LIAM GALLAGHER – LIVE AT ORMEAU PARK (BELSONIC) 16.6.2018

Before he was that guy on Twitter who calls people a potato, Liam Gallagher was once a rock star. He was quite good at it. He still is.

His magical powers aren’t just for belting out a tune, he can influence the weather.

On lunchtime of the day of this concert, Belfast was covered in a monsoon of rain. Liam turns to Twitter and tells the rain to fuck off, which it does for the rest of this day, meaning there was no need to bring a raincoat to this.

There were plenty of raincoats in the crowd through, of the Stone Island variety. Accompanied by sky blue bucket hats, charity shop sunglasses and a pack of fags to make themselves look really hard. Harry Enfield really nailed the Gallagher Fanboys back in the day. Still as funny now as it was in the 90s.

The crowd assembled, nicely warmed up by Richard Ashcroft and ready to be entertained. Or at least, make it worth missing Croatia v Nigeria for.

Big shout out to the group who shouted “MON THE LINFIELD!!!!” as I walked past them to get my spot.

Changing spots was unfortunately something I was doing quite a lot. Mainly due to the fact the venue was infested by smelly tramps. Literally surrounded by them. Puff puff vape vape. Dirty fucking tramps.

The thing about Liam Gallagher is, when you get a decent view of him on stage, you’ve got a decent view of him for the whole concert. He doesn’t really move about. He’s not going to stride about from side to side like Freddie Mercury.

He stands on stage and sings. That’s what you’ve paid for, and that is what you’re getting.

A chant of “Championes, Championes” blasted out on the PA, never had Liam down as a Crusaders fan, signified his impending arrival on stage. The screen on stage showed a video of him backstage as he walked on, pointing right into the camera.

He arrive on stage and went straight into Rock n Roll Star, a statement of intent and then Morning Glory.

However, Liam has recent music as well, a solo album As Your Were. It’s quite decent, and all the biggies from it were played – Greedy Soul, Wall of Glass, Bold and For What It’s Worth, before bouncing back into Oasis classic, albeit less obvious ones such as Bring In On Down and Listen Up.

Liam Gallagher has the ability to be both predictable and unpredictable at the same time.

It’s always important to get a good mix. We were here to see Liam Gallagher who was once in Oasis, not Liam Gallagher from Oasis.

Back to solo hits, I’ve All I Need soon followed. It’s a song that has grown on me. Really grown.

I thought it was ok when I got the album, but with every listen (it’s currently on heavy rotation on Radio X) I love it.

He started the set with two era defining Oasis songs, and finished it with two more. Whatever, their first Top 5 hit which brought them to a bigger audience, followed by D’You Know What I Mean?, the first single from Be Here Now, both landmarks on his career.

This concert came a few days before another Gallagher landmark. June 20th was the 9th anniversary of the fifth and most recent time I have seen Oasis in concert. It is still my belief there will be a sixth time.

If there insn’t, i’m at peace with that, given both Gallaghers solo outputs.

As Liam walked off the stage, we awaited his return for the encore.

We didn’t get Liam, we got his drummer sneaking onto the stage under darkness, to belt out the opening beats from Supersonic. Another landmark, it was Oasis first single.

Oasis songs in the setlist weren’t to everyone’s liking, as Liam took aim at what he described as Keyboard Warriors who criticise him for playing too many Oasis songs (to be fair, he only has one solo album worth of material to work from. That will change in 2019 though)

It was a bit hypocritical of him, considering he had his own setlist criticism, complaining about the pre-gig setlist on the tannoy, especially the absence of I Am The Resurrection by Stone Roses.

It felt like there was a theme to the setlist, with the Oasis songs being landmarks. The next one was Some Might Say, their first UK Number 1. It sounds brilliant live but there is one problem. The “You know what some might say” backing vocals at the end don’t quite sound the same when sung by someone other than Noel Gallagher.

