BLOSSOMS – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 3.3.2020

Death, Taxes and Blossoms at The Limelight.

Even before the release of their debut album, Blossoms usually pop by Ormeau Avenue once a year. Well, apart from 2019. They were determined to make up for this.

However, their first trip to Belfast, and my first time seeing them, was at the more swankier surroundings of Waterfront Hall, supporting Paul Weller in 2015.

I was excited by this, as i’d already heard of them, knowing them as the band that do the song Charlemagne that I love, which ended up being voted The Song Of 2015.

They’ve done a lot of support slots in their career – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Charlatans and The Kooks have all had them as guests, sadly not at any concerts I’ve seen them that.

Surprising perhaps, for a band who have seen two of their three albums hit Number 1. The middle one “only” reached Number 4.

This would be a hits set, except their singles don’t really chart that high. They have radio hits, you know more songs of theirs than you realise, as noted during a recent interview with the BBC.

Despite their album success and radio hits, Blossoms are regulars at The Limelight. You’d expect them to be playing bigger venues.

There first visit here was in 2016, six months before the release of their debut album. I wasn’t at that. A concert that saw the venue upgraded from Voodoo to The Limelight, but a night looked back on with tragedy, as their support band that night, Viola Beach, died in a motor accident on tour the following weekend.

I was there in 2017 at The Limelight, just over six months after the release of that debut album.

They returned a few months later, as support to Kasabian, and I was there. There for Kasabian, but Blossoms was a nice bonus.

When I say supporting Kasabian, that was the plan. However, having warmed the crowd up, they would then be left cold as a bout of sickness saw Kasabian cancel their performance.

2018 saw another return to The Limelight. However, I would not be there, as I was in Manchester, watching United labour to a 1-0 win over Young Boys Berne.

So, 2020, a brief Irish tour announced, with The Limelight once again on the list

There was a surreal moment for me making my way to the venue. Walking along, minding my own business, somebody stops me to ask me to take a photo of them.

It was a group of fellas posing in the middle of the road, nothing usual there, but the Steve McManaman lookalike in the middle looked familiar. It was none other than Tom Ogden, lead singer of Blossoms.

I took the photos, and we all just walked to the venue.

Support came from The Lathums, who were decent.

Tom Ogden commented on how glad he was to be in “Beautiful Belfast”. I’m not sure where in Belfast he has visited.

Previous concerts have seen them dedicate a song to a member of the audience who had recently been dumped. That didn’t happen this time.

Three albums in, and they have a lot of hits behind them, all of which got played, songs like Your Girlfriend, There’s A Reason Why, I Can’t Stand It, Blown Rose, Honey Sweet and At Most A Kiss, as well as sneaking in covers of You’re Gorgeous and Half A World Away.

When doing an instrumental break after At Most A Kiss, the person in front of me turned around and shouted “CHARLEMAGNE!!” at me.

Of course, that was coming up next, the band signing off with their debut single, sending the fans home happy.

Talking of Paul Weller, who introduced them to Belfast, he’ll be coming back to Belfast in October for a concert at Ulster Hall. I’ve already got a ticket for that.

Having seen them (Well, one third of them) in HMV, Ash have announced a concert for The Limelight for a concert in May. Yep, already got a ticket for that.

Ian Brown is heading to Waterfront Hall in May. No ticket yet, undecided. I do enjoy some of his solo stuff.

Also coming to Belfast in Genesis. Love a lot of their big hits but waiting to decide wether to go. I saw the announcement video on Radio 2’s social media feeds and Phil Collins sounds as though his voice is fucked.

Also announced, is KT Tunstall for North Berwick for Fringe By The Sea in August. I might make this my weekend to go to Edinburgh. It would make up on missing out on her when she played North Berwick when I was in Edinburgh in 2017.

A lot to look forward to.

Photo Album

Blossoms live at Custom House Square 2017

Blossoms live at The Limelight 2017

WEATHERALL

Nobody reacts to a celebrity death quite like the Artists of Belfast, as the recent death of Andrew Weatherall, Music Producer famed for his work with Primal Scream, showed.

A new mural has appeared of him, on the side of The Telegraph Building.

If you’re looking to find it, it’s on Donegall Street as you walk towards the Irish News offices. The mural of The Beastie Boys is beside it.

It was done by Glenn Molloy, a familiar face, or brush, on Belfast’s Street Art Scene.

However, when it came to painted tributes to Weatherall, Belfast was beaten to it by Edinburgh.

Local artist Shona Hardie painted a tribute to him on a wall outside Meadowbank Stadium, which is currently undergoing building work.

I plan on going to Edinburgh in August and might make this part of my itinerary, if it is still there.

