Danny and Richard McNamara of Embrace are the cover stars of Melody Maker, as the band gets ready to release their second album.

In news, Stereophonics, Travis and Catatonia are all going on US tours, while Mansun have spoken to a fansite about the forthcoming relase of their third album, later this year.

Matt Bellamy of Muse is the subject of a Q and A, as the band gets ready to relase a new single.

Andreas Johnson is tipped for big things after having a big hit with Glorious.

Ardal O’Hanlon gets interviewed ahead of his new sitcom My Hero, revealing that The Incredible Hulk is his favourite superhero.

There are three pages dedicated to Richey Edwards ahead of the 5th anniversary of his disappearance.

There are also three pages dedicated to Embrace, as Melody Maker joins them on tour in Edinburgh and Leeds.

Bush, The Wannadies and JJ72 are the subject of live reviews.

Elsewhere in reviews, Mint Royale give their Single Of The Week award to REM.



Anthony Kiedis is the cover star as Red Hot Chili Peppers are in Australia.

Kelly Jones talks to Melody Maker about the band’s next album, saying it will be a step forward for the band, while Embrace have confirmed their new album will be released at the end of March.

Cover stars RHCP get four pages as they headline the Big Day Out Festival in Australia.

Ian Brown gets three pages as he reflects on his time recently spent in prison.

In reviews, Melody Maker went to see Ash, Rage Against The Machine and Catatonia in concert.

Elsewhere, the soundtrack to Leonardo Di Caprio’s new movie The Beach, gets 2 and a half stars out of 5.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.7.2017

1. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – Here I Go Again
2. Starsailor – All This Life
3. Chainsmokers – Young
4. Paul Weller – Woo Se Mama
5. The Cribs- Rainbow Ridge

This Tuesday, is International Yorkshire Day. So, to celebreate, here’s a chart of songs by Yorkshire acts. Ay up.


1. Embrace – You’re Not Alone
2. Pulp – A Little Soul
3. Heaven 17 – Temptation
4. Shed Seven – Disco Down
5. Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way

PS : Still looking for a Standing ticket for Ryan Adams at Ulster Hall in September. Face Value only. Do get in touch.


1. Robert Goulet – Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
2. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
3. Greg Lake – I Believe In Father Christmas
4. Fountains of Wayne – Alien For Christmas
5. John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

You didn’t think I wouldn’t have any Christmas songs this week? I’m not that much of a Scrooge.

Somebody started a rumour that i’ve cleared my diary to watch Christmas With Daniel O’Donnell on RTE 1 at 9.30pm tomorrow. It might be true, or it might not be true.

This week, saw the first headliners for Belsonic 2017 announced, a lot earlier than usual (recent years have been announced between February and April)

Just the two announced, and they were, well, underwhelming.

If you don’t know, it’s Jess Glynne and Axwell Ingrosso (who sounds like a Swiss footballer)

I know i’m guilty of complaining about bands I don’t like/have never heard of being on the bill when Belsonic headliners are announced, because I should know by now that not every Belsonic concert will appeal to me due to the line-up being so vast and varied.

These concerts will be at Ormeau Park, the third venue in the last three years. It’s slightly concerning that it’s starting to have a nomadic existence like what Tennent’s Vital used to have.

I thought Titanic worked as a venue in my own observations. Spatious, easy to get to and out of. I didn’t experience any real problems, even though Ormeau Park will be very convenient for me.

I really hope they don’t go down the Tennent’s Vital route of having pits. I find the idea that someone could just turn up ten minutes before showtime and get a better view than me, simply because they’re mates of a mate of a mate of a mate of someone who works for a sponsor.

I love Belsonic because it’s not Tennent’s Vital. I really hope it doesn’t go down a road of trying to be Tennent’s Vital.

I would imagine there will be more concerts announced in the new year.

One of the fun things I like to do when announcements are announced is to try and predict who will be performing.

As you can see from the link, my predictions were well off.

Belsonic isn’t the only festival in Belfast/Greater Belfast. There’s also Catherdal Quarter Arts Festival, Feile and Open House Festival (Bangor) which will be staging concerts.

So, i’m going to post my musical hopes for people coming to Belfast. The only 2017 concert I have in my diary is Blossoms. They’re brilliant. You may remember them winning The Sound Of 2015 on this blog. If you want to see how good they are, they’ll be on Top Of The Pops on New Year’s Eve.

