THE SOUND OF 2017 : 76-100

It’s that time of year folks where I count down the best songs of the year. It’s a bit later than usual, but it will be worth the wait.

I’ll spare you the usual crap about how it was a great year for music and all that. There were some good songs and some bad songs, so I spent a Sunday afternoon trying to put the good songs in an order.

Here’s the first batch. Enjoy

76. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – I Gotta Praise
77. Rose Elinor Dougall – Hell and Back
78. Shed Seven – It’s Not Easy
79. Benjamin Clementine – Jupiter
80. OMD – Isotype
81. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
82. The Amazons – Black Magic
83. Tove Lo – Being Boring
84. Metallica – Don’t Look Back In Anger
85. Miley Cyrus – Malibu
86. Joy Williams – Ordinary World
87. Matt Maltese – As The World Caves In
88. The Killers ft Paul McCartney – Helter Skelter
89. Rag n Bone Man – Reach Out I’ll Be There
90. Gorillaz – We Got The Power
91. Kasabian – Ill Ray
92. Paul Weller – Woo Se Mama
93. Donald Trump ft Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime
94. Barry Manilow – New York State Of Mind
95. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
96. Hurray For The Riff Raff – Living In The City
97. Shed Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times, Disco Down
98. Blossoms – In Da Club/Careless Whisper
99. Imelda May – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
100. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Interlude (Wednesday Part 1)

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PAUL HEATON AND JACQUI ABBOTT – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 21.10.2017

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott returned to Belfast, a 4th concert since 2014, for a concert at The Limelight, a venue they last played in June 2014, with their last two Belfast concerts being in Ulster Hall.

It was billed as an early show, with Heaton and Abbot on stage just after 8.30pm. The crowd were ready for it, the venue packed as the support act took the stage.

Members of their backing band casually wandered onto the stage, with drums and keyboards kicking off proceedings. It looked like a false start as the crowd waited for Heaton and Abbott to appear, before they eventually appeared.

The crowd were clapping and and footstomping along, as they did for most of the concert.

Heaton stated that this was the 25th time he’d performed in Belfast, before clarifying that he just made that stat up, and didn’t actually know how many times he had performed there. He did comment that he preferred coming to Belfast in the 80s and 90s when nobody else did, commenting that the same people who were shocked at them visiting the city are now talking about how cool it is now.

As he introduced Old Red Eyes Is Back, he dedicated it to the people of Belfast.

He did also say that it was 30 years since he was first in Belfast, a Pearl Anniversary, and suggests that an appropriate present would be a Pearl Heaton CD.

We were treated to some forgotten Beautiful South classics such as Blackbird On The Wire and The Table. The Table is one of my favourite Beautiful South songs, but it didn’t chart that high due to it being the fourth single from Quench.

At the grand old age of 55, Heaton has passed his driving test, he proudly told the audience, at the fourth time of asking with only one minor. He then proceeded to introduce the backing band and Jacqui Abbott by what car they drive.

The reason why the introductions were taking place mid concert were that, according to Heaton, the tour had been jinxed so far. One of Jacqui Abbott’s friends fell in the shower and had to go to hospital, while the previous night was described as a disaster, but no reason was given why.

The previous night, they were doing a concert in Cork. So, if any Corkonians can fill me in, feel free to do so.

At the start of Rotterdam, Heaton disappeared as this was a song sung solely by Abbott, but he then reappeared to play harmonica at the end.

As with their previous gigs, we delved into Paul Heaton’s back catalogue with The Housemartins and The Beautiful South. With so many songs to choose from, it’s natural that people would be disappointed at not hearing all of their favourites.

Five Get Over Excited, You Keep It All In, Don’t Marry Her and Good As Gold were all on the setlist, that would have kept a lot of people happy.

We also got Perfect Ten, with disco style drums and guitar, allowing Heaton to show off his dad dancing. Abbott was also getting involved. I’m not sure what the woman version of dad dancing is. Mum moving?

It wasn’t planned, but it was a happy accident, but I ended up being surrounded by people who were shorter than me, meaning I got a clear view. Also, everyone in the crowd was so sound, footstomping and clapping away.

You don’t realise how much a dead on audience adds to the enjoyment of a concert until you’re at a concert and surrounded by shitebags.