That was followed by Live Forever, their first UK Top 10 single, which he dedicated to Alex Higgins, and mimicked taking a Snooker shot.

Through all this encore, we were treated to a guest appearance from Bonehead, whose garden didn’t need looked after so he came out for his one gig a year.

As he ended his set, Gallagher told the crowd that going past various pubs when travelling to the venue had seen him licking his lips in anticipation, which is what his plans were, telling the crowd he was away for a Guinness.

He had earnt it.

Those plans, a bit further ahead, include a return to Belfast at some point in 2019.

Meanwhile, final details were announced that Mandela Hall will be closing next month. Don’t worry, i’m not going to write some arse-licking “You had to be there” obituary. Went to a few gigs there, and they were mostly decent.

Never again shall I walk like a Spaceman due to the sticky floors.

So, my Mandela Memories – Little Boots in 2009 (a week before I moved this blog to WordPress, meaning I can’t link to a write-up), Tegan and Sara in 2010, Marina and the Diamonds in 2010 and KT Tunstall in 2016.

I’ve also seen some men perform there too. Starsailor in 2003, when James Walsh triumphantly announced that Gary Jules had beaten The Darkness to Christmas Number 1, Ocean Colour Scene in 2010, The Kooks in 2015 and Echo and the Bunnymen in 2015.

The reason why Mandela Hall is closing is due to a redevelopment of the Students Union facility. To compensate for this, Elmwood Hall, next door, will now be used.

I’m hoping to go to a concert there sometime, same with The Telegraph Building. Just need a band I like to perform there.

My last concert there was OMD in October 2017. Not going to lie, it was one of the best concerts i’ve ever been to.

Not a bad way to go out.

Photo Album

Liam Gallagher live at The Odyssey October 2017

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RICHARD ASHCROFT- LIVE AT ORMEAU PARK (BELSONIC) 16.6.2018

This year marks ten years since the first Belsonic. In those ten years, it has expanded, moved venue, changed month and then changed venue again.

When it started, it was mid August in Custom House Square. Now it is mid June in Ormeau Park.

Walking towards the venue, there were boardings put up to cut off the venue for the concert from the rest of the park. It looked rather drab. I couldn’t help but think that a mural featuring those acts who have performed at Belsonic over the past decade would have brightened up the venue.

Due to the wide nature of acts peforming, it is impossible for someone to be a fan of every act. Just the one Belsonic concert for me this year, as Richard Ashcroft would be to support Liam Gallagher, just as he did the previous night at Malahide Castle in Dublin.

The two of them will already be used to each other, having toured North America together in May.

For Richard Ashcroft, it would be a long awaited return to Belfast. The most recent gig as a solo artist (The Verve did play The Odyssey) that I am aware of is him supporting Coldplay at The Odyssey in 2005.

Upon arrival in Belfast, Ashcroft went exploring the city. I was hoping he might re-enact the Bittersweet Symphony video in the City Centre, just to send out a message to the slow walkers and footpath blockers.

He didn’t venture too far from Ormeau Park, heading to 16 Burren Way in Cregagh. If you don’t know, that’s the childhood home of George Best, and boasted to the crowd that he did a few keepy-uppies outside it.

As he entered the stage, he dedicated his performance to George Best, even having a mannequin with the Northern Ireland shirt as a stage prop, the shirt printing of ASHCROFT 11 being clear for all to see.

I’ve been a fan of Richard Ashcroft for a long time, especially loving Urban Hymns by The Verve and his debut solo album Alone With Everybody.

Disappointingly, none of the big singles from his debut solo album were played, such as Song For The Lovers, I Get My Beat, Money To Burn and C’mon People.

Ashcroft was delayed getting on stage by about fifteen minutes. Thankfully, due to the delays in getting in.

Security searches getting in were segregated by gender. The breakdown of the crowd was overwhelmingly male. It was obvious this would be the case.

However, staffing did not reflect this. While men were made to wait in slow moving queues, women were able to get in quicker.

