THE SOUND OF 2020

We haven’t had our first 24 hours of 2021 yet and I can’t imagine that many want to look back at 2020, but it’s time for my annual look back at the best songs of the past year.

I’m not going to insult you by cutting and pasting the usual about how it was a great year and all that. It really wasn’t.

Even though we got treated to some interesting covers and live online concerts from bored pop stars in lockdown, i’d swap all that for a return to normality.

As much as i’ve loved Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco, i’d rather it not have to exist, if you know what I mean.

I actually have concert tickets for 2021, unsurprisingly, most are carried over from 2020.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott are first up in April, although that is looking ambitious, considering that Paul Weller scheduled for the week before has already been put back to November.

Also in the diary is Lightning Seeds, Ash, Doves and Beabadoobee.

Hopefully, when I do get back to concerts, it won’t be in the first batch. Let’s be honest, they’ll be full of tanked up bellends determined to “make up for” what they’ve “missed out on”.

You don’t realise how much a sound crowd adds to a concert until you’re surrounded by bellends.

So, enjoy the best songs of 2020. Hopefully, i’ve introduced you to something you’ll like.

Let’s hope 2021 will be a lot better than 2020, although we’re working off a very low bar.

  1. Tame Impala – Lost In Yesterday
  2. The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
  3. Powfu ft Barbadoobee – Death Bed
  4. Post Malone – Circles
  5. David Guetta and Sia – Let’s Love
  6. Royal Blood – Trouble’s Coming
  7. Beabadoobee – Care
  8. Paul Molloy – Dungaree Day
  9. Shader – Don’t You Forget About Me
  10. Georgia – Running Up That Hill
  11. Declan McKenna – Beautiful Faces
  12. Tom Grennan – Amen
  13. Andy Bell – Cherry Cola
  14. Lady Gaga – Stupid Love
  15. Dea Matrona – Roll With It
  16. Blossoms – Paperback Writer
  17. Dermot Kennedy – Giants
  18. 5 Seconds Of Summer – Wildflower
  19. Blossoms ft James Skelly – Dreaming Of You
  20. Beabadoobee – Together
  21. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Come On Outside
  22. Crowded House – Whatever You Want
  23. Tom Grennan – Something Better
  24. Samara Ginsberg – Inspector Gadget
  25. Dermot Kennedy – Power Over Me
  26. Oasis – Don’t Stop
  27. 24kgoldn – City Of Angels
  28. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – We’re Gonna Get There In The End
  29. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – Some Might Say
  30. Samara Ginsberg – Knight Rider
  31. Declan McKenna – Rapture
  32. Samara Ginsberg – Thomas The Tank Engine
  33. Liam Gallagher – All You’re Dreaming Of
  34. Beabadooebee – Worth It
  35. Karen O and Willie Nelson – Under Pressure
  36. Tate McRae – You Broke Me First
  37. Declan McKenna – Be An Astronaut
  38. Two Mad Men And A String Quartet – Madness Hits Medley
  39. Blossoms – It’s Going To Be A Cold Winter
  40. Arlo Parks – Black Dog
  41. New Order – Be A Rebel
  42. Izzy Bizu – Faded
  43. The 1975 – If You’re Too Shy
  44. David Latto – Geordie Munro
  45. Magnum Haus – Rip It Up
  46. Swim School – Dignity
  47. Ash – Darkest Hour Of The Night
  48. Doves – Broken Eyes
  49. AC/DC – Shot In The Dark
  50. Tom Ogden – Everyday I Write The Book

PAST WINNERS

2019 Vampire Weekend – Harmony Hall
2018 Lovelytheband – Broken
2017 Liam Gallagher – For What It’s Worth
2016 The Strumbellas – Spirits
2015 Blossoms – Charlemagne
2014 Jamie T – Zombie
2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Getting Back Together
2011 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA …. What A Life
2010 Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain
2009 Little Boots- New In Town
2008 Sons and Daughters – Darling
2007 Feist – 1, 2, 3, 4

2020 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

My first photo adventure of February was a midweek trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield beat Dungannon Swifts to go top of the table.

The football continued, seeing Linfield get wins against Warrenpoint Town and Ballymena United.

I made the most of a football free Saturday afternoon in the middle of the month to see Ash (Well, it was just Tim Wheeler on his own) doing an acoustic concert in HMV.

More football the following weekend, heading to Windsor Park to see Linfield hammer Crusaders 4-0.

The following weekend had the bonus of an extra day, with it being a leap year. I spent Leap Year’s Day walking up Cavehill and getting some photos.

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Ballymena United v Linfield

Ash live at HMV Belfast

Ash live at HMV Belfast Photo Album

Linfield v Crusaders

Cavehill

Cavehill Photo Album

ASH – LIVE AT HMV BELFAST 15.2.2020

Well, it was just Tim Wheeler actually. Rick McMurray and Mark Hamilton weren’t there. They might have been out shopping at Victoria Square, though probably not with the weather outside, weather that was addressed by Wheeler as he made his entrance and exit.

It was an entrance that was met with a rather polite “Wa-hey!” rather than raucous applause, with Wheeler thanking the crowd for turning up with the poor weather outside.

