2018 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August 2018 was a busy month, and it began at Mourneview Park for the start of the 2018-2019 season as Linfield beat Glenavon 1-0.

The following weekend, I headed to Custom House Square to see George Ezra in concert. That was followed by a day trip to Bangor where I squeezed in some Street Art photos, including a mural of John Lydon.

It was then back to the football as I went to see Edinburgh City take on Albion Rovers in the Scottish Challenge Cup while on a short break in Edinburgh. I also managed to get some Street Art photos while in Edinburgh.

Upon my return to Belfast, was a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders.

The next few days were spent at Custom House Square, seeing Kasabian, Turin Brakes and Travis in concert.

The following Saturday was a trip to Solitude to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

Glenavon v Linfield

George Ezra live at Custom House Square

George Ezra live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Bangor Street Art

Bangor Street Art Photo Album

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Kasabian live at Custom House Square

Kasabian live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Turin Brakes live at Custom House Square

Turin Brakes live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Travis live at Custom House Square

Travis live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

KASABIAN – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 20.8.2018 (CHSQ)

There is always some sort of wait for a concert. For Kasabian fans in Belfast, they had to wait a little bit longer for this one, taking place 363 days later than it should have, having been cancelled due to illness with fans in the venue in August last year.

Nearly a year on, fans returned to Custom House Square, except for the three that died waiting.

Waking up on Monday morning to rain, the weather picked up where it left off from that night in August 2017. Thankfully, it got better, drying up during the day, though there was drizzle at the start of Kasabian’s set before getting worse by 10pm, necessitating the need for me to use the poncho in my pocket, which some kind concert neighbours helped me put on. See, not all Belfast people are arseholes.

Yep, another outdoor Belfast concert infested with scummy tramps. You know what i’m referring to.

Last August, Blossoms were the support act. With a new album and doing the festival circuit this Summer, it wasn’t unreasonable to hope they would make a return to Belfast, but it wasn’t to be.

Blossoms have a tour announced for later this year but no Belfast gig, so fingers crossed that means they’ll be doing a festival here in Summer 2019.

The support act for this concert was a band called DMAs, who were decent even though they looked like the world’s shittest football hooligan firm.

Kasabian entered the stage and went straight into blasting out their hits, leaving very little time for interaction with the crowd – Club Foot, Ill Ray, Underdog, Shoot The Runner, Days Are Forgotten, Eez-Eh and You’re In Love With A Psycho all delighting the crowd.

One man in front of me was enjoying himself so much, he was jumping up an down as if Madness were playing a ninety minute version of One Step Beyond.

Eventually, the band made reference to the cancelled concert last year, with Tom saying “Sorry, I was ill” and the band dedicated LSF to the fans who came back the second time.

Serge then turned his attention to residents in nearby apartments, asking one person to get him a packet of crisps, which he did, a packet of Space Raiders, since you ask. Tom then asked if he could move in with him.

By the time we got to the encore, the band ended with Fire. They were on fire. It was worth the wait.

Photo Album

Kasabian live at The Odyssey December 2014

THE SOUND OF 2017 : 1-25

So, here it is, the Top 25 Songs Of 2017

1. Liam Gallagher – For What It’s Worth
2. Rose Elinor Dougall – Closer
3. The Killers – Run For Cover
4. Paramore – Hard Times
5. Liam Gallagher – Bold
6. U2 – Get Out Of Your Own Way
7. Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
8. The Killers – The Man
9. Rose Elinor Dougall – All At Once
10. Haim – Little Of Your Love
11. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
12. Liam Gallagher – Come Back To Me
13. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – She Taught Me to Fly
14. U2 – You’re The Best Thing About Me
15. Royal Blood – Lights Out
16. Biffy Clyro – Friends and Enemies
17. Tears For Fears – I Love You But I’m Lost
18. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
19. Lorde – Green Light
20. Arcade Fire – Creature Comfort
21. Kasabian – Bless This Acid House
22. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – If Love Is The Law
23. Bastille – Basketcase
24. Paloma Faith – Crybaby
25. John Hassell and the April Rainers – Intercity 125

Congratulations to Liam Gallagher, emulating his brother in winning this prize in 2011. Get in touch and I’ll arrange some sort of presentation when you’re in Belfast for Belsonic.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this rundown and discovered some new songs you had never heard before.

