2018 IN PICTURES – JUNE

Not a lot happened in June 2018. All I did was go to see Richard Ashcroft and Liam Gallagher at Belsonic, and getting some Street Art photos out and about in Belfast.

Richard Ashcroft live at Ormeau Park

Richard Ashcroft live at Ormeau Park Photo Album

Liam Gallagher live at Ormeau Park

Liam Gallagher live at Ormeau Park

York Street Art

York Street Art Photo Album

Landmarks

Landmarks Photo Album

LIAM GALLAGHER – LIVE AT ORMEAU PARK (BELSONIC) 16.6.2018

Before he was that guy on Twitter who calls people a potato, Liam Gallagher was once a rock star. He was quite good at it. He still is.

His magical powers aren’t just for belting out a tune, he can influence the weather.

On lunchtime of the day of this concert, Belfast was covered in a monsoon of rain. Liam turns to Twitter and tells the rain to fuck off, which it does for the rest of this day, meaning there was no need to bring a raincoat to this.

There were plenty of raincoats in the crowd through, of the Stone Island variety. Accompanied by sky blue bucket hats, charity shop sunglasses and a pack of fags to make themselves look really hard. Harry Enfield really nailed the Gallagher Fanboys back in the day. Still as funny now as it was in the 90s.

The crowd assembled, nicely warmed up by Richard Ashcroft and ready to be entertained. Or at least, make it worth missing Croatia v Nigeria for.

Big shout out to the group who shouted “MON THE LINFIELD!!!!” as I walked past them to get my spot.

Changing spots was unfortunately something I was doing quite a lot. Mainly due to the fact the venue was infested by smelly tramps. Literally surrounded by them. Puff puff vape vape. Dirty fucking tramps.

The thing about Liam Gallagher is, when you get a decent view of him on stage, you’ve got a decent view of him for the whole concert. He doesn’t really move about. He’s not going to stride about from side to side like Freddie Mercury.

He stands on stage and sings. That’s what you’ve paid for, and that is what you’re getting.

A chant of “Championes, Championes” blasted out on the PA, never had Liam down as a Crusaders fan, signified his impending arrival on stage. The screen on stage showed a video of him backstage as he walked on, pointing right into the camera.

He arrive on stage and went straight into Rock n Roll Star, a statement of intent and then Morning Glory.

However, Liam has recent music as well, a solo album As Your Were. It’s quite decent, and all the biggies from it were played – Greedy Soul, Wall of Glass, Bold and For What It’s Worth, before bouncing back into Oasis classic, albeit less obvious ones such as Bring In On Down and Listen Up.

Liam Gallagher has the ability to be both predictable and unpredictable at the same time.

It’s always important to get a good mix. We were here to see Liam Gallagher who was once in Oasis, not Liam Gallagher from Oasis.

Back to solo hits, I’ve All I Need soon followed. It’s a song that has grown on me. Really grown.

I thought it was ok when I got the album, but with every listen (it’s currently on heavy rotation on Radio X) I love it.

He started the set with two era defining Oasis songs, and finished it with two more. Whatever, their first Top 5 hit which brought them to a bigger audience, followed by D’You Know What I Mean?, the first single from Be Here Now, both landmarks on his career.

This concert came a few days before another Gallagher landmark. June 20th was the 9th anniversary of the fifth and most recent time I have seen Oasis in concert. It is still my belief there will be a sixth time.

If there insn’t, i’m at peace with that, given both Gallaghers solo outputs.

As Liam walked off the stage, we awaited his return for the encore.

We didn’t get Liam, we got his drummer sneaking onto the stage under darkness, to belt out the opening beats from Supersonic. Another landmark, it was Oasis first single.

Oasis songs in the setlist weren’t to everyone’s liking, as Liam took aim at what he described as Keyboard Warriors who criticise him for playing too many Oasis songs (to be fair, he only has one solo album worth of material to work from. That will change in 2019 though)

It was a bit hypocritical of him, considering he had his own setlist criticism, complaining about the pre-gig setlist on the tannoy, especially the absence of I Am The Resurrection by Stone Roses.

It felt like there was a theme to the setlist, with the Oasis songs being landmarks. The next one was Some Might Say, their first UK Number 1. It sounds brilliant live but there is one problem. The “You know what some might say” backing vocals at the end don’t quite sound the same when sung by someone other than Noel Gallagher.

That was followed by Live Forever, their first UK Top 10 single, which he dedicated to Alex Higgins, and mimicked taking a Snooker shot.

Through all this encore, we were treated to a guest appearance from Bonehead, whose garden didn’t need looked after so he came out for his one gig a year.