If you were a woman or part of a group of women attending with a man or group of men, you were having to loiter about and wait for your friend(s) to get through.

Surely, getting info from sales from Ticketmaster could have helped them prepare better.

The same complaint would apply if it was an act appearing who would attract a majority female audience at their concerts.

Going through security, I had a bar of chocolate confiscated. Yes, really.

Cigarettes and vapes are fine, but a bar of chocolate is not allowed. What sort of fucked-up society are we living in?

There were times when you could barely breathe due to the fumes, but apparently someone having a bar of chocolate is more of a health and safety concern?

The Eventsec goon who confiscated my chocolate didn’t look when chucking it in a bag, and it hit the top of the bag and didn’t go in. I took back what was mine when he was searching people after me. Up yours Eventsec.

As hinted, this was another outdoor event in Belfast infested with fucking tramps that can’t go a few hours without a smoke. Literally surrounded by them.

Am I the only person who sees this?

As a society, we seem to just scratch our arses when it comes to the matter.

I know I keep mentioning it, but i’m going to keep mentioning it until it gets tackled and addressed.

Belfast City Council could take the lead on the matter and make smoke free venues a clause when granting licences for events.

If the Organisers can instruct Eventsec to confiscate chocolate from people, they can get Eventsec to confiscate cigarettes and vapes. Put it on the posters and tickets so everybody knows.

If somebody complains, fuck em, They can fuck off and go elsewhere. Society is moving on, and we don’t need tramps like that infesting outdoor events.

The important thing is, nobody was able to bring any chocolate into the venue.

Back to Ashcroft, and unsurprisingly, we was belting out a lot of The Verve’s hits – Sonnet (shamefully low chart position) and Lucky Man, which he dedicated to Kate, who I presume is Kate Radley from Spiritualized, his wife.

The Drugs Don’t Work, The Verve’s only Number 1, is a bloody awful song. He performed it, but solo acoustically, and it wasn’t that bad, to be fair.

Ashcroft, then went into a Yer Da type rant about how music was better in the old days, while revealing that he doesn’t do “Banter” with the crowd because he can’t hear them due to an earpiece.

He was pumped up, throwing his microphone down during one song, and by the end of the show, having half of his shirt unbuttoned, and pulling a muscleman pose similar to Mario Balotelli when he scored against Germany in Euro 2012.

We also got some solo hits, such as the fantastic Break The Night With Colour, before he ended on Bittersweet Symphony, before announcing that he will be returning to Belfast before the end of the year, but left us all in suspense by not saying where or when.

Looking forward to it.

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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

NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 9.5.2018

After spending most of 2018 touring to promote his third solo album Who Built The Moon?, Noel Gallagher headed into Belfast, a city that he has a lot of history with.

Of course, he was at The Limelight (with 250,000 others) on the night Definitely Maybe went to number one, he has also been here on the weeks of previous album releases both solo and as a member of Oasis.

This album had an even bigger link to Belfast, with part of it being recorded here.

Noel Gallagher spending time in Belfast and I didn’t see him once, yet somehow I always manage to walk past Uncle Andy from Give My Head Peace at least once a week.

Support came from Baxter Dury, who sings a lot like his dad. If that’s your scene, you will enjoy him.

I would have preferred it if Blossoms were supporting him, as they did when he toured Mainland Europe last month, having previously seen them supporting Paul Weller in 2015 and Kasabian (well, supposed to) in 2017, as well as a headline gig at The Limelight in early 2017.

No pressure on Noel, but I was missing Linfield v Glentoran for this. As Noel entered the stage, Linfield had just gone 2-0 up. Noel was well on the way to being my favourite Gallagher as I missed a County Antrim Shield defeat to Ards to see Liam in concert last November.

I had a quick check again two songs in and it was 2-2 en route to a 3-4 defeat. It was now Noel’s job to cheer me up rather than entertain me.

