THE FRIDAY FIVE – 20.3.2015

1. Coasts – Modern Love
2. Modest Mouse – Lampshades On Fire
3. Muse – Psycho
4. Florence and the Machine – What Kind Of Man
5. Angry Anderson – Suddenly

For some reason, I totally forgot about it being St Patrick’s Day coming up and thus, forgot to do a chart. Consider that corrected, and a bonus chart


1. Starfish
2. Sharpin (more commonly known as Pat Sharp)
3. Stewart
4. Swayze
5. Duffy


1. Baltimora – Tarzan Boy
2. Wonder Villains – TV
3. Duke Special – Freewheel
4. Ash – Envy
5. Briana Corrigan – Love Me Now


1. Phil Lynott – Yellow Pearl
2. U2 – The Fly
3. Hozier – Take Me To Church
4. Kodaline – Honest
5. The Strypes – Blue Collar Jane

The line-up for Belsonic 2015 was announced last night. Stereophonics and Paloma Faith are the ones that appeal to me. Here’s five songs to look out for in August


1. Stereophonics – Dakota
2. Bastille – Pompeii
3. Stereophonics – Indian Summer
4. Rudimental – Free (ft Emeli Sande)
5. Paloma Faith – Thirty Minute Love Affair

And finally, The Charlatans have been announced to be coming to Belfast in May as part of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. So, Charlatans Top Five anyone?


1. Love Is The Key
2. Blackened Blue Eyes
3. Forever
4. The Only One I Know
5. North Country Boy


I braved the rain on Saturday to head to Botanic Gardens for The Big IF, organised by a number of organisations to put pressure on the G8 to act on Hunger.

I wasn’t sure what the event was going to be like, but it was free and not far from home, so I took a chance. The line up details were sketchy, but when it was announced on Saturday that Two Door Cinema Club would be appearing, that confirmed my attendance.

I entered the venue via the entrance at Queen’s PEC, and I was a bit surprised that I couldn’t see any stalls relating to the groups that make up The Big IF.

The event was a very simple set-up, one stage and a very tight running order. It was so tight, there was no “dead air”. When one act finished, the next act was getting ready to come on to the stage.

The event started at 1pm, and I managed to get there just after 3pm. I was a bit surprised that I managed to get into the 3rd row, right up at the front of the stage.

No doubt the weather will have put a lot of people off attending, especially with the tickets being free, but it was still an enjoyable enough afternoon, though there were some technical hitches both with sound, and with some of the films on the big screen.

The line up was mostly Northern Ireland based, bar the exception of Jim Broadbent reciting poetry. On the bill was Jordan O’Keefe from Britain’s Got Talent, Beyond Skin (a multi national arts/music group based in Belfast), Belfast Communuity Gospel Choir, Prodijig, Duke Special with Genral Fiasco, and Two Door Cinema Club.

I’m not sure how late to the event Two Door Cinema Club were booked, but I was surprised their name wasn’t used to try and promote it more.

Even more surprising, was the fact that they weren’t headlining. I can only assume they had a short window in which to perform, and were needed to be elsewhere.

Two Door Cinema Club’s set began in comical fashion. Fellow Bangorian Zoe Salmon, who was compering the event, hadn’t got round to saying they were up next, when a curtain accidentally moved over slightly, enough to reveal Alex Trimble, who politely waved at a crowd, who were a mixture of cheering and laughing.

Their set was enjoyable, though short, doing acoustic versions of their biggest hits.

The honour of headlining, went to Flash Harry. Well, if they were going to get someone involved in politics (Harry Hamilton was an Alliance candidate in 2011, having been a UUP candidate in 2010) and does a bit of singing, it’s better him than William McCrea.

I didn’t hang around once Two Door Cinema Club had finished, and a lot of people did the same. It was, however, still an enjoyable day despite the weather and technical hitches.

Meanwhile, out and about in Belfast, there are people using the G8 for thier own artistic agendas. Graffiti in Botanic, the most Belfasty political graffiti ever, simply says “GREED IS SHITE“, with € replacing the Es, while outside Belfast City Hall, headstones and flowers were placed, to raise awareness of deaths in Syria.

Photo Album



THE FRIDAY FIVE – 16.3.2012

1. Bruce Springsteen – We Take Care Of Our Own
2. Glenn Frey – The Heat Is On
3. Lana Del Rey – Video Games
4. Noel Fielding – Luxury Comedy Theme Tune
5. Emeli Sande – Next To Me

So, as it’s St Paddy’s Day tomorrow, I shall be spending the day in The Hatfield wearing my Guinness hat and getting drunk to the sound of The Dubliners.

