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

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 – 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

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

PRIMAL SCREAM – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 10.12.2019

Unless something dramatic happens, this was my final concert of 2019, and it ended how it started, by seeing a Scottish act at Ulster Hall.

Primal Scream rolled into Belfast, as they seem to do every three years, to promote a Greatest Hits album called Maximum Rock n Roll. I didn’t realise there were limits on Rock n Roll.

This time there would be a change of venue from those concerts in 2013 and 2016, with Ulster Hall hosting them instead of The Limelight, a return to the venue after 25 years according to Gillespie, before adding that his memory was hazy. A quick search online suggests it was 1992 rather than 1994.

As with my last visit to Ulster Hall, there would be no cloakroom facilities. So, I had a choice between wearing a raincoat indoors like a dick, or carrying my raincoat like a dick. I went for the option of looking like a dick.

Bobby Gillespie strode on stage, wearing a pink suit, but looking more like The Joker than Mr Blobby, being tripped out and chilled out, as per his usual vibe.

On Tuesdays we wear pink. So fetch.

Elsewhere on stage, Andrew Innes and Simone Butler, bounced off each other, metaphorically not literally, as they plucked their strings.

Those three were the only ones on stage who were visible, with Keyboards and Drums being hidden by their large equipment.

Butlet is now a permanent member of the band, having replace Mani who left to work on Stone Roses third album, which i’m sure will be released soon. Just finishing it off i’m sure.

For the early stage of the concert, it was mostly hits from their B List and C List, a lot of guitar driven songs and not a lot of dancing.

As a result, this concert took a while to get going.

Then, Gillespie asks the crowd “Do you want to party?”, before an automated voiced asked that immortal question, “Just what is it that you want?”

The party had now started, with Innes revelling in getting the opportunity to do the guitar solos he had been waiting all night to do.

At the end of that song, Gillespie said the next song had a choir and asked the crowd if they would fill in. We all knew what it would be, Moving On Up, and we all sang along, giving the band a standing ovation, and when our hands were sore, started stomping our feet.

From there, we moved on to Jailbird, then Country Girl, before finishing on Rocks, before Gillespie wished the crowd Merry Christmas.

It took a while to get going, but when it did, Primal Scream were unstoppable, a very enjoyable concert.

From Rocks to Roxette, and it was sad to hear about the death of Marie Fredriksson earlier in the day. Can’t say I would have rushed to see them in concert (They played Dublin in 2015) but you have to acknowledge they had some absolutely banging tunes back in the day.

So that is me in terms of concerts for 2019, but I’ve already got concerts for 2020 booked – Badly Drawn Boy in January, Blossoms in March, and Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott in April.

There are a few i’m going to pin my hopes on for 2020.

Crowded House announced a concert for Dublin on July 1st, the night i’ll be leaving Dublin after a short break. This triggered a rediscovering of Crowded House for me, it’s easy to forget how good they were.

They announced a UK tour this week. No Belfast gig. Hopefully, a Belfast concert can be squeezed in around their Dublin and Cork concerts.

While i’m in Dublin in late June/early July, Haim will be playing Dublin. Tempted, but then I remember that I hate outdoor concerts.

As a result, i’ll be giving Liam Gallagher at Boucher Road a miss. Sat in a field in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the stage as the Golden Circle is kept for people who know people and plebs like me can fuck off. Add into that, the place will stink of fags and vapes, and it will be infested with spotty faced fuckwits from Ards putting on crap Manchester accents and doing the Gallagher Strut, boasting how they’ll “Beat up some Cockney bastards”. I think i’ll pass.

Next time Liam, just do The Odyssey. I’ll pin my hopes on Noel turning up there.

Duran Duran have announced an outdoor concert for Dublin in the Summer with a new album also on the way in 2020. Fingers crossed a tour later in the year that takes in Belfast.

Ash are playing Dublin concert for New Year’s Eve, so i’ll be expecting a Dublin concert in 2020 to be embargoed, with a Dublin/Belfast double header being announced.

I’m hoping to go away over the July Holidays, i’m still trying to get those plans in place. I’ll keep an eye out on the listings for Galway International Arts Festival and Live At The Marquee in Cork around those dates.

So, that’s my plans for 2020. We shall see if it comes to fruition.

Photo Album

Primal Scream live at The Limelight 2016

Primal Scream live at The Limelight 2013

2019 IN PICTURES – JUNE

With the football season over, June 2019 was unsurprisingly a bit quiet, but not totally quiet.

The first day of the month saw me head to Holywood to see Feeder in concert.

Making the most of football free Saturdays, I headed Foyleside for a day trip to Stroke City. It wasn’t specifically a trip for Street Art, but it would have been rude not to get some photos while I was there.

The day before that, I headed to East Belfast to get photos of some Street Art at Vault Studios. It took a while to get it finished, due to vehicles being parked in front of pieces.

My last photo adventure of the month was to get Street Art photos in Rosemary Street, as well as some Belfast Canvas photos.

Feeder live at Holywood Rugby Club

Feeder live at Holywood Rugby Club Photo Album

Stroke City Street Art

Stroke City Street Art Photo Album

East Belfast Street Art

East Belfast Street Art Photo Album

Rosemary Street Art And Belfast Canvas

Rosemary Street Art Photo Album

Belfast Canvas Photo Album

2019 IN PICTURES – MAY

May 2019 began with a busy Bank Holiday Weekend, starting off by going to see Echo and the Bunnymen at Custom House Square, Ulster v Connacht at Ravenhill, and then checking out Street Art as part of Hit The North.

The following weekend, I headed to Manchester to see United take on Cardiff City. The less said about that match the better.

On the plus side, I did manage to get some Street Art photos from the city.

That was it. The first two weekends of the month were busy, the second two not so much.

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Ulster v Connacht

Ulster v Connacht Photo Album

Hit The North

Hit The North Photo Album – Sunday 5th May 2019

Hit The North Photo Album – Monday 7th May 2019

Hit The North Photo Album – Aftermath

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Cardiff City

Manchester United v Cardiff City Photo Album

Salford Quays Street Art

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

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