CULTURE NIGHT BELFAST 2018

It’s an annual tradition in Belfast, but it’s hard to believe that Culture Night has only been around since 2009, meaning that this year’s event was the milestone tenth Culture Night. I’ve been to eight of them, not a bad ratio.

Another tradition, that it linked to Culture Night, is the booking of a half day from work for me. This is due to the fact I want to arrive in the City Centre between 4pm and 5pm, but I don’t want to go straight from work as it makes what is already a long day even longer.

I made the most of my half day by heading to North Street and that general area to have a look at some Street Art which is in progress as part of Hit The North, which runs alongside Culture Night.

That Street Art, a few hours further on, was my first port of call when I arrived in the City Centre for Culture Night.

That was, when I eventually arrived in the City Centre, as I had to jump off the bus at Havelock House and walk the rest due to the volume of traffic trying to get into the City Centre. It defeats the purpose of Translink marketing their services as a way to get to and from Culture Night when they can’t even get you into the City Centre.

Shortly after getting off the bus, the rain started to fall. This was not a great start. Thankfully, it was the only bit of rain all evening, keeping up another tradition of it being dry on Culture Night.

Being an eight time veteran of Culture Night, I know where to go in terms of what to see, which was handy, with a section of Royal Avenue still closed off due to the fire at Primark last month.

In truth, these diversions didn’t really affect me as I wouldn’t usually be around Royal Avenue on Culture Night.

My time was spent mostly in the Cathedral Quarter, checking out Street Art and venturing into University of Ulster, before a trip to the Oh Yeah Centre, then back to St Anne’s Square for some wrestling. Yes, you read that right.

Pro Wrestling Ulster set up a wrestling ring in the middle of St Anne’s Square and hosted matches. I went to see the first one. I don’t really know the names, so here goes ….

There was a guy wearing a lion mask and a guy whose character was that of a baddie. He punched a child’s balloon for crying out loud.

There was a third wrestler in this three way bout, and he was the eventual winner.

I was very happy with the photos of the wrestling I got, certainly ore interesting than the football ones I usually take.

Although, you don’t usually see clotheslines, chokeslams or flying kicks hen you watch football, apart from when you watch Crusaders play.

After that, it was more wandering about, making sure to take in Culture Night traditions such as Street Coundown and a bit of Cabaret, performed by Britney Spears.

Disclaimer, it might not have actually been Britney Spears.

The streets were busy, but not packed, which made it a lot easier getting around.

If you care, according to my Activity Tracker, I covered 34.37km on Friday.

There is one aspect of Culture Night which cannot be left uncommented on.

Usual drill, as with any outdoor event , the City Centre absolutely stank of fags and vapes. It was rancid, you literally could not move for it.

Absolute scummy tramps. I’ll repeat that. Anybody who smokes in public is a scummy tramp.

Imagine waking up one day and deciding to take up smoking because it will make you look cool, make you look sexy, and that nobody will ever laugh at you behind your back.

I’ve got a bit of bad news for you folks, I don’t know how to break it to you.

At least I can hold my nose, cover my mouth and swerve to avoid people. A child in a pram doesn’t have that luxury. There were people bringing their children to this event, and they still haven’t got the most basic decency or courtesy to others.

And yet, Belfast City Council will wheel out a few celebs for promo video with a trendy hashtag such as #yourbelfast

Too fucking right it’s my city, i’d love to get an opportunity to enjoy it, instead of having to hold my nose and cover my mouth as a form of self protection every time I leave the house.

Going to an outdoor concert. Going to a football match. Eating outside on a nice day. Going to a beer garden. Walking through the city centre. Queuing for a bus.

Just some of the things you can’t do in Belfast without having cigarette smoke blown into your face.

This has to stop. A total ban is the only answer. Fuck em. We are dealing with people who have proven time and time again that they can’t be trusted to show consideration for others. Treat them with the same contempt they treat others.

Dogs aren’t allowed in beer gardens but smokers are. That’s the sign of a failed society. I know who i’d rather be in the company of.