If you haven’t heard the winning song yet, here it is.

We’ll end, with the list of previous winners.

2016
The Strumbelles – Spirits
2015 Blossoms – Charlemagne
2014 Jamie T – Zombie
2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever 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

THE SOUND OF 2017 : 76-100

It’s that time of year folks where I count down the best songs of the year. It’s a bit later than usual, but it will be worth the wait.

I’ll spare you the usual crap about how it was a great year for music and all that. There were some good songs and some bad songs, so I spent a Sunday afternoon trying to put the good songs in an order.

Here’s the first batch. Enjoy

76. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – I Gotta Praise
77. Rose Elinor Dougall – Hell and Back
78. Shed Seven – It’s Not Easy
79. Benjamin Clementine – Jupiter
80. OMD – Isotype
81. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
82. The Amazons – Black Magic
83. Tove Lo – Being Boring
84. Metallica – Don’t Look Back In Anger
85. Miley Cyrus – Malibu
86. Joy Williams – Ordinary World
87. Matt Maltese – As The World Caves In
88. The Killers ft Paul McCartney – Helter Skelter
89. Rag n Bone Man – Reach Out I’ll Be There
90. Gorillaz – We Got The Power
91. Kasabian – Ill Ray
92. Paul Weller – Woo Se Mama
93. Donald Trump ft Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime
94. Barry Manilow – New York State Of Mind
95. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
96. Hurray For The Riff Raff – Living In The City
97. Shed Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times, Disco Down
98. Blossoms – In Da Club/Careless Whisper
99. Imelda May – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
100. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Interlude (Wednesday Part 1)

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 8.9.2017

1. U2 – You’re The Best Thing About Me
2. Ryan Adams – So Alive
3. Steely Dan – Dirty Work
4. Stereophonics – Caught By The Wind
5. Kasabian – Ill Ray

Guess what? I actually got a ticket for Ryan Adams. God bless last minute extra tickets going on sale.

Good luck to all those getting Liam Gallagher tickets this morning. At least with it being moved to The Odyssey from Ulster Hall, it won’t be as much of a scramble. Apologies for sounding smug, but i’ve already got one in the pre-sale.

BLOSSOMS – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 22.8.2017 (AND KASABIAN, NOT LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 22.8.2017)

“We’ll be back soon” said Blossoms singer Tom Ogden at the end of their concert at The Limelight in March. He was true to his word, with the band returning five and a half months later to support Kasabian at Custom House Square.

It was a nice treat, to have two bands on the bill I want to see, rather than viewing the support act as a way of filling time before the headliner.

Kasabian are one of many high profile acts who have had Blossoms supporting them in recent years – Paul Weller, The Courteeners, The Charlatans and The Kooks have all had them as support. I saw them support Paul Weller at Waterfront Hall in 2015.

Next month, will be their biggest support slot to date, when they support Noel Gallagher at his concert to reopen Manchester Arena.

To dismiss them as a support act is harsh. These boys have tunes.

Restricted to a 45 minute set, they had to play the hits. Considering they’ve only released one album, they’ve already had quite a few hits, such as Blown Rose, Getaway, At Most A Kiss and Honey Sweet, all getting the approval of a crowd who were getting drenched while the set was ongoing. We even got an instrumental version of Gimme Gimme Gimme, just like at The Limelight in March.

Just like at The Limelight in March, the band asked for a member of the audience who had been just dumped to dedicate My Favourite Room to.

At The Limelight, it was Orla (apologies if that’s not the spelling she uses) who had been dumped by Ryan. I don’t know if she was there on Tuesday.

The lucky winner, if you will, was Emma, who had just been dumped by Jack. Jack was booed by the crowd. If you’re reading this Jack, you’re a bastard.

My Favourite Room also included singalongs of Half The World Away By Oasis and Last Christmas by Wham!

I say singalongs, it was Tom singing the first line of a verse, and the crowd doing the rest.

If drunks can sing Fairytale Of New York on St Patrick’s Day, then it’s more than acceptable for people to sing Last Christmas in August.

As the band neared the end of their set, finishing on Charlemagne (voted the best song of 2015 by this blog), Tom Ogden asked the crowd if they were excited for Kasabian, before giving a shout out to Touts.

Touts were the band who were on before Blossoms, and supported them at The Limelight in March and at Castlefield Bowl in July. They’ll be supporting Paul Weller at Ulster Hall early next year.

