2019 IN PICTURES – MARCH

March began with a first concert at Elmwood Hall for me, to see KT Tunstall.

A few days later was my first football match of the month, as I travelled to Mourneview Park to see Linfield lose to Glenavon.

The football didn’t get much better, as I headed to Seaview to see Linfield lose the County Antrim Shield Final to Crusaders.

Thankfully, things got a bit better as Linfield beat Institute 2-0.

There was a flurry of football as the month ended, with three games in four days, with Linfield’s trip to Dungannon Swifts being sandwiched inbetween Northern Ireland’s opening Euro 2020 Qualifiers, at home to Estonia and Belarus.

KT Tunstall live at Elmwood Hall

KT Tunstall live at Elmwood Hall Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Institute

Northern Ireland v Estonia

Northern Ireland v Estonia Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Belarus

Northern Ireland v Belarus Photo Album

2019 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February didn’t get off to the best start, as I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield exit the Irish Cup against Crusaders.

Things got better the following Saturday as Linfield came from 2-0 down to score a last minute winner against Coleraine.

It got a lot better the following Saturday as Linfield beat Ballymena United to win the NIFL Cup.

Finally, it was time for my first concerts of the year, going to see Chvrches at Ulster Hall, then Razorlight at The Limelight the following evening.

That was followed by some more football, as Linfield took on Ballymena United again, this time in the League, and then a midweek trip to Newry to see Linfield grind out a 1-0 win.

Linfield v Crusaders

Linfield v Coleraine

NIFL Cup Final

NIFL Cup Final Photo Album

Chvrches live at Ulster Hall

Chvrches live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Razorlight live at The Limelight

Razorlight live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

Newry City v Linfield

OMD – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 23.10.2019

“This first song was from 1980, and this last song was from 2017” said Andy McCluskey two songs in, before adding “And the rest will be from inbetween”, stating the obvious, considering that it was a 40th Anniversary Greatest Hits Tour.

1991, then 2009 (supporting Simple Minds), then 2017, and now 2019. Thankfully, the gap between their appearances in Belfast seem to be getting shorter. In fact it was one day short of two years since they were last in Belfast, at Mandela Hall.

It was back in 1996, when channel hopping and coming across the video for Walking On The Milky Way on VH1 (Because all the cool kids watch VH1), I always remembered how such a great song it was.

Then I knew Enola Gay. I liked two songs.

Then a few years later, I couldn’t sleep, and was watching some 80s videos on one of the music channels, and they played Souvenir.

So that was three songs I now knew and liked.

Later, when I joined the Music Library at Belfast Central Library, one of the first albums I took out was the 1998 compilation album The OMD Singles, and found I quite liked them.

It was a long wait for them to come to Belfast, though thankfully not long for them to return.

Pishing down with rain when I walked to the venue, I soon discovered there were no Cloakroom facilities at the venue, so I faced a choice.

The raincoat I was wearing came from Decathlon, and is more for sailing, Sailing On The Seven Seas, you could say. It is absolutely roasting and the venue was roasting. Do I continue to wear it and be roasted squared?

Or do I tie it around my waist and look like a dick?

If you care, I went for the looking like a dick option.

The heat was referenced by McCluskey during the set, asking who had been at Mandela Hall in 2017, and commenting that it was just as hot.

Pointless fact about Andy McCluskey. His real name is George but he prefers to be called Andrew. That must have been really awkward if he was ever hanging out with Wham.

I’m not really a fan of Ulster Hall, but I saw Chvrches there earlier this year and it was fantastic, so it might not be dreadful for this genre of music.

As in 2017, McCluskey was taking Dad Dancing to a new level, and I’ve seen Tim Booth and James Dean Bradfield dance. The key, he said, was to dance like nobody is watching.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he holds Dancercise classes at Birkenhead Community Centre on a Tueaday night. He was working up such a sweat, that his black shirt was an even darker shade of black.

He even managed to display a sense of humour, telling people not to nip off to the toilet during a new song as it was actually quite good. When introducing a song he described it as a new song, before adding “From 1991”.

Just as people were expecting Sailing On The Seven Seas, opening up a Pandora’s Box by playing, um, Pandora’s Box.

Most of the big hits played usually resulted in hand clapping and fist pumping from the audience.

Hits such as Tesla Girls, getting a Yes Yes Yes from the audience as soon as the synthesised “No No No” intro was heard.