If smokers faced the same level of vitriol as cyclists face, Belfast would be a far better city.

And yet, the fire at Primark is a handy excuse. Have you ever been to Belfast City Centre? It’s a truly grim experience.

Sandwich boards clogging up the footpaths, cigarette smoke and broken glass everywhere, getting pestered for bus tours and broadband.

No amount of selfies in a trendy Cathedral Quarter bar with somebody from Game Of Thrones will disguise the fact that Belfast City Centre is a rancid shithole.

If Culture Night is a showcase, what did the rancid smell on Friday say about the city?

Time to decide what type of Belfast you want to live in. Apathy will give you a shithole.

Let’s get that sorted for Culture Night 2019.

Photo Album

Culture Night Belfast 2017

Culture Night Belfast 2015

Culture Night Belfast 2014

Culture Night Belfast 2013

Culture Night Belfast 2012

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BELFAST PEACE WALL ART – SEPTEMBER 2018

As a new month has begun, the start of September meant that it was time for my every six month visit to the Peace Wall at Cupar Way to document the Street Art there.

To be honest, if somebody asked me for somewhere to go for Street Art in Belfast, there are a lot of other places I would suggest.

Somehow, it remains a popular destination, when I visited this morning, there were plenty of buses and taxis. And as tour buses and taxi specialise in Belfast, they just park where they bloody well like. Right opposite the murals, denying people space to work with if they want to get photos.

That defeats the whole point of taking people somewhere to take a photo if you’re going to block their view.

And it was in a bicycle lane.

If they must park on Cupar Way, surely it makes a lot more sense to park on the other side of the street, to give people more room to work with in order to get photos?

My last couple of visits have seen me get some photos but there was nothing worth blogging about. I saw some new pieces which is why this article is appearing.

If you don’t hear from me in March 2019, it will be safe to assume there was nothing worth blogging about.

Photo Album

Belfast Peace Wall Art July 2017

Belfast Peace Wall Art February 2017

Belfast Peace Wall Art August 2016

Belfast Peace Wall Art August 2015

TURIN BRAKES – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 22.8.2018 (CHSQ)

Can’t believe i’ve got cheap travel to go and see Cristiano Ronaldo play for Juventus. Oh, wait, i’ve already done that Turin Brakes joke when I saw them in January.

Not a Travel Agent that specialises in a city in Italy, Turin Brakes are a band, and a band I loved in my late teens, so when it was announced that they would be supporting Travis on tour this Summer, it was great that Belfast would be also included when it was announced they would be joining Travis at Custom House Square.

They were a perfect warm-up for Travis, nice wee chilled out tunes that you can tap your toes to, the band playing, in their words, under the influence of some Guinness in a pub opposite The Black Box, a venue they fondly remembered, playing hits such as Painkiller and Underdog.

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Turin Brakes live at Fopp Covent Garden January 2018

GEORGE EZRA – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE (CHSQ) 10.8.2018

No pressure on George here, but I was giving up not one, but two, football matches to be here – missing Linfield’s match against Institute as well as Man United being on TV.

At around 9.10pm, George entered the stage to the sound of Soul Bossa Nova by Quincy Jones, which you know better as the theme tune to Austin Powers, though you would hardly describe him as an International Man Of Mystery, his drummer banging out a thunderous drum beat and ventured close to In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins, the lighting went similarly thunderous as he took his place at the mic stand.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the cue for inclement weather as Belfast stayed dry, despite rain earlier in the day.

He jumped straight into Cassy O, a song which was my introduction to his music, and the same for a lot of people, as the crowd along “Cassy oh oh oh oh oh” at the chorus.

This might have been his third concert in Belfast, but his introduction to Northern Ireland on the other side of the Glenshane Pass, in Derry as part of Other Voices.

His two other concerts in Belfast, both at The Limelight, have represented milestones in his career.

In 2014, the performed there shortly after his debut album Wanted On Voyage had got to Number 1, though it is a concert that is yet to reach the mythical levels of Oasis at the same venue on the night Definitely Maybe did the same.

