ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 3.5.2019 (CATHEDRAL QUARTER ARTS FESTIVAL)

If I was Philip Lowry, i’d be insisting that Echo and the Bunnymen perform at Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, as they performed at the event for the first time since 2010, the last time he scored in an Irish Cup Final.

It wasn’t their first return to Belfast since then, stopping off in the city in 2015, but not since.

To the frustration of their Belfast fans, they made a visit to Dublin last year when touring their most recent album, The Stars, The Oceans and The Moon, an orchestral reworking of their greatest hits.

Fans in Belfast were treated to their greatest hits, but no orchestra, it was the crowd who provided the support, singing along to all of their favourites.

It was the weekend of Ian McCulloch’s 60th birthday, which took place two days after the concert, a section of the crowd signing Happy Birthday to him. I’m not sure if it was to celebrate his birthday. but he prepared for this gig with grub at Fish City.

It wasn’t the first time i’d seen a pop star on or around their birthday. In fact, it wasn’t even the first member of Echo and the Bunnymen, having seen them in Glasgow in 2013 the day after Will Sergeant’s birthday, when McCulloch got the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to him.

Outside of The Bunnymen, I saw The Kooks the day before Luke Pritchard’s 30th birthday in 2015.

Throughout the concert, McCulloch complained about having itchy feet, but that he wasn’t prepared to take his shoes off as it wasn’t a good look. Didn’t do Sandie Shaw any harm.

For some reason, some numpty in the crowd kept chanting “Pete De Frietas”. You know the sort, tedious bores who think they’re funny and that the band want to have “Banter” with them.

McCulloch corrected his pronunciation of “De Freetas” by pointing out it was “De Freytas”

Among the hits performed were Bedbugs and Ballyhoo, Rescue, Never Stop, Villiers Terrace, Nothing Lasts Forever, Seven Seas, The Killing Moon and The Cutter.

The version of Nothing Lasts Forever was a nice chilled out acoustic version of the song, one of a few songs which saw them deviate into snippets of covers of famous songs such as Jean Genie, Walk On The Wild Side, Don’t Let Me Down and Sex Machine

With so many big hits in the main set, it was interesting to see what they saved for the encore. They finished with Lips Like Sugar and Do It Clean.

Photo Album

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Mandela Hall 2015

Echo and the Bunnymen live at SECC 2013

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square 2010

2017 IN PICTURES – MAY

May 2017 began with Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and a trip to Custom House Square to see The Divine Comedy in concert.

That was followed that weekend, by the Irish Cup Final, where Linfield beat Coleraine 3-0.

I then filled a football free Saturday afternoon by cycling to Lisburn and getting some Street Art photos.

Well, just the one football free Saturday, as the following weekend, I took in one more football match, travelling to Manchester to see United take on Crystal Palace.

While I was in Manchester, I took the opportunity to get some Street Art photos.

The month ended with a trip to The Limelight to see George Ezra in concert

The Divine Comedy live at Custom House Square

The Divine Comedy live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Coleraine Photo Album

Lisburn Street Art – May 2017

Lisburn Street Art – May 2017 Photo Album

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United v Crystal Palace Photo Album

George Ezra live at The Limelight

George Ezra live at The Limelight Photo Album

THE DIVINE COMEDY – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 3.5.2017

If it’s May, that can only mean one thing. Eurovision. Well, yes, but that wasn’t what I was thinking of.

End of the football season? Well, yes, but again, not what I was thinking of.

Topless spides drinking in Botanic. Again, yes, but not what I was thinking of.

What I was thinking of was, the annual Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast, the 18th running of this event. Always worth keeping an eye out when the line-up is announced, one of the highlights of this year’s event was a concert by The Divine Comedy. Another highlight was Rich Hall, who I saw two days after this concert.

Any concert in Belfast by a Northern Ireland act is usually billed as a “homecoming” even if the act isn’t actually from Belfast. Neil Hannon telling the crowd “Despite my accent, i’m one of you” in response to a woman screaming “Sold out!!!” in a Belfasty accent.

It was perhaps apt, given the comedic nature of the band’s name, that Neil Hannon was part stand-up when interacting with the crowd between songs stating that the venue reminds him of childhood camping holidays while declaring his love of tents, but hoping that this one doesn’t have any spiders.

This came just after performing a new song, How Can You Leave Me On My Own? about his domestic uselessness, while dressed as Napoleon.

He wasn’t dressed like that the whole show as he had a mid show costume change, changing into a suit, his tie then disappeared by the encore. It was one of those nights.