Other hits included Enola Gay, Sailing On The Seven Seas, Electricity, Messages, Joan Of Arc, Maid Of Orleans, Locomotion and So In Love.

Paul Humphries was even allowed out to sing Forever Live And Die, thankfully not being hit in the face by a bra thrown from the crowd as he was in 2017. Andy said he was jealous of the applause he got from the crowd, allowing him to sing another song, Souvenir.

The only downside was that my three favourite OMD songs, Walking On The Milky Way and If You Leave weren’t played, but I can live with that, considering how many of their big hits.

As they left the stage, Paul Humphries said “See you soon”.

You could read that as a quick return to Belfast to meet up with A-Ha next week, who they toured with in 2018.

Or maybe not, though that would be nice. Whenever it is, i’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Photo Album

OMD live at Mandela Hall 2017

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB – LIVE AT THE TELEGRAPH BUILDING 16.10.2019

“It’s nice to see you Belfast” said Alex Trimble at the end of the first song, but didn’t add “To see you, nice!!!”. That would have been too cheesy, even for a man dressed as a 60s Crooner.

Sipping wine, on a Wednesday night, while wearing a turtleneck jumper and a purple suit, Trimble was very Bangor. Ballyholme behaviour.

This was a rare Belfast concert for the band, which they acknowledged during chatter between songs. In fact, you’ve had to go elsewhere in Northern Ireland to see them.

In 2017, you would have had to go to Portstewart to see them perform at the Irish Open. Their only concert in Northern Ireland that year, and it was for a bunch of Golf Dicks.

Earlier this year, they were part of the line-up for Ward Park 3 in their native Bangor.

In terms of Belfast, their previous appearance was in 2016 at The Limelight, in a concert billed as Tudor Cinema Club, a tribute to Two Door Cinema Club. They fooled nobody.

I wasn’t at it, not because I was fooled, but because I was already booked for Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott at Ulster Hall.

Before that, you have to go back to Belsonic in 2012, back when it was held at Custom House Square. That completed a quick rise for the band. A few years earlier, they were playing at Belsonic in late afternoon/teatime and being in small case on the concert poster, now they were headlining it.

For some reason, this concert appeared in the listings in the programme for the Belfast International Arts Festival. Nothing in the promo beforehand suggested it was part of the event, but rather, part of the band’s tour for their current album, False Alarm.

This concert took place in The Telegraph Building, a new venue for me, and a relatively new venue for Belfast.

As the name suggests, it is the building where the Belfast Telegraph was based before they moved to Clarendon.

The room where this concert was where the printing press was, the room where reports of Linfield trophy wins were printed.

This was my first time here. I’d hoped to park near to it but couldn’t find a space. After working my way around one way streets and a tour of Belfast City Centre, I settled on parking at Castle Court and walking the rest. I think I might just walk it for any concerts there in future.

On the day of the concert, I received an e-mail from Ticketmaster advising me to wrap up warm as it was a venue with no temperature. How wrong it was, it was roasting.

Described in that e-mail as “A pop up warehouse venue”, it had a screen where you could watch the gig from the bar if you were that way inclined.

As said earlier, this was my first concert at The Telegraph Building, but it might be my only one as plans are in place to turn it into an office building, but no actual date for that is known.

The reason why this gig was taking place in Royal Avenue was that The Limelight was unavailable due to Hot Chip already being booked to appear there.

The band walked on to the stage to the sound of Talk, the lead single from their current album, the drum based intro setting the scene perfectly for Trimble to strut onto the stage.

They ran through their hits, songs such as Talk, Undercover Martyn, Are We Ready?, Bad Decisions, Changing Of The Seasons and What You Know.

While performing Bad Decisions, Trimble channelled his Inner Prince. Well, he was wearing a purple suit.

The band expressed their excitement at playing at another new venue in Belfast, having played, in their words “Every pub, club and house party” in the city in their early days.

The band left the stage, and that was at. There was no encore. Or as we should say given the location, no late edition.

There was some mixed news in terms of concert announcements.

Kaiser Chiefs announced that their tour, with Razorlight as support act, will now hit Dublin but not have a Belfast date, while Blossoms announced they will be coming to Belfast in March.

I’ve already got a ticket for Blossoms, making it my first confirmed concert of 2020. How very exciting.