Fast forward two and a half years to May 2017, and he was back to preview songs from his second album in what was billed as the Top Secret Tour. This concert, the first of a series of outdoor concerts called CHSQ (abbreviation fans will note that this means Switzerland Squared) was anything but secret, selling out well in advance.

By the time Ezra took to the stage, Linfield were 2-0 up, so I could enjoy the concert without having to worry about the score, although I thought that when they went 2-0 up just as Noel Gallagher entered the stage at The Odyssey in May. Thankfully, there was no repeat of what happened that night.

From one Gallagher to another, entering this concert had similar problems to Liam Gallagher’s at Ormeau Park in June. There was an equal split amongst security staff when entering, but an unequal gender split in the make up of the crowd, which was largely female.

While men were able to quickly negotiate shorter queues for getting in, women were having to wait in larger queues (the reverse was the situation at the Liam Gallagher concert)

Not very convenient if you are attending as part of a mixed gender group, as you have to stand about and wait for the rest of your party to get searched.

Is it really to hard to collate information from ticket sales and staff accordingly?

Of those that were in the venue, it was infested with rancid hags. Everywhere you went, puff puff vape vape.

I know I mention this at every outdoor concert, but I will continue to mention it until it is addressed.

I am fed up of being held to ransom by inconsiderate arseholes. Why should I have to spend evenings holding my nose and covering my nose when watching my favourite acts?

Belfast likes to market itself as some sort of trendy and cosmopolitan place to visit. It’s not, it’s a rancid shithole. Outdoor concerts are just one of many things you can’t do in the city without having cigarette smoke blown into your face.

As said before, smoke free venues should be part of the licensing criteria for outdoor events. If Eventsec can be instructed to confiscate bars of chocolate, they can confiscate cigarettes and vapes.

Time for Belfast City Council to take some action and address this. Their apathy will give us a shithole of a city to live in.

Sadly, our Politicians are more interested in avoiding parking fees and complaining about the names of bus stops than tackling real issues that affect people.

You know i’m right on this matter. Smokers, feel free to justify your behaviour. You can’t, because you’re scummy tramps.

When he performed at The Limelight in 2017, Ezra was debuting material from his second album. Barring the single Don’t Matter Now, which had just been released, nobody really knew the new songs. By now, we were all familiar with them.

Rather than the usual “How are you INSERT NAME OF TOWN?” and “YOU GUYS ROCK!!!” between songs, Ezra told stories of the origins of the songs, how they came to be and what inspired them. There were some interesting stories.

A lot of his work has been inspired by visiting Barcelona, a song he performed. I shouldn’t really need to tell you that it’s not a Freddie Mercury/Montserrat Caballe cover.

Having visited Barcelona in 2011 and 2015, I can confirm it is an utterly brilliant city.

It wasn’t all fun, as he remarked that spending a month housesharing with a stanger might not have been his smartest idea.

It was the story of a visit to Sweden that produced the biggest cheer. A friend had put him in touch with three Swedish women to live with. The problem was, they love Eurovision and they were making him watch it for the first time. He wanted to have some alcohol while watching it, but the town he was in has an alcohol curfew, so he had to resort to purchasing some rum illegally on the black market, to the cheers of the crowd, with Ezra remarking “You’re better than that”.

Naturally, i’ve reported him to Rex Banner.

His storytelling usually involved accidentally revealing what song was next within two sentences, meaning there was no suspense in his stories.

He might have only two albums, but Ezra has a lot of hits, all of which were performed – Budapest, Blame It On Me, Barcelona, Budapest, Don’t Matter Now, Listen To The Man and Paradise.

As he left the stage, the crowd began singing Shotgun, a subtle hint for what they wanted during the encore, which he delivered.

As fans left the venue (which took an age, due to only one exit) we were treated to Public Address announcements which could be best described as Yer Da taking control of a microphone in a pub to do a stand-up routine. After a few pints. Every bit as horrific as it sounds.

