For me, it would be Ash who would be kicking off the second day of Biggest Weekend, as I headed back to Titanic Slipways to see them on the Saturday.
I could get used to afternoon concerts.
With a scheduled stage time of 4.10pm, i’d be heading over earlier than I did the previous day. Of the Saturday line-up, Ash and Franz Ferdinand were the acts I wanted to see the most.
For some, it would be the second time of the weekend they would be seeing Ash, as they did an instore appearance at HMV on the Friday teatime.
I wasn’t at that as I was heading to Biggest Weekend. I’m sure there were others in the same situation. I know we were getting to see them anyway, but it would have been nice to see them twice, and in a different kind of setting. They really could have scheduled that better.
I might have been in East Belfast, but it felt like Kiev with the amount of Liverpool shirts in the venue. Hope they enjoyed hearing the score when watching underworld. Born Slippy would be an apt description of Loris Karius handling and shotstopping.
Of all the concerts to go on Saturday, I was thankful, I wasn’t at Echo and the Bunnymen in Birmingham, with the band grumpy at having to do the concert after previously cancelling it because they wanted to watch Liverpool v Real Madrid and then relenting after anger from fans.
Ian McCullough enters the stage grumpy (to be fair, he’s always grumpy) as Liverpool go 1-0 down in a room full of Aston Villa supporters annoyed that their side has just lost 1-0 to Fulham in the Championship Play-Off Final. Gloriously miserable.
Ash at Titanic was thankfully a lot more upbeat, as the band began with Burn Baby Burn (which is what a lot of the crowd were doing due to the sun), which the audience were told when the band was being introduced was the first song played on 6 Music.
Afterwards, they announced they only had 35 minutes left, and were going to perform hits, which is what they did, performing songs such as King Fu, Oh Yeah, Shining Light and Girl From Mars, as well as more recent hit Annabel.
There was a brief chat where Tim Wheeler reminisced about Ash most famous concert, which recently celebrated it’s 20th anniversary, at Waterfront Hall, when Bono turned up as a guest alongside David Trimble and John Hume.
Guest stars seem to be a bit of a theme when Ash play Belfast.
When I saw them at The Empire in 2015, Nathan Connolly from Snow Patrol joined them onstage.
Tim announced that “Two legends from Derry” would be joining them.
Who could it be? Nadine Coyle? Dana? Fionnuala that owns the chippy?
Sadly, it wouldn’t be Baltimora. That would have been remarkable.
It was Mickey Bradley and Damien O’Neill from The Undertones.
Both of them had contributed to the recording of Buzzkill from Ash’s current album, which they performed together.
It would have been a waste to bring them down from Derry for just one song.
Tim Wheeler then reminisced about getting a guitar on Christmas Day and the first song he learnt. He said he was now getting the best guitar lesson in the world, as the men who wrote it would be performing it with him.
That song, of course, was Teenage Kicks by The Undertones, which Ash signed off with.
This was a local gig for Ash, after that, the line-up took on a Swedish theme with Neneh Cherry followed by First Aid Kit.
I like some Neneh Cherry songs, so it would have been rude not to stay for her. It wasn’t a long set, but it was more than Seven Seconds (Sorry).
Incidentally, that wasn’t performed, not that unsurprising given the logistics involved in getting Yossou N’Dour over or getting someone to sing his parts.
We did get Manchild, which was her opening song.
We also had some new songs, as she apologised for having to read some lyrics off a sheet which she blamed on “Old age” (She’s only 54) but added that and advantage is that she is now known as “Big mamma” in her house.
She then announced that her final song would be “A jazz song”. Surely she wouldn’t do a set and not perform Buffalo Stance?
She did a bass and synth heavy reinterpretation of the song as we know it. It was superb. It was definitely better than Kayleigh’s version in Car Share.
I wasn’t really that fussed on First Aid Kit (though I do love My Silver Lining) so I decided to go for a bite to eat during their set.
Talking of which, I do understand economics and cashing in when there’s a market, but some of the prices being charged for food and drink (I can’t comment on the bar, i’m talking about the food vans) were scandalous and taking the piss.
It was made worse that there was no readmission so people couldn’t pop over to The Odyssey or to a cafe beside Spar for a bite to eat. People were stuck where they were, and got exploited as a result.
So, fed and rested (and ripped off) I was now ready for Franz Ferdinand. You can see photos of Neneh Cherry here.
Ash Photo Album
Ash live at The Empire 2015