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

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 31.3.2017

1. The Kooks – Be Who You Are
2. Paul Weller – Long Long Road
3. Brian Pern – Poundland Polly
4. The Foundations – Baby Now That I Found You
5. Gorillaz – We Got The Power

Apologies for forgetting last week, but Reginald Dwight turned 70 last week. You probably know him better by his alter ego Elton Hercules John.

So, to belatedly celebrate, here’s five Elton John songs for you

FIVE SONGS BY ELTON JOHN

1. I’m Still Standing
2. Made In England
3. Passengers
4. Can You Fee The Love Tonight?
5. I Want Love

Switzerland Squared has announced a new headliner, Walking On Cars. They’re ok. If you love The Coronas or Kodaline, this will be your thing. I hoped to see them when they supported Ellie Goulding at Belsonic last year but they were on too early. Hopefully, there’ll be more CHSQ headliners announced.

The latest in acts I like announcing tours but not doing Belfast – Pet Shop Boys and Paul Weller.

The timetable of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival was launched yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to properly look through the programme yet. You can do so here.

I’m already going to The Divine Comedy and Rich Hall.

Staying with the Cathedral Quarter, it’s under threat. You can read more about it here or like the Facebook page here.

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for Ulster Hall in September. Standing, Fave Value. Ta very much.

And finally, RIP Brian Pern. Singer. Actor. Entertainer. Father. Husband. Snail Welfare Campaigner.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 10.3.2017

1. Rose Elinor Dougall – All At Once
2. John Hassall and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
3. Rory Lavelle – When The Crazies Come Out
4. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
5. Coldplay – Something Just Like This

In gig news, Erasure have hinted that they’ll be doing a UK tour in 2018. At least that’s something to gt hopeful about.

Hoped to see The Pigeon Detectives doing an instore gig at HMV Belfast last Friday but it was a meet and greet rather than an instore gig, which was a bit rubbish.

The announcement of the full CQAF line-up is near, but The Divine Comedy and Rich Hall (not a singer, but a bloody hilarious comedian) are definitely worth getting excited about.

Culture Night Belfast has been confirmed for Friday 22nd September this year. Slightly annoyed, as I wanted it to be on that weekend last year. I missed the 2016 night as I was in Liverpool and was desperately hoping they would make it the weekend after. Missing it last year makes me look forward to this even more. A half day has already been applied for.

Oh, and i’m still on the lookout for a Ryan Adams ticket.

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