OMD – LIVE AT MANDELA HALL 24.10.2017

“It’s great to be back, it’s been a long time” said OMD singer Andy McCluskey to the crowd at Mandela Hall. He wasn’t wrong. It had been 8 years since they were last in Belfast, supporting Simple Minds at The Odyssey. You have to go back to 1991 (Ulster Hall) for their last headline concert in Belfast, referenced by McCluskey during the set. Paul Humphries didn’t remember that gig, possibly because he had left the band by that stage.

I love Simple Minds and OMD. To be honest, I have no clue why I didn’t go to that Odyssey gig. I genuinely can’t think why. What a wasted opportunity.

It is the pester power of Northern Ireland fans that brought them back to Belfast, as McCluskey recently stated in an interview with Sunday Life.

For me, it began with a sick day off school in 1996.

I flicked through the channels and spotted something on the music channels (There were only two back then, it was VH1)

It was a cheery, happy, Britpop song called Walking On The Milky Way by a band called OMD. I loved it. Little did I know it was different, very different from the rest of their back catalogue.

I did know, not to confused them with OMC, who were in the charts around the same time. How bizarre.

A while later, I heard Enola Gay on a radio station. I knew I liked two OMD songs. I only knew two OMD songs.

By 2002, I had recently joined the Music Library at Belfast Central Library. I decided to be curious and borrow The OMD Singles, a 1998 Greatest Hits compilation.

I was not to be disappointed. Not once was the skip button pressed. It became one of my favourite albums.

At this point, Andy McCluskey was enjoying chart success, including the number 1s that eluded OMD in his new role as Songwriter for Atomic Kitten.

OMD would later reform and tour, but there was to be no Belfast gig, until now.

When I arrived at the venue, I wasn’t really in the mood for it. I was tired, had a sore head, and was drenched due to walking from Belfast City Hospital. The reason why I was parked there because people in Elmwood Avenue found parking one car in one parking bay to be too much fucking effort.

Forget about The Punishment Of Luxury, this was The Punishment Of Idiot Drivers.

The band appeared on stage, with Andy doing his trademark Dad Dancing. At 58, he is of peak Dad Dancing age. His best Dad Dancing years are still ahead of him. In truth, he has been dad dancing since his early 20s.

I googled his name for this article just to make sure if was McCluskey rather than McCloskey. The first suggestion was “Andy McCluskey Dancing”

Two songs in, he grabbed his Bass, proceeding to play it like Brian May rather than John Deacon.

To keep up with the Queen theme, we even had the fans doing a Radio Ga Ga style clapping in unison during Locomotion.

McCluskey then asked the crowd if they had their dancing shoes on. He certainly had. The answer was a resounding yes.

He was putting his life in his hands dancing on stage, saying that the stage was sticky due to years of cheap university beer. Ahhh, the (in)famous Mandela Hall sticky floor. I’d forgotten about it until he mentioned it. It wasn’t too bad where I was. You don’t think they’ve got round to finally cleaning it?

I wasn’t sure if I was an a Pop Concert or an Aerobics Class. Either way, it was brilliant.

Nevermind Aerobics Oz Style, this was Arobics OMD Style. I might pitch that to Sky Sports as a TV show idea.

If Joan Of Arc had a heart, it probably would have been racing from all the dancing.

Paul and Andy then had an onstage argument, sort of. It was staged as Paul, dripping of sweat, complained about standing under the lights, and that Andy’s job was a “Piece of cake”, so Andy invited him out to sing, which he did, performing Forever Live And Die.

While doing so, he was hit by a bra thrown from the crowd, but carried on like a pro, adding that the bra wasn’t his size.

Fans arriving were given a chance to vote for a song to appear on the setlist on a poll via the website, with a magic password for this at the venue.

The choices were The New Stone Age and Generic Engineering.

Genetic Engineering won with 75% of the vote.

Andy introduced this by saying that people had voted wisely, unlike a couple of Junes ago when they voted for Trump.

I think he’s got Brexit and Trump a bit confused there.

There were a lot of hits played – Messages, Locomotion, Souvenir, Tesla Girls, Joan Of Arc, Maid Of Orleans, So In Love, Forever Live And Die, Enola Gay and Sailing On The Seven Seas.

Not bad.

We also got to hear new song The Punishment Of Luxury, the excellent title track to their new album.

I would have loved it if they played If You Leave, If You Want It or Dreaming, but that is being greedy.

During the encore, they played the song that started it all for me, Walking On The Milky Way, with a slight change in arrangement.

They could just about fit four people on stage, they were hardly going to fit an orchestra as well.

As they left the stage, they said they won’t leave it so long before returning to Belfast. If they don’t return before 2043, we’ll be demanding answers.

In 2043, Andy McCluskey will be 84 years old. He’ll probably still be energetically dancing around on stage.