You may remember me getting excited about Simple Minds coming to Waterfront Hall in June next year. Well, it’s an all seated gig and I can’t be arsed with that.

So, i’m going to post my hopes for those who I would love to come to Belfast in 2017.

Cast and Embrace will have albums out in 2017, so hopefully they’ll fit in a Belfast gig.

Kaiser Chiefs, Paul Weller, The Kooks, Amy MacDonald, KT Tunstall and Two Door Cinema Club all have 2017 tours announced but no Belfast gig. Hopefully some of them well be adding Belfast to their schedule.

Rose Elinor Dougall is a singer I absolutely adore, a former member of The Pipettes (Remember them? They were brilliant too) who is releasing her first album in six years, so i’m hoping she stops off in Belfast.

This week, Red Hot Chili Peppers were supposed to be doing two concerts in Dublin, but due to Anthony Kiedis being unwell, they have been postponed until September 2017.

Wouldn’t it be great if they snuck in a couple of Odyssey gigs around that.

If you were to sum up 2017 in four words, it would be ………… LIAM. GALLAGHER. SOLO. ALBUM. Which i’m hoping is as entertaining as his Twitter.

It may be brilliant, it may be bad, it won’t be boring. Cannot wait for it. Potato.

Meanwhile, the race for Christmas Number 1 (Usually dominated by X-Factor in the same way Celtic have dominated the SPL over the last few years) is between Rangers and Little Mix, which gives me an excuse to post my favourite Youtube videos, from the time Celtic and Rangers players formed a band with a man in a tiger costume to record a charity single to promote Glasgow as a tourist destination.

Think of it as my seasonal gift to you.

Merry Christmas.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 5.8.2016

1. Biffy Clyro – Howl
2. Tegan and Sara – Faint Of Heart
3. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Come With Us
4. Two Door Cinema Club – Bad Decisions
5. ABC – The Flames Of Desire

Last Monday, was International Yorkshire Day. I went to Yorkshire once, it were alright.


1. Pulp – A Little Soul
2. Embrace – You’re Not Alone
3. Shed Seven – She Left Me On Friday
4. Kiki Dee – Star
5. Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way

This Wednesday, is Duran Duran Appreciation Day. In other words, it’s just another day for me. I’d appreciate them a lot more if they’d come and do a gig in Belfast.

Here’s a Duran Duran Top five. It wasn’t easy trying to pick five. In fact, it was about as easy as a nuclear war.


1. Wildboys
2. Hungry Like The Wolf
3. Ordinary World
4. Serious
5. Save A Prayer


The final episode of the series, which i’ve enjoyed writing and sharing with you.

You never know, the BBC might bring it back on a weekly basis. Let’s go out on a high with some classics, and some not so classic.

I’ll probably rehash this in 2024 for 60 Years Of Top Of The Pops. If not, i’ll see you in 2048 for 50 Years Of CD:UK.

And finally, Bobby Farrell died four years ago, on the same day, and in the same city as Rasputin.


December 2014 was mostly about concerts and football matches.

The first of which, was Foxes at The Limelight. Then the next day, I was off to Ballymena to see Ballymena v Linfield, then straight to Ravenhill for Ulster v Scarlets.

Next up, was Kasabian at The Odyssey, supported by The Maccabees.

Back to football, then it was Windsor Park for me for Linfield v Ballinamallard United, before later that night, heading to The Limelight to see Embrace in concert.

Two days later, my last concert of the year, Madness at The Odyssey, before last weekend, seeing Linfield win a thrilling match against Portadown.

There’s still a week left of the year, so still time for more photos.

Here’s to more photos in 2015.

Foxes Live At The Limelight

Foxes Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Ballymena United v Linfield

Ulster v Scarlets

Ulster v Scarlets Photo Album

The Maccabees Live At The Odyssey

The Maccabees Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Kasabian Live At The Odyssey

Kasabian Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Embrace Live At The Limelight

Embrace Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Madness Live At The Odyssey

Madness Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Linfield v Portadown


After a lengthy absence, Embrace made a long awaited return to Belfast, playing a gig at The Limelight (A 2001 gig at Ulster Hall was the last one I can think of, feel free to correct me if i’m wrong)

Belfast isn’t the only city that hasn’t seen Embrace for a while, after they took an eight year haitus at their commercial peak before returning with a self titled album earlier this year.