As he ended his set, Gallagher told the crowd that going past various pubs when travelling to the venue had seen him licking his lips in anticipation, which is what his plans were, telling the crowd he was away for a Guinness.

He had earnt it.

Those plans, a bit further ahead, include a return to Belfast at some point in 2019.

Meanwhile, final details were announced that Mandela Hall will be closing next month. Don’t worry, i’m not going to write some arse-licking “You had to be there” obituary. Went to a few gigs there, and they were mostly decent.

Never again shall I walk like a Spaceman due to the sticky floors.

So, my Mandela Memories – Little Boots in 2009 (a week before I moved this blog to WordPress, meaning I can’t link to a write-up), Tegan and Sara in 2010, Marina and the Diamonds in 2010 and KT Tunstall in 2016.

I’ve also seen some men perform there too. Starsailor in 2003, when James Walsh triumphantly announced that Gary Jules had beaten The Darkness to Christmas Number 1, Ocean Colour Scene in 2010, The Kooks in 2015 and Echo and the Bunnymen in 2015.

The reason why Mandela Hall is closing is due to a redevelopment of the Students Union facility. To compensate for this, Elmwood Hall, next door, will now be used.

I’m hoping to go to a concert there sometime, same with The Telegraph Building. Just need a band I like to perform there.

My last concert there was OMD in October 2017. Not going to lie, it was one of the best concerts i’ve ever been to.

Not a bad way to go out.

Photo Album

Liam Gallagher live at The Odyssey October 2017

RICHARD ASHCROFT- LIVE AT ORMEAU PARK (BELSONIC) 16.6.2018

This year marks ten years since the first Belsonic. In those ten years, it has expanded, moved venue, changed month and then changed venue again.

When it started, it was mid August in Custom House Square. Now it is mid June in Ormeau Park.

Walking towards the venue, there were boardings put up to cut off the venue for the concert from the rest of the park. It looked rather drab. I couldn’t help but think that a mural featuring those acts who have performed at Belsonic over the past decade would have brightened up the venue.

Due to the wide nature of acts peforming, it is impossible for someone to be a fan of every act. Just the one Belsonic concert for me this year, as Richard Ashcroft would be to support Liam Gallagher, just as he did the previous night at Malahide Castle in Dublin.

The two of them will already be used to each other, having toured North America together in May.

For Richard Ashcroft, it would be a long awaited return to Belfast. The most recent gig as a solo artist (The Verve did play The Odyssey) that I am aware of is him supporting Coldplay at The Odyssey in 2005.

Upon arrival in Belfast, Ashcroft went exploring the city. I was hoping he might re-enact the Bittersweet Symphony video in the City Centre, just to send out a message to the slow walkers and footpath blockers.

He didn’t venture too far from Ormeau Park, heading to 16 Burren Way in Cregagh. If you don’t know, that’s the childhood home of George Best, and boasted to the crowd that he did a few keepy-uppies outside it.

As he entered the stage, he dedicated his performance to George Best, even having a mannequin with the Northern Ireland shirt as a stage prop, the shirt printing of ASHCROFT 11 being clear for all to see.

I’ve been a fan of Richard Ashcroft for a long time, especially loving Urban Hymns by The Verve and his debut solo album Alone With Everybody.

Disappointingly, none of the big singles from his debut solo album were played, such as Song For The Lovers, I Get My Beat, Money To Burn and C’mon People.

Ashcroft was delayed getting on stage by about fifteen minutes. Thankfully, due to the delays in getting in.

Security searches getting in were segregated by gender. The breakdown of the crowd was overwhelmingly male. It was obvious this would be the case.

However, staffing did not reflect this. While men were made to wait in slow moving queues, women were able to get in quicker.

If you were a woman or part of a group of women attending with a man or group of men, you were having to loiter about and wait for your friend(s) to get through.

Surely, getting info from sales from Ticketmaster could have helped them prepare better.

The same complaint would apply if it was an act appearing who would attract a majority female audience at their concerts.

Going through security, I had a bar of chocolate confiscated. Yes, really.

Cigarettes and vapes are fine, but a bar of chocolate is not allowed. What sort of fucked-up society are we living in?

There were times when you could barely breathe due to the fumes, but apparently someone having a bar of chocolate is more of a health and safety concern?

The Eventsec goon who confiscated my chocolate didn’t look when chucking it in a bag, and it hit the top of the bag and didn’t go in. I took back what was mine when he was searching people after me. Up yours Eventsec.

As hinted, this was another outdoor event in Belfast infested with fucking tramps that can’t go a few hours without a smoke. Literally surrounded by them.

Am I the only person who sees this?

As a society, we seem to just scratch our arses when it comes to the matter.

I know I keep mentioning it, but i’m going to keep mentioning it until it gets tackled and addressed.