Photo Album

George Ezra live at The Limelight May 2017

George Ezra live at The Limelight October 2014

BRUCE STREET ART

If you’ve been checking out Bankmore Square Street Art recently, you couldn’t have not noticed Street Art across the road on Bruce Street.

If you’re familiar with that part of Belfast, it is a construction site where there used to be a car park outside IBM. The building is now being used by the Civil Service.

I got some photos of it on the Wednesday evening, but decided to wait until things were quieter on the Sunday morning as there would be less cars blocking a photo.

So, I waited until Sunday morning to get some photos.

In the time inbetween, the story got covered by the BBC, revealing that the Contractor gave permission for the artwork.

There is still some blank spaces, so there may be an update to this blog in the near future.

You can find the BBC report here.

In other Street Art news, the murals at Bank Square I covered a few weeks ago are now gone, while London Evening Standard did a piece on Dreph, who operates in the city, and featured on this blog when I went to London in January.

You can find the London Evening Standard article here.

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FRANZ FERDINAND – LIVE AT TITANIC SLIPWAYS (BIGGEST WEEKEND) 26.5.2018

It had been a while, but Franz Ferdinand were back in Belfast, performing at Biggest Weekend at Titanic Slipways.

I had seen Franz Ferdinand before. It was a while ago, back in 2005 at Tennent’s Vital in Botanic Gardens along side Scissor Sisters.

Frustratingly, their short-lived but superb supergroup with Sparks, FFS, were playing Edinburgh when I was there in August 2015, but I was unable to see them. I went to see Aisling Bea instead.

The band entered the stage with Alex Kapranos wearing a suit with trainers. It would soon become apparent why.

Franz Ferdinand have a sound and they don’t deviate from it. It’s a great sound, that’s why.

They do guitar music you can dance to, or is it dance music you can play guitar to?

Either way, the crowd, myself included, was toetapping along as they performed their biggest hits.

Alex Kapranos was doing more than toetapping, doing all sorts of dancing, pirouetting, and even managing a few Peter Schmeichel-esque starjumps while playing guitar.

If anyone from Strictly was watching, sign him up.

They began with Always Ascending, the title track from their current album, before following it up with No You Girls.

Then followed Matinee, one of the two major hits from their debut album that made me fall in love with them back in 2004.

Back then, we was on BBC 2 telling Terry Wogan how he made.

Sadly, of course, Terry Wogan isn’t on BBC 2, or any channel these days, so the lyrics were changed to simply say “So i’m on BBC 2, telling Terry how i’ve made it”.

It could be Terry Christian?

That was then followed by Do You Want To?, the lead single from their second album You Could Have Had It So Much Better, which spawned other fantastic singles such as The Fallen and Eleanor Put your Boots On.

Saving the best, they finished on Take Me Out (like a few couples have. No likey, no lighty)

And that, was my Biggest Weekend over. I didn’t bother hanging around for Underworld.I was already danced out anyway.

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ASH – LIVE AT TITANIC SLIPWAYS (BIGGEST WEEKEND) 26.5.2018

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

BECK – LIVE AT TITANIC SLIPWAYS (BIGGEST WEEKEND 25.5.2018)

Beck Hansen, no relation to Alan Hansen but he does look like David Jensen, rolled in to Belfast last Friday to perform at Biggest Weekend.

I was primarily there on Friday to see Manic Street Preachers, but it would have been rude not to hang around for Beck.

I am partial to a bit of Beck, loving tunes such as Loser, Where It’s At, Devil’s Haircut, Sexx Laws and Blue Moon.

I wouldn’t be a die hard devotee, but if i’m listening to the radio and the Presenter says “and now, something new from Beck” i’m not going to change the channel because I know there’s a high chance it will be decent.

By the time he took the stage, the weather had improved, and had reverted back to the sunshine that was there earlier in the day.

Walking onto stage, he jumped straight into Devil’s Haircut, with it’s distinct guitar riff, before performing new favourite Up All Night.

He was giving off a funky Prince vibe throughout, even going so far as to do a solo acoustic cover of Raspberry Beret by Prince.