If you saw them, you probably thought they were called Tights, due to their Peeeyuuurrrre Deee-errry (Or Peeeyyyurrree Leeonndonddeee-errrrry, if you prefer) accents.

I didn’t catch any of their performance and wasn’t really fussed about that, to be honest.

It can’t be unsaid about the sheer number of smelly tramps at this gig. Seriously, it was embarrassing, trying to find somewhere without having cigarette or vape smoke being blown into my face.

We are the majority, yet our nights out are dictated by smelly tramps who haven’t even the basic decency to consider those around them and go a few hours without.

I’m fed up about outdoor events being ruined by these tramps, having to walk through the City Centre holding my nose on my lunchbreak, and don’t even start me on how useless Eventsec are at stopping this at international football matches.

It might seem drastic, but surely it’s worth putting anti-smoking clauses into the granting of licences.

Some smelly tramps might get their feelings hurt by this, Fuck em. It’s not my problem, and my enjoyment of events shouldn’t be dictated by them. I give more of a fuck about my lungs than I do about their feelings.

If there must be a compromise, built a hut for them and let them do their trampy wee habit away from everybody else.

I know I write about this a lot, but I will continue to do so until either authorities tackle it or there are societal changes in Belfast.

No amount of glossy Game Of Thrones themed advertising can disguise the fact that Belfast is a smelly smoke riddled shithole. It doesn’t have to be.

At about 8.45pm, I had managed to get a decent view, the rain had stopped, and I was in an area which had the least amount of smelly tramps surrounding me. I was all set for Kasabian.

Kasabian are no strangers to Belfast in August, with this gig falling on the tenth anniversary of them supporting The Killers at Tennent’s Vital, and just over seven years (by five days) since they headlined Belsonic at the same venue.

However, 2017 would not be joining 2007 and 2010 as Kasabian visits to Belfast.

An announcement came over the speaker “THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT …”

Nobody really paid attention. They just thought it was an automated health and safety announcment.

I have been to several Belsonic concerts in the past and never heard a health and safety announcment. It immediately struck me as odd, but nothing to get worried about.,

The announcement continued “….. DUE TO A LAST MINUTE …..”

I immediately thought to myself “Oh fuck”, I knew what was coming.

It continued “… ILLNESS, TONIGHT’S SHOW HAS BEEN CANCELLED. THERE WILL BE NO PERFORMANCE”.

The venue went silent and everyone was in disbelief. The announcement was repeated, and people began to take in what was being said.

The title of their current album For Crying Out Loud was quite apt.

The second time was met with boos, and booze, as some people chucked beer at the stage in disgust.

It clearly was a late announcement with Blossoms being unaware when their singer was under the impression Kasabian were performing as they were on stage.

Last year, The Kooks cancelled their gig at Feile on the day, so the organisers bumped The Coronas (who were supporting) into a headline slot and offered anyone who wanted to see The Kooks a refund.

Clearly, the cancellation was too late for a similar arrangement to take place here.

It was stated that a new dated would be announced. There’s not much room for maneuver from band and promoters or a Custom House Square gig in the immediate future.

It was expected that they would go on a Winter tour, the announcement will have been embargoed until their summer festival appearances had been completed.

That turned out to be the case.

There’s no Belfast gig. There was never going to be a Belfast gig on that tour, as we would have already had one this year.

There is a Dublin gig, and free days either side of it. Block out your diary for an Odyssey gig would be my hunch.

Anyone who had a ticket for Custom House Square will be compensated with admission to The Odyssey.

That’s just a hunch, I have no inside information.

That’s the second concert in a few days i’ve left early. One because I only wanted to see the support act, and the other because the headliners cancelled. It’s not a habit I want to get into.

You have to be philosophical, i’ll either get my money back or i’ll get to see Kasabian at a later date.

Let’s be honest, Kasabian will be playing a gig in Belfast in 2037 to promote Greatest Hits III, it’s not like they’ll never come to Belfast again.

As it turned out, there was a tunderstorm during when the band would have been performing their encore. That would have been, um, fun.

If you do want to read a Kasabian review, here’s their 2014 Odyssey concert.

Blossoms Live At Custom House Square Photo Album

THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY, 2017

We’ve reached that time of year when we are halfway through the year and it is time to do the Top 50 songs of the year so far.

