THE FRIDAY FIVE – 5.10.2018

1. Pale Waves – Eighteen
2. Muse – Pressure
3. King Princess – 1950
4. Charles Aznavour – She
5. George Ezra – Shotgun

I hate it when Belsonic announces concerts by acts I like and want to see. Pissed up schoolkids, people too thick to put empty bottles in a bin, and scummy tramps stinking of cigs and vapes. I would have preferred it if George Ezra did an Odyssey concert on his March tour.

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GEORGE EZRA – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE (CHSQ) 10.8.2018

No pressure on George here, but I was giving up not one, but two, football matches to be here – missing Linfield’s match against Institute as well as Man United being on TV.

At around 9.10pm, George entered the stage to the sound of Soul Bossa Nova by Quincy Jones, which you know better as the theme tune to Austin Powers, though you would hardly describe him as an International Man Of Mystery, his drummer banging out a thunderous drum beat and ventured close to In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins, the lighting went similarly thunderous as he took his place at the mic stand.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the cue for inclement weather as Belfast stayed dry, despite rain earlier in the day.

He jumped straight into Cassy O, a song which was my introduction to his music, and the same for a lot of people, as the crowd along “Cassy oh oh oh oh oh” at the chorus.

This might have been his third concert in Belfast, but his introduction to Northern Ireland on the other side of the Glenshane Pass, in Derry as part of Other Voices.

His two other concerts in Belfast, both at The Limelight, have represented milestones in his career.

In 2014, the performed there shortly after his debut album Wanted On Voyage had got to Number 1, though it is a concert that is yet to reach the mythical levels of Oasis at the same venue on the night Definitely Maybe did the same.

Fast forward two and a half years to May 2017, and he was back to preview songs from his second album in what was billed as the Top Secret Tour. This concert, the first of a series of outdoor concerts called CHSQ (abbreviation fans will note that this means Switzerland Squared) was anything but secret, selling out well in advance.

By the time Ezra took to the stage, Linfield were 2-0 up, so I could enjoy the concert without having to worry about the score, although I thought that when they went 2-0 up just as Noel Gallagher entered the stage at The Odyssey in May. Thankfully, there was no repeat of what happened that night.

From one Gallagher to another, entering this concert had similar problems to Liam Gallagher’s at Ormeau Park in June. There was an equal split amongst security staff when entering, but an unequal gender split in the make up of the crowd, which was largely female.

While men were able to quickly negotiate shorter queues for getting in, women were having to wait in larger queues (the reverse was the situation at the Liam Gallagher concert)

Not very convenient if you are attending as part of a mixed gender group, as you have to stand about and wait for the rest of your party to get searched.

Is it really to hard to collate information from ticket sales and staff accordingly?

Of those that were in the venue, it was infested with rancid hags. Everywhere you went, puff puff vape vape.

I know I mention this at every outdoor concert, but I will continue to mention it until it is addressed.

I am fed up of being held to ransom by inconsiderate arseholes. Why should I have to spend evenings holding my nose and covering my nose when watching my favourite acts?

Belfast likes to market itself as some sort of trendy and cosmopolitan place to visit. It’s not, it’s a rancid shithole. Outdoor concerts are just one of many things you can’t do in the city without having cigarette smoke blown into your face.

As said before, smoke free venues should be part of the licensing criteria for outdoor events. If Eventsec can be instructed to confiscate bars of chocolate, they can confiscate cigarettes and vapes.

Time for Belfast City Council to take some action and address this. Their apathy will give us a shithole of a city to live in.

Sadly, our Politicians are more interested in avoiding parking fees and complaining about the names of bus stops than tackling real issues that affect people.

You know i’m right on this matter. Smokers, feel free to justify your behaviour. You can’t, because you’re scummy tramps.

When he performed at The Limelight in 2017, Ezra was debuting material from his second album. Barring the single Don’t Matter Now, which had just been released, nobody really knew the new songs. By now, we were all familiar with them.

Rather than the usual “How are you INSERT NAME OF TOWN?” and “YOU GUYS ROCK!!!” between songs, Ezra told stories of the origins of the songs, how they came to be and what inspired them. There were some interesting stories.

A lot of his work has been inspired by visiting Barcelona, a song he performed. I shouldn’t really need to tell you that it’s not a Freddie Mercury/Montserrat Caballe cover.

Having visited Barcelona in 2011 and 2015, I can confirm it is an utterly brilliant city.

It wasn’t all fun, as he remarked that spending a month housesharing with a stanger might not have been his smartest idea.

It was the story of a visit to Sweden that produced the biggest cheer. A friend had put him in touch with three Swedish women to live with. The problem was, they love Eurovision and they were making him watch it for the first time. He wanted to have some alcohol while watching it, but the town he was in has an alcohol curfew, so he had to resort to purchasing some rum illegally on the black market, to the cheers of the crowd, with Ezra remarking “You’re better than that”.

Naturally, i’ve reported him to Rex Banner.

His storytelling usually involved accidentally revealing what song was next within two sentences, meaning there was no suspense in his stories.

He might have only two albums, but Ezra has a lot of hits, all of which were performed – Budapest, Blame It On Me, Barcelona, Budapest, Don’t Matter Now, Listen To The Man and Paradise.

