2017 IN PICTURES – JUNE

June 2017 began for me chasing after murals, starting with one of Northern Ireland legends outside Filthy McNasty in Botanic.

From there, it was across South Belfast to get a photo on Lower Ormeau Road of a mural by Emic.

There was more Street Art photos as I followed the progress of a mural of music legends in Hill Street.

In the middle of the month, I headed to Ormeau Park for Belsonic, to see The 1975 in concert.

That weekend, I headed to Manchester in the 1950s. Sort of. The Oval was dressed up to look like Maine Road for a film, so I went and got some photos of it.

The month ended with some football, heading to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on La Fiorita in the European Cup.

Filthy McMural

Filthy McMural Photo Album

Emic Mural

Emic Mural Photo Album

Hill Street Wall Of Fame

Hill Street Wall Of Fame Photo Album

The 1975 live at Ormeau Park

The 1975 live at Ormeau Park Photo Album

Maine Oval

Mine Oval Photo Album

Linfield v La Fiorita

THE DIVINE COMEDY – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 7.12.2017

As fans waiting for The Divine Comedy to appear on stage at Ulster Hall, the warm-up playlist played Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon. Halfway through the song, the band appeared on stage led by the impish Neil Hannon, dressed in smart suits, though not as smart as James Bond. Neil Hannon, Licence To Thrill.

Yes. Yes. I know it’s the theme tune to The Spy Who Loved Me, i’m just using a bit of creative licence.

It was the band’s second Belfast concert this year, having played Custom House Square as part of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. It was a fact that escaped Hannon as he spoke inbetween songs, saying that it had been a long time since their last Belfast concert, before correcting himself that it had only been a few months.

Earlier, he had said he would be doing less chat, as people wouldn’t hear him anyway, declaring that the band will just continue to play “cool songs” as he introduced Generation Sex.

For this, and for a lot of people in and around the front row were dancing in sync, i’m not sure if it was by accident or if it just happened. They were dancing awfully though, but this isn’t Strictly Live, and nobody’s dancing was to be judged.

We were treated to favourites such as Becoming More Like Alfie and How Can You Leave Me On My Own? as well as a cover of Where Do You Go To My Lovely? by Peter Sarstedt, who died earlier this year, which was reference by Hannon when he described him as “A lovely man”.

They were even allowed to use The Ulster Hall’s own in-house organ for some of their set.

There was even a surreal moment when Neil Hannon had tried to interact with several people shouting at him.

One woman was shouting “Introduce the band” at him, while there was an embarrassing borebag who was shouting “Play My Lovely Horse” inbetween songs.

You’re probably imagining what he looks like, and yep, a definite Harp drinking Rugby sort. Even worse, over 50 and old enough to know better. It was probably the only night he’s allowed out over Christmas, a walking “Yer Da” joke.

Around me, you could hear people muttering “Shut the fuck up”, Neil Hannon even told him that, and another member of the band commented “You’ve been at every concert on this tour”. Metaphorically rather than literally i’d imagine.

Hannon would then let the crowd know that he was in control of the playlist, introducing the next song and telling the crowd that they would like it. They would, it was Something For The Weekend, quite apt as it was a Thursday night and so close to the weekend.

There may have been no My Lovely Horse, but we did get Songs Of Love, best known as the theme tune to Father Ted, with the crowd singing along to the riff that everyone knows and loves, with Neil Hannon proclaiming “Eat your heart out, Ronnie Hazelhurst” with Ronnie Hazelhurst being a composer of TV theme tunes, the theme to Only Fools And Horses being on his credits

Hannon left the stage, and returned, dressed as Napoleon Bonaparte, a costume that Hannon says he will be returning in three days time, very sweaty, with the “Sweat of a thousand gigs”

Those who enjoyed it had the opportunity to relive it, of sorts, as there was a live album called Loose Canon being sold at the merchandise stand, recorded during their Foreverland Tour of 2016-2017.

I’ve purchased a copy but haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. That will be the soundtrack to my next drive.

Leaving the venue to the early stages of a snow storm, curiously, it was the third time I had left an Ulster Hall concert to be met by snow outside, having done so after Ellie Goulding in 2010 and Paloma Faith in 2013.

Inbetween songs, Hannon was assisted by a very well dressed Roadie/PA known only as Alistair. Hannon said there could be a move about his life, as “Forrest Gump would have nothing on him”, to which the crowd showed their support for Alistair.

It was hard to know which if the two was the star of the show. Hannon could make a good case that it was him, having got a standing ovation as he left the stage following an encore that included National Express.

