MANIC STREET PREACHERS – LIVE AT TITANIC SLIPWAYS (BIGGEST WEEKEND) 25.5.2018

It’s not a Big Weekend, it’s the Biggest Weekend.

Not quite Radio 1’s Big Weekend, but an event primarily to fill the gap in the BBC’s schedules due to there being no Glastonbury this year, so the idea of Biggest Weekend was born.

It was a series of four concerts, one each in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales over two days over the May Bank Holiday Weekend. The days allocated for Northern Ireland would be Friday and Saturday.

Surprisingly, the Northern Ireland one was held in Belfast. I say surprisingly, because the main feature of Radio 1’s Big Weekend, was that it was held in towns or cities that don’t usually appear on tour schedules.

That was true of the other three venues – Coventry (England), Perth (Scotland) and Swansea (Wales)

Belfast was the choice for Northern Ireland, in Titanic Slipways in the East of the city.

This was a venue that had previous experience of hosting live music events, previously hosting Proms In The Park and Belsonic (in 2016).

I went to a couple of Belsonic gigs in 2016, and the big thing that stood out was that the stage was in a different location, facing the back of Titanic Centre rather than it’s back to the street outside.

Like in 2016, it was spatious. Very spatious, which made it easy for getting around on foot.

Each of the four concerts had a radio station leading it. For Belfast, it was 6 Music.

I wouldn’t be an avid listener to 6 Music, but when I do listen to it, they usually have decent tunes on it.

The line-up for this concert was varied. At £18 a ticket, even if you only saw one act, it would be worth it.

For me, there were two acts that stood out for me on the Friday, Manic Street Preachers and Beck.

Unsure of what time Manic Street Preachers would be on stage at, I booked a half-day off work, in case it was during my working hours.

As it turned out, when the set times were published on the Thursday, they would be scheduled for 6.20pm (they wre actually a few minutes late)

I could have went straight from work, but I made the most of the half-day, having a relaxing afternoon before arriving at the venue just before 5pm, to get a bite to eat before going to see The Manics.

It would be a performance without Nicky Wire, as news broke at lunchtime on Friday that he wouldn’t be onstage due to a family member being ill.

I didn’t catch the name of the stand-in, but he has nice legs according to James Dean Bradfield, talking inbetween songs, who apologised that he wouldn’t be wearing a leopardskin skirt like Nicky Wire.

One observation was that the venue had a lot of Wellends. I’m not sure why, he wasn’t performing, though it was the great man’s 60th birthday. I think they might have been there for Touts, who were performing on another stage in the venue.

Another observation was that the venue was infested with absolute fucking tramps. Puff puff vape vape everywhere you go. Standard for any outdoor event in Belfast sadly.

Anyone who smokes in a crowded public area is a dirty fucking tramp. There is no debate, it is a statement of fact. Belfast is infested with them.

Can we have just one outdoor event in Belfast that doesn’t stink of fags and vapes?

Eating outside on a nice day, going to a beer garden, going to a football match, going to an outdoor concert, walking down the street. Just some of the things you can’t do in Belfast without having to hold your nose and cover your mouth.

You can’t even queue for a bus for crying out loud.

A few years back, some people couldn’t even fly from Belfast to Glasgow because some fucking idiot couldn’t even go a short time without and lit up in the toilet, forcing the flight back to Belfast.

But yeah, i’m just a moany cunt and there’s not a serious social problem that needs to be addressed on a city and country wide basis.

Imagine being a smoker and thinking that you’re cool. Oh mate.

Mate. Mate mate mate. Oh mate. I really don’t know how to break it to you.

Cue the response that “Lots of cool people smoke, like Bill Hicks and David Bowie”.

They’re dead.

Watching the TV coverage, every crowd shot had a vape cloud in the background. Utterly embarrassing as a showcase for Belfast.

Can’t say i’ve ever walked past Primark and seen a milly in her pyjamas having a smoke and thought she is so cool.

We are the majority and our enjoyment of events is being held to ransom by dirty tramps.

I am absolutely fed up of having to hold my nose and cover my mouth every time I go to an outdoor concert. This needs addressed and addressed as soon as possible.

Eventually, James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore entered the stage, introduced by Stuart Maconie, jumping straight into International Blue, the lead single from their current album Resistance Is Futile (Yes, the most Manic Street Preachers sounding album title you could think of)

It was one of several new songs – Distant Colours, People Give In and Hold Me Like A Heaven that can stand up to any Manic Street Preachers classic.