But back to 2019, and the second of three concerts in a busy October have been ticked off. Up next, OMD.

Photo Album

Two Door Cinema Club live at Custom House Square 2012

THE DIVINE COMEDY – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 7.10.2019

A busy month of concerts for me saw The Divine Comedy (Two Door Cinema Club and OMD to follow in the coming weeks) take to the stage at Ulster Hall, my first concert in four months, if you don’t include Edwyn Collins instore appearance at Strange Victory last month.

That concert by Edwyn Collins has raised the bar though, now i’m expecting tea and cake at every show I go to.

I was tempted, two days before this, to go and see John Power in Warrenpoint. If Linfield were away to Warrenpoint on Saturday, that would have sealed the deal. If I did end up doing a Football/Concert double header, I would have seen seven goals and got drenched. I sat at home and stayed dry.

Death, Taxes, Cast at The Limelight. But maybe not this year.

You were spoilt for choice on this particular evening. You had Keane (who I haven’t seen and would have love to have went, but I had my ticket for this before Keane were announced) at Waterfront Hall or you could have had Little Mix at The Odyssey if you wanted.

I wasn’t really that fussed on Little Mix, so were The Divine Comedy worth missing Keane for? Well, you’ll have to read on.

I’m just grateful that anybody is playing in Belfast these days. The last few months have seen Simple Minds, Pet Shop Boys, Stereophonics, Blossoms and Liam Gallagher all announce tours with no Belfast gig. Flip sake.

Support came from a band called Man and the Echo, who sound like Echo and the Bunnymen backwardsand featured a Keyboardist who fancied himself as Ron Mael, were decent, with a few toetapping tunes

The Divine Comedy are touring their latest album, called Office Politics, a concept album about life in an office.

The stage was set up like and office, with and in door and an out door.

Annoying they didn’t walk in through the out door, as a sort of tribute to Prince.

Neil Hannon, the impish little frontman appeared on stage and you couldn’t miss him, wearing a suit with images of a Test Card and wearing sunglasses indoors ……… in October.

And yet, he still managed to not look like Colin Hunt from The Fast Show.

It was an outfit that Hannon would decribed as “Hot”, stating that nobody told him how hot it would be.

This current album didn’t get an instore appearance at HMV in Belfast to support it like the last album, the people of Manchester had that honour. So, this would be the first the people would get to hear it.

This album made up most of the playlist, with Hannon stating that he is at a disadvantage in terms of research, as he doesn’t work in an office in his day job as a Pop Star, with his business being that of Show.

Part of this show was theatrical with a clock in the background being manually adjusted to take us on a journey through the working day. This work was done by a Roadie called Alistair, who got some sympathy from the crowd during the band’s last Ulster Hall gig after Hannon told him off.

The lights went down, and by the time they went back up, the band were wearing party hats, holding a balloon, as it was time for the Office Christmas Party.

And what song would kick off this party? Something For The Weekend, of course.

Hannon then disappeared into the pit between Stage and Floor, he was engaging in a “Watercooler moment”, although not many would have been able to see it. He then went on to make fun of people who work in HR. Less of that please.

As Hannon prepared inbetween songs, there would always be someone shouting “Play My Lovely Horse”. He was rather polite in his rejection of any such request, even though the temptation would have been to shout “Feck off”.

There would be at least one Father Ted song on the setlist, Songs Of Love, an instrumental version of which was the theme to the show.

For the encore, we were treated to a stripped back version of National Express. It worked, surprisingly so when you consider how big and loud the song is.

I wonder if they fancy doing some overtime?

Photo Album

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall 2017

The Divine Comedy live at Custom House Square 2017

The Divine Comedy live at HMV Belfast 2016

EDWYN COLLINS – LIVE AT STRANGE VICTORY 15.9.2019

Just putting it out there, all concerts should come with cake and tea on arrival.

That was what greeted me upon arrival at Stange Victory, where Edwyn Collins was doing a live instore afternoon gig before appearing at The Empire later that evening.

If you don’t know where Stange Victory is, walk towards Virgin Megas ……. what do you mean Virgin Megastore isn’t there any more?

Walk towards where Virgin Megastore was, and then turn left before you get to where Virgin Megastore was. Then you’ll find Strange Victory, and independent music store.