That wasn’t the only cover of the night, there were brief snippets of Good Times, Alternative Ulster, Good Times, Cars and Once In A Lifetime as he individually introduced each member of his band during Where It’s At.

Music fans in Dublin have received a bonus of this event in Dublin, with some acts sneaking in a Dublin concert around this Belfast date.

Beck was one of those, doing a Dublin concert two days before this, while The Breeders were able to slot in a previously postponed Dublin date around this.

If his Dublin concert was anything like this, it would have been a treat. Belfast certainly got a treat.

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MANIC STREET PREACHERS – LIVE AT TITANIC SLIPWAYS (BIGGEST WEEKEND) 25.5.2018

It’s not a Big Weekend, it’s the Biggest Weekend.

Not quite Radio 1’s Big Weekend, but an event primarily to fill the gap in the BBC’s schedules due to there being no Glastonbury this year, so the idea of Biggest Weekend was born.

It was a series of four concerts, one each in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales over two days over the May Bank Holiday Weekend. The days allocated for Northern Ireland would be Friday and Saturday.

Surprisingly, the Northern Ireland one was held in Belfast. I say surprisingly, because the main feature of Radio 1’s Big Weekend, was that it was held in towns or cities that don’t usually appear on tour schedules.

That was true of the other three venues – Coventry (England), Perth (Scotland) and Swansea (Wales)

Belfast was the choice for Northern Ireland, in Titanic Slipways in the East of the city.

This was a venue that had previous experience of hosting live music events, previously hosting Proms In The Park and Belsonic (in 2016).

I went to a couple of Belsonic gigs in 2016, and the big thing that stood out was that the stage was in a different location, facing the back of Titanic Centre rather than it’s back to the street outside.

Like in 2016, it was spatious. Very spatious, which made it easy for getting around on foot.

Each of the four concerts had a radio station leading it. For Belfast, it was 6 Music.

I wouldn’t be an avid listener to 6 Music, but when I do listen to it, they usually have decent tunes on it.

The line-up for this concert was varied. At £18 a ticket, even if you only saw one act, it would be worth it.

For me, there were two acts that stood out for me on the Friday, Manic Street Preachers and Beck.

Unsure of what time Manic Street Preachers would be on stage at, I booked a half-day off work, in case it was during my working hours.

As it turned out, when the set times were published on the Thursday, they would be scheduled for 6.20pm (they wre actually a few minutes late)

I could have went straight from work, but I made the most of the half-day, having a relaxing afternoon before arriving at the venue just before 5pm, to get a bite to eat before going to see The Manics.

It would be a performance without Nicky Wire, as news broke at lunchtime on Friday that he wouldn’t be onstage due to a family member being ill.

I didn’t catch the name of the stand-in, but he has nice legs according to James Dean Bradfield, talking inbetween songs, who apologised that he wouldn’t be wearing a leopardskin skirt like Nicky Wire.

One observation was that the venue had a lot of Wellends. I’m not sure why, he wasn’t performing, though it was the great man’s 60th birthday. I think they might have been there for Touts, who were performing on another stage in the venue.

Another observation was that the venue was infested with absolute fucking tramps. Puff puff vape vape everywhere you go. Standard for any outdoor event in Belfast sadly.

Anyone who smokes in a crowded public area is a dirty fucking tramp. There is no debate, it is a statement of fact. Belfast is infested with them.

Can we have just one outdoor event in Belfast that doesn’t stink of fags and vapes?

Eating outside on a nice day, going to a beer garden, going to a football match, going to an outdoor concert, walking down the street. Just some of the things you can’t do in Belfast without having to hold your nose and cover your mouth.

You can’t even queue for a bus for crying out loud.

A few years back, some people couldn’t even fly from Belfast to Glasgow because some fucking idiot couldn’t even go a short time without and lit up in the toilet, forcing the flight back to Belfast.

But yeah, i’m just a moany cunt and there’s not a serious social problem that needs to be addressed on a city and country wide basis.

