As 1985 starts, Wham! are the cover stars of Smash Hits, who join them on tour, stating that their fans enjoy their gigs than people who go to see Duran Duran, Culture Club and Spandau Ballet.

As you open the magazine, there is a poster of Adam Ant.

In news, Smash Hits launches an Australian version, to compliment the American version, which is known as Star Hits.

Ian McCullough of Echo and the Bunnymen is interviewed, as the band takes a year off.

There are three pages dedicated to Alannah Currie’s life story so far. You know, her from Thompson Twins.

Smash Hits joins Wham! on tour in Edinburgh, and Andrew Ridgeley dresses up for the occasion by wearing a tartan suit.

Concert Reviews sees Smash Hits go to see UB40, Howard Jones and Cocteau Twins.


A trip to the recent past this week to February 2007, a month when Bloc Party appeared on the cover of AU, formerly known as Alternative Ulster.

On the AU stereo this month was songs by CSS, Stylofone, Idlewild, Future Of The Left, Shiny Toy Guns and cover artist Bloc Party.

The Goodies and Baddies list makes for interesting reading, with Sylvester Stallone being listed a Goodie due to the new Rocky movie not being awful. I’m guessing the magazine went to print before Stallone appeared on the pitch at Goodison Park waving an Everton scarf in January 2007.

Also on the Goodies List was Victoria Beckham (for stopping David becoming a Scientologist), Ronnie O’Sullivan and Noel Edmonds.

On the Baddies List was a Goodie, well, Jade Goody, for a variety of reasons.

Preston was also on the list. The singer from The Ordinary Boys, rather than the town, as was Ian McCullough and the band James.

“What’s On Your Ipod?” is a feature stopping people in the street and asking what’s on their Ipod. Simple enough. Among those stopped was Joe Lindsay, he of Getaways fame. His three songs are Big Julie by Jarvis Cocker, DJ’s Got A Gun by Robots In Disguise and Yesterday’s Folks by US69.

An amazing fact about him (according to the feature) is that he can do a “passable” impression of Christopher Walken.

Patrick Wolf is interviewed about his music collection. His first record bought was Saturday Night by Whigfield.

Having just released their debut album, Kieran Webster from The View is interviewed about his favourite things. His favourite TV show is Shameless (Gerard Kearns, AKA Ian Gallagher would appear in the video for The Don later in the year) and his favourite live band was Primal Scream.

In news, The Stooges were set to release a new album, their first in 33 years, while In Case Of Fire were in the studio working on a new album.

Side projects get looked at in a feature looking at the good, the bad and the weird.

Elliott Smith, who died in 2003, gets a double page spread, with a guide for those looking to purchase from his back catalogue.

David Bowie also got a double page feature, with AU doing an A to Z guide to his career.

Hotly tipped new band The Klaxons get a three page feature as they prepare to release their debut album, which is followed by six pages of cover stars Bloc Party.

In live reviews, there is a review of Chuck Berry’s recent gig at Waterfront Hall.

Upcoming gigs include Nerina Pallot at Spring and Airbreak, Badly Drawn Boy at Mandela Hall, Razorlight doing two nights at Waterfront Hall and Amy Winehouse at Ulster Hall.


One song in, Ian McCullough, wearing sunglasses indoors and shouting at the sound guys to give them “less feedback and more bollocks”, it was what you would call Classic McCullough.

After a five year absence from Belfast, Echo and the Bunnymen made a return to the city on Tuesday night, for a gig at Mandela Hall.

This was my third Bunnymen gig, not bad for a band I thought i’d never see play live.

The first time I saw them was in May 2010 at Custom House Square. My most recent time seeing them was in April 2013, supporting James at SECC in Glasgow.

The current Bunnymen line-up, is the duo of Ian McCullough and Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson having left after their late 90s comeback and drummer Pete De Frietas dying in 1989.

They were supported by touring musicians, a guitarist and bassist stood to the left of McCullough, and a drummer and keyboardist buried behind amps. You might have been able to see them, but you could hear them.

Sergeant was stood to McCullough’s right and was in his happy place, stood on his own playing guitar, it looked as though he had a different guitar for each song, such was his collection.

The setlist was heavily drawn from their 1980s hits such as Rescue, Never Stop, Bring On The Dancing Horses, Bedbugs & Ballyhoo, Killing Moon and The Cutter. One of their hits, Seven Seas saw Ian McCullough mimic somebody swimming. That is quite a big deal for someone who doesn’t do many onstage theatrics.

Villier’s Terrace saw the crowd be treated to an inpromptu cover of Jean Genie by David Bowie.

It wasn’t the only cover they smuggled into their set included Take A Walk On The Wild Side (Lou Reed) which they amended to include Belfast and Merseyside references, Don’t Let Me Down (The Beatles) and Summer Wind (Frank Sinatra)

One cover that was on the setlist, intentionally, was People Are Strange (The Doors), which they recorded for the soundtrack of The Lost Boys.

