edinburgh.

Elsewhere on the concert front for 2022, I have George Ezra (Thank you very much SSE Rewards), Beabadoobee, Del Amitri, Paul Weller and Feeder definitely confirmed.

I’m going to give Travis at Waterfront Hall a miss as it’s all seater but I managed to get a ticket to see (half of) Queen at The Odyssey at the end of May.

Photo Album

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square 2019

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Mandela Hall 2015

Echo and the Bunnymen live at SECC 2013

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square 2010


  1. Pingback: 2022 IN PICTURES – APRIL | Analogue Boy In A Digital World

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