Of course, the classics were played as well the first of those, Motorcycle Emptiness prompted and outburst of dad dancing from James Dean Bradfield. It was one of several dad dancing moments during the gig. It’s not a new thing from past experience.

I was a bit of a relative latecomer to The Manics, only really getting into them when they released Everything Must Go.

It was the follow-up to that album that provided the mainstay of classics, such as If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next and You Stole The Sun From My Heart from This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.

Sunny when I arrived at the venue, the weather had now got a bit dull. Manic Street Preachers, were anything but.

They ended on Design For Life, with Bradfield thanking everyone who attended, especially those who had seen them previously at The Limelight and Mandela Hall in the 1990s.

A good start to the music for me (there had been acts on stage from 1pm) with Beck to come. Orbital would be headlining the Friday night in Belfast, presumably because they have a song called Belfast.

Simple Minds were performing in Perth and had a hit called Belfast Child (As much as I like Simple Minds, that is an utter wank song) and sadly wouldn’t be coming to Belfast.

Manic Street Preachers more than made up for it.

To paraphrase Jim Kerr, they are still very much alive and kicking.

Photo Album

Manic Street Preachers live at Ulster Hall 2013

Manic Street Preachers live at Ulster 2009 Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.2.2014

1. Florrie – Seashells
2. DJ Fresh vs Jay Fay ft Ms Dynamite – Dibby Dibby Sound
3. Bruce Springsteen – Just Life Fire Would
4. American Authors – Best Day Of My Life
5. James – Frozen Britain

Tomorrow, is St David’s Day. As is tradition, there shall be a St David’s Day chart for Welsh readers. Enjoy.

FIVE SONGS BY WELSH ARTISTS

1. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
2. Stereophonics – Dakota
3. Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness
4. The Automatic – Steve McQueen
5. Scritti Politti – Absolut

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : FEB 21 – FEB 27

We begin this week’s round with a JJ and a JD born this week in history. JJ Burnel of The Stranglers, 62 this week.

While this week, JD Bradfield, or James Dean Bradfield to give him his full name, lead singer of Manic Street Preachers turned 46.

He has a brief solo career in the mid 00s. That’s No Way To Tell A Lie is a brilliant song.

And anyway, back to his day job.

James Dean Bradfield shares a birthday with another Welsh singer, Charlotee Church. The singles off her debut solo album were rather good you know.

And in a tenuous link that TOTP would be proud of, she was big in 2005 …….. like James Blunt

And from big in 2005, we go back a few decades to big in 1985 (well, 1983 actually, but don’t let that ruin a link) with Howard Jones.

And staying the 1980s, Quiet Life by Japan is just brilliant.

Meanwhile, George Harrison would have been 71 this week. Unfortunately, there is a lack of Beatles and solo appearances on Youtube, so I compensate by posting a cover when there is a Beatle Birthday.

As he’s my favourite Beatle, he can have Siouxsie and the Banshees doing Dear Prudence. I’m still to decide which Beatle gets Candy Flip.

Ally McLeod would have been 83 this week, but 78 is his, erm, lucky number, as it was 1978 he got immortalised in song by Andy Cameron.

You can tell the audience members who were told to turn up with tartan scarves thought they were going to see The Rollers.

Almost near the end of this week, two more pop stars celebrating a birthday today. First, Steve Harley ……

DISCLAIMER : Introduction features Jimmy Savile.

…… and Rozonda Thomas from TLC

And finally, it’s 38 years ago this week since the death of LS Lowry. A painter, not a singer, he has inspired sone songs, first by Brian and Michael …….

……… and a very young Status Quo, who had yet to discover Double Denim.

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : JAN 31 – FEB 6

With February now here, what does our look back at Top Of The Pops have for us.

We start, with Mike Read, in a pair of short shorts introducing KC and the Sunshine Band, wearing a multicolour coat. The 1980s, eh?

Fast forward a few years, we have Public Image Limited performing the superb Rise. Despite the jingly jangly radio friendly nature of the song, it actually has a dark subject matter …………. police brutality in South Africa.

We continue our 1980s theme with Lloyd Cole, who is actually no relation to Jimmy Car, believe it or not.