I remember getting into The Divine Comedy when Something For The Weekend was a UK Top 20 hit, buying their singles after that and being dismayed that their chart positions had two numbers, National Express in 1999 giving them a sole Top 10 hit.

One of those undercharting singles was Bad Ambassador, which Neil Hannon couldn’t remember what year it was released when introducing it. It was 2001 if you care.

Sipping a pint of Guinness inbetween songs, Hannon began grumbling “Drink. Feck. Arse”.

He wasn’t being a banter bore reciting Father Ted quotes. He had some justification. He only wrote the theme tune (Songs Of Love) to the show. The band performed this, with the crowd singing along, not to the words, but the iconic guitar riff known to fans of the TV show.

This being the month of Eurovision, the crowd then began shouting for him to do a cover of My Lovely Horse by Ted Crilly and Dougal Maguire. He decline, so the crowd began shouting “Go on, go on, go on”.

He still wouldn’t budge, preferring to play something, in his words, “obscure” in the shape of Something For The Weekend.

There may not have been a cover of My Lovely Horse, but the crowd were treated to two covers. First, was Alfie by Cilla Black. Why? “Because I like it” according to Hannon.

The second cover was an instrumental version of Blue Monday, kicking in when Blue Monday was mentioned in the lyrics to The Indie Disco.

Two stools were then brought onto the stage as Lisa O’Neill, who supported them then came on stage for a duet. There wasn’t just musical reasons for the chairs, with Hannon quipping “I’m 46 now”.

If you saw him dancing on stage, he didn’t look like a man who needed a breather as he said “See you soon” when leaving the stage.

A Belfast gig being added to their Winter tour looks a good bet.

Photo Album

The Divine Comedy Live At HMV Belfast 2016

2015 IN PICTURES – MAY

May began for me at The Oval for the Irish Cup Final, in the Portadown end, getting absolutely drenched and watching Glentoran win the cup.

Thankfully, the day got better and drier, as I headed to a tent in Custom House Square to see The Charlatans in concert.

Two weeks later, I headed over to Manchester to see United take on Arsenal, and took the opportunity to get some Street Art photos while I was there.

The final weekend of the month saw me head to Ravenhill for the Pro 12 Final between Glasgow and Munster, which Glasgow deservedly won.

The following day, saw me take an early morning flight to Liverpool, to head to Crewe, to see Northern Ireland take on Qatar in a friendly. The appeal of that was to visit a ground (Gresty Road) for the first time, and the next day to make my every 4-5 years visit to Liverpool.

My Scouse adventures will be in next month’s round-up, as my day there was 1st June.

Glentoran v Portadown

Glentoran v Portadown Photo Album

The Charlatans Live At Custom House Square

The Charlatans Live At Custom House Square Photo Album

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Arsenal

Manchester United v Arsenal Photo Album

Glasgow v Munster

Glasgow v Munster Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Qatar

Northern Ireland v Qatar Photo Album

THE CHARLATANS – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 2.5.2015 (CATHEDRAL QUARTER ARTS FESTIVAL)

After an absence of nearly two years, The Charlatans returned to Belfast for a gig at Custom House Square, as part of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

It was a gig Belfast fans had been waiting for, with Belfast being left off their March tour. A Dublin date was announced soon after, which got fans hopes up, before this date was announced in the middle of March, the excitement begun.

Their last gig was in 2013 at Falls Park as part of Feile. It felt a bit subdued. It would later emerge why that was, as drummer Jon Brookes was gravely ill, before dying the following week. There is a Belfast Telegraph article covering that gig and previewing this one here.

That gig took place in a tent, just like this one. Given the weather outside, fans were thankful of that. The tent factor didn’t go unnoticed by the band, with Tim Burgess commenting “Every gig we do here is in a tent” before being corrected by Mark Collins that it was, in fact, a marquee.

Burgess entered the stage shortly after the rest of the band, who were playing an instrumental version of Forever, with Burgess loitering at the side of the stage, building up the tension.

If it hits you wanted, they didn’t disappoint, with Weirdo, North Country Boy, Tellin Stories, One To Another, How High and Only One I Know all on the setlist.

As well as classic hits, there was also current hits, with singles from their current album, Modern Nature, such as So Oh, May The Good Times Be Never Ending and Talking In Tones all being played.

During the set, someone shouted “Fuck Ronan Keating”, which seemed to be a bit random, until I discovered he got into a spat with the band recently.

Burgess took the opportunity to exhibit his dancing skills during the set, the Belfast crowd danced along with him.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before The Charlatans return to Belfast. If they can’t find a venue to play in, i’m sure somebody will build them a tent.