You can usually rely on Ash for a HMV gig. Usually when they release something, they’ll turn up in Donegall Arcade to promote it.

I had missed their previous HMV appearance in 2018 as, frustratingly, it was happening while I was at Biggest Weekend, that I saw them at the next day. Their last one before that, was in 2015, a warm-up, in their words, for the next gig two days later supporting Foo Fighters at Slane.

I have previously purchased a Greatest Hits compilation, Intergalactic Sonic 7s in 2002, but i’m not sure where it is, so this updated compilation will be handy to listen to in the car.

What they are currently promoting is a Best Of/Greatest Hits compilation called Teenage Wildlife, to commemorate 25 years since their first release.

Just under half and hour, they crammed as many hits as they could into this short gig, hits such as A Life Less Ordinary, Oh Yeah and Shining Light.

It was a family affair for Wheeler, who gave a shout out to his niece and nephew, who were in the crowd, planning to catch up on Red Dead Redemption with them, the last time he played with them, he killed a horse.

That video game based bantz might make sense to you, but not to me, as the last video game I played was on the Sega Mega Drive.

As a result of having youngsters in the crowd, Wheeler had to tone down on the language on Buzzkill, just as Neil Hannon had to be less sweary due to youngsters in attendance when he played HMV in 2016.

Also on the playlist was a new song Darkest Hour Of The Night, recorded especially for this new compilation.

As he finished the set Wheeler announced there would be a Belfast concert in May. He didn’t say where or when.

My guess would be the final weekend of the month, as Ash had just been announced to perform at All Aboard Festival in Dun Laoghaire (near Dublin, if you don’t know) so I would expect a Belfast gig to be that weekend.

Photo Album

Ash live at The Limelight 2018

Ash live at Titanic Slipways 2018

Ash live at The Empire 2015

THE SOUND OF 2018

Better late than never, I decided to wait until the first day of 2019 to post my favourite songs of 2018.

It would have been a shame not to continue the tradition of this award* (*Disclaimer, no actual trophy) that goes all the way back to 2006.

I cobbled this up after browsing through my Friday Fives from 2018 with absolutely no scientific methodology whatsoever. So, here it is, the Top 50 Songs Of 2018.

1. Loveleytheband – Broken
2. Alice Merton – No Roots
3. Kyle Falconer – Family Tree
4. Rasmussen – Higher Ground
5. AJR ft Rivers Cuomo – Sober Up
6. Mumford and Sons – Guiding Light
7. Pale Waves – Eighteen
8. Jade Bird – Uh Huh
9. Kyle Falconer – Poor Me
10. Richard Ashcroft – That’s When I Feel It
11. George Ezra – Shotgun
12. Kylie Minogue – Dancing
13. Tom Grennan- Sober
14. Chvrches – Graffiti
15. Kyle Falconer – Kelly
16. Rudimental – These Days
17. Manic Street Preachers – Hold Me Like A Heaven
18. The Coral – Reaching Out For A Friend
19. Portugal, The Man – Feel It Still
20. Snow Patrol – Don’t Give In
21. Sam Fender – That Sound
22. Madame Monsieur – Mercy
23. James – Coming Home (Part II)
24. Manic Street Preachers – Distant Colours
25. Blossoms – I Can’t Stand It
26. Christine and the Queens – Girlfriend
27. Kylie Minogue – Stop Me From Falling
28. Snow Patrol – Empress
29. Dennis Lloyd – Nevermind
30. The Kooks – Four Leaf Clover
31. Blossoms – There’s A Reason Why
32. APRE – All Yours
33. Ash – Annabel
34. Pound Shop Boys – Fireman Sam
35. Editors – Cold
36. Vampire Weekend ft Danielle Haim – Sone Of A Preacher Man
37. Weezer – Africa
38. Natalie Prass – Short Court Style
39. Hozier – Nina Cried Power
40. Sleeper – Look AtYou Now
41. Turin Brakes – Lifeforms
42. Arctic Monkeys – Four Out Of Five
43. Yonaka – Creature
44. Florence and the Machine – Hunger
45. Courtney Barrett – Nameless Faceless
46. Weezer – Roseanna
47. Ten Tonnes – G.I.V.E
48. Razorlight – Carry Yourself
49. Ash – Confessions In ThePool
50. Aurora – Queendom

So, congratulations to Loveleytheband on winning this year’s poll.

If you haven’t heard it, the video is below.

They join an illustrious list of former winners, listed below.

2017 Liam Gallagher – For What It’s Worth
2016 The Strumbellas – Spirits
2015 Blossoms – Charlemagne
2014 Jamie T – Zombie
2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Getting Back Together
2011 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA … What A Life
2010 Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain
2009 Little Boots – New In Town
2008 Sons and Daughters – Darling
2007 Feist – 1, 2, 3, 4
2006 Kasabian – Empire

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.12.2018

1. Robert Goulet- Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
2. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
3. Greg Lake- I Believe In Father Christmas
4. Ash – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
5. John Lennon – Merry Xmas War Is Over

Apologies for missing out a couple of Friday Fives for the past few weeks. Believe it or not, i’ve been busy socially.