In the words of If You Leave, promise me, just one more night.

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THE FRIDAY FIVE – 27.10.2017

1. Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Fort Knox
3. OMD – Dreaming
4. Liam Gallagher – For What It’s Worth
5. Tiny Magnetic Pets – Girl In A White Dress

It seems that Belsonic announcements get earlier and earlier. There’s one this morning. It’ll probably be some shite DJ. If it is someone I like, i’ll probably end up begrudgingly going.

It’s become a joyless experience in recent years being surrounded by shitfaced 15 year old and spending the whole night having to hold your nose and cover your mouth due to a plague of smelly tramps who can go a few hours without a fag or a vape.

I remember when Belsonic used to be good.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 2.6.2017

1. Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
2. The Courteeners – Don’t Look Back In Anger
3. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
4. OMD – Isotype
5. Ray Davies – Broken

In gig news, Erasure have announced a tour for early 2018 with no Belfast gig. Boooo. I’m pining my hopes on Belfast Pride saving the day. Come on, be the heroes we need. DISCLAIMER – I have no inside information, i’m just letting my imagination run wild. What’s the point in having an imagination if you can’t let it run wild?

Liam Gallagher’s first solo show on Tuesday night sounded rather good. I know this, because it seemed like everyone was broadcasting it onto social media via their phone. A reminder that not all heroes wear capes.

I’m not saying I have a favourite Gallagher brother, but Noel does Belfast gigs when he goes on tour.

Hopefully, a full tour will follow when the album is released towards the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Top Of The Pops juggernaut on BBC Four has reached 1984. The Story Of 1984 is on tonight at 9pm.

So, to celebrate, here’s a 1984 chart for you.

FIVE SONGS FROM 1984

1. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes
2. Wham! – Freedom
3. Duran Duran – Wild Boys
4. Depeche Mode – Master and Servant
5. Strawberry Sitchblade – Since Yesterday

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for his Ulster Hall gig in September. Standing, Face Value.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 19.5.2017

1. Matt Maltese – As The World Caves In
2. Naviband – Story Of My Life
3. Royal Blood – Lights Out
4. Audioslave – Like A Stone
5. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On

It’s been an interesting week for concert announcements in Belfast, with four, yes FOUR bands I like all announcing concerts – The Divine Comedy, Ocean Colour Scene, The Charlatans and OMD. The first three I have seen previously in the last two years.

To celebrate this, i’m going to do a Top Five for each of them

FIVE SONGS BY THE DIVINE COMEDY

1. The Pop Singer’s Fear Of The Pollen Count
2. National Express
3. Something For The Weekend
4. Generation Sex
5. Love What you Do

FIVE SONGS BY OCEAN COLOUR SCENE

1. Better Day
2. The Circle
3. The Riverboat Song
4. July
5. The Day We Caught The Train

FIVE SONGS BY THE CHARLATANS

1. Love Is The Key
2. Blackened Blue Eyes
3. North Country Boy
4. My Beautiful Friend
5. One To Another

FIVE SONGS BY ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVERES IN THE DARK

1. Walking On The Milky Way
2. If You Want It
3. If You Leave
4. Enola Gay
5. Dreaming

Ryan Adams update. Guess what? Still looking for a Standing ticket to see him at Ulster Hall in September.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 7.8.2015

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Lock All The Doors
2. OMD – Enola Gay
3. Delta Goodrem – Wings
4. Dennis Waterman – I Could Be So Good For You
5. Florence and the Machine – Queen Of Peace

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 6.3.2015

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – You Know We Can’t Go Back
2. Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
3. Taylor Swift – Style
4. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way
5. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – The Ballad Of The Mighty I

This Sunday, is International Women’s Day. So, to get you in the mood, here’s some female inspired playlists to get you in the mood.

FIVE SONGS BY FEMALE SINGERS

1. St Vincent – Digital Witness
2. Charli XCX – Boom Clap
3. Rae Morris – Under The Shadows
4. Annie Lennox – No More I Love Yous
5. Nina Nesbitt – Peroxide

FIVE SONGS BY ALL FEMALE BANDS

1. Tegan and Sara – Closer
2. Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday
3. The Ronettes – Be My Baby
4. Girls Aloud The Promise
5. Appleton – Fantasy

FIVE SONGS WITH FEMALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. Steve Winwood – Valerie
2. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Dear Prudence
3. Eddy Grant – Give Me Hope Johanna
4. The Strypes – Blue Collar Jane
5. Jamie T – Shiela

FIVE SONGS WITH GIRL IN THE TITLE

1. OMD – Tesla Girls
2. Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl
3. Kate Bush – Rubberbabnd Girl
4. Stone Temple Pilots – Sour Girl
5. Katy Perry – California Gurls

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : NO 1 – 13.9.1986

Owen Paul, remember him? No? Had a hit in 1986, his brother was in Simple Minds. No? This cover seemed a good idea at the time I guess.

