THE SOUND OF 2015 : 1-25

So here we go, what you’ve been waiting for …….. The Top 25 songs of 2015. Enjoy.

1. Blossoms – Charlemagne
2. The Strypes – Get Into It
3. Chvrches – Leave A Trace
4. Muse – Revolt
5. Chemical Brothers – Go
6. Muse – Mercy
7. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I
8. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
9. Florence and the Machine – Queen Of Peace
10. Everything Everything – Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread
11. Calvin Harris ft Haim – Pray To God
12. Mumford and Sons – The Wolf
13. The 1975 – Love Me
14. Little Mix – Black Magic
15. Taylor Swift – Style
16. Mini Mansions – Death Is A Girl
17. Florence and the Machine – Ship To Wreck
18. Muse – Dead Inside
19. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – SOB
20. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – You Know We Can’t Go Back
21. FFS – Piss Off
22. John Newman – Come And Get It
23. Everything Everything – Regret
24. Soak – Sea Creatures
25. Paul Weller – Saturn’s Pattern

So, congratulations to Blossoms. I bet they didn’t think that supporting Paul Weller and The Charlatans on tour could be topped, but it has.

If you haven’t heard the song before, here you go …..

They join an illustrious list of winners. Sadly, Bebo has wiped their archive, so I can’t link you 2006-2008.

THE SOUND OF …… PAST WINNERS

2014 Jamie T – Zombie
2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Getting Back Together
2011 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA …. What A Life
2010 Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain
2009 Little Boots – New In Town
2008 Sons and Daughters – Darling
2007 Feist – 1,2, 3, 4
2006 Kasabian – Empire

2015 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

September began for me on the road to Fermanagh, to see Linfield take on Ballinamallard, and get a 1-0 win on a lovely sunny day.

From the road to Fermanagh to the road to France. My next football match came two days later when I saw Northern Ireland take on Hungary in a Euro 2016 Qualifier, knowing that a win sound them to France.

They didn’t get the win they wanted, but a late draw kept them on course to qualify.

Inbetween those two football matches was some graffiti spotting around Belfast.

Two days after that, I was at The Odyssey, now renamed The SSE Arena, to see Florence and the Machine perform the first concert at the newly renovated venue.

Back to Irish League action the following Saturday, a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders, the less said about, the better.

The following Friday, was the highlight of the year in Belfast, Culture Night, and I was out with my camera snapping the action.

I recovered from Culture Night in time the following day to head to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Warrenpoint.

The following day, I undertook a post Culture Night tradition by checking out the newly painted Street Art on North Street and the surrounding areas.

The final weekend of the month saw me head to Windsor Park to see Linfield edge past Glenavon 4-3.

Like the previous weekend, I headed to North Street to get a look at the Street Art painted for Culture Night, as some pieces were still being worked on when I went down the previous week.

I also headed to City Quays Walk for the first time, to see some Street Art that had been painted there.

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Belfast Street Art

Northern Ireland v Hungary

Northern Ireland v Hungary Photo Album

Florence and the Machine Live At The Odyssey

Florence and the Machine Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Culture Night

Culture Night Photo Album

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

North Street Art

North Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

North Street Art Part 2

North Street Art Photo Album Volume 2

City Quays Walk Street Art

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 9.9.2015

It was a night of new beginnings in Belfast, for both artist and venue, as Florence and the Machine kicked off her How Big How Blue How Beautiful Tour by becoming the first music act to perform at the newly revamped Odyssey Arena, or SSE Arena, as it’s now known.

There are now digital TV screens at the entrance and a VIP bar in the concourse. I was standing, so I didn’t get a chance to see what the new seats were like.

One major negative was having to queue for five minutes in order to get a wristband to walk the long way round to go to the toilet. Instead of having security hand out wristbands (not sure why they are needed in the first place), could they not just give them to people to put on themselves?

This gig was Florence’s first of the tour, though she has been performing at festivals throughout the summer, most notably, headlining Glastonbury as a late replacement for Foo Fighters, when Dave Grohl was incapacitated by a broken leg after jumping into the crowd.

It is an occupational hazard that Florence is well aware of, having been in plaster for the early part of this year after a similar mishap.

This gig was mishap free, well, until she accidentally knocked a speaker over a security guard during Dog Days. Thankfully, the security guard didn’t appear to be hurt.

Her band, one by one, walked on stage, but no Florence, she waited and built the tension. Big and dramatic is what she does. Throughout the night, you could the thunderous rhythm of the drums in each song, sounding more intense live than they do on record.

She later told the crowd that she had planned on having a choir on stage with her, but the stage wasn’t big enough.

She began by performing What The Water Gave Me and Ship To Wreck. Quite apt theme given The Odyssey’s close proximity to Belfast’s shipyards.

Florence is no stranger to Belfast, but was last here performing at Tennent’s Vital in 2012, as well as previous appearances at Belsonic in 2010 and an Ulster Hall gig in 2009.

She arrived in Belfast straight from Electric Picnic in Loais and had spent a few days in the city, and had spent the night before in a “Traditional Music Pub”, which turned out to be Kelly’s Cellars.

Florence is either everywhere or nowhere, she disappears for a while, and then just comes back. At the moment, she is everywhere.