Belfast City Council could take the lead on the matter and make smoke free venues a clause when granting licences for events.

If the Organisers can instruct Eventsec to confiscate chocolate from people, they can get Eventsec to confiscate cigarettes and vapes. Put it on the posters and tickets so everybody knows.

If somebody complains, fuck em, They can fuck off and go elsewhere. Society is moving on, and we don’t need tramps like that infesting outdoor events.

The important thing is, nobody was able to bring any chocolate into the venue.

Back to Ashcroft, and unsurprisingly, we was belting out a lot of The Verve’s hits – Sonnet (shamefully low chart position) and Lucky Man, which he dedicated to Kate, who I presume is Kate Radley from Spiritualized, his wife.

The Drugs Don’t Work, The Verve’s only Number 1, is a bloody awful song. He performed it, but solo acoustically, and it wasn’t that bad, to be fair.

Ashcroft, then went into a Yer Da type rant about how music was better in the old days, while revealing that he doesn’t do “Banter” with the crowd because he can’t hear them due to an earpiece.

He was pumped up, throwing his microphone down during one song, and by the end of the show, having half of his shirt unbuttoned, and pulling a muscleman pose similar to Mario Balotelli when he scored against Germany in Euro 2012.

We also got some solo hits, such as the fantastic Break The Night With Colour, before he ended on Bittersweet Symphony, before announcing that he will be returning to Belfast before the end of the year, but left us all in suspense by not saying where or when.

Looking forward to it.

Photo Album

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 1975 – LIVE AT ORMEAU PARK 16.6.2017 (BELSONIC)

The last time The 1975 played in Belfast, singer Matt Healy declared that they were getting so big they were running out of venues to play in Belfast. So it appears the solution was to give them a park.

Ormeau Park is the new venue for Belsonic, hosting it’s second gig of this year’s event, with Arcade Fire playing on the Tuesday before.

I’m not really that into Arcade Fire but I did consider going, but mainly for The Kooks, who were supporting. However, a cost of £45 a ticket just to see the support band was a bit offputting.

The Kooks announced a Dublin gig for January 2018 on Monday. I suspect it was embargoed as Belsonic were hoping Republic of Ireland based Kooks fans would travel to this, under the impression they wouldn’t be coming to Dublin.

It’s not uncommon for bands to announce Belfast gigs soon after playing Belsonic (KT Tunstall did last year), so i’m crossing my fingers for a Kooks headline gig in Belfast in early 2018.

Anyway, back to The 1975. The band were regular visitors to Northern Ireland during the period of their self-titled first album.

However, Northern Ireland had been a noticable absence from their touring to promote their not in any way creepily titled second album I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unware Of It, so this gig was to be welcomed by their Northern Ireland fans.

Matt Healy welcomed this support, speaking about how so many people from “To be fair, such a small place” had come out to see the band.

As if there wasn’t enough pressure on the band to perform, there was added pressure in the fact that I was missing out on Paramore at Waterfront Hall to see this, that gig being announced for the same night, and I already had my ticket for this.

This was my first Belsonic at Ormeau Park, the only entrance being closer to the Ravenhill Road, which felt like a never ending walk on a warm evening, a rare occasion when the weather in Belfast behaved itself.

The band came on an burst into Love Me, the lead single from ILIWYS,FYASBYSUOI. Already a dancey song you can boogie to, partly due to it’s close resemblance to Fame by David Bowie, the thumping bass when played live made it sound so much better and dancier.

Unfortunately, as with any outdoor event in Belfast, Ormeau Park was riddled with smelly tramps, puffing and vaping away with no consideration for others.

They’ll probably gurn about their human rights being breached (ignoring my human right of some clean air when out enjoying myself), but seriously, just dig a fucking hole at the back and stick them in there and let the rest of us enjoy ourselves in peace.

As a city we need to have a serious conversation about this. It’s a sad state of affairs when you have to hold your nose and cover your mouth when walking in the City Centre and when at outdoor concerts.

I am absolutely no civic pride in Belfast. It’s a smelly shithole. No amount of Game Of Thrones related advertising can change that.

Although, one highlight was seeing a fat millbeg drop her feg, bend down to pick it up and then fall over. Not going to lie, it put a massive smile on my face.

As well as fagbreaths, crowd members were treated to a recent phenomenon of backpacks at concerts. Seriously, why the fuck do you need to bring a backpack to a one day concert?

There appears to be a correlation that the vast majority of fuckwits who aimlessly walk about from side to side (literally, every concert) appear to be wearing backpacks.

Hopefully, Belsonic will start banning people wearing backpacks like other events, or at least ask them to use their brains and make them put them down by their side.