On the inside cover is a picture of Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS,who they predict for big things, having supported Queen on tour at the personal request of Roger Taylor.

They were so popular in their native Australia according to No 1, that Michael Hutchence beat Mel Gibson in a poll for Most Popular Male.

Cover star Owen Paul gets a double page spread about his career, while Cutting Crew get a full page profile as a band to watch, clarifying “We’re not a black Hip-Hop group” in case you were confused because they had “Crew” in their name.

The Lover Speaks get a full page feature, ahead of the release of their new single, “No More I Love Yous”, which took nine years to be a hit, and when it was, it was a cover by Annie Lennox.

In adverts, Dead Or Alive had a full page advert for their new single “Brand New Lover”

No, I don’t remember it either.

Lyrics in this edition included “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi, and “Rock & Roll Mercenaries” by Meatloaf with John Parr.

OMD get a double page spread, currently riding high in the US charts after supporting The Power Station and Thompson Twins on tour, and having “Of You Leave” featured in the film Pretty In Pink.

In Reviews, “True Colours” by Cyndi Lauper gets 3 stars out of 5, while “Superman”, the follow-up to “It’s Orrible Being In Love When You’re Eight And A Half” by 80s One-Hit Wonder Claire gets 1 star.

Rod Stewart’s latest single also gets 1 star, purely on the basis that he supports Rangers*

(* yes, i’m as confused as your are)

More lyric sheets, this time for “One Great Thing” by Big Country, and “Forever Live And Die” by OMD.

In TV news, Doctor Who is back, and it’s a debut for the latest Doctor, Colin Baker. This gets a full page with stats about the show, and an address for the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.

Talking of new, Bucks Fizz have a new member, Shelley Preston, and her new arrival gets a double page spread.

There is an advert for the following week’s edition, which has a massive A-Ha World Tour 1986/1987 poster.

On the back cover, there was a poster of Paul Young. Nice.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 18.4.2014

1. Echo and the Bunnymen – Lovers On The Run
2. U2 – Invisible
3. Coldplay – Magic
4. Luke Sital-Singh – Greatest Lovers
5. Neil Finn – Dizzy Heights

Special treat now for English readers …….. it’s your National Day next week. So, as is tradition, i’ll give you a chart

FIVE TRACKS BY ENGLISH ARTISTS

1. Oasis – She Is Love
2. Cast – Finetime
3. Tears For Fears – Break It Down Again
4. OMD – Enola Gay
5. Embrace – You’re Not Alone

THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY

Six months gone, six months to go, we are officially at the halfway stage of 2013.

As per tradition on this blog, I shall do a Top 50 songs of the year so far, a nice wee preview of my Top 100 in December.

So, here we go …….. the Top 50 songs of 2013 so far.

1. Editors – A Ton Of Love
2. Olly Murs – Army Of Two
3. Phoenix – Entertainment
4. The 1975 – Chocolate
5. Daft Punk ft Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky
6. Suede – It Starts And Ends With You
7. Bastille – Pompei
8. Haim – Don’t Save Me
9. Stereophonics – Indian Summer
10. Gabrielle Aplin – Please Don’t Say You Love Me
11. Wonder Villains – Blonde
12. Foals – My Number
13. Emmelie De Forest – Only Teardrops
14. Nina Nesbitt – Way In The World
15. Frank Turner – The Way I Tend To Be
16. Beady Eye – Second Bite Of The Apple
17. Imagine Dragons – It’s Time
18. Muse – Panic Station
19. Robin Thicke ft Pharrell Williams – Blurred Lines
20. Selena Gomez – Come And Get It
21. Kodaline – High Hopes
22. Mark Owen – Stars
23. Icona Pop ft Charli XCX – I Love It
24. The Uncluded – Delicate Cycle
25. Aluna George – Attracting Flies
26. Frank Turner – Recovery
27. Miles Kane – Give Up
28. Hurts – Miracle
29. Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble
30. Silhouette – Toss It Up
31. Passenger – Let Her Go
32. Matthew Koma – One Night
33. Phoenix – Trying To Be Cool
34. Tom Odell – Hold Me
35. Suede – Hit Me
36. Pink ft Nate Reuss – Just Give Me A Reason
37. Vampire Weekend – Diane Young
38. The Lumineers – Hey Ho
39. Simple Minds – Broken Glass Park
40. Dizzee Rascal ft Robbie Williams – Goin Crazy
41. Paramore – Still Into You
42. Beady Eye – Flick Of The Finger
43. OMD – Dresden
44. The D.O.T – How We All Lie
45. Taylor Swift – 22
46. John Newman – Love Me Again
47. The Courteeners – Van Der Graaf
48. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
49. Nina Nesbitt – Stay Out
50. The Strypes – Blue Collar Jane