Having done charts for St David’s Day, and St Andrew’s Day, I might as well do one for St Paddy’s Day


1. Phil Lynott – Yellow Pearl
2. The Cranberries – Dreams
3. The Script – The Man Who Can’t Be Moved
4. Samantha Mumba – Always Come Back To Your Love
5. Laura Izibor – Shine


1. Nadine Coyle – Insatiable
2. Katie Melua – The Flood
3. Duke Special – I’ll Come When You Call
4. The Adventures – Broken Land
5. Snow Patrol – Signal Fire

THE SOUND OF 2011 : 21-40

21. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Everybody’s On The Run
22. The Pierces – You’ll Be Mine
23. Ed Sheeran – A Team
24. Florence and the Machine – Shake It Out
25. Miles Kane – Come Closer
26. Manic Street Preachers – This Is The Day
27. A Friend In London – New Tomorrow
28. Hurts – Better Than Love
29. The View – Grace
30. Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks
31. The Killers – Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
32. Snow Patrol – Called Out In The Dark
33. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – The Adventures Of Raindance Maggie
34. Beady Eye – The Beat Goes On
35. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – The Death Of You And Me
36. Beady Eye – For Anyone
37. Two Door Cinema Club – Come Back Home
38. Duke Special – I’ll Come When You Call
39. Clare Maguire – The Sword and the Shield
40. The Pipettes – Boo Shuffle


Welcome to the first in a 12 part (unsurprisingly) series between now and December 22nd, looking back at some of my favourite photos i’ve taken throughout 2011.

A new year, and a new experience for me, as I visited Solitude for the first time, to see Linfield take on Cliftonville on the 22nd.

As per the arrangements, we were dropped off outside the stadium and picked up straight away, so I never really got a chance to experience walking up to the ground and taking it in, like most other grounds.

That said, the away end is a nice wee stand, though not kind for amateur photography.

That said, I did manage to improvise and get some nice shots, nicely assisted by the fog that day.

The following week, I went to a CD launch at the Oh Yeah Centre for a charity album by Duke Special, where he covers the songs of Ruby Murray, where I managed to get some nice shots.

It wasn’t the most active or productive of months, but there will be more and better photos from the rest of the year.

Beer Barons

Cliftonville v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

Duke Special

Duke Special Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 4.11.2011

1. The Feeling – A Hundred Sinners
2. U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing (Jacques Lu Cont remix)
3. The Killers – Ultra Violet
4. Noel Gallagher’s high Flying Birds – AKA ……. What A Life
5. Florence and the Machine – Shake It Out

It’s been hard to escape, but the MTV EMA’s are only two days.

Really excited about this and proud to come from Belfast and Northern Ireland that we can host events of this scale. Just wish I had a ticket for it.

So, to commemorate this, behold five songs by Northern Ireland acts (and it was hard to leave songs out of this)



1. Baltimora – Tarzan Boy
2. Duke Special – Freewheel
3. Brianna Corrigan – Love Me Now
4. Relish – Rainbow Zephyr
5. Ash – Envy

As ever, a Top Five based on the previous week’s X-Factor theme. Last week’s theme was “Halloween”, which roughly translates as “Sing any aul shite dressed in fancy dress”

So, here’s a Halloween Top Five


1. The Automatic – Monster
2. Ray Parker Jr – Ghostbusters
3. Boris Pickett – Monster Mash
4. The Cure – Lullaby
5. All Stars – Things That Go Bump In The Night


For those who’ve been wondering what i’ve been listening to, wonder no more.

With a £20 gift voucher I got for my birthday, I decided to take a chance on some CDs that have been getting high praise but might not have heard. It’s essentially free money, so it’s no loss if the CDs are crap.

One of those albums I took a chance on, is ‘Tourist History’ by Two Door Cinema Club, which has been played non-stop in the CD player in my car.

I am especially loving the two lead singles ‘What You Know’ and ‘Come Back Home’

Given my love of Oasis, it’s no surprise I love Beady Eye. Saw them a few weeks ago at Ulster Hall and they were excellent.

Stand out tracks on their album ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’ are ‘The Roller’, ‘For Anyone’ and ‘The Beat Goes On’

New single ‘Millionaire’ also gets a worthy mention. The accompanying video has some stunning cinematography if you’re into that sort of thing.

I love the new Katy Perry single, but it has one of my pet hates, of celebrity guest rappers ruining brilliant songs.

Jay-Z did it with ‘Crazy In Love‘ and ‘Umbrella‘, Pitbull did it with singles from Enrique Iglesias and Alexandra Burke last year (Yes, they were brilliant songs) and now Kanye does it with this song, adding nothing whatsoever to it.

Having recently blogged about a concert by Duke Special to promote an album of Ruby Murray covers for charity, i’m loving a song on that album ‘I’ll Come When You Call

Another tune worth checking out is ‘Young Blood’ by The Naked And The Famous.