Photo Album

CAVEHILL – FEBRUARY 2020

As it was Leap Year’s Day, I though I would do something memorable. Might as well, seeing as it’s a day that only comes around every four years, especially as it won’t fall on a Saturday until 2048.

I might make this a thing from now on. It will fall on a Thursday in 2024, so it might be a (long) weekend away. I’ve got four years to book it, so no rush.

This, like my only previous visit to Cavehill, was postponed from my intended date due to the weather. My original plan was to walk it two weeks previously, but I decided to leave it because of the weather when it was raining, raining and then raining some more.

That day, was a football free Saturday due to Linfield not being involved in the League Cup Final. I was going to Ash at HMV that afternoon that afternoon, so this would filled up the morning.

In future years, I might actually make a walk up Cavehill on the morning of the League Cup Final an annual event. Even if Linfield are involved, it will be a teatime or evening kick-off, so there won’t be a danger of a clash.

I can actually see Cavehill from my desk at work, and have noticed over the post few weeks it being snow covered during the recent cold spell. I’ve also done some work at work in case you’ve been wondering.

That cold spell hasn’t put off Jake O’Kane, who regularly posts videos of his walks up Cavehill, incuding one of those days when it was covered in snow. Watching the videos of the snow was tempting me.

Weather would be a dominating issue of this walk. Rain originally delayed it, and the Leap Year’s Day walk would be dependent on Storm Jorge.

There was no sign of Jorge when I woke up, off to a good start. Thankfully, the rain didn’t make a single appearance on Saturday morning.

I did plan on being up there for sunset, but ha ha ha ha, you didn’t really expect that to happen.

From where I live, I’ve got a clear run to North Belfast, especially when the traffic was light as it was, which enabled me to get there at the relatively early time of 8.30am.

I’d had plenty of practice leading up to this walk, as one of the lifts in work were buggered all week, meaning I had to walk up four flights of stairs every morning.

I also did more practical preparation by layering up. I’d need to as it would be a bit chilly.

As I was going to a football match that afternoon, my last visit was timebound. This one was not, meaning I had more time to explore more of Cavehill.

Of course, I observed the unwritten rule of saying “Hello” to everybody I walked past, even if it made me sound like Shaughan McGuigan off View From The Terrace.

Something that I didn’t notice the last time I walked up is that you can see Solitude and Windsor Park from Cavehill. At the same time. Just adding that to the list of football grounds I’ve seen from hills after seeing Easter Road from Arthur’s Seat. I’m not sure what other grounds are visible from hills, apart from Brann Stadion in Bergen. I only know that from watching Travel Man.

My legs were sore the further I went up, but I managed to push through it and reach McArt’s Fort.

The last time I reached McArt’s Fort, I turned around, but with time on my hands I carried walking on for another ten minutes or so, on a downward curve.

When I reached McArt’s Fort again, I went in for a look about.

It was very windy. So windy in fact, that my hat was almost blowing away. I decided to walk about with caution for fear of being blown away and appearing on Weird News Websites in a story about a man who was blown off a hill.

I was able to get some photos on McArt’s Fort. Thankfully, after dropping some batteries on my way up. An incredible act of stupidity. Amazingly, I found them on the way down, and they work. My batteries still had enough juice in them when I got to McArt’s Fort.

From there, I headed down, passing dogs (all 13/10s, good doggies) and cyclists. I do love a cycle, but i’m not sure i’d fancy cycling up Cavehill.

I can’t help but feel that I’ve got more of Cavehill to explore, which i’ll definitely do on my future visits.

I’ve got the bug for hillwalking. I’ll be spending some time in Bray taking in a Euro 2020 game (well, tickets permitting) so i’ll definitely be walking up Bray Head ..… all the way this time after my visit there last year.

BBC Four to blame for this, i’m currently indulging on Yorkshire Walks, The Pennine Way and Extreme Wales (Well, that’s BBC 2)

In August, I plan on being in Edinburgh, and going up Arthur’s Seat again. And yes, early in the morning again.

Next on my hitlist, is Blackmountain/Divis. As soon as I work out how to get there.

Maybe at some point in the future, do a long weekend at a United game in March/April, and do some of the Peak District.

That will probably be me for Cavehill in 2020, but you never know.

Photo Album

Cavehill – November 2019

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

BADLY DRAWN BOY – LIVE AT BLACK BOX 18.1.2020

And so, 2020 in concerts is underway.

Badly Drawn Boy arrived in Belfast as part of Out To Lunch Festival. Although, this wasn’t a lunchtime engagement, taking place in the evening, as most concerts do.

It was an evening that was very cold. Hat and coat weather in fact. I got very comfortable with the headgear, it looked liked I was cosplaying as Badly Drawn Boy, but it was basically just practicality. I can see why him and The Edge always wear a hat.