As her current rate of albums is one every three years. She might not be in Belfast again until 2018. Florence, and the crowd, were determined to make the most of each other’s company.

She was everywhere on the stage, running about from side to side of the stage, and dancing. I say dancing, it was mainly jumping up and down and pirouetting.

Inbetween songs, Florence stated that she was on her own musical Odyssey, nicely linking to her adding that she is now playing The Odyssey.

It’s seven years since her first hit Kiss With A Fist (which wasn’t played), and she is now at the stage where she has had “a lot of hits”

All the biggies were there – Ship To Wreck, Shake It Up (my own personal favourite), Rabbit Heart, You Got The Love, Spectrum, Dog Days, Drumming Song, What Kind Of Man.

It was a night when everybody in The Odyssey was at some point singing, dancing or clapping along. At some point, doing all three.

There were a few objects thrown from the crowd. Nothing unsavoury, just a bra. Someone also made a flag for Florence, which she accepted and waved on stage. Must be a first for Belfast to see a flag universally cheered.

It’s fair to say, that Florence and her machine, were fully functional. Belfast looks forward to seeing her again in 2018. Or earlier, if she fancies.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 11.9.2015

1. Florence and the Machine – Ship to Wreck
2. Duran Duran – Pressure Off
3. Erasure – Sometimes 2015
4. The Staves – Teeth White
5. Hot Chip – Dancing In The Dark

As if you didn’t know, U2 are doing two concerts at The Odyssey in November, their first in Belfast in 18 years. Yours truly will be spending Monday morning trying to get a ticket. Wish me luck.

To get you in the mood, here’s a U2 Top Five.

FIVE SONGS BY U2

1. The Fly
2. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
3. Hallelujah Here She Comes
4. Wild Honey
5. Discotheque

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 7.8.2015

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Lock All The Doors
2. OMD – Enola Gay
3. Delta Goodrem – Wings
4. Dennis Waterman – I Could Be So Good For You
5. Florence and the Machine – Queen Of Peace

2015 : THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY

Well, we’re now at the halfway stage of 2015 and as is tradition at this time of year, it’s time for a Top 50 Songs Of The Year So Far, and it will keep you in suspense for the next six months as to what the best song of 2015 will be. Enjoy.

1. The Strypes – Get Into It
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I
3. Mumford and Sons – The Wolf
4. Muse – Mercy
5. Little Mix – Black Magic
6. Taylor Swift – Style
7. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – You Know We Can’t Go Back
8. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
9. Florence and the Machine – Ship To Wreck
10. FFS – Johnny Delusonal
11. Frank Turner – The Next Storm
12. Kodaline – Honest
13. Blur – Ong Ong
14. Giorgio Moroder ft Britney Spears – Tom’s Diner
15. Mini Mansions – Death Is A Girl
16. James Bay – Hold Back The River
17. Kodaline – Ready
18. Years and Years – King
19. The Courteeners – Has The Told You That He Loves You Yet?
20. Charli XCX – Famous
21. Cathal Smyth – Do You Believe In Love?
22. Rae Morris – Under The Shadows
23. Soak – Sea Creatures
24. Imagine Dragons – Warriors
25. Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
26. Charli XCX ft Rita Ora – Doing It
27. FFS – Piss Off
28. Brandon Flowers – Can’t Deny My Love
29. Blur – There Are Too Many Of Us
30. Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
31. Stereophonics – Cest La Vie
32. Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
33. Paul Weller – Going My Way
34. Mans Zelmerlow – Heroes
35. The Charlatans – Come Home Baby
36. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Riverman
37. James Taylor – Montana
38. Natalie Imbruglia – Instant Crush
39. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)
40. Muse – Psycho
41. Little Boots – Better In The Morning
42. Gravity Storm – (Don’t You) Forget About Me
43. Nick Jonas – Jealous
44. Years and Years – Shine
45. Prides – Higher Love
46. Brandon Flowers – I Can Change
47. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear – Silent Movies
48. The Strypes – Scumbag City
49. Blur – Lonesome Street
50. Florence and the Machine – What Kind Of Man

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 29.5.2015

1. Florence and the Machine – Delilah
2. Paul Weller – Going My Way
3. Mans Zelmerlow – Heroes
4. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)
5. Little Mix – Black Magic

Yesterday teatime, I went to see Ash play an acoustic gig at HMV – performing three new songs and A Life Less Ordinary. Ash was my first gig on New Year’s Eve 1998, going into 1999. Some drunk guy clumbed onto a signpost and rearranged the directions. Such memories.

The gig was described by Tim Wheeler as “A good warm-up for Slane”, very much tongue in cheek.

On Saturday, Ash will be performing at Slane, a line-up that is already impressive before headliners Foo Fighters enter the stage.

Talking of which, remember in 2012 when Dave Grohl promised Foo Fighters would be back to Belfast?

Come on Dave, don’t let us down. There’s a Facebook group with a ridiculously low number of members here.

If you’re going, i’m very jealous of you. I won’t be so jealous when you’re trying to get out afterwards.

Anyway, here’s a Slane playlist for you

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS PERFORMING AT SLANE

1. Foo Fighters – The One
2. Hozier – Take Me To Church
3. Ash – Envy
4. Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way
5. The Strypes – Blue Collar Jane