You may remember Sara Bareilles from the hit ‘Lovesong‘ in 2007, but she’s got some new material, the video for her new single features guest appearances from Tegan and Sara, so what’s not to love.

I’m also partial to a spot of My Chemical Romance. When you go away for 4 years, your comeback had better be special and/or bonkers. That song ‘Na Na Na Na Na’ certainly fits that bill.

I’m especially loving their new single ‘Planetary’

Also worth listening to is ‘If You Wanna’ by The Vaccines. Sounds a wee bit like ‘C’mon Everybody‘ by Eddie Cochran in parts, which is no bad thing.

Clare Maguire featured in my last round-up, and her new single ‘The Shield And The Sword’ is definately worth a listen.

Finally, two songs i’ve been loving, by Noah And The Whale.

You may recognise the name from their hit ‘5 Years Time‘, which brings back memories of being in a hotel at Gatwick Airport lying in bed watching the 2008 Olympics, and then buying a copy of the single at the airport while waiting for a flight home after the Charity Shield.

Their new single ‘Tonight’s The Kind Of Night’ is an enjoyable listen, but I am absolutely loving the preceding single ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’, having heard it for the first time last week on Alan Simpson’s Radio Ulster show.

Why was this song kept from me for so long?

It does sound a lot like ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More‘ by Tom Petty and ‘The Joker‘ by Steve Miller, but ignore that, and just simply enjoy what is, for me, the best song of 2011 so far.


Was at the Oh Yeah Centre tonight for the launch of a new charity EP by Duke Special, of covers of songs by Belfast born singer Ruby Murray.

Duke Special had become interested in Ruby Murray when filming a documentary on her for RTE, and recorded this EP to raise money for Depaul Ireland.

Ruby Murray was a major star in the 1950s, who died in 1996 aged only 61. She is commemorated in her home city with a blue plaque outside the Ulster Hall and a mosaic mural in her home neighbourhood of Donegall Road.

Duke Special only played five songs, interlinking it with clips from the documentary he recorded but it was an enjoyable evening with Duke on form.

Working on this concept, he will be performing this album in Dublin next Wednesday with the RTE Concert Orchestra.

The album can be found on Depaul’s website, and is well worth a purchase, as it is an enjoyable listen.

Photo Album


Having visited last year, I decided to return to the Edinburgh Festival for the 2010 event.

Last year, I went over the Bank Holiday Weekend at the end of the festival. As much as I enjoyed it, there was a distinct “Last day of school” feel when I was there, so I decided I would go over much earlier in the event in 2010.

It is actually a series of different festivals running simultaneously throughout August, with the most high profile one, being the Fringe Festival.

When arriving in Edinburgh, it’s always good to do some pre-planning before your arrival. Like last year, I got a copy of the programme well in advance and listed the shows that appealed to me and their start times, so you can plan your days.

Like last year, the first thing I did when I set my bags in my room was to head to the ticket office to get tickets for shows.

After queuing up, I got most of the stuff I wanted. For some, the worst case scenario was to get a second choice option. I’d hoped to see Jason Manford at EICC, but unfortunately, that was sold out long before I arrived in the city.

The Sunday was a rather relaxed day, watching the Charity Shield before going to see Doves in concert.

A review can be found here. If you’re too lazy to click, in short, they were brilliant.

On the Monday, I decided to check out a free lunchtime show by Andrew Collins.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s possibly due to the fact that he frequently appears on list shows, credited as ‘Writer/Broadcaster’

Don’t let that put you off, as he is generally knowledgable when speaking on these shows.

The show was focusing on the journeys people make through life, pointing out that we are always travelling from A to B, and when we arrive at B, it automatically becomes A.

It has the potential for a good show, but Collins was nervous throughout, often affecting the delivery of the punchlines, such as the time he considered his mortality, and the fear of dying in a train crash, and then thinking, as a minor celebrity, his death would get quite a lot of column inches in the celebrity due to the nature of the British media, only for his heart to sink when he noticed James Bolam sitting across the carriage.

The afternoon was spent seeing Gyles Brandreth at Pleasance Courtyard, one of my favourite Fringe venues.

Best known as a roving reporter on The One Show and guesting on Countdown (As excellently parodied by Mitchell and Webb), and for a spell as an MP for Chester from 1992 to 1997, he uses his career as a backdrop for a series of witty stories.

Never afraid to make fun of himself, the show begins with an announcement that the audience should leave their mobile phones on, in case of boredom, and that photography is encouraged “Due to Mr Brandreth being a shameless attention seeker”

He uses his time in parliament for some of his stories, describing himself as “A dedicated Conservative”, mainly due to his hair turning white when John Major became leader, and then going bald when William Hague replaced him.