Support came from Duke Special, which was a pleasant surprise as it wasn’t on the original announcement for the concert.

When speaking to the crowd, Mr Drawn Boy spoke glowingly of Duke Special.

I got into Badly Drawn Boy back in 2000, with the release of his album The Hour Of Bewilderbeast, and the singles Pissing In The Wind, Disillusion and Once Around The Block.

That interest continued over the coming years with singles such as Silent Sigh, Something To Talk About, All Possibilities and You Were Right.

As a result of that early interest, I was straight to get a ticket when this was announced.

Our paths did cross previously, as he was doing a concert in Waterford when I was there in November 2018, but I wasn’t able to get a ticket for it.

Notoriously grumpy, you never know what you are going to get with him.

The previous time I saw him in Belfast, at Mandela Hall in 2007, he stormed off halfway through his set. He returned a few minutes later and finished his set, the second half being a lot better than the first.

To use a football analogy, it’s like being 3-0 down at half-time and coming back to win 4-3.

Looking up his previous appearances in Belfast online, it appears this would be the third time I will have seen him.

Seemingly, he was one of the support acts for Primal Scream when I saw them perform in a tent in the very first first Tennent’s Vital in 2002. I genuinely can’t remember seeing him at all, but seemingly it happened.

There was one thing that we would be sure of, that it would just be him on stage, solo with no backing band.

He was loaded with the cold, and his cure was unconventional, a bottle of J2O. It seemed to work, having said that he sounded horrible in the soundcheck.

Inbetween the songs, he gave us stories about them, or just stories in general.

Stories included swearing at Movie Executives through an intercom, being excited at one of his songs being featured in Gossip Girl, even though he doesn’t watch it, his excitement at meeting Bobby Ball, Caroline Aherne and George Best (not at the same time), his meeting with Best, at a TV show in Belfast, saw him getting a lend of George’s private jet.

One downside was that the place was full of Banter Bores. You know the sort, shout out random shit thinking they’re funny, act as if they’re best mates with the performer. We’re not here to listen to you, and never forget that.

There’s a high possibility that they probably share and retweet posts by LAD. Definite Jeans and Sheux behaviour.

Why can’t we just be a normal city with normal people?

We got a lot of hits, so there wasn’t much to complain about apart from the Banter Bores, even getting some covers such as Sexual Healing and I Wanna Be Adored.

Up next, is Ash doing an instore gig at HMV in mid February.

Remember when I was complaining that Linfield’s trip to Ballymena not being moved to Saturday afternoon? Scrap that, the Friday night game suits me now.

After that, a busy March with two trips to The Limelight to see Blossoms and The Lightning Seeds.

Photo Album

2019 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR …..)

December’s photo adventures had to wait a full seven days, when I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield beat Cliftonville.

A few days later, I headed to Ulster Hall for my final concert of the year, to see Primal Scream.

The following Saturday, I headed to Warrenpoint to see Linfield get a 2-0 win.

That was followed by heading to Windsor Park to see Linfield draw 1-1 with Crusaders.

December so far hasn’t been that busy so far, but there’s still some photo adventures to come in the final week.

It’s unlikely that i’ll be at Seaview tomorrow for the Steel and Sons Cup Final, but i’ll be at The Oval on Boxing Day. As if i’d be anywhere else.

Boxing Day is the start of three busy days, as i’ll be heading to Ulster v Connacht the day after, and then Coleraine v Linfield the day after that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed by look back at my photo adventures in 2019. Of course, there’ll be more photo adventures in 2020.

In terms of concerts, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Blossoms and Badly Drawn Boy are already on the horizon.

Travelwise, Manchester and Bray are confirmed. I’m planning to walk up Bray Head. While in Bray, i’ll sneak in a trip to Dublin. I’m hoping to see a Euro 2020 game while i’m there, but i’ll definitely catch some League Of Ireland action.

May is the new date for Hit The North, so i’ll be photographing that, and any other Street Art I spot during the year.

And i’ll be crossing my fingers for some snow to photograph at some point because i’m a big kid.

Linfield v Cliftonville

Primal Scream live at Ulster Hall

Primal Scream live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

2019 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November 2019 began with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield get a win over Carrick Rangers.

A few days later, I made my first trip of the season to Old Trafford, to see United beat Partizan Belgrade in the UEFA Cup.

While I was there, I got photos of Street Art in Manchester, and then visit to Rochdale in search of Street Art, after there was a festival held there in August.

The following weekend, I headed to The Brandywell to see Linfield take on Institute. While I was there, I was able to get some photos (from a fence outside) of Institute’s abandoned former stadium, Drumahoe.

Later that day, on my return from the North-West, I took in a second football match, Northern Ireland’s European Championship Qualifier against Holland.

