THE SOUND OF 2022

I’ll save you all the usual boring cliches about what a year it’s been and go straight to the chart.

Put together over an afternoon, here’s the 50 Best Songs Of 2022.

  1. Taylor Swift – Anti Hero
  2. Harry Styles – As It Was
  3. Sam Ryder – Space Man
  4. Wallows – Especially You
  5. Jamie T – The Old Style Raiders
  6. Sigrid ft Bring Me The Horizon – Bad Life
  7. Arlo Parks – Softly
  8. Confidence Man – Holiday
  9. Ed Sheeran – Overpass Graffiti
  10. The Feeling – There Is No Music
  11. Feeder – The Healing
  12. Harry Styles – Late Night Talking
  13. Sam Fender – Getting Started
  14. Liam Gallagher – More Power
  15. Pretty Cartel – Dominick The Donkey
  16. Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher – Birth Of An Accidental Hipster
  17. Griff x Sigrdi – Head On Fire
  18. Paul Weller and Suggs – Ooh Do U Fink U Are?
  19. Simple Minds- Traffic
  20. Tegan and Sara – Yellow
  21. Idles – All You Need Is Love
  22. Lewis Capaldi – Forget Me
  23. Rosa Linn – Snap
  24. Sigrid – It Gets Dark
  25. Alfie Templeman – Broken
  26. Let’s Eat Grandma – Watching You Go
  27. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Pretty Boy
  28. Pixey – I’m Just High
  29. The Killers – Boy
  30. Lauren Spencer-Smith – Fingers Crossed
  31. Holly Humberstone – Sleep Tight
  32. Simple Minds – First You Jump
  33. George Ezra – Green Green Grass
  34. Steve Lacey – Bad Habit
  35. Liam Gallagher – Everything’s Electric
  36. George Ezra – Anyone For You
  37. Hot Chip – Broken
  38. Maisie Peters – Not Another Rockstar
  39. Bruce Springsteen – Nightshift
  40. Nina Nesbitt – I Should Be A Bird
  41. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – Too Much For One (Not Enough For Two)
  42. Beabadoobee – 10:36
  43. Jamie T – Between The Rocks
  44. The 1975 – Part Of The Band
  45. Beabadoobee – Talk
  46. Sinead O’Brien – Holy Country
  47. Soda Blonde – Mandinka
  48. Tom Chaplin – Midpoint
  49. Foals – 2001
  50. Warmduscher – Fatso

Congratulations to Taylor Swift, a two time winner having won it in 2012. I know you’re all eager to see if she’ll win it again in 2032.

If you haven’t heard the winning song, the video is embedded below.

And if you wish to look at archive charts, i’ve listed all the previous winners below.

2021 : Maneskin – Zitti E Buoni
2020 : Tame Impala – Lost In Yesterday
2019 : Vampire Weekend – Harmony Hill
2018 : Lovelytheband – Broken
2017 : Liam Gallagher – For What It’s Worth
2016 : The Strumbellas – Spirits
2015 : Blossoms – Charlamagne
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

2022 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR ….)

December began with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Carrick Rangers.

That was then followed by a tip to Telegraph Building to see Blossoms in concert.

A spell of frost descended on Belfast, but now snow. I was all psyched up for snow photos, for nothing.

There was then a football free weekend for me, with Linfield in Scotland.

The following weekend, I headed to Ulster Hall to see Ash in concert, followed by Linfield’s home match against Dungannon Swifts.

As you will have noticed, there is still a week of the month left.

What I have planned is Bangor v Dunmurry Rec, Glentoran v Linfield, a walk up Cavehill and possibly Lisnabreeny Hill.

Here’s to more phototaking in 2023 and beyond.

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Blossoms live at Telegraph Building

Blossoms live at Telegraph Building Photo Album

Ash live at Ulster Hall

Ash live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

ASH – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 16.12.2022

30 years? Did Ash get together in school? Well, yes, but I was thinking Primary School or Nursery School. Surely they can’t be that old?

Believe it or not, it has been 30 years since Ash formed, so they headed to Ulster Hall to do a celebratory concert.

Exactly a year to the day since their 25th anniversary concert at The Limelight.

Probably should have paid attention in Maths instead of forming a band.

Well, there is a simple explanation for that.

The concert in December 2021 had been delayed by eighteen months from the Summer of 2020, and was originally to celebrate a quarter of a century since they first released music.

When they have a concert in Belfast in December, it gets informally labelled The Ash Christmas Bash.

This was my fourth such Bash, having attended in 2015, 2018 and 2021, although the 2021 wasn’t originally scheduled for that month, or even that year.

You will have noticed they are triennial, so I wasn’t expecting another one until 2024, but such a milestone deserves a rewriting of the unwritten rule.

One thing that is guaranteed at The Ash Christmas Bash is chaos. If you love chaos, then this is the concert for you.

There was the added bonus with the late announcement that this would be filmed and broadcast live on the BBC website and made available in audio on BBC Sounds.

If you want to, you can watch it here.

As showtime approached, Gemma Bradley appeared on stage with her back to the crowd to do an introductory piece to camera, then we heard The A-Team Theme over the speakers, but not as we know it.

Seemingly, in 1977, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit, and relocated to Downpatrick.

We were then treated to a cover version of Flash by Queen, except it was “ASH!!!! SAVIOURS OF THE UNIVERSE!!!!!”