Photo Album

The Divine Comedy live at HMV Belfast September 2016

The Divine Comedy live at Custom House Square May 2017

FILTHY McMURAL

Glen Molloy has been a busy boy recently. As well as doing a mural on Hill Street (You’ll be seeing a blog about that soon), he has been spending some time on Dublin Road recently, doing a mural beside Filthy McNasty’s.

The theme is Northern Ireland Legends, and this mural features Carl Frampton, Liam Neeson, Neil Hannon and Ricky Warwick.

I happened to spot this when it was a work in progress, so I continued to snap it while it was being created, right up until the finished piece.

It’s sponsored by a drinks company. I’m not going to post their name because i’m still mad at them for organising a private concert by The 1975 in 2014 (or was it The 2014 in 1975? I’m not sure) and they didn’t fix it for me to win a ticket.

They did keep updates on their Twitter feed via a photo and a video.

Photo Album

THE DIVINE COMEDY – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 3.5.2017

If it’s May, that can only mean one thing. Eurovision. Well, yes, but that wasn’t what I was thinking of.

End of the football season? Well, yes, but again, not what I was thinking of.

Topless spides drinking in Botanic. Again, yes, but not what I was thinking of.

What I was thinking of was, the annual Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast, the 18th running of this event. Always worth keeping an eye out when the line-up is announced, one of the highlights of this year’s event was a concert by The Divine Comedy. Another highlight was Rich Hall, who I saw two days after this concert.

Any concert in Belfast by a Northern Ireland act is usually billed as a “homecoming” even if the act isn’t actually from Belfast. Neil Hannon telling the crowd “Despite my accent, i’m one of you” in response to a woman screaming “Sold out!!!” in a Belfasty accent.

It was perhaps apt, given the comedic nature of the band’s name, that Neil Hannon was part stand-up when interacting with the crowd between songs stating that the venue reminds him of childhood camping holidays while declaring his love of tents, but hoping that this one doesn’t have any spiders.

This came just after performing a new song, How Can You Leave Me On My Own? about his domestic uselessness, while dressed as Napoleon.

He wasn’t dressed like that the whole show as he had a mid show costume change, changing into a suit, his tie then disappeared by the encore. It was one of those nights.

I remember getting into The Divine Comedy when Something For The Weekend was a UK Top 20 hit, buying their singles after that and being dismayed that their chart positions had two numbers, National Express in 1999 giving them a sole Top 10 hit.

One of those undercharting singles was Bad Ambassador, which Neil Hannon couldn’t remember what year it was released when introducing it. It was 2001 if you care.

Sipping a pint of Guinness inbetween songs, Hannon began grumbling “Drink. Feck. Arse”.

He wasn’t being a banter bore reciting Father Ted quotes. He had some justification. He only wrote the theme tune (Songs Of Love) to the show. The band performed this, with the crowd singing along, not to the words, but the iconic guitar riff known to fans of the TV show.

This being the month of Eurovision, the crowd then began shouting for him to do a cover of My Lovely Horse by Ted Crilly and Dougal Maguire. He decline, so the crowd began shouting “Go on, go on, go on”.

He still wouldn’t budge, preferring to play something, in his words, “obscure” in the shape of Something For The Weekend.

There may not have been a cover of My Lovely Horse, but the crowd were treated to two covers. First, was Alfie by Cilla Black. Why? “Because I like it” according to Hannon.

The second cover was an instrumental version of Blue Monday, kicking in when Blue Monday was mentioned in the lyrics to The Indie Disco.

Two stools were then brought onto the stage as Lisa O’Neill, who supported them then came on stage for a duet. There wasn’t just musical reasons for the chairs, with Hannon quipping “I’m 46 now”.

If you saw him dancing on stage, he didn’t look like a man who needed a breather as he said “See you soon” when leaving the stage.

A Belfast gig being added to their Winter tour looks a good bet.

Photo Album

The Divine Comedy Live At HMV Belfast 2016

THE DIVINE COMEDY – LIVE AT HMV BELFAST 6.9.2016

The Divine Comedy, or rather, Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy popped into HMV in Belfast City Centre to perform an acoustic set to promote the band’s new album Foreverland, which was played on the instore stereo as fans waited for him to appear, a fact noted by Neil Hannon, who remarked that was what the songs should be sounding like, as he entered the, um, stage by placing his coat over a poster of himself.

He lived up to the band’s name on a night that ventured from the divine to the comedic, which saw Hannon commenting on the humidity in Belfast, that this was his favourite type of rain because your umbrella won’t blow about, playing a mixture of old and new songs, changing the lyrics to some of the songs due to there being a family with young children in the front row.

By the way, the new album that was playing in the background as fans waited sounds rather good.

Photo Album