Starting a few minutes late due to the volume of fans wanting photos, autographs and everything inbetween, every request was honoured.

Not realising his mic was on, Collins accidentally broadcast his conversation to the crowd, it was nothing juicy or scandalous, he then asked for a glass of water, stating that it was thirsty work.

It was ironic, that he had a very dry sense of humour, commenting every time a member of his band introduced what song would be next.

Unsurprisingly, the setlist mostly comprised of songs from his new album Badbea, which he encouraged people to buy, even though he is against the commercialisation of rock n roll.

To be honest, I only really knew three songs by Edwyn Collins, none of which were played, not that it mattered.

A Girl Like You, undisputed banging tune. You can play air guitar to that song but not headbang, just strut and pose.

The Magic Piper Of Love, from the first Austin Powers movie, which wasn’t a massive hit, though it should have been.

And then, Rip It Up by Orange Juice, thanks to Top Of The Pops 2 for introducing it to me.

Of course, I managed to keep up my concert tradition of bumping into Linfield supporters, having a conversation about the previous day’s match as I left.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and it was especially enjoyable for Collins, who was presented with a cake by the store as he left

Photo Album

FEEDER – LIVE AT HOLYWOOD RUGBY CLUB (HOLYWOOD HARMONY) 1.6.2019

So, I went to North Down’s big concert.

No not that one, the one the following Saturday, as Feeder performed at Holywood Rugby Club as part of Holywood Harmony.

If you don’t know, Holywood Harmony is a relatively new music festival taking place in Holywood, funnily enough, usually in the first weekend of June.

Getting there was easy, I decided to drive though the train was also available as an option, and managed to get parked at a Public Car Park a five minute walk from the venue.

Holywood is one of my semi regular cycling routes, so I know my way about the town, so I knew how to find the venue easily enough. If you do visit Holywood any time soon, may I recommend you visit The Cove, which is an absolutely fantastic retro/vintage store.

It’s good that there are concerts and events in Northern Ireland outside of Belfast. Even though Belfast concerts are convenient for me, it’s good to see something different in the concert listings.

I arrived at the venue at around 8pm, so I missed Dea Matrona, which was a pity as I’ve seen some videos of their songs and they sound decent.

Fun Lovin Criminals were only a couple of minutes into their set when I arrived.

They are a band who are a bit background music to me. If they were on the radio I wouldn’t turn them down, but I might not turn them up. If they were the headline act and Feeder the main support, I might have headed home after Feeder’s set.

That sounds like I think they’re rubbish, that’s not true, they’ve done some decent tunes.

Curiously, I won their 2001 album Loco in a competition on a website.

Huey told the crowd that their Puerto Rican groove was keeping the rain away, blaming Flybe for a slight spittle of raindrops after one of their aicrafts flew over the venue.

The set wasn’t without difficulties, as a power failure saw them have to leave the stage for a few minutes, only for more technical difficulties which saw the microphones not working.

Huey’s interaction with the crowd that we did hear included him bigging up Feeder, a bit of mutual appreciation between the bands with Grant Nicholas returning the favour, bigging up Fun Loving Criminals, as well as complimenting “The three girls” who were on earlier, that being Dea Matrona.

Huey also started a diplomatic incident with shoutouts to Belfast.

Thoughts and prayers are with the Postman or Postwoman whose route covers his house, as he will be bombarded with angry letters from people pointing out that Holywood is in North Down and East Belfast and that they’ll never sell their house for £1m if people think they live in East Belfast.

I think somebody might have briefed Grant Nicholas behind the scenes as he did shout outs to Holywood during his set, although there were occasional slips where he referred to being in Belfast.

In previous years, this festival had been held in a tent, but this year was the first year it became an outdoor event. I’d bought my ticket on the basis that this would be in a tent, so it was disheartening when I discovered it would be outdoors.

Not because of the weather, but because of you know what, or rather, you know who.

As with any outdoor event in Northern Ireland, it was infested with absolute fucking tramps on the fags and vapes, Stewards as well, so my hopes of some clean air while enjoying Feeder were zero.

Yep, it’s still an epidemic and a battle we are losing. Disgracefully, it’s a battle we as a society don’t even seem interested in winning.

Demand better. I’ve seen that plastered on election posters the past two months. That’s what i’m doing. Hopefully, the newly elected council line-ups will be making it a priority during this forthcoming term.