Here’s to more Friday Fives in 2019. I’ll try to do a 1987 as that’s where the Top Of The Pops repeats will be starting next week.

2018 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR ….)

December began with a top of the table clash on the first day, but not the result I wanted as Linfield lost to Ballymena United.

The following Saturday was a lot better, as Linfield thrashed Crusaders 4-1.

No football the following Saturday, meant a gap in photo adventures, before seeing Ash at The Limelight, followed by Linfield’s match against Glenavon.

Of course, there are still two more football matches for me this month, Linfield’s games against Glentoran (26th) and Cliftonville (29th).

Hope you’ve enjopyed my photographic look back at 2018, here’s to more in 2019.

Already booked for 2019 – Chvrches, Razorlight and a short break in Dublin.

Ballymena United v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

Ash live at The Limelight

Ash live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

ASH – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 20.12.2018

One last concert for me in 2018, as I headed to The Limelight to see the band I saw in my first ever concert, on the night that 1998 became 1999.

It fell on exactly three years to the day since their last indoor (outside of promotional appearances at HMV) concert in Belfast, at The Empire.

There was a previous Belfast appearance inbetween, with the band having performed at Titanic Belfast as part of Biggest Weekend in May this year.

There’s already a 2019 date in the calendar, but not in Belfast, but in Bangor, as support to Snow Patrol at Ward Park. Curiously, they didn’t mention that upcoming date during this concert.

They entered the stage looking different than they did at Titanic Belfast in May. Tim was now sporting a moustache which made him look like Freddie Mercury, while Mark now had his hair cut short, looking like Jason Orange. Meanwhile, Rick just looked like Rick.

The setlist began with a mixture of recent stuff and early stuff, before launching into biggies such as
Oh Yeah, Goldfinger and Girl From Mars.

As it was Christmas, we got some treats, such as a cover of Cantina Song from Star Wars, which had the crowd singing and dancing along, just as it did when they performed it at The Empire in 2015.

For the next cover, the fans were given a choice, as Mark Hamilton would perform an acapella version of Last Christmas by Wham or Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard, depending on who got the biggest cheer.

The winner of that was Wham, although it might have been a different scenario if the much superior Saviour’s Day was put forward as Cliff’s suggested song.

If anybody in the room was taking part in Whamageddon, they will have been relieved to know they weren’t yet out, as covers don’t count.

Tim said he wasn’t feeling very Christmassy as he hadn’t had any mince pies yet, but they then played There Is A Star as their sort of Christmas song, though Shining Light does mention Royal David’s City in the lyrics. Also played from Free All Angels, unsurprisingly, was Burn Baby Burn.

Rick was then given the billing of “The best glockenspiel player in Killyleagh”, which is a lot to live up to, but he lived up to, before Mark jumped into the crowd during the encore which caused a bit of a panic amongst Venue Security.

By now, the festive party was in full swing, with confetti now falling onto the crowd.

At their last two Belfast gigs, they’ve had guest appearance from members of famous Northern Ireland bands such as Snow Patrol and The Undertones.

For the encore, they had guest appearances from friends and family, as well as the support act, Brand New Friend, to perform a cover of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Wizzard.

As the band gave their bows to the crowd, guests still assembled, the PA system started playing (I think it might have been accidental) Time Of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, with the band, led by Mark, lip syncing along to it, egged on by the crowd.

Halfway through the song, the music stopped, and the band left the stage, giving us a comical and chaotic end to an enjoyable evening.

Photo Album

Ash live at Titanic Belfast May 2018

Ash live at The Empire December 2015

2018 IN PICTURES – MAY

May 2018 began for me by chasing Street Art, getting photos of Murals at Bankmore Square and Bank Square.

That was then followed by a trip to The Odyssey to see Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

The following weekend, I headed to Manchester to see United take on Watford, as well as getting some Street Art photos, both in the City Centre (mostly, Northern Quarter) and then Pomona Wharf.

On the Bank Holiday Weekend at the end of the month, I headed to Titanic Slipways for BBC’s Biggest Weekend where I saw Manic Street Preachers, Beck, Ash and Franz Ferdinand.

The end of the month was dominated by Street Art, going to check out Street Art on Bruce Street, and attending Wardrobe Jam.

Bankmore Square Street Art

Bankmore Square Street Art Photo Album

Bank Square Street Art

Bank Square Street Art Photo Album

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at The Odyssey

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at The Odyssey

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Salford Quays Street Art

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Watford

Manchester United v Watford Photo Album

Manic Street Preachers live at Titanic Slipways

Manic Street Preachers live at Titanic Slipways Photo Album

Beck live at Titanic Slipways

Beck live at Titanic Slipways Photo Album

Ash live at Titanic Slipways

Ash live at Titanic Slipways Photo Album

Franz Ferdinand live at Titanic Slipways

Franz Ferdinand live at Titanic Slipways Photo Album

Bruce Street Art

Bruce Street Art Photo Album

Wardrobe Jam

Wardrobe Jam Photo Album