Six days later, I was on the road again, to see Linfield lose 1-0 to Glenavon.

A few days later, I headed to Vilnius in Lithuania for a very short, very cheap and very cold break. Unsurprisingly, I was out snapping with my camera.

On the last day of the month, I got up early and walked up Cavehill, my first time doing so. Later that day, I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield face Larne.

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Partizan Belgrade

Manchester United v Partizan Belgrade Photo Album

Rochdale Uprising

Rochdale Uprising Photo Album

Drumahoe

Drumahoe Photo Album

Institute v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Holland

Northern Ireland v Holland Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Vilnius

Vilnius Photo Album

Vilnius Street Art

Vilnius Street Art Photo Album

Cavehill

Cavehill Photo Album

Linfield v Larne

2019 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

October 2019 began with a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders.

A busy month of concerts began a few days later with a trip to Ulster Hall to see The Divine Comedy.

There was even some Street Art spotted during the month, heading to Stephen Street to see a mural of The Joker and Catwoman

The next day, I was on the road to Dungannon to see Linfield beat Dungannon Swifts 4-1.

From there, it was another concert, a first visit to The Telegraph Building, to see Two Door Cinema Club.

The flipping between football and concerts continued as I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ballymena United. The following midweek saw a football/concert double header, seeing Linfield take on Warrenpoint Town, before seeing OMD at Ulster Hall.

October’s photo adventures ended with a trip to see Linfield take on Coleraine, the month beginning and ending for me with a 1-0 defeat.

Crusaders v Linfield

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Joker and Catwoman Mural

Joker and Catwoman Mural Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Two Door Cinema Club live at The Telegraph Building

Two Door Cinema Club live at The Telegraph Building Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

OMD live at Ulster Hall

OMD live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MELODY MAKER – 22.12.1999

It’s a special Christmas edition of Melody Maker this week. Not only a new year coming up, but a new decade and a new century. It can only be 1999.

In news, Travis are doing homecoming gigs in Glasgow, and hoping to avoid playing large arenas, despite the success of their album The Man Who.

Justine Frischmann is subject of a Q and A, being asked to give her opinions on Blur and Suede’s new albums.

Meanwhile, The Charlatans have denied that their new single My Beautiful Friend is about Rob Collins, the band’s former Keyboardist who died in 1996.

There is an unscientific test of the bets Hangover TV, with SM:TV Live, Live and Kicking, T4 and Soccer AM all in contention.

There is a guide to the best Christmas TV, with Kevin The Teenager doing a guide to being a teenager being advised as “Don’t miss”

Naturally, 1999 gets reviewed, with a month by month look, as well as some of the best quotes.

There’s even a world exclusive interview with Santa Claus, conducted by Rick Witter from Shed Seven.

Metallica are interviewed about their perfect Christmas, declaring there is nothing more Christmassy than hardcore porn.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a few drinks, and Melody Maker goes out to get drunk with the band A.

Meanwhile, Longpigs give a guide to the best Christmas food.

Cover stars Stereophonics are interviewed, declaring 1999 to be a brilliant year.

Roddy Woomble from Idlewild talks about his favourite films of 1999, including Fight Club and South Park, while Dermot O’Leary talks about TV in 1999 including Friends, Eastenders and Louis Theroux.

In a magazine full of lists, Head Music by Suede wins Best Album, while I Try by Macy Gray wins Best Single, ironically not becoming a massive hit until 2000.

In concert reviews, Melody Maker took a trip to Belfast to see Travis at the Waterfront Hall.

The magazine ends with a Q and A with Macy Gray where she reveals she laughs when people sing Happy Birthday to her, while Noddy Holder discusses the lyrics to Merry Xmas Everybody.

2019 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

My first photo adventure of September 2019 was a trip to Solitude to see Linfield get a 1-0 win on their return to domestic competition after their European adventures the previous month.

That was then followed by a Windsor Park double header, taking in Northern Ireland v Germany and Linfield v Glentoran.

The day after that match saw me have an adventure, taking in some Street Art in Belfast, and Edwyn Collins doing an instore gig at Strange Victory.

My next adventure came the following Friday with Culture Night.

It was then two football matches, seeing Linfield get wins over Carrick Rangers and Glenavon.

The month ended with a trip to Yorkgate to check out a new mural.

Cliftonville v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Germany

Northern Ireland v Germany Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Belfast Peace Wall Art

Belfast Peace Wall Art Photo Album

Ulster Sports Club Street Art

Ulster Sports Club Street Art Photo Album

Edwyn Collins live at Strange Victory

Edwyn Collins live at Strange Victory Photo Album

Culture Night

Culture Night Photo Album

Carrick Rangers v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

Yorkgate Street Art

Yorkgate Street Art Photo Album