I would genuinely love it if they recorded this version and performed it live.

You could tell it was a big night as Tim turned up in a blazer, although this was dumped a few songs in. Mark’s idea of formal was to wear his favourite Star Wars t-shirt.

We were informed by Tim that Mark was still vowing vengeance on whoever stole his Princess Leia cardboard cutout at a gig at The Limelight many years ago.

As it was a very cold night outside, we were all relying on Ash to warm us up. It certainly was warm and sweaty in the venue.

The setlist began with a few biggies such as Goldfinger, Shining Light and A Life Less Ordinary.

For some reason, when I go to a concert, I like to stand on the left hand side of the floor. No idea why, I just do.

From where I was stood, I could see who was loitering at the side of the stage. I spotted an Undertone.

However, it would be a Snower (perhaps appropriate for this time of year) or a Patroler joining them next on stage, with Nathan Connolly joining the action, just as he did in 2015.

More biggies followed in the shape of Uncle Pat and Oh Yeah before Tim started asking where the Bass Player was.

I had originally thought he had nipped off to the toilet for a minute, but it turned out he has jumped into the crowd. I only knew that the next day because a friend on Instagram was posting selfies with him.

By now, Mark was back on stage. There was now a guest star entering the arena, Santa Claus himself, coming on during Kung Fu, dancing and doing kung fu.

Kung Fu Santa, now that is a film that has to be made.

Not sure what the plot is, but Santa and Kung Fu is a sure fire winner.

Whilst the weather had been cold all week, the weather didn’t deliver any snow, so Ash brought snow to the crowd, a confetti gun firing off white confetti into the crowd. I was covered in it, some of it was falling all over my house when I got home.

The band let us in on a little secret that i’ll share with you – They’re working on new music for release in 2023.

They then played Darkest Hour Of The Night, a recent song but a favourite for me.

That was then followed by Girl From Mars.

It would be a Boy From Stroke City and a Boy From Coleraine who would be entertaining the crowd in one of the more bizarre musical collaborations ever.

Damian O’Neill, the Undertone that I spotted loitering at the side of the stage came on. He’s appeared on stage with them a few times, he should probably ask for full membership.

On guest vocals, James Nesbitt. Yes, that James Nesbitt, taking off his coat to reveal a retro Northern Ireland shirt with “Ash 30” printed on the back.

I did warn you that The Ash Christmas Bash is chaotic.

As the band finished their set, the chaos didn’t end there, with Jump In The Line (AKA, Shake Shake Shake Senora) by Harry Belafonte playing on the speaker, giving Rick the opportunity to escape from behind his drumkit to showcase his dancing skills.

The rest of the band were making their way to the Dressing Room, came back to join him and showcase their dancing skills.

A rather enjoyable 30th anniversary concert.

Might as well mark Friday 20th December 2052 in the diary.

Photo Album

Ash live at The Limelight 2021

Ash live at HMV 2020

Ash live at The Limelight 2018

Ash live at Titanic Slipways 2018

Ash live at The Empire 2015

2022 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November began with a trip to Shamrock Park to see Linfield eventually beat Portadown by a score of 3-0.

By this point, I was using up Annual Leave, so I went on a day trip to Dublin and got some Street Art photos.

That was then followed by two trips to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Cliftonville and Glenavon.

Another Linfield match, this time on the road, to Ballymena.

The next day, I made the most of a football free Saturday morning to head to Lisnabreeny Hill to get some Sunrise photos.

Then that night, I made my first visit to the newly rebuilt Mandela Hall to see John Power in concert.

November ended with two Linfield matches, both at home, against Larne and Crusaders.

Portadown v Linfield

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Linfield v Glenavon

Ballymena United v Linfield

Lisnabreeny Hill

Lisnabreeny Hill Photo Album

John Power live at Mandela Hall

John Power live at Mandela Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Larne

Linfield v Crusaders

2022 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

October was a busy month, right from the very start, heading to Dungannon on the first day of the month to see Linfield get a win at Stangmore Park.

That was followed a few days later by another away day, to a very wet Wilgar Park to see Linfield grind out a 1-0 win over Dundela.

The following night, it was the Ulster Hall to see Beabadoobee in concert.

Back on the road the following Saturday to see Linfield draw with Coleraine.

Then it was back to Ulster Hall to see Paul Weller.

Two days after that, it was Linfield v Glentoran, the less said of that the better.

The following day was a lot more enjoyable, making the most of a football free Saturday to check out Murlough Bay.

Over the next seven days came two Linfield home matches, against Glenavon and Larne.

The following week, I was off to Manchester, my first visit to see Erik Ten Hag’s United in the flesh, against Sheriff Tiraspol.

While I was there, I got some photos from a stroll along a canal, some Street Art (of course) and a walk up Hartshead Pike.

The month ended with a trip to Newry to see Linfield get some much needed three points.

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Dundela v Linfield

Beabadoobee live at Ulster Hall

Beabadoobee live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Murlough Bay Nature Reserve

Murlough Bay Nature Reserve Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

Linfield v Larne

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester Canal Walk

Manchester Canal Walk Photo Album

Manchester United v Sheriff Tiraspol

Manchester Untied v Sheriff Tiraspol Photo Album

Hartshead Pike

Hartshead Pike Photo Album

Newry City v Linfield