After a Killing Moon/The Cutter finale, the band headed off stage, before returning for an encore, performing Nothing Lasts Forever (a curious title for a comeback single after a ten year absence) and Lips Like Sugar, to a rapturous applause.

The venue lighting didn’t immediately come on, giving fans hope for a second encore. They waited, and waited, and waited, before some men appeared on stage. They were roadies, dismantling the stage.

It was the only time all night the fans were disappointed.

Photo Album

See Also

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At SECC 2013

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At SECC 2013 Photo Album

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At Custom House Square 2010

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At Custom House Square 2010 Photo Album


Curve are the cover stars of this early 90s magazine, alongside Lush and Sugarcubes. A magazine cover literally can’t get any more 1992.

In news, The Wonder Stuff are bringing out a documentary of their recent tour, which included a concert at Walsall’s Bescot Stadium.

Ian McCullough, now a solo artist about to launch his second solo album, dismisses The Bunnymen as history. They reformed in 1997.

Newly reformed Madness are featured, jumping on the nostalgia bandwagon due to the success of a Greatest Hits compilation.

The topic of new material was raised and was sidestepped. That didn’t come until 1999.

Eagle eyed viewers of Top Of The Pops 2 will have noticed Mark Bedford and Daniel Woodgate spending the time between Madness split and reformation in Voice Of The Beehive.


Three concerts and a cup final this month, all of which were excellent.

The three concerts were Nerina Pallot, Echo and the Bunnymen, Marina and the Diamonds, and on each occasion, I managed to get into a good position for some decent photographs.

I also managed to get into a good position for photos at the Irish Cup Final, which Linfield won 2-1 against Portadown.

Unfortunately, the seats were in the bottom tier of The Kop stand, and Linfield scored both their goals at the Railway End of the ground.

But, if not being able to get a good goal photo is the biggest complaint of a football match, especially a cup final, then it’s not worth complaining about.

See Also

Spark (Marina and the Diamonds support act) Photos
Marina and the Diamonds Review
Marina and the Diamonds Photos
Echo and the Bunnymen Review

Echo and the Bunnymen Photos
Irish Cup Final Review
Irish Cup Final Photos
Nerina Pallot Review
Nerina Pallot Photos


As I was getting a train to Dublin last month, I picked up a booklet advertising the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival as reading material to pass the time on the journey.

When browsing, I saw that Echo and the Bunnymen would be performing at the festival, and that tickets would only cost £10. This was a no-brainer, not even worth thinking about.

Upon my return to Belfast, I immediately went and purchased a ticket.

Apologies for the delay in posting this blog, as technical glitches with Twitpic meant I wasn’t able to get photos uploaded for ages.

I’d been to Custom House Square for concerts. It doesn’t take a lot to fill it, and if you can get it full, it makes for a good concert.

To my surprise, the concert was to take place in a indoor marquee rather than an open air concert which usually takes place at this venue.

Support was provided by appropriately named local act Joe Echo. He was OK, nothing special. Can’t say I was going to rush to buy his CD after the concert.

I love Echo and the Bunnymen, and I mean, I love Echo and the Bunnymen.

I actually got into the band in 1997 with their ‘Evergreen‘ album and their comeback hit ‘Nothing Lasts Forever

I’d never actually heard of them and thought they were a new act, not realising that they were releasing their first new material in nearly a decade after reforming.

As a result, I purchased their Best Of album ‘Ballyhoo‘, and fell more in love with them, especially songs like ‘The Cutter‘, ‘Killing Moon‘ and ‘Bring On The Dancing Horses

The setlist for this concert was mainly drawn from their 80s singles, with ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ being the only song since their 1997 reformation being included on the setlist, which is a pity as ‘What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?‘ (1999) and ‘Flowers‘ (2001) have some excellent songs on it.

The band are very much these days a two piece of Ian McCullough and Will Sergeant (Les Pattison left the band and Pete De Frietas died in 1989) and assembled backing musicians.

Singer McCullough is the leader of the band and his influence his felt on stage as his berating of backing musicians usually results in them doing what he wants.

The phrase “Less is more” best describes McCullough’s on stage performance as he just sings. No dancing or anything else, just singing.

At times, he was off-key and out of tune, but it was part of the charm of the performance. It’s not X-Factor you know.

The band were electrifying, and the lack of lighting in the venue meant there was an element of mystery surrounding their performance.

After leaving to a rapturous reception, the band returned to do an encore, performing ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’, before merging it into a cover of ‘Walk On The Wildside’, alternation customised lyrics of “Hey babe, take a walk on the Merseyside” and “Hey Belfast, take a walk on the wild side” and then merging into a cover of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ by The Beatles.

A tenner well spent.