Thankfully, this was shitebag free.

They were enjoying themselves so much, they lost track of time, and announced they didn’t have long left due to a curfew set by the venue. It was a nice set-up as Heaton asked what the time was, answering his own question that it was Happy Hour.

Because of this, there wasn’t going to be a long encore, just the one song. With only a little time left, it was perhaps apt that they played A Little Time, a country/rockabilly/boogie woogie version of it.

As they left the stage, Heaton told the crowd “See you soon”.

So, touring in 2018?

If so, hopefully, someone from Belsonic is getting ready to book them. I quite fancy a bit of toetapping in the sunshine at Ormeau Park next June.

Ok, sunshine in June in Belfast is a bit ambitous.

Photo Album

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at Ulster Hall 2016

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at The Limelight 2014

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.7.2017

1. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – Here I Go Again
2. Starsailor – All This Life
3. Chainsmokers – Young
4. Paul Weller – Woo Se Mama
5. The Cribs- Rainbow Ridge

This Tuesday, is International Yorkshire Day. So, to celebreate, here’s a chart of songs by Yorkshire acts. Ay up.

FIVE SONGS BY YORKSHIRE ACTS

1. Embrace – You’re Not Alone
2. Pulp – A Little Soul
3. Heaven 17 – Temptation
4. Shed Seven – Disco Down
5. Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way

PS : Still looking for a Standing ticket for Ryan Adams at Ulster Hall in September. Face Value only. Do get in touch.

2016 IN PICTURES – APRIL

April 2016 began for me at The Odyssey to see Muse in concert.

The following Saturday, I headed for Seaview to see Linfield lose to Crusaders, a match that killed off their title hopes.

Another concert soon followed, this time it was to see Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott at Ulster Hall.

Back to football, and a double whammy of convincing Linfield wins, over Coleraine and Glentoran.

The match against Coleraine allowed me to check out the facilities in the South Stand for the first time since it was officially opened.

Towards the end of the month, Prince died, and Belfast wasn’t slow in paying tribute, a mural appearing within a day of his death.

I then headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

Around that time, I purchased a new camera as my camera was broken beyond repair. I was still getting used to it, so that’s why some photos towards the end of the month are a bit different.

Muse live at The Odyssey

Muse live at The Odyssey Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at Ulster Hall

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Glentoran v Linfield

Purple Rain

Purple Rain Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

PAUL HEATON AND JACQUI ABBOTT – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 12.4.2016

The H and Claire of The Beautiful South, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott returned to Belfast after two successful (The Limelight in June and Ulster Hall in October) gigs in 2014 as part of their latest tour.

Nearly ten years after The Beautiful South split up, Singer/Songwriter Heaton is now recording as part of a duo with Abbott, vocalist during their commercial peak during the late 1990s, who replaced original vocalist Brianna Corrigan, from Portstewart.

The story goes that Heaton heard Abbott singing at a party and asked her to join the band. It sounds like the rejected draft of Don’t You Want Me by Human League. It sounds like Don’t You Want Me by Human League if it was written by Paul Heaton and Dave Rotheray.

Reunited by social media of all things, they released an album and toured in 2014, and enjoyed it so much, they released another one and decided to tour it.

The crowd cheered when Heaton asked if they’d bought their new album. He said he’d be checking if they could back it up by singing along to their new songs.

The highlight of those new songs was the lead single from their new album, The Austerity Of Love.

They entered the stage, and the crowd were treated to some spectacular dad dancing from Paul Heaton, attempting The Robot during the opening song.

I’d previously seen them at The Limelight in 2014. I gave the gig at Ulster Hall a miss as it was only four months between gigs. I wish I had now.

I’m not usually a fan of Ulster Hall as a venue, but it was perfect for Heaton and Abbott.

As with their Limelight gig in 2014, the setlist through Heaton’s career with The Housemartins, The Beautiful South, and as a duo with Jacqui Abbott.

Despite focusing on his career, the songs that didn’t feature Abbott as a recording artist were easily reworked to include her as a live performer.

It is almost 30 years since Heaton first gigged in Belfast, with The Housemartins in 1986. It is a gig which Heaton commented was his favourite gig he has ever done, playing the opening song from that night, Anxious.