Moving away from the 1980s, to a pop star born in the 1980s, January 31st 1981 to be precise, Mr Justin Timberlake.

Another birthday this week, is Big Boi from Outkast.

A death anniversary, of sorts, as 19 years ago this week, Richey Edwards from Manic Street Preachers disappeared, and has never been seen since.

Incidentally, Richey Edwards disappeared on Shakira’s 18th birthday.

Alice Cooper turned 66 this week. Sadly for any kids watching, school isn’t out for summer ……. you still have another five months to go.

Also born this week in pop history was Tim Booth of James, the lead singer of one of my favourite bands. If you don’t like them, you should probably look away now, there’s a few videos coming up.

Also celebrating a birthday this week, is Natalie Imbruglia. She’s done some good songs you know.

Meanwhile, a death anniversary this week for Alex Harvey.

Patrick MacNee turned 92 this week. Yes, he of The Avengers. It’s basically an excuse to post a link to Don’t Look Back In Anger, which he appeared in the video for.

And finally, it’s Rick Astley’s birthday this week. It’s safe to watch this video. You won’t get Rickrolled.

2013 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

The summer might have ended, but that wasn’t the end of my photo adventures.

My first weekend saw me having a football double bill, Northern Ireland’s World Cup Qualifier against Portugal, followed by Linfield’s trip to Ballyclare to take on Ards, my first ever trip to Dixon Park

The following weekend, was another first, my first trip to Old Trafford to see a David Moyes Manchester United game, against Crystal Palace.

The weekend after that, was Culture Night, then a trip to Ballinamallard to see Linfield, then back to Belfast in time for Manic Street Preachers.

The day after the Manics, I was headed to the Cathedral Quarter to see the new Street Art painted as part of Culture Night, now that the dust had settled.

In fact, there was so much Street Art, I missed some, and had to come back the following Saturday. Later that day, I went to see Linfield take on Coleraine.

To end the month, I headed to East Belfast to get some Street Art shots, the Newtownards Road also getting the same treatment as North Street on Culture Night

Northern Ireland v Portugal

Northern Ireland v Portugal Photo Album

Ards v Linfield

The Butcher

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United v Crystal Palace Photo Album

Manchester

Culture Night Belfast 2013

Culture Night Belfast 2013 Photo Album

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall Photo Album

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy Photo Album

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy Part 2

Linfield v Coleraine

East Belfast Street Art

MANIC STREET PREACHERS – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 21.9.2013

After a four year absence, Manic Street Preachers returned to Belfast for a gig at Ulster Hall, the venue where they played their last Belfast gig in 2009.

They jumped straight into “Motorcycle Emptiness”, with James Dean Bradfield too busy dancing, he forgot to sing the first verse. It didn’t matter, the crowd did that for him.

Both Bradfield and Nicky Wire were dancing while playing their instruments. If there was a competition, i’d say Nicky Wire was the best dancer in the Manics, with James bordering on Dad Dancing at times. Sean Moore didn’t dance, as he was stuck behind his drum kit.

You got the feeling, if the gig lasted for ten more minutes, Sean Moore probably would have started dancing while playing drums.

Despite his dodgy dancing, Bradfield was at home on stage, revelling in the role of frontman.

Inbetween songs, there was small talk, but not the usual concert stuff, as Nicky Wire, wearing sunglasses indoors and with black stars on his face a la Marc Bolan, spoke about their early Belfast gigs in The Limelight, while Bradfield dedicated a song to local(ish) singer Andy Cairns.

Most bizarre anecdote was Nicky recalling their first visit to Belfast, where they were given a guided tour of the city by Johnny Hero, which resulted in Sean going missing, Nicky getting into an arguement, and others being drunk.

For “Your Love Alone Is Not Enough”, James just sang Nina Persson’s parts, which was strange, as they performed “$ Lonely Roads” from their current album with support act Cate Le Bon (no relation to Simon)

You would have thought she could have done Nina Persson’s bit in “Your Love Alone ……”

In the middle, James did a solo acoustic set. He made a mess of “This Sullen Welsh Heart” so made up for it with a version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Andy Williams, before performing “The Everlasting”

Due to the 11pm curfew, there was no encore. There didn’t need to be.

The Manics spoke (and later tweeted) about how they loved Belfast, and Belfast, loved them back.

Photo Album

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall 2009

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall 2009 Photo Album