THE FRIDAY FIVE – 14.9.2018

1. Kyle Falconer – Kelly
2. Richard Ashcroft – Surprised By The Joy
3. Ash – Confessions In The Pool
4. Hozier – Nina Cried Power
5. Gorillaz – Tranz

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MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MELODY MAKER – 13.9.2000

The Dum Dums are this week’s cover stars, declaring themselves as the voice of a generation. One of them has “4 Real?” painted on his body, as a tribute to Richey Edwards.

In news, Graham Coxon declares he has no problem with a Blur Greatest Hits album, while being non committal on new material by the band.

Limp Bizkit won at the MTV VMAs amidst chaos being created by Tim C from Rage Against The Machine.

Meanwhile, Stereophonics are discussing the details of their new album JEEP, due out in early 2001.

The Dum Dums get four pages of coverage, dismissing Green Day as old men.

It’s the Sexiest People In Rock Poll, with Hillary Woods from JJ72 and Kelly Jones from Stereophonics winning.

Dave Grohl didn’t get onto the Sexiest List, but he did get a three page interview.

In reviews, Melody Maker paid visits to see Limp Bizkit and Travis in concert.

In Singles Reviews, Maxim from The Prodigy gives his Single Of The Week Award to Smashing Pumpkins.

Shirley Manson is the subject of a Q and A, revealing that she was indecisive about getting on board an alien spaceship.

THE KOOKS – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 3.9.2018

A new album released on the previous Friday, The Kooks rolled into Belfast on Monday for what is billed as a series of small concerts to promote the album, making the two and a half hour trip from Stradbally, where they had played the previous evening.

Unsurprisingly, the setlist was filled with songs from their new album Let’s Go Sunshine, which sounded decent.

Of course, we also got hits, the crowd singing along to the apt intro of “At my show on Monday ….” to She Moves In Her Own Way, with this concert taking place on a Monday. This was my third Kooks concert, taking place on a Sunday, Saturday and Monday. I need four more days to get a full week of The Kooks.

I would have had Tuesday if I went to see them at Belsonic last year when they supported Arcade Fire, but I couldn’t justify the expense only going to see the support act.

This was their first headline gig in Belfast since 2015, with their proposed concert at Feile in 2016 being postponed due to injury.

No injuries tonight, everybody was on top form.

When they performed their more disco-ey songs, Luke removed his guitar so that he could dance while singing. Things were getting serious.

He didn’t quite have the dad dancing of Tim Booth, Tim Burgess, Alex Kapranos or James Dean Bradfield, but he did score high for having more buttons out than in.

The most curious moment of the night came when an audience member handed Luke Pritchard a Sven Goran Eriksson mask, much to his bemusement.

How very 2006.

As they played songs from their first album, Luke remarked that it was like a 2006 Indie Disco. I’ll take his word for it, not that I attended many Indie Discos in 2006.

The encore began with new song No Pressure, before introducing the final song as a song that needs no introduction, by simply saying “You’ll know what song is next”.

You’d be, um, naive not to work out that it wasn’t Naive.

The only downside was that lead singles from their 2008 album Konk, Always Where I Need To Be and Shine On weren’t played, but it was still an enjoyable evening.

The day after, some exciting concert news for The Limelight.

Blossoms announced that they would be coming in November. Unfortunately for me, i’ll be in Manchester that night. Gutted by that. Hoping for something minor but enough to cancel the gig then I can go to the rearranged one.

Ash announced a gig for mid December, The Ash Christmas Bash, if you will, like in 2015.

I got Kyle Falconer’s solo album this week. It’s decent. He’s playing The Foundry later this month. Tempted to go along to that.

Photo Album

The Kooks live at Mandela Hall 2015

The Kooks live at Albert Hall Manchester 2016

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SMASH HITS – 17.7.1996

Just gone solo from Take That, Robbie Williams is the cover star of this week’d edition of Smash Hits, declaring that he is going to be the biggest star in the world.

Smash Hits takes it to the British public to see who is their favourite between Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow, with Gary edging 6-4.

But you had the chance to make your voice heard, with a phone poll to vote for your favourite.

By now, there is an Oasis column, giving you all the news from Planet Gallagher.

Smash Hits was granted an audience with Glenn from Glenn and Chris, who had a hit with Diamond Lights. By 1996, he was the manager of the England football team, and gives Smash Hits his opinions on the best young English players there is.

One of the players mentioned was Jamie Redknapp, and his future wife Louise had a party to celebrate the release of her debut album, attended by David Baddiel and Ant from Ant and Dec.

In rivalries news, Crush (featuring Donna Air) have gone to war with Shampoo.

This is followed by a dodgy interview. Nothing wrong with the content, it was an interview with the band Dodgy.

Smash Hits treats us to a double page feature on ads we’d love to see, featuring tour favourite pop stars.

Toni Braxton is interviewed, revealing that she doesn’t drink because she got sick the last time she drank.

In part four of a five part series of interviews with Boyzone, this week, it is Stephen Gately.

In song lyrics posters, there was one for Born Slippy by Underworld. It wasn’t all shouting “Lager Lager Lager”

In bandwatch, Smash Hits keeps us up to date with your favourite bands such as Oasis, Pulp and Boyzone.

Oasis are currently resting ahead of Knebworth and Loch Lomond gigs

Boyzone’s website is reviewed, described as “Not the best to look at, and it could be faster”

There is a full page profile of Dogstar, Keanu Reeves band, described as looking like Let Loose.