Unsurprisingly, he entered to the sound of Fort Knox, a great introductory song with an epic build up with a 1990 vibe. You could just imagine it being in the background as you hug Tony Wilson or Peter Hook in The Hacienda.

Noel was on vocals for the “Hey hey hey” bits which didn’t really work as well live as it did on the record.

This then led in to Holy Mountain, the lead single from Who Built The Moon?, a song that took a while to grow, best described as Roxy Music with flutes. Amazingly, it works.

Everybody in the venue was punching the air as Noel sang “She fell, she fell, right under my spell”, as is tradition when you reach the chorus of a Glam Rock stomper.

The opening songs were dominated by songs from Who Built The Moon? It has it’s moments, but it’s weird enough to scare off teenage parka wearing fuckwits who previously turned up at his concerts acting like shitebags, meaning that this was a more civilised affair.

One of those songs was It’s A Beautiful World, which was the opposite of Fort Knox, which sounds a lot better live than it does on record.

This block of solo hits also included stuff from previous albums such as In The Heat Of The Moment, Riverman, Ballad Of The Mighty I, IF I Had A Gun and Dream On.

Three albums in, he can fill out a set with solo material, Oasis classics are now the minority. The his now Noel properly solo, or Noelo, if you prepare.

Noel then spoke to the crowd asking “What about ye?” in a very authentic Belfast accent, asking what had happened since he was last here, answering himself with “Fuck all”, as someone threw a baseball hat at him, he took a look at it and kicked it away in disgust, before asking “Who the fuck walks around Belfast wearing a Los Angeles baseball hat?” before making another fashion based observation that judging by the way people were dressed, there were a lot of Oasis fans in the building.

That got a cheer, it was a nice link to a couple of Oasis classics, Little By Little (sounding far better than on record) and The Importance Of Being Idle before Love Is The Law, and underrated classic from Who Built The Moon?

Another stand out track from Who Built The Moon?, She Taught Me To Fly was next. Just before that song, he introduced his backing band, The High Flying Birds. The loudest cheer was for Charlotte Scissor Queen, as this was the song she plays scissors on. There were also familiar (Familiar to millions, you could say) faces in the form of former Oasai Gem Archer, Chris Sharrock and Mike Rowe.

It was then back to Oasis for some singalong classics, Half The World Away and Wonderwall, before signing off on AKA …. What a Life.

Onto the encore, and an Oasis classic not usually performed by Noel, as it was sung by Liam, Go Let It Out, with a slightly more Primal Scream-ey vibe and no Noel shouting “PICK UP THE BASS” between verses.

That was then followed by a stripped back Don’t Look Back In Anger, Noel as per usual just letting the audience do the singing.

The show ended with a cover of All You Need Is Love. Oasis did covers of I Am The Walrus and Helter Skelter as B-Sides and frequently talked about their love of The Beatles.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get the balloon drop that has happened at other concerts on the tour when he performs this song.

Want to feel old? Definitely Maybe is the mid point between now and The Beatles splitting up.

As he left the stage, he told the crowd “I’ll see you down the road”

Whatever could be mean?

Ormeau Park? Custom House Square? Titanic Slipways? Holywood Rugby Club?

Photo Album

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at Titanic Belfast 2016

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at The Odyssey 2015

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at Custom House Square 2012

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at The Odyssey 2012

FEEDER – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 22.3.2018

It seems that Thursday nights are all about the Welsh. The Thursday before this was Stereophonics. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Thursday after this I was seeing Shakin Stevens or Bonnie Tyler.

Feeder were back in Belfast eighteen months after their last visit, back at The Limelight as well, for a Best Of tour. Simple concept really, lots and lots of hits.

The reason for this is that they have a Greatest Hits album currently out, which reached the Top Ten of the Album Chart in late 2017.

Confusingly, a compilation album titled The Singles was released in 2006 and went Top Ten. It’s self explanatory really what is in that album.