Because of this, I have absolutely no enthusiasm for outdoor concerts. I’m letting the bastards win. I shouldn’t do this but I have no choice. My heart sinks when someone I like announces an outdoor show in Belfast. I either give it a miss, or go and be surrounded by scum like that.

Thankfully, The Killers are flogging an album from two years ago, so I won’t feel bad about giving their Ormeau Park concert a miss, especially as they played Belfast in November 2017 when promoting that album.

Thankfully, the rest of Belsonic, George Ezra aside, is shite, so no loss there. And as George Ezra hasn’t released new material since his last Belfast concert means giving his Belfast concert a miss will be no loss.

Grown adults who smoke or vape should be made to explain themselves. Seriously, how do you have such a lack of self awareness to be so smelly and not be embarrassed by it?

The fact that people who should be told to fuck off are emboldened and empowered to strut about like they own the place should be a bit of an indicator that we have failed as a society.

Surely i’m not the only one who feels this way? I can’t be the only one who thinks that this should not be normal or acceptable.

Come on folks, let’s be better than that.

One good thing about this concert was that there was a second stage at the other end of the pitch which had performers during the gap between acts on the main stage, which was a good way of killing time.

Feeder came on stage and belted out their hits, a lot of jumping up and down was done during Buck Rogers, with Grant Nicholas saying that he did a session on the radio with Gerry Kelly who he described as a legend.

For clarity, that’s the ex UTV guy and not the guy who parks where he likes outside gyms.

There were problems with the stage lights during Feeder’s set, sometimes the lights flickered, came on and then off, with Grant Nicholas explaining that this was due to a generator blowing.

Thankfully, I was relatively close enough to the stage (not right beside it, but still a decent view) so I was still able to see them during the lighting issues.

Coming on later than scheduled meant there was no time for an encore so they had to make up the time by blasting through as many songs as possible.

Nicholas asked the song for a request, he knew that they wanted, and teased the opening riff to Just A Day, which is what the band signed off on.

With a new album out in August, Nicholas promised a Belfast concert when they tour that album.

Of course, last week was Snow Patrol’s homecoming concert at Ward Park in Bangor. I didn’t go to it. I like some songs by them but not enough to spend all day in a field in the pishing rain surrounded by smelly tramps on the fags or vapes.

This week, it was announced they will be performing at The Duncairn Centre as part of Other Voices visit to Belfast (their second visit to Belfast)

If you don’t know, Other Voices is RTE’s flagship music show, a random blend every week, filmed in Dingle but they sometimes go on trips around the world to film in other cities. You should give it a try if you get the chance.

I’ve applied for tickets to be in the audience, so wish me luck.

I was hoping that The Divine Comedy would be doing an instore gig at HMV ahead of the release of their new album, like they did in 2016.

As yet, nothing has been announced.

If not, then my next scheduled concert isn’t until October, then it’s a bit of a cluster, with The Divine Comedy, OMD and Two Door Cinema Club all in the diary.

And maybe, i’ll look at John Power in Warrenpoint if Linfield are away to Warrenpoint Town that day.

Photo Album

Feeder live at The Limelight 2018

Feeder live at The Limelight 2016

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

RAZORLIGHT – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 22.2.2019

Playing at, in their words, a “Special place” to them, Razorlight made a welcome return to Belfast with a gig at The Limelight.

I’d previously seen them before, but it was a while ago. It was so long ago, it was when Tennent’s Vital was at Ormeau Park, as they appeared alongside Manic Street Preachers in 2007.

Back then, they were riding high following the success of their self titled second album, with massive hits such as In The Morning, America, Before I Fall To Pieces and I Can’t Stop This Feeling I’ve Got. The second of that quartet, America, provided the band with their first, and so far only Number 1 single in the UK.

It was two years before, that I got into Razorlight. There was someone I worked with who was obsessed with them, and especially Golden Touch.

I didn’t really need to be persuaded, it’s a fantastic tune, as well as other singles from their debut album such as Rip It Up amd Somewhere Else.

Sticking to the industry standard of a new album every two years, they released their third album in 2008, Slipway Fires, with the lead single Wire To Wire, being a, um, slow burner, a grower of a song, but still well worth a listen. Despite that, it would be the only major single release from that album.

So, 2010 comes along, and we await Razorlight album number four. Then 2011, then 2012, then we just forgot about them, the band going on haitus until album number four, Olympus Sleeping, arrived in 2018.