Photo Album

The Charlatans Live In Falls Park August 2013

The Charlatans Live At Falls Park August 2013 Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 22.2.2013

1. Olly Murs – Army Of Two
2. Stereophonics – Indian Summer
3. Gabrielle Aplin – Please Don’t Say You Love Me
4. Arlissa – Sticks And Stones
5. Bridget Mendler – Ready Or Not

Last week saw the start of the drip feeding of announcement of events at Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. It’s 80s tastis this year, with Adam Ant and Dexy’s Midnight Runners headlining.

So, to commemorate this, here’s a Dexy’s/Adam Ant joint chart for you.

FIVE SONGS BY DEXY’s MIDNIGHT RUNNERS OR ADAM ANT

1. Adam Ant – Stand and Deliver
2. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Geno
3. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – The Celtic Soul Brother
4. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
5. Adam Ant – Puss N Boots

SAINT ETIENNE – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 10.5.2012

Was at Custom House Square last night to see Saint Etienne perform, as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (CQAF)

They are one of those bands that you know more songs of theirs than you think you do. If you were a regular viewer of The Chart Show in the mid-late 90s, you definitely do know more songs than you think you do.

The band are returning with new material for the first time in seven years, and it showed at times, with some technical issues on the sound, and in some cases, Sarah Cracknell forgetting the words on some songs.

It was with some trepidation, by the singer’s own admission, that they previewed some new material. They needn’t have worried, the crowd enjoyed them. One woman inparticular in the front row, who screamed “I LOVE YOU SARAH!!!!” before turning her attentions to Bob Stanley with “I LIKE YOU BOB!!!! I REALLY REALLY LIKE YOU BOB”

As with any band, the biggest hits got the biggest cheers, and the crowd went wild for “You’re In A Bad Way” and “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”

Absolutely loved the live version of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”

It was a nice vibe in a nice intimate venue but it did feel like it wasn’t as good as I’d expected. Maybe I built up too much expectations going into it?

That said, it was still an enjoyable evening.

Photos

See Also

Echo and the Bunnymen (CQAF 2010)

Echo and the Bunnymen (CQAF 2010) Photos

 

 

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE

As I was getting a train to Dublin last month, I picked up a booklet advertising the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival as reading material to pass the time on the journey.

When browsing, I saw that Echo and the Bunnymen would be performing at the festival, and that tickets would only cost £10. This was a no-brainer, not even worth thinking about.

Upon my return to Belfast, I immediately went and purchased a ticket.

Apologies for the delay in posting this blog, as technical glitches with Twitpic meant I wasn’t able to get photos uploaded for ages.

I’d been to Custom House Square for concerts. It doesn’t take a lot to fill it, and if you can get it full, it makes for a good concert.

To my surprise, the concert was to take place in a indoor marquee rather than an open air concert which usually takes place at this venue.

Support was provided by appropriately named local act Joe Echo. He was OK, nothing special. Can’t say I was going to rush to buy his CD after the concert.

I love Echo and the Bunnymen, and I mean, I love Echo and the Bunnymen.

I actually got into the band in 1997 with their ‘Evergreen‘ album and their comeback hit ‘Nothing Lasts Forever

I’d never actually heard of them and thought they were a new act, not realising that they were releasing their first new material in nearly a decade after reforming.

As a result, I purchased their Best Of album ‘Ballyhoo‘, and fell more in love with them, especially songs like ‘The Cutter‘, ‘Killing Moon‘ and ‘Bring On The Dancing Horses

The setlist for this concert was mainly drawn from their 80s singles, with ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ being the only song since their 1997 reformation being included on the setlist, which is a pity as ‘What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?‘ (1999) and ‘Flowers‘ (2001) have some excellent songs on it.

The band are very much these days a two piece of Ian McCullough and Will Sergeant (Les Pattison left the band and Pete De Frietas died in 1989) and assembled backing musicians.

Singer McCullough is the leader of the band and his influence his felt on stage as his berating of backing musicians usually results in them doing what he wants.

The phrase “Less is more” best describes McCullough’s on stage performance as he just sings. No dancing or anything else, just singing.

At times, he was off-key and out of tune, but it was part of the charm of the performance. It’s not X-Factor you know.

The band were electrifying, and the lack of lighting in the venue meant there was an element of mystery surrounding their performance.

After leaving to a rapturous reception, the band returned to do an encore, performing ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’, before merging it into a cover of ‘Walk On The Wildside’, alternation customised lyrics of “Hey babe, take a walk on the Merseyside” and “Hey Belfast, take a walk on the wild side” and then merging into a cover of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ by The Beatles.

A tenner well spent.

Twitpics

Flickr