If you were going to buy one Feeder compilation, i’d go with the 2006 one. The lead single from that was the superb and underrated Save Us, which was disappointingly not played.

For some reason, standalone singles released to promote a Greatest Hits album don’t get fondly remembered by fans of that act, but this genre has produced some brilliant songs such as Destiny Calling by James, You’re My Star by Stereophonics and Keeps Getting Better by Christina Aguilera.

This was a relatively late purchase for me. This concert fell during an International Week, and I held off in case Northern Ireland had an away trip I could do, or a home game on the Thursday night.

As the band appeared onstage, they jumped straight into Feeling A Moment, backed by lights that were going as furiously and frantically as the guitars.

For the first few songs, the sound appeared to be iffy. I’m no Technician, but it was clear that something wasn’t right. My suspicions were backed up by Grant Nicholas referencing this when speaking to the crowd.

He did say that he wanted to keep chat to a minimum, as the band were on a curfew and wanted to fit in as many songs as possible.

Again, his guitar didn’t work, but the day was saved by a Roadie called Flea providing him with another guitar.

I don’t think it was Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, due to the fact he had his shirt on.

Nearing the end of a long tour, Nicholas apologised for the relative chaos, stating that everything had gone fine so far.

During the rare speaking inbetween songs, Nicholas dedicated a song to Feeder drummer Jon Lee, who died in 2002. This concert was six days before what would have been his 50th birthday.

It was the man filling in Lee’s shoes, Geoff Holroyde, who provided the comedy moment of the night by prematurely starting a song while Grant Nicholas was drinking water. Nicholas told him to calm down. The crowd gave an impromptu rendition of Hey Mickey by Toni Basil to the drumbeat. Grant Nicholas even joined in.

The hits continued – Pushing The Senses, Lost and Found, High, Insomnia, Come Back Around, Just The Way I’m Feeling and Buck Rogers before an encore that included Seven Days In The Sun and Just A Day

Photo Album

Feeder live at The Limelight October 2016

STEREOPHONICS – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 15.3.2018

Stereophonics have been around for a bit, thanking their Belfast fans for 20 years of support, during a concert that was two days after the 19th anniversary of their first Number One album, Performance and Cocktails.

Regular visitors to Belfast, this was their first indoor concert in Belfast since November 2013, but they have played Belsonic twice since then.

What you get now is a Greatest Hits set. It’s been that way for at least ten years. Let’s face it, who goes to a concert to watch a band perform obscure B-Sides?

They began with more recent classics such as Cest La Vie, I Wanna Get Lost With You and Caught By The Wind.

Caught By The Wind being the standout single released from most recent album Scream Above The Sounds, alongside All In One Night.

Both singles giving off an atmospheric 80s Den Henley vibe.

Don’t be mocking Don Henley, he’s the acceptable face of singing drummers. If they were sounding like Phil Collins, that would be a different matter.

Four songs in, they returned to their debut album, which Jones noted had been released 20 years ago, playing More Life In A Tramp’s Vest.

While the song played, the large screen behind them a compilation of home videos from the band’s early days, with both Kelly and Richard Jones (no relation) both sporting long hairdos. The much missed Stuart Cable sported the same style throughout his time with the band.

During those days, they were known as Tragic Love Company. They had enough video editing skills in them days to write a caption on the screen. Thankfully, they changed their name, as there is only space for one band called TLC.

They then moved onto a song they wrote in San Francisco called Have A Nice Day, though it sounds like Kelly Jones sings “Have an ass day”. It can’t be unheard.

That was then followed by my favourite Stereophonics song, Superman, performed with all the groove and swagger you heard on record.

It was a different stage from previous Stereophonics concerts. Rather than your traditional rock n roll stage design, this stage extended in the middle across the floor, to where the halfway line on the Ice Hockey pitch would be.

You can tell i’m not an expert in stage design. If you went to see U2 in 2015 or Muse in 2016 at The Odyssey.

