THE FRIDAY FIVE – 22.12.2017

1. Manic Street Preachers – International Blue
2. Hurts – Ready To Go
3. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – If Love Is The Law
4. Amy MacDonald – This Christmas Day
5. Reigen – Dreams

Apologies for there being no Friday Five last week. I was in England and was busy and just couldn’t be bothered.

A few weeks back, Simple Minds and Pretenders have announced a joint tour with KT Tunstall as support. Yes please. No Belfast gig yet. If you’re reading this CHSQ or Belsonic, get on it.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s Christmas this weekend. So, here’s a Christmas chart to get you in the mood.

FIVE CHRISTMAS SONGS

1. Robert Goulet – Jingle Bells Batman Smells
2. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
3. Greg Lake – I Believe In Father Christmas
4. John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
5. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?

And if I can’t be bothered or forget next week, Happy New Year as well.

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THE SOUND OF 2017 : 26-50

26. Beth Ditto – Fire
27. Harry Styles – Sign Of The Times
28. Blondie – Long Time
29. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
30. Foo Fighters – Run
31. OMD – The Punishment Of Luxury
32. Shed Seven – Room In My House
33. Liam Gallagher – Chinatown
34. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Holy Mountain
35. Jake Shears – Creep City
36. Dagny – Wearing Nothing
37. Rory Lavelle – Sonny
38. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Keep On Reaching
39. The XX – I Dare You
40. Stereophonics – Caught By The Wind
41. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
42. Haim – Want You Back
43. Robert Plant and the Sensational Shapeshifters – New World
44. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Black And White Sunshine
45. Tom Grennan – Found What I’ve Been Looking For
46. The Chainsmokers – Paris
47. Rory Lavelle – Poor Pride
48. Amy MacDonald – Dream On
49. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Fort Knox
50. The Charlatans – Plastic Machinery

2017 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August began for me at Wilgar Park, seeing Linfield take on Dundela in a Friendly.

The following night, was another Pre-Season Friendly, as I was on the road to see Manchester United take on Sampdoria at Lansdowne Road.

That weekend, I was travelling some more, heading to Edinburgh for a weekend away, getting some Street Art photos and taking in Edinburgh City v Montrose.

When I returned home, I was out getting some Street Art photos, the aftermath of Hit The East Festival in Eats Belfast.

The following weekend, the Irish League season started, with Linfield taking on Carrick Rangers at Windsor Park, followed by a midweek trip to Ards and a trip to Dungannon Swifts.

As soon as the final whistle blew at Stangmore Park, I was straight back to Belfast to see Amy MacDonald perform at Custom House Square.

A few days later, I was back at Custom House Square to see Blossoms warm up for Kasabian, or so I thought, as Kasabian pulled out at the last minute.

A few days after that, I was back at Custom House Square, to see Ocean Colour Scene in concert.

The following day, I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ballymena United.

My photo adventures for August ended by getting snaps of murals of Jimmy Cricket, Jimmy Nesbitt, Jimmy Young and Carl Cox.

Dundela v Linfield

Manchester United v Sampdoria

Manchester United v Sampdoria Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Edinburgh City v Montrose

Edinburgh City v Montrose Photo Album

East Belfast Street Art

East Belfast Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Ards v Linfield

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Amy MacDonald live at Custom House Square

Amy MacDonald live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Blossoms live at Custom House Square

Blossoms live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Ocean Colour Scene live at Custom House Square

Ocean Colour Scene live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

The Three Jimmys and Carl Cox

The Three Jimmys Photo Album

Carl Cox Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 8.12.2017

1. Amy MacDonald – This Christmas Day
2. Imelda May – Should’ve Been You
3. The Charlatans – Love Is The Key
4. The Divine Comedy – The Pop Singer’s Fear Of The Pollen Count
5. Donald Trump ft Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

AMY MacDONALD – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 19.8.2017 (CHSQ)

It had been a while since Amy MacDonald’s last concert in Belfast, nine years ago in 2008, something she addressed to the crowd, apologising for taking so long for coming back, which she said was “Too long” a gap.