There’s no scientific formula to it. I just went through The Friday Five, and tried to assemble them into some sort of order.

If you love pointless stats, there are three former “The Sound Of …..” winners in the chart.

Remember, it can all change by the time of the main chart in December.

It could even be a Gallagher brother duopoly.

1. Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
2. Rose Elinor Dougall – Closer
3. The Killers – The Man
4. Paramore – Hard Times
5. John Hassell and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
6. Rose Elinor Dougall – All At Once
7. Royal Blood – Lights Out
8. Blondie – Long Time
9. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
10. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
11. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
12. Harry Styles – Sign Of The Times
13. Lorde – Green Light
14. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
15. Beth Ditto – Fire
16. Dagny – Wearing Nothing
17. Haim – Want You Back
18. The Kooks – Be Who You Are
19. Haim – Little Of Your Love
20. The XX – On Hold
21. Coldplay – Something Just Like This
22. Amy MacDonald – Dream On
23. Erasure – Love You To The Sky
24. Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill
25. Rag n Bone Man – Skin
26. Liam Gallagher – Chinatown
27. The Charlatans – Plastic Machinery
28. James – Sit Down (Game Of Thrones 2017 version)
29. Joy Williams – Ordinary World
30. Liam Gallagher – Bold
31. Muse – Dig Deep
32. Shed Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times, Disco Down
33. Barry Manilow – New York State Of Mind
34. Kasabian – Bless This Acid House
35. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
36. Black Grape – Pop Voodoo
37. Imagine Dragons – Believer
38. Matt Maltese – As The World Caves In
39. The Courteeners – Don’t Look Back In Anger
40. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
41. Ryan Adams – To Be Without You
42. Miley Cyrus – Malibu
43. Cast – Faith
44. Blossoms – In Da Club/Carelss Whisper
45. Imelda May – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
46. Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus – Don’t Dream It’s Over
47. Rory Lavelle – Poor Pride
48. Rose Elinor Dougall – Hell and Back
49. Amy MacDonald – Automatic
50. Paul Draper – Things People Want

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 21.4.2017

1. Paramore – Hard Times
2. Kasabian – Bless This Acid House
3. Prince – Deliverance
4. Camens – Boys Will Stray
5. Spoon – Hot Thoughts

Today is Robert Smiths’s birthday, and it’s his favourite day of the week. It’s the first time it’s fallen on a Friday since 2006, and won’t happen again until 2023, so he had better enjoy it.

To celebrate, here’s a The Cure Top Five

FIVE SONGS BY THE CURE

1. Friday I’m In Love
2. Lullaby
3. Hot Hot Hot
4. Close To Me
5. In Between Days

This Sunday, is St George’s Day, so time to lie back and think of England with some themed playlists for you

FIVE SONGS BY SINGERS CALLED GEORGE OR BANDS WITH SOMEONE CALLED GEORGE

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

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM ENGLAND

1. Pulp – A Little Soul
2. Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence
3. Cast – Finetime
4. The Beautiful South – Ole Red Eyes Is Back
5. Duran Duran – Ordinary World

Gig news, Paramore are coming to Belfast. The downside is, i’m already going to see The 1975 that night. If their marketing team had any brains, they could get them to do a gig at the bar of a South Belfast hotel and call it “PARAMORE AT THE PARADOR”

No doubt you all saw May’s big announcement on Tuesday morning. Brian that is, not Theresa. “Queen” are coming to The Odyssey in November. I’m not a big fan of him as a solo artist (apart from What Do You Want From Me?) but Adam Lambert is a capable vocalist and Queen + Adam Lambert looked decent at their BBC New Year’s Eve concert in 2014/2015. However, £74? For £74, i’m expecting Freddie Mercury and John Deacon on stage, and David Bowie to make a guest appearance on Under Pressure.

Ever since BBC Four had a night of programming dedicated to Depeche Mode, i’m been rediscovering how brilliant they are. There’ll be a Belfast gig this year, date to be announced, so I might pop along to see them.

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for his Ulster Hall gig.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 14.4.2017

1. Barry Manilow – New York State Of Mind
2. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
3. Royal Blood – Lights Out
4. Biffy Clyro – Friend and Enemies
5. Saint Etienne – Magpie Eyes

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for Ulster Hall in September. (Yes, I will do this every week between now and September)