I know these rules have been brought in as part of the fight against international terrorism, but stopping fuckwits banging into people is a happy spin-off

After a dancey start, the concert then had a few iffy moments, most notably an avant garde instrumental solo. The 1975 do music to dance to, people want to dance. Do the maths.

If I wanted to watch four men arse about on keyboards, I would have went to see Kraftwerk at the Waterfront Hall a few weeks ago.

Eventually, we got back on track, but then took a detour as Matt Healy started to talk about politics. I didn’t actually hear what he said, as a man behind me shouted “Oh for fuck sake, stop talking about about politics”

A very sound observation.

The main complaint was that there were too many slow songs. People wanted to dance, and made the most of it when the opportunity came.

Healy then introduced Chocolate, describing it as “self explanatory”.

In a weird way, I was tempted to eat a bar of chocolate I had in my coat pocket in a way of life imitating music, like that time I listened to Rotterdam by The Beautiful South on my ipod whenever I was in Rotterdam.

Before finishing their set, Healy spoke about their first gig in Belfast, in front of 25 people at The Oh Yeah Centre.

When he reminisced about it at their last Belfast gig, Ulster Hall in 2014, he said there were 15 people in attendance.

It’s like Oasis at The Limelight, the crowd gets bigger each year.

The next time The 1975 play in Belfast, he’ll be reminiscing about the time they played in front of 35 people at The Oh Yeah Centre.

Photo Album

The 1975 Live At Ulster Hall February 2014

2013 IN PICTURES – MARCH

March began for me with a trip to Dublin to see Linfield take on Shamrock Rovers in a Setanta Cup game. Unfortunately, I missed the first couple of minutes of the game, as I would have loved to have got the stadium in advance of kick-off to get some shots, and get a good shooting position.

The less said about the match, the better.

Three days later, I was at the Waterfront Hall (amazingly, it has been open since 1997, and this was my first concert attended at it) to see Stereophonics in concert.

Got a good shooting position and some good shots. An excellent concert as well.

That weekend, I went out and got some Street Art photos in Ormeau Park.

The following weekend, I was in Manchester to see United take on Reading. I didn’t know it then, but it would be the last time I would go to a United match managed by Sir Alex Ferguson.

On the Monday, I was at a freezing Seaview to see Linfield lose 3-0 to Crusaders. I should have just stayed in the house and watched it on TV.

The following Friday, I was hoping to go to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Russia. Unfortunately, it was postponed due to snow. In March.

I went out to try and get some snow photos. It wasn’t very photogenic snow. The photos of it weren’t particularly great.

The following Tuesday, I did get to see Northern Ireland play, against Israel, in a 2-0 defeat.

Shamrock Rovers v Linfield

Shamrock Rovers v Linfield Photo Album

Stereophonics Live At Waterfront Hall

Stereophonics Live At Waterfront Hall Photo Album

Anco

Manchester United v Reading

Manchester United v Reading Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Snow

Snow Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Israel

Northern Ireland v Israel Photo Album

Niko

BELFAST RANDOMNESS

With the nice weather in recent weeks, i’ve made the most of it and cycled around Belfast, coming up with new routes. Amongst those routes this week, i’ve seen things that could be best described as “Random”

Cycling along the Westlink, I noticed some graffiti in the Donegall Road, so naturally, I changed direction, and headed over to get some photos of it. Nothing special as such, featuring usual suspects such as ANCO and NOTA, but it was good to get some photos that I didn’t have before.

On Monday night, I was out and about in Ravenhill getting some photos of the Street Art in Bikedock’s car park. I got photos, but they’re a bit rubbish.

While cycling back through Ormeau Park, I happened to have my attention grabbed by a series of trees. One had a t-shirt on it which said “Save The Trees” and another which said “Let Me Live”. An interesting form of protest. Not sure who it is by there.

A park bench beside them, had a cover knitted on top of them.

On Tuesday, the weather was so nice, I tried a few arty shots, and got one which made Belfast look rather nice, featuring the River Lagan and the two Harland and Wolff cranes. I even managed an arty selfpic of my shadow …….

…….. Which leads me nicely into the fact I was at Stiff Kitten for a concert headlined by Silhouette, supported by Runaway Go.

I’d seen Runaway Go before (at Arthur’s Day) and enjoyed them, but I was really there to Silhouette, a fantastic band who I love. As a beginner’s guide, you probably know ‘Can’t Keep Up’ from the Tourism adverts.

A mixed bag of photos, but the end of a four day run that shows that Belfast is a bit of a random place at times.

Street Art Photo Album

Belfast Randomness Photo Album

Runaway Go Live At Stiff Kitten Photo Album

Silhouette Live At Stiff Kitten Photo Album