She had announced a tour this year, there was hope of a Belfast gig, but it was not to be. There was a Dublin gig, but no Belfast gig. We do get annoyed when people play Dublin but not Belfast. There was hope, that she was being lined-up for a festival instead.

That proved to be the case, when she was announced to be supporting Foy Vance at Custom House Square in August.

August gave us hope that we would get to see Amy in the sunshine. We didn’t quite get sunshine, but we did get daylight and a dry sky. The weather was the first thing she commented on, saying it was great to see a blue sky, and a dramatic improvement on the weather she was soundchecking in.

I’ve been a long time fan of Amy, going back to her debut album in 2007. I remember a friend of mine didn’t like her. No reason given, just simply “I don’t like her”.

Ten years on, she considers herself a veteran at the age of 29. She won’t be 29 for much longer, she turns 30 next Friday, which she acknowledged during the show, stating that things have change since she first started gigging in 2005, that she now considers a cup of tea between songs as her version of rock n roll excess.

She stated that this was the most polite crowd she had played to, having believed that Belfast and her hometown of Glasgow to be very similar, but that if this gig was in Glasgow, there would be police horses and riots everywhere. A small section of the crowd booed at the suggestion.

Most of us were just toetapping and singing along.

When you tour so much, it is easy to forget where you are, with Amy commented that she almost replied “Danke schon” after getting applause from the crowd, having spent so much time in Germany this summer. She is so famous in Germany, that Joachim Low is a fan.

The set, around 45 minutes, was mostly stripped back, and featured hits such as Dream On, This Is The Life and Mr Rock N Roll.

I would have loved to have seen her perform Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over.

As mentioned earlier, she was supporting Foy Vance. Anywhere else, she would have been the headliner, but it was a “Home” gig for Vance, so she had to make do with second billing.

I’m not that really into Foy Vance, so I left after her set, I was only there for Amy and had a decent time of dry weather and a bit of toetapping. I even enjoyed the novelty of finding a smoke free area in the venue (just by sheer chance of being stood beside people who aren’t smelly tramps, rather than a designated area). An exception rather than the norm for outdoor concerts in Belfast sadly.

This concert was part of a new festival called CHSQ, which as abbreviation enthusiasts will tell you, means Switzerland Squared. What an odd name for a festival.

Although, I think it’s just trendy text speak for Custom House Square.

Having enjoyed a bit of late summer singing along and toetapping, it would be nice if we could do it again in Winter. She’s got an acoustic tour scheduled for November, so hopefully, she’ll be able to fit in a quick return to Belfast with her own headlining show.

Fingers crossed.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 18.8.2017

1. Liam Gallagher – For What It’s Worth
2. The Killers – Run For Cover
3. Amy MacDonald – Dream On
4. Stereophonics – All In One Night
5. Blossoms – Charlemagne

Ryan Adams Update – Still looking for a ticket. Ulster Hall, Standing, Face Value, get in touch.

THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY, 2017

We’ve reached that time of year when we are halfway through the year and it is time to do the Top 50 songs of the year so far.

There’s no scientific formula to it. I just went through The Friday Five, and tried to assemble them into some sort of order.

If you love pointless stats, there are three former “The Sound Of …..” winners in the chart.

Remember, it can all change by the time of the main chart in December.

It could even be a Gallagher brother duopoly.

1. Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
2. Rose Elinor Dougall – Closer
3. The Killers – The Man
4. Paramore – Hard Times
5. John Hassell and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
6. Rose Elinor Dougall – All At Once
7. Royal Blood – Lights Out
8. Blondie – Long Time
9. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
10. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
11. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
12. Harry Styles – Sign Of The Times
13. Lorde – Green Light
14. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
15. Beth Ditto – Fire
16. Dagny – Wearing Nothing
17. Haim – Want You Back
18. The Kooks – Be Who You Are
19. Haim – Little Of Your Love
20. The XX – On Hold
21. Coldplay – Something Just Like This
22. Amy MacDonald – Dream On
23. Erasure – Love You To The Sky
24. Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill
25. Rag n Bone Man – Skin
26. Liam Gallagher – Chinatown
27. The Charlatans – Plastic Machinery
28. James – Sit Down (Game Of Thrones 2017 version)
29. Joy Williams – Ordinary World
30. Liam Gallagher – Bold
31. Muse – Dig Deep
32. Shed Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times, Disco Down
33. Barry Manilow – New York State Of Mind
34. Kasabian – Bless This Acid House
35. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
36. Black Grape – Pop Voodoo
37. Imagine Dragons – Believer
38. Matt Maltese – As The World Caves In
39. The Courteeners – Don’t Look Back In Anger
40. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
41. Ryan Adams – To Be Without You
42. Miley Cyrus – Malibu
43. Cast – Faith
44. Blossoms – In Da Club/Carelss Whisper
45. Imelda May – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
46. Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus – Don’t Dream It’s Over
47. Rory Lavelle – Poor Pride
48. Rose Elinor Dougall – Hell and Back
49. Amy MacDonald – Automatic
50. Paul Draper – Things People Want

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 24.3.2017

1. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
2. Blondie – Long Time
3. The Music Gang – How Can I Compete?
4. Chuck Berry- Johnny B Goode
5. Saint Etienne – Heather

So, some gig news. Got myself a ticket to see Amy MacDonald at Custom House Square in August. Her last Belfast gig was so long ago (feel free to correct me if i’m wrong) that it was in Auntie Annie’s. She’s actually supporting Foy Vance. I’m not that fussed on Foy Vance, so i’ll be going to see her instead.

It won’t be the first time i’ve went to a concert just for the support band, having seen The Charlatans at Falls Park in 2013 while not being fussed about Happy Mondays. Also, in 2011, I left an outdoor Laura Marling concert early because it was a monsoon. I had a free ticket so it was no loss to me. Worst thing was, the next evening was beautiful sunshine.

That concert seems to be part of a series of concerts known as CHSQ, which as any abbreviations expert will tell you stands for Switzerland Squared.

I hope Switzerland Squared becomes my favourite music festival in Belfast.

Talking of festivals in Belfast, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is due to publish it’s programme soon. I had a dream Birdy was doing a concert there. I don’t think that has any merit or value, but I just thought i’d share it.

Shed Seven (with support from Cast) announced some extra tour dates. No Belfast date. Fuck sake.

Martin Garrix announced as the last Belsonic headline. At least they had the decency to tease that it would be an EDM (that’s Electronic Dance Music for all you old farts out there) “superstar” on social media, so I knew it was going to be shite.

Kasabian announced some gigs for (relatively) smaller venues in April. They did the same in 2014, so hopes up for an Odyseey gig later in the year.

Anyone fancy taking me to Electric Picnic to see Duran Duran and Madness?

Would love to see Duran Duran. The closest i’ve got was John Taylor doing a Q and A with fans at the Edinburgh Festival in 2013.

Also, i’m still looking for a Ryan Adams ticket for September.

THE FIRIDAY FIVE – 17.3.2017

1. Erasure – Love You To The Sky
2. John Hassall and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
3. Amy MacDonald – Automatic
4. Sister Sledge – Frankie
5. Sheppard – Keep Me Crazy

You may have noticed that today is St Patrick’s Day. So, i’m doing a couple of themed charts. One for Northern Ireland, one for Republic Of Ireland, and one for the musical Patricks (and Paddys and Pats) out there.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND

1. Wonder Villains – TV
2. Baltimora – Tarzan Boy
3. Silhouette – Can’t Keep Up
4. Snow Patrol – Signal Fire
5. Two Door Cinema Club – What You Know

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

1. U2 – The Fly
2. Phil Lynott – Yellow Pearl
3. Heathers – Remember When
4. Sinead Lohan – Whatever It Takes
5. Kodaline – High Hopes

FIVE SONGS BY BANDS WITH SOMEONE CALLED PAT, PATRICK OR PADDY

1. Prefab Sprout – King Of Rock n Roll
2. Train – Drops Of Jupiter
3. Foo Fighters – Saint Cecilia
4. Hue and Cry – Labour Of Love
5. Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Going Down