As he left the stage, the crowd began singing Shotgun, a subtle hint for what they wanted during the encore, which he delivered.

As fans left the venue (which took an age, due to only one exit) we were treated to Public Address announcements which could be best described as Yer Da taking control of a microphone in a pub to do a stand-up routine. After a few pints. Every bit as horrific as it sounds.

Photo Album

George Ezra live at The Limelight May 2017

George Ezra live at The Limelight October 2014

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 10.8.2018

1. Kyle Falconer – Family Tree
2. Chvrches – Out Of My head
3. George Ezra – Shotgun
4. Miles Kane – Cry On My Guitar
5. Lewis Capaldi – Tough

Today, is Duran Duran Appreciation Day. No idea what it is or why it is, but just go with the flow. Somewhere, Tony Hadley is furiously typing “And when is it Spandau Ballet Appreciation Day?” on his computer.

So, to celebrate, here’s a chart to get you in the mood. It really should be a Bank Holiday

FIVE SONGS BY DURAN DURAN

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

This Thursday, is Madonna’s 60th Birthday. Nobody ever remembers it’s her birthday because it’s the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death.

Here’s a chart for you if you’re celebrating her milestone birthday.

FIVE SONGS BY MADONNA

1. Rain
2. The Power Of Goodbye
3. Who’s That Girl?
4. Open Your Heart
5. La Isla Bonita

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 6.7.2018

1. George Ezra – Shotgun
2. Tom Odell – If You Wanna Love Somebody
3. Bay City Rollers – I Only Wanna Be With You
4. Oasis – Columbia
5. James – Coming Home (Part II)

If Brazil v Belgium is a bit boring, or if one team is a couple of goals up, you can switch over to BBC Four for The Story Of 1986.

Oh yes, the Top Of The Pops repeats have now reached 1986.

So, to get you in the mood, here’s a chart.

FIVE SONGS FROM 1986

1. Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
2. Europe – The Final Countdown
3. Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
4. Paul Hardcastle – The Wizard
5. Genesis – Land Of Confusion

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 20.4.2018

1. Blossoms – There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)
2. Natalie Prass – Short Court Style
3. Tim Burgess- Clutching Insignificance
4. James – Busted
5. Tom Cochrane – Life Is A Highway

This Monday, is St George’s Day. As with all Saints Days, this blog will do a chart. In fact two charts. Enjoy.

FIVE SONGS BY ENGLISH ACTS

1. Marillion – Cover My Eyes
2. Duran Duran – Ordinary World
3. Oasis – Don’t Go Away
4. The Human League – Don’t You Want Me?
5. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

FIVE SONGS BY BANDS FEATURING A GEORGE OR SINGERS CALLED GEORGE

1. Wham! – Freedom
2. One Night Only – Say You Don’t Want It
3. The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
4. George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag
5. George Ezra – Budapest

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 23.3.2018

1. Frank Turner – Blackout
2. Manic Street Preachers – Distant Colours
3. Kylie Minogue – Stop Me From Falling
4. George Ezra – Paradise
5. The Killers – Wonderwall

Firstly, an apology for there being no Friday Five. I was either busy or lazy, depending on how you look at it, and didn’t get a chance to do one.

That meant I didn’t get to do a St Patrick’s Day chart for you. So, either 1 week late or 51 weeks early, here’s some St Patrick’s Day charts for you.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND

1. The Adventures – Broken Land
2. Brianna Corrigan – Hold Me Now
3. Baltimora – Tarzan Boy
4. Relish – Rainbow Zephyr
5. Snow Patrol – How To Be Dead

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

1. Phil Lynott – Yellow Pearl
2. U2 – The Fly
3. The Strypes – Get Into It
4. Sinead Lohan – Whatever It Takes
5. Kodaline – I’m Ready

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 2.2.2018

1. Turin Brakes – Lifeforms
2. George Ezra – Paradise
3. Chvrches – Get Out
4. The Vaccines – Nightclub
5. The Wombats – Cheetah Tongue

So, what an interesting week of concert announcements. Where to start?

U2 at The Odyssey. Yes please, will be trying to get tickets for that.

Biggest Weekend, Manic Street Preachers and Beck playing Titanic Slipways in May. Yes plese, will be trying to get tickets for that.

Erasure in Dublin was cancelled this week, rearranged for March. Hoping they do a Shed Seven and sneak in a Belfast gig as well with their rearranged Dublin gig.

Not a concert, but I got a ticket for An Evening With Eric Cantona at Waterfront Hall in October.

Paloma Faith has announced an outdoor gig for Edinburgh in August. I might make that my week to go the Edinburgh Festival. I’m giving her Belfast concert in March a miss as it’s all seater, so hoping a Belsonic or CHSQ announcement is being embargoed until after that.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 26.1.2018

1. George Ezra – Paradise
2. The Vaccines – Nightclub
3. The Wombats – Cheetah Tongue
4. Turin Brakes – Underdog (Save Me)
5. Squeeze – Rough Ride

Today is Australia Day, so, you’ve guessed it, time to celebrate with an Australian themed chart.

FIVE SONGS BY AUSTRALIAN ACTS

1. Steffan Dennis – Don’t It Make You Feel Good
2. Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning
3. Kylie Minogue – I Believe In You
4. Angry Anderson – Suddenly
5. Natalie Imbruglia – Want