THE FRIDAY FIVE – 22.11.2019

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Wandering Star
2. Bloxx – Go Out With You
3. Chvrches – Death Stranding
4. Blossoms – The Keeper
5. Rews – Birdsong

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 15.11.2019

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Wandering Star
2. Chvrches – Death Stranding
3. Rick Astley – Every One Of Us
4. Haim – Now I’m In It
5. Alexandr – Stay

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SELECT – MAY 1992

Bono is the cover star of this edition of Select, an edition which goes on tour with U2.

In news, 1992 is going to be a busy year for Madonna, as she will release an erotic book, a new album, and star in a film.

Select spends eight days with Paul Heaton of The Beautiful South, a period which covers an Irish Awards Ceremony, and a trip to Italy to see Juventus, where his taxi driver helped him buy a ticket from a tout for “a reasonable price”

Boo Radleys get a double page feature, which reveals that Tim Brown, their Bassist, lives in Stuart Sutcliffe (original Bassist in The Beatles) old house.

Therapy?, The Sugarcubes, Lou Reed, Soundgarden and Ride get concert reviews in this edition.

Carter USM hold a press conference to address the state of the nation, and aren’t particularly complimentary to Lush or Ride.

Cover stars U2 get six pages as Select joins them on tour in America.

That is followed by four pages of The Cure, after they have launched a comeback.

In reviews, Jesus and Mary Chain have a new album out, which gets awarded five out of five, while Lightning Seeds new album gets two out of five.

OMD – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 23.10.2019

“This first song was from 1980, and this last song was from 2017” said Andy McCluskey two songs in, before adding “And the rest will be from inbetween”, stating the obvious, considering that it was a 40th Anniversary Greatest Hits Tour.

1991, then 2009 (supporting Simple Minds), then 2017, and now 2019. Thankfully, the gap between their appearances in Belfast seem to be getting shorter. In fact it was one day short of two years since they were last in Belfast, at Mandela Hall.

It was back in 1996, when channel hopping and coming across the video for Walking On The Milky Way on VH1 (Because all the cool kids watch VH1), I always remembered how such a great song it was.

Then I knew Enola Gay. I liked two songs.

Then a few years later, I couldn’t sleep, and was watching some 80s videos on one of the music channels, and they played Souvenir.

So that was three songs I now knew and liked.

Later, when I joined the Music Library at Belfast Central Library, one of the first albums I took out was the 1998 compilation album The OMD Singles, and found I quite liked them.

It was a long wait for them to come to Belfast, though thankfully not long for them to return.

Pishing down with rain when I walked to the venue, I soon discovered there were no Cloakroom facilities at the venue, so I faced a choice.

The raincoat I was wearing came from Decathlon, and is more for sailing, Sailing On The Seven Seas, you could say. It is absolutely roasting and the venue was roasting. Do I continue to wear it and be roasted squared?

Or do I tie it around my waist and look like a dick?

If you care, I went for the looking like a dick option.

The heat was referenced by McCluskey during the set, asking who had been at Mandela Hall in 2017, and commenting that it was just as hot.

Pointless fact about Andy McCluskey. His real name is George but he prefers to be called Andrew. That must have been really awkward if he was ever hanging out with Wham.

I’m not really a fan of Ulster Hall, but I saw Chvrches there earlier this year and it was fantastic, so it might not be dreadful for this genre of music.

As in 2017, McCluskey was taking Dad Dancing to a new level, and I’ve seen Tim Booth and James Dean Bradfield dance. The key, he said, was to dance like nobody is watching.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he holds Dancercise classes at Birkenhead Community Centre on a Tueaday night. He was working up such a sweat, that his black shirt was an even darker shade of black.

He even managed to display a sense of humour, telling people not to nip off to the toilet during a new song as it was actually quite good. When introducing a song he described it as a new song, before adding “From 1991”.

Just as people were expecting Sailing On The Seven Seas, opening up a Pandora’s Box by playing, um, Pandora’s Box.

Most of the big hits played usually resulted in hand clapping and fist pumping from the audience.

