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

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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

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MELODY MAKER – 25.10.2000

It’s late 2000, and Melody Maker is on tour with Eminem and Limp Bizkit.

Two Welsh rock stars were in the news this week, with James Dean Bradfield stopping an assault on old man, while Kelly Jones solo tour was given a “cautious welcome” by fans giving their opinions to Melody Maker.

Ash have announced that everyone will love their upcoming new album.

Suede were in Iceland to perform at a festival, a trip described as “farcical”.

There are four pages dedicated to Eminem and Limp Bizkit, with Melody Maker giving it to Limp Bizkit, slightly, for the best act.

Ten years after their first release, Alex and Graham from Blur look back at the band’s ten finest moments.

In reviews, Melody Maker visits Muse, The Bluetones, Coldplay and Idlewild in concert.

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

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 13.4.2018

1. Editors – Darkness At The Door
2. Halsey – Alone
3. Ash – Annabel
4. James – Better Than That
5. Pound Shop Boys – Fireman Sam

Madness doing a concert in Dublin in July supported by The Lightning Seeds. Come on lads, sneak in a Belfast gig while you’re at it.

Managed to get myself sorted for a ticket for David Hepworth at CQAF. Going to have a proper browse through the programme this week.