It was the lead single from that album, Follow You Home, which has already proved to be a fan favourite, with fans singing the “Oooohoh Oooohoh Ooooohoh” bit while waiting for the band to take the stage.

Support came from a local band called Pretty Cartel. They were rather good, heavily influenced by Britpop. You may recognise their song The Busker from an advertising campaign for Visit Belfast.

As a bonus to their being good at music thing, they support Linfield as well. Looking forward to their sell out gig at a rebuilt Windsor Park in 2019 when they become a popular beat combo on the hit parade, like One Direction or Take That (Apparantly they’re popular, so i’m told)

Embrace entered the stage to singer Danny McNamara standing onstage and toasting the crowd with a pint of Guinness.

Embrace specialise in anthemic hits, and the crowd lived it when they played their most anthemic such as Follow You Home, All You Good Good People and Come Back To What You Know, as well as Save Me, from the criminally underrated Drawn From Memory, but now two of my favourite Embrace songs, both singles from that album – You’re Not Alone, and Hooligan.

Hooligan, sung by Richard McNamara was probably left off as he was “suffering from Manflu”, but managed to get through the gig, probably aided the the medicinal pint of Guinness at his side.

We did get to hear Richard sing, inbetween songs when he started singing Maggie May, Everything I Do (I Do For You) and I Wanna Dance With Somebody, a song which Danny erroniously asked “Is that by Tina Turner?”

Between songs, Danny kept asking the crowd “Are you warmed up?” in a panto style, declaring himself that he hasn’t happy with the response “That’s only ……%”, with the percentage increasing by a small amount each time.

Eventually, an audience member responded with “Are YOU warmed up?” to which eh replied “Oh …… I was born warmed up”

So warm were they, that Richard McNamara removed his jumper between songs, prompting drummer Mike Heaton and Mikey Dale to improvise and perform The Stripper by David Rose, AKA, the song from the scene in Morecambe and Wise when they do the toast sketch.

Danny McNamara got similar treatment when removing his jacket.

To finish the set, they played their two big 2004 hits, Gravity and Ashes. The crowd sang along, as they did for most songs, Danny pointing the microphone towards them during instrumental pieces.

Well, that wasn’t quite the end of the gig, as there was still an encore to come, which Richard McNamara hijacked by doing a cover of Beautiful Day, and Danny responded by performing his own version of With Or Without You.

Getting the last word in, Danny introduced each member of the band individually to the audience, and introduced Richard as “Bono”

Before their final song, Danny gave fans a news bulletin, of what promises to be a busy 2015 for the band. They’ll be touring America, working on their 7th album, and “returning round here for some festivals” – Hopefully, Belsonic or Tennent’s Vital are already on the ball.

Photo Album

THE SOUND OF 2014 : 51-75

51. Thiago Thome – Aquarela do Brasil
52. Marina and the Diamonds – Froot
53. Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You
54. One Republic – Love Runs Out
55. George Ezra – Listen To The Man
56. Lykke Li – Never Gonna Love Again
57. Alicia Keys ft Kendrick Lamar – It’s On Again
58. James – Moving On
59. Broken Bells – Holding On For Life
60. David Guetta ft Sam Martin – Dangerous
61. Embrace – Follow You Home
62. Ellie Goulding – Goodness Gracious
63. Ella Henderson – Glow
64. Fiona O’Kane – I Can’t Help Myself
65. Courteeners – How Good It Was
66. James – Frozen Britain
67. Royal Blood – Come On Over
68. Simple Minds – Honest Town
69. Nina Nesbitt – Peroxide
70. Florrie – Seashells
71. Merrymouth – I Am The Resurrection
72. Black Rivers – The Ship
73. Foxes – Let Go For Tonight
74. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars
75. Tove Lo – Habits

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 22.8.2014

1. Go Swim – What Is Love?
2. Black Keys – Fever
3. Axis Of Awesome – 4 Chords
4. Sigma ft Paloma Faith – Changing
5. Frisky and Mannish – We Didn’t Start The Fire (Meltdown Song)

Today, tickets go on sale for Embrace’s gig at The Limelight in December. Really desperate to get a ticket for this. Wish me luck.

In honour of this, here’s an Embrace chart.


1. You’re Not Alone
2. Ashes
3. Target
4. All You Good Good People
5. Save Me