Hits such as Tesla Girls, getting a Yes Yes Yes from the audience as soon as the synthesised “No No No” intro was heard.

Other hits included Enola Gay, Sailing On The Seven Seas, Electricity, Messages, Joan Of Arc, Maid Of Orleans, Locomotion and So In Love.

Paul Humphries was even allowed out to sing Forever Live And Die, thankfully not being hit in the face by a bra thrown from the crowd as he was in 2017. Andy said he was jealous of the applause he got from the crowd, allowing him to sing another song, Souvenir.

The only downside was that my three favourite OMD songs, Walking On The Milky Way and If You Leave weren’t played, but I can live with that, considering how many of their big hits.

As they left the stage, Paul Humphries said “See you soon”.

You could read that as a quick return to Belfast to meet up with A-Ha next week, who they toured with in 2018.

Or maybe not, though that would be nice. Whenever it is, i’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Photo Album

OMD live at Mandela Hall 2017

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB – LIVE AT THE TELEGRAPH BUILDING 16.10.2019

“It’s nice to see you Belfast” said Alex Trimble at the end of the first song, but didn’t add “To see you, nice!!!”. That would have been too cheesy, even for a man dressed as a 60s Crooner.

Sipping wine, on a Wednesday night, while wearing a turtleneck jumper and a purple suit, Trimble was very Bangor. Ballyholme behaviour.

This was a rare Belfast concert for the band, which they acknowledged during chatter between songs. In fact, you’ve had to go elsewhere in Northern Ireland to see them.

In 2017, you would have had to go to Portstewart to see them perform at the Irish Open. Their only concert in Northern Ireland that year, and it was for a bunch of Golf Dicks.

Earlier this year, they were part of the line-up for Ward Park 3 in their native Bangor.

In terms of Belfast, their previous appearance was in 2016 at The Limelight, in a concert billed as Tudor Cinema Club, a tribute to Two Door Cinema Club. They fooled nobody.

I wasn’t at it, not because I was fooled, but because I was already booked for Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott at Ulster Hall.

Before that, you have to go back to Belsonic in 2012, back when it was held at Custom House Square. That completed a quick rise for the band. A few years earlier, they were playing at Belsonic in late afternoon/teatime and being in small case on the concert poster, now they were headlining it.

For some reason, this concert appeared in the listings in the programme for the Belfast International Arts Festival. Nothing in the promo beforehand suggested it was part of the event, but rather, part of the band’s tour for their current album, False Alarm.

This concert took place in The Telegraph Building, a new venue for me, and a relatively new venue for Belfast.

As the name suggests, it is the building where the Belfast Telegraph was based before they moved to Clarendon.

The room where this concert was where the printing press was, the room where reports of Linfield trophy wins were printed.

This was my first time here. I’d hoped to park near to it but couldn’t find a space. After working my way around one way streets and a tour of Belfast City Centre, I settled on parking at Castle Court and walking the rest. I think I might just walk it for any concerts there in future.

On the day of the concert, I received an e-mail from Ticketmaster advising me to wrap up warm as it was a venue with no temperature. How wrong it was, it was roasting.

Described in that e-mail as “A pop up warehouse venue”, it had a screen where you could watch the gig from the bar if you were that way inclined.

As said earlier, this was my first concert at The Telegraph Building, but it might be my only one as plans are in place to turn it into an office building, but no actual date for that is known.

The reason why this gig was taking place in Royal Avenue was that The Limelight was unavailable due to Hot Chip already being booked to appear there.

The band walked on to the stage to the sound of Talk, the lead single from their current album, the drum based intro setting the scene perfectly for Trimble to strut onto the stage.

They ran through their hits, songs such as Talk, Undercover Martyn, Are We Ready?, Bad Decisions, Changing Of The Seasons and What You Know.

While performing Bad Decisions, Trimble channelled his Inner Prince. Well, he was wearing a purple suit.

The band expressed their excitement at playing at another new venue in Belfast, having played, in their words “Every pub, club and house party” in the city in their early days.