Not all of the retrospective was glorious, as he stated “what a miserable twat I used to be” when introducing Have Fun, a song not performed live for 18 years prior to this tour.

Heaton’s pre-gig routine is very different now from The Beautiful South’s heyday. Back then it was, in his words, getting pissed. Nowadays, it is watching Pointless in his hotel room, having a sleep, and watching Emmerdale while eating a packet of crisps, and feeling inadequate in comparision to some of the men who roam Emmerdale, but that performing live gives him a confidence boost.

Naturally, there were plenty of Beautiful South hits on the setlist, a Reggae version of A Little Time (Curiously, a song neither of them sang on. Abbott wasn’t in The Beautiful South when it was released in 1990, and Dave Hemingway sang the male lead), Prettiest Eyes (which Heaton says he wrote at the age of 32 about people in their early 50s, the age bracket he is in now), Don’t Marry Her, Old Red Eyes Is Back, Good As Gold and an uptempo version of Rotterdam

There was even a bluesy insturmental song, looking like it was going to sound like Livin On A Prayer by Bon Jovi, only to be a dancey uptempo version of Perfect Ten.

Perfect Ten would be in my Top Ten Beautiful South songs. If the version played live was the version that was released, it might well have been

My main memory of the song was buying the CD single when I was out for lunch during my work experience.

There was not one, but two encores, with Jacqui Abbott getting her now obligatory crowd photo for Twitter.

The show ended with You Keep It All In. Nothing at all was kept in during this performance.

Photo Album

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott Live At The Limelight June 2014

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott Live At The Limelight June 2014 Photo Album

2014 IN PICTURES – JUNE

No football, but there was still plenty of stuff to do in June.

The first weekend saw me head to The Limelight for Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott. If the names sound familiar, that’s because they were the vocal duo in The Beautiful South from 1994 onwards.

I never saw The Beautiful South during their lifespan, so it was good to see this gig.

Two weeks later, was a gig with a difference – it was on a roof. I went to see Wonder Villains launch their album on the roof of the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast.

The following Saturday, I was out in Belfast City Centre, getting some Street Art shots, the highlight of which was some Sunflowers opposite The Sunflower Bar.

Later that day, was a HMV instore gig by Runaway Go, at a new dedicated performance area.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott Live At The Limelight

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Wonder Villains Live At The Oh Yeah Centre

Wonder Villains Live At The Oh Yeah Centre Photo Album

Sunflowers and Stripes

Runaway Go Live At The Loft

Runaway Go Live At The Loft Photo Album

PAUL HEATON AND JACQUI ABBOTT – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 6.6.2014

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, formerly of The Beautiful South, were in Belfast last night promoting their new duets album What Have We Become, with a concert at The Limelight.

I never got to see The Beautiful South, who split up in 2007 due to “Musical similarites”, during their heyday, so this was the next best thing.

However, there are enough options for those wanting to relive The Beautiful South, with a Dave Hemingway led group, The South, also touring. All we need is Brianna Corrigan and Dave Rotheray to form their own group.

It was billed as “Performing material from their new album, and songs by The Beautiful South and The Housemartins”, and that’s what it was, an anthology of Paul Heaton’s career.

One of the first hits they played was “Old Red Eyes Is Back”, introduced as “A song about drinking”. Not sure if the lighting guys meant it, or it happened by fluke, but the stage lights went red as the opening notes were played.

To keep up with the anthology theme of the night, Heaton told stories between songs, reminiscing about past visits to Belfast, listing all the bars he’d drank in, and how the first thing he did upon flying into Belfast to go to a vending machine for a packet of Tayto crisps.

He then continued to talk about his love of Tayto, trying to do a deal with the audience that “I’ll buy your Tayto if you buy our albums”

On the stage was a series of paintings, painted by Paul, Jacqui and their keyboardist, of famous Northern Ireland folk. Like a gameshow host, Heaton invited the audience to guess who they were, with whoever guesses right taking it home.

Only one person won, correctly guessing that Jacqui Abbott had painted a portrait of Mary Peters holidaying in the Algarve.

The hits continued, including the Jacqui Abbott led hits such as “Rotterdam” and “Don’t Marry Her”, as well as Housemartins hits such as “Happy Hour” and “Me