All the hits that were mentioned were unsurprisingly played, as was the underrated Who Needs Love?, which was only an album track on their second album. If they released it as a single, it surely would have been a massive hit.

The band were on stage at around 8.15pm and off by around 9.30pm. Not going to lie, i’m a big fan of The Limelight’s early starts and finishes.

There, I said it, 00s nostalgia and sensible bedtimes.

Razorlight crammed as much as they could into their stage time, it was all killer and no filler, but no actual covers of songs by The Killers.

By this point, Johnny Borrell was very sweaty, and channelling his inner Mick Jagger when allowed to strut on stage without a guitar. The boy can’t help it, it’s not his fault, just a dangerous dangerous age.

Unsurprisingly, their biggest hit, America, was saved for the encore.

It’s a song that sounds best in the Winter months, the soundtrack to the end of 2006 for me, and a hug in musical form, that last line doesn’t sound weird in any way.

The sentiment, wasn’t that friendly, as Borrell made a dedication before the song, declaring “Fuck you” to Donald Trump and Fox News.

You could say the lyrics of the song are prophetic, but then again, all my life, panic in America.

Photo Album

CHVRCHES – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 19.2.2019

First concert of 2019 for me, and it was a first for the band, as Chvrches made their first visit to Belfast, as singer Lauren Mayberry declared this to be a sort of local gig for her, saying “I had a Granny McIntyre from near here”.

The band said during the show that they love touring so much, because it stops them from returning to Glasgow, where they hear about family friends and distant relatives dying.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though.

I’d first got into Chvrches back in 2013 when they released their debut album, with singles such as The Mother We Share, Recover, Lies and Gun, dreamy chilled out and atmospheric synthpop with a tune. Finally, they’d made it to Belfast.

Regular readers of this blog will know i’m a fan of Chvrches, featuring regularly in The Friday Five and The Sound Of, having the 14th best song of 2018, 7th best song of 2016, 3rd best song of 2015, and the 91st best song of 2013.

Wait a minute, isn’t Chvrches that Romanian guy that plays for Spurs?

No, that’s Vlad Chiriches, and he plays for Napoli now.

Support came from Let’s Eat Grandma, who were ok, very theatrical and dramatic, and there wasn’t a musical instrument that they didn’t play.

Coming from Scotland, Chvrches will be quick to tell you that Ye Cannae Throw Yer Granny Aff A Bus.

It was those hits that they jumped straight into, albeit more recent ones such as Get Out and Bury It.

Seeing the Mulholland Grand Organ (the keys were locked, much to their disappointment), they mistakenly believed the venue was a church, or a former church, pointing out the irony of a band called Chvrches playing there, a verbal exchanged which saw Martin Doherty being dubbed “The Phantom Of The Dochera” and “The Fanny Of The Opera”.

The gig wasn’t problem free, as the bass on the left hand side of the floor seemed to be a bit iffy, while Lauren was having microphone problems, stating she would prefer to have a headset microphone like Britney or Madonna, but stated that she wasn’t cool enough to use one.

One of the reasons that she wouldn’t want to use one of those microphones was that people would hear her mumbling and swearing inbetween songs, apologising to one young member of the crowd for using the mf word, while she sat on a box for a slow song, it was speculated, and hoped by the band that Gwyneth Paltrow’s head would be inside.

If you’re wondering, they explained that it was a reference to the film Seven, rather than them being weird Coldplay fans who wish ill will on her for divorcing, sorry, consciously uncoupling Chris Martin.

As the band appeared for their encore, Lauren commented that the applause she received made her feel like a sports star, though she was probably as knackered as one with the amount of pirouetting she did on stage.

It may not be the only time I see Chvrches in 2019, as the week before this, they were announced as one of the acts appearing at Summer Sessions, taking place in Edinburgh, the posh suburb part of their native Glasgow.

Regular readers will know I head to Edinburgh every August. I haven’t booked my trip yet, but the week when James and Madness appear at Summer Sessions a few days apart is very tempting.

Also recently announced was that Feeder will be headlining a night at Holywood Harmony, in Holywood, funnily enough.

As said last year, it’s good to see concerts in Northern Ireland outside Belfast. I’m tempted to head along to that. Good luck to them.

Photo Album

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