The band left the stage, and that was at. There was no encore. Or as we should say given the location, no late edition.

There was some mixed news in terms of concert announcements.

Kaiser Chiefs announced that their tour, with Razorlight as support act, will now hit Dublin but not have a Belfast date, while Blossoms announced they will be coming to Belfast in March.

I’ve already got a ticket for Blossoms, making it my first confirmed concert of 2020. How very exciting.

But back to 2019, and the second of three concerts in a busy October have been ticked off. Up next, OMD.

Photo Album

Two Door Cinema Club live at Custom House Square 2012

THE DIVINE COMEDY – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 7.10.2019

A busy month of concerts for me saw The Divine Comedy (Two Door Cinema Club and OMD to follow in the coming weeks) take to the stage at Ulster Hall, my first concert in four months, if you don’t include Edwyn Collins instore appearance at Strange Victory last month.

That concert by Edwyn Collins has raised the bar though, now i’m expecting tea and cake at every show I go to.

I was tempted, two days before this, to go and see John Power in Warrenpoint. If Linfield were away to Warrenpoint on Saturday, that would have sealed the deal. If I did end up doing a Football/Concert double header, I would have seen seven goals and got drenched. I sat at home and stayed dry.

Death, Taxes, Cast at The Limelight. But maybe not this year.

You were spoilt for choice on this particular evening. You had Keane (who I haven’t seen and would have love to have went, but I had my ticket for this before Keane were announced) at Waterfront Hall or you could have had Little Mix at The Odyssey if you wanted.

I wasn’t really that fussed on Little Mix, so were The Divine Comedy worth missing Keane for? Well, you’ll have to read on.

I’m just grateful that anybody is playing in Belfast these days. The last few months have seen Simple Minds, Pet Shop Boys, Stereophonics, Blossoms and Liam Gallagher all announce tours with no Belfast gig. Flip sake.

Support came from a band called Man and the Echo, who sound like Echo and the Bunnymen backwardsand featured a Keyboardist who fancied himself as Ron Mael, were decent, with a few toetapping tunes

The Divine Comedy are touring their latest album, called Office Politics, a concept album about life in an office.

The stage was set up like and office, with and in door and an out door.

Annoying they didn’t walk in through the out door, as a sort of tribute to Prince.

Neil Hannon, the impish little frontman appeared on stage and you couldn’t miss him, wearing a suit with images of a Test Card and wearing sunglasses indoors ……… in October.

And yet, he still managed to not look like Colin Hunt from The Fast Show.

It was an outfit that Hannon would decribed as “Hot”, stating that nobody told him how hot it would be.

This current album didn’t get an instore appearance at HMV in Belfast to support it like the last album, the people of Manchester had that honour. So, this would be the first the people would get to hear it.

This album made up most of the playlist, with Hannon stating that he is at a disadvantage in terms of research, as he doesn’t work in an office in his day job as a Pop Star, with his business being that of Show.

Part of this show was theatrical with a clock in the background being manually adjusted to take us on a journey through the working day. This work was done by a Roadie called Alistair, who got some sympathy from the crowd during the band’s last Ulster Hall gig after Hannon told him off.

The lights went down, and by the time they went back up, the band were wearing party hats, holding a balloon, as it was time for the Office Christmas Party.

And what song would kick off this party? Something For The Weekend, of course.

Hannon then disappeared into the pit between Stage and Floor, he was engaging in a “Watercooler moment”, although not many would have been able to see it. He then went on to make fun of people who work in HR. Less of that please.

As Hannon prepared inbetween songs, there would always be someone shouting “Play My Lovely Horse”. He was rather polite in his rejection of any such request, even though the temptation would have been to shout “Feck off”.

There would be at least one Father Ted song on the setlist, Songs Of Love, an instrumental version of which was the theme to the show.

For the encore, we were treated to a stripped back version of National Express. It worked, surprisingly so when you consider how big and loud the song is.

I wonder if they fancy doing some overtime?

Photo Album

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall 2017

The Divine Comedy live at Custom House Square 2017

The Divine Comedy live at HMV Belfast 2016