He recalls a heart to heart with then Prime Minister John Major, then concerned with Northern Ireland and Kosovo, to explain that he was worried about the cost of having to buy a raffle ticket at every public event he attended.

Then, to his utter amazement, John Major took out raffle tickets he bought in 1982, and had been reusing, to show at public events. Even then, the Tories were making saving cuts.

Brandreth’s acerbic wit and banter with the audience was a joy to watch and is an absolute must-see of the festival.

He finished with a swipe at his current employers, mourning the departure of Christine Bleakley from The One Show, describing her as “A unique personality”, before shrugging off her departure by reassuring fans of the show “It’s OK, we’ve got someone who looks just like her to replace her”

From there, it was across the city to see Duke Special at The Famous Spiegel Garden.

The show is reviewed here, but if you’re too lazy to click the link, he was excellent.

My third show of the day was at Pleasance to see Justin Moorhouse, in a show titled ‘Boiled Egg On The Beach’

Moorhouse, best known as the thick as shit Kenny Junior in Phoenix Nights, revels in 80s nostalgia, focusing on the subject of ambition and aspiration with jokes in the middle. Well worth going to see.

On the Tuesday, I visited the Guilded Balloon to see Kate Fox News which was largely disappointing, as it was a different show to what had been advertised.

It wasn’t laugh a minute, but there was laughs there, you just had to wait a long time to get them.

That afternoon, I saw Tynecastle, and then headed to the Udderbelly for the first time to see ‘Now I Know My BBC‘ by Toby Hadoke, a lovable reminisce about BBC programming of the 1980s, filled with witty observations, such as Newsround being a news programme dumbed down and aimed at children, though it shouldn’t be confused with Fox News.

The evening show was a live show by Alun Cochrane, a deadpan Yorkshireman familiar to viewers on panel shows.

In his show, ‘Live, Jokes, And Jokes About Life’, he explores what jokes people find funny, having an X-Factor style vote for jokes to be used in future shows, observing that the jokes which were approved were lewd, which must be a commentary on the audience.

Wednesday had some spare time, so I went to Cameo, an old fashioned cinema in the city, to see ‘Gainsbourg’, a biopic of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, focusing on his life, though not the infamous ‘Whitney Houston incident

That evening, I went to see Reginald D Hunter, a regular on the UK’s panel shows, for a stand-up show, where he investigates what makes people offended, in his unaplogetic American style.

Laugh a minute stuff, and well worth checking out.

I’d saved my best two acts for last, as I went straight to see David O’Doherty, a madcap surreal comic, who begins by doing a love-song duet with Shakira, only Shakira is unable to make it, and he takes on the role of the Columbian singer.

He then explores life, and changes gear constantly, reeling off (totally made-up) facts about animals, and singing with his trusty keyboard, including a song about advice to a member of the audience who was having trouble with their bike.

Thursday morning was spent watching Macauley and Co at the EICC, a radio show on Radio Scotland. Frustratingly, I only found out about this on my last day.

Throughout the festival, the show brings listeners a look at the best acts performing at the event. Not bad for free and a good way to start your festival day. If only, i’d known earlier.

Edinburgh is a lovely place to visit, and I got to see more of it in comparison with last year.

It’s a credit to those involved how tidy the city is considering the amount of flyers that are handed out in the streets.

It almost feels like four cities in one, as there are plenty of places to visit should you want to get away from the Fringe for a bit, and you’re never too far away if you want to jump right back in.

Have to say, i’m already counting down to visiting in 2011.

Edinblog 2009


Having seen Doves the previous night, I headed to The Famous Spiegel Garden to see Duke Special in concert.

For those who don’t know, Duke Special is a singer from Lisburn specialising in etherial piano-led melodies, best known for the hit ‘Freewheel‘ in 2007.

The venue itself is a series of 1920s themed tents situated in George Square, with resident acts performing every night throughout the festival, with some guests (such as Duke Special) doing one-off performances.

The setlist exclusively comprised of songs from his current three disc boxset, the first of which, is an album based on the chracter (From a novel title, ‘The Book Of Illusions’) of Hector Mann, a silent movie star who vanished in mysterious circumstances.

The second-half of the concert was exclusively comprised of songs from a disc titled ‘Mother Courage And Her Children’, a soundtrack to a play set during the ‘Thirty Year War’ during the 17th century.

It was a brilliantly chaotic concert, where you didn’t know exactly what was going to happen next.

Such was the chaos and the ferocity of the performance, that Duke managed to break a drumstick when drumming and didn’t even notice.

Just as he was introducing a song, a mobile phone in the audience went off, to which Duke played the generic ringtone back on the piano, to the amusement of the audience.

After performing an encore of his more well-known songs before heading over to run his merchandise stall after the concert. Brilliant.

Photo Album