In reviews, Shampoo are awarded Best Album.

Talking of Shampoo, they take questions from a biscuit tin, revealing that Crush’s new single is the worst song they heard on the radio that week.

Linford Christie is interviewed ahead of the Olympics, revealing that he isn’t related to Agatha Christie.

TRAVIS – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 22.8.2018

Waking up on Wednesday morning to the sound of rain, it looked ominous. Of course, with Travis coming to town, it was always going to piss down, possibly because Francis Healy lied when he was 17.

Thankfully, by the time the band took to the stage at Custom House Square, it was now dry, and stayed that way.

This concert was part of a tour where Travis play their 1999 album The Man Who in full. I’m not sure why. 19 years isn’t a milestone anniversary that is usually commemorated.

I’m not a fan of these playing albums in full tours. The only album that should be played in full on a tour is a Greatest Hits album.

I’d been to one of these types of concerts, when Ocean Colour Scene toured Moseley Shoals, so I knew what the deal was. They perform the album, and then do the hits.

Though, most of Travis big hits appear on The Man Who – Writing To Reach You, Driftwood, Turn and Why Does It Always Rain On Me?

Surprisingly, when they played Why Does It Always Rain On Me?, it didn’t rain, a song described by Fran Healy as about going on holiday to escape the rain in Scotland, only to find more rain in his new location.

Thankfully, it wasn’t windy either, due to Healy wearing a kilt, meaning that Angus Young isn’t the only Scottish musician who can confidently expose bare legs on stage, as Francis Healy is now morphing into Francis Rossi by having a manbun these days.

His partner in crime, Dougie Payne, brother of Max, was dressed in shirt and tie.

This was my first time seeing Travis, though it should have been my second. I won a ticket for T In The Park in 2002. Travis were due to perform, but had to pull out due to Neil Primrose suffering injury on holiday. While waiting for a band to appear on a stage, BBC Scotland arranged for the audience to record a get well soon message.

The Man Who was a soundtrack to my late teens, though really, for me, it was a stop-gap until the forth Oasis album. Travis were everywhere back then.

They continued to bring out brilliant tunes, but by 2003, people stopped buying their records.

Healy told the crowd about a concert in Belfast while touring The Man Who first time around, saying it took place in “A classical building”.

Half the crowd shouted “Ulster Hall” while the other half shouted “Waterfront Hall”. Research on the internet suggests they played Waterfront Hall on Sunday 12th December 1999.

At that gig, somebody threw a pair of knickers at him, which he threw to the side of the stage, hitting and distracting their sound mixer.

Of those songs that people (idiots) no longer buy, was My Eyes, released in 2007 but written in 2006 on the day he found out he was going to be a dad, adding that his son is now addicted to Fortnite, whatever that means.

Apparantly, it’s a video game. The last video game I played was on the Sega Mega Drive.

Fans were treated to hits such as Love Will Come Though, Side (their best song, should have been the lead single from The Invisible Band), Closer, Flowers In The Window and Sing.

Fittingly, for the encore of a concert celebrating an album released in 1999, they signed off with the biggest song of 1999. It wasn’t one of theirs, it was a cover of Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, as Healy declared “See you soon”, teasing at a quick return to Belfast.

Photo Album

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.

Photo Album

Turin Brakes live at Fopp Covent Garden January 2018

KASABIAN – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 20.8.2018 (CHSQ)

There is always some sort of wait for a concert. For Kasabian fans in Belfast, they had to wait a little bit longer for this one, taking place 363 days later than it should have, having been cancelled due to illness with fans in the venue in August last year.

Nearly a year on, fans returned to Custom House Square, except for the three that died waiting.

Waking up on Monday morning to rain, the weather picked up where it left off from that night in August 2017. Thankfully, it got better, drying up during the day, though there was drizzle at the start of Kasabian’s set before getting worse by 10pm, necessitating the need for me to use the poncho in my pocket, which some kind concert neighbours helped me put on. See, not all Belfast people are arseholes.

Yep, another outdoor Belfast concert infested with scummy tramps. You know what i’m referring to.

Last August, Blossoms were the support act. With a new album and doing the festival circuit this Summer, it wasn’t unreasonable to hope they would make a return to Belfast, but it wasn’t to be.

Blossoms have a tour announced for later this year but no Belfast gig, so fingers crossed that means they’ll be doing a festival here in Summer 2019.

The support act for this concert was a band called DMAs, who were decent even though they looked like the world’s shittest football hooligan firm.

Kasabian entered the stage and went straight into blasting out their hits, leaving very little time for interaction with the crowd – Club Foot, Ill Ray, Underdog, Shoot The Runner, Days Are Forgotten, Eez-Eh and You’re In Love With A Psycho all delighting the crowd.

One man in front of me was enjoying himself so much, he was jumping up an down as if Madness were playing a ninety minute version of One Step Beyond.

Eventually, the band made reference to the cancelled concert last year, with Tom saying “Sorry, I was ill” and the band dedicated LSF to the fans who came back the second time.

Serge then turned his attention to residents in nearby apartments, asking one person to get him a packet of crisps, which he did, a packet of Space Raiders, since you ask. Tom then asked if he could move in with him.

By the time we got to the encore, the band ended with Fire. They were on fire. It was worth the wait.

Photo Album

Kasabian live at The Odyssey December 2014

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