I was stood at the end of the stage, meaning I had a decent view when they were there, and a decent view when they were in the more traditional rock n roll stage position.

Stagehands snuck some decorations onto that area as the band moved up there. It was dressed as a lounge, similar to that in the video for Handbags and Gladrags, one of the songs that was performed during this section.

Oh yes, there were plenty of lava lamps.

As the band walked over to their new home, we were treated to an instrumental cover of Sweet Home Alabama.

One of the highlights of this section was an acoustic version of Pick A Part That’s New.

That was one of many songs from the first two albums that were played in succession such as Just Looking, Traffic, A Thousand Trees, The Bartender And The Thief

By now, we were at the encore, which included Local Boy In The Photograph.

It looked like they were going to go through a concert without playing Dakota, as Kelly began playing some wandering notes on his guitar, before slowly singing the words “Made me feel like the one, made me feel like the one”.

Everybody in the venue sang it back at him.

They then burst into the version we all know and love. A fantastic tune, their only Number One. It was a good way to sign off.

Photo Album

Stereophonics live at Titanic Belfast June 2016

Stereophonics live at Custom House Square August 2015

Stereophonics live at The Odyssey November 2013

Stereophonics live at Waterfront Hall March 2013

Stereophonics live at Custom House Square August 2010

PAUL WELLER – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 15.2.2018

Earlier in the day, Paul Weller’s Social Media channels pointed out that it was exactly 41 years to the day since he signed his first record deal, as a member of The Jam.

Four decades and one year later, he is still strutting his stuff, and did so in Belfast, the city getting it’s turn after he had spent the previous three evenings performing in Dublin.

Support came from a band called Tights. No wait, it’s Touts. It’s just the accent. These Derry boys were so loud, they’d probably be banned by Sister Michael, though I doubt they’ll be getting booked to perform at any of Jennie Joyce’s house parties.

It seems as though Touts are the support band at every concert in Belfast, having supported Blossoms, Kasabian (Well, or so they thought until Kasabian pulled out at the last minute) and ASIWYFA in the past year.

If you like The Jam, The Strypes and/or The Undertones, this is the band for you.

A lot of support bands bore the life out of you, but not these guys. They were acting as if it was their own headline show.

The setlist was described by Weller as “Some old, and some new” a few songs in, as he introduced From The Floorboards Up, describing it as an old song, though considering it was released in 2005, it’s not as old as some of the other songs that made an appearance in this setlist.

Weller wasn’t slow in exploring all areas of his back catalogue, having a short section dedicated to The Style Council, playing Have You Ever had It Blue? and My Ever Changing Moods back to back. The latter brought about a very serious outbreak of Dad Dancing in the crowd.

We were treated to Weller showcasing his piano skills by playing his classic hit You Do Something To Me and Wo Se Mama, the standout track from his current album A Kind Revolution.

Naturally, he delved into The Jam’s hits, dedicating Eton Rifles to “Theresa May and her fucking mob” to loud cheers. For clarity, if it was needed, I don’t think it was a tribute.

The bigger solo hits also got an outing, songs such as Friday Street and Peacock Suit. I would have loved to have heard The Changingman, as it was the song that got me into Weller.

Back to The Jam, he played Start, where he was joined on stage by a young fan, who jammed with Steve Craddock, before Weller left the stage.

I know, he has a song called Start and plays it at the end.

Except, it wasn’t. After what seemed like an eternity, Weller returned to the stage to do an acoustic set.

It didn’t really work. It was a Thursday night and we were all in the mood for the weekend. If he was going to go acoustic, we wanted hits to sing along to.

We eventually got that in the shape of That’s Entertainment and Wild Wood.

He left the stage again and returned for a second encore, signing off with Town Called Malice.

I’d previously seen him at Waterfront Hall in November 2015, when he was a bit iffy and off form.

This was not the case at Ulster Hall.

Photo Album

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall November 2015