Imagine being a smoker and thinking that you’re cool. Oh mate.

Mate. Mate mate mate. Oh mate. I really don’t know how to break it to you.

Cue the response that “Lots of cool people smoke, like Bill Hicks and David Bowie”.

They’re dead.

Watching the TV coverage, every crowd shot had a vape cloud in the background. Utterly embarrassing as a showcase for Belfast.

Can’t say i’ve ever walked past Primark and seen a milly in her pyjamas having a smoke and thought she is so cool.

We are the majority and our enjoyment of events is being held to ransom by dirty tramps.

I am absolutely fed up of having to hold my nose and cover my mouth every time I go to an outdoor concert. This needs addressed and addressed as soon as possible.

Eventually, James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore entered the stage, introduced by Stuart Maconie, jumping straight into International Blue, the lead single from their current album Resistance Is Futile (Yes, the most Manic Street Preachers sounding album title you could think of)

It was one of several new songs – Distant Colours, People Give In and Hold Me Like A Heaven that can stand up to any Manic Street Preachers classic.

Of course, the classics were played as well the first of those, Motorcycle Emptiness prompted and outburst of dad dancing from James Dean Bradfield. It was one of several dad dancing moments during the gig. It’s not a new thing from past experience.

I was a bit of a relative latecomer to The Manics, only really getting into them when they released Everything Must Go.

It was the follow-up to that album that provided the mainstay of classics, such as If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next and You Stole The Sun From My Heart from This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.

Sunny when I arrived at the venue, the weather had now got a bit dull. Manic Street Preachers, were anything but.

They ended on Design For Life, with Bradfield thanking everyone who attended, especially those who had seen them previously at The Limelight and Mandela Hall in the 1990s.

A good start to the music for me (there had been acts on stage from 1pm) with Beck to come. Orbital would be headlining the Friday night in Belfast, presumably because they have a song called Belfast.

Simple Minds were performing in Perth and had a hit called Belfast Child (As much as I like Simple Minds, that is an utter wank song) and sadly wouldn’t be coming to Belfast.

Manic Street Preachers more than made up for it.

To paraphrase Jim Kerr, they are still very much alive and kicking.

Photo Album

Manic Street Preachers live at Ulster Hall 2013

Manic Street Preachers live at Ulster 2009 Photo Album

BANKMORE SQUARE STREET ART

I usually walk this way a couple of times a week, but somehow I managed to miss this until I stumbled upon it by fluke.

As I headed home from work on Friday, I was halfway up the Dublin Road before I realised I had forgotten to head into The Limelight to get a ticket for Cast.

So, I did an about turn, and took a short cut along Bankmore Square, and spotted some Street Art on some boarding at a building site, running along Bankmore Square, opposite The Marcus Ward.

I made a note of it in my head, planning to return on Sunday morning to get some snaps.

It was a weekend for accidental discoveries.

On Saturday, I went to see David Hepworth at Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival on Saturday teatime. As a side note, Hepworth has blogged about his visit to belfast. You can find it here.

On my way home, I walked through the tunnel at Exchange Place and noticed something was missing, the mural of John Peel. It has now been painted over, though somebody has painted “John Peel Was Here”.

I don’t usually venture to that part of Belfast City Centre, so I can’t give any info as to why it was removed or when it was removed.

The original mural, picture taken in 2011, can be found here.

An image of what the wall looks like now can be found here.

If you’re enjoying this Bank Holiday Weekend, you’ll be glad that another one is only three weeks away. On the Monday of that weekend (28th May) has been confirmed as the date of Wardrobe Jam, a Street Art event at CS Lewis Square.

That was originally scheduled for early March but had to be postponed due to snow. Hopefully, we will avoid that fate in late May, but you never know.

Not a Street Art even, but an event that features Street Art, the date of Culture Night 2018 has been confirmed for Friday 21st September.

A half day of Annual Leave has already been booked.

Friz has been busy at work in Bank Square (not to be confused with Bankmore Square) so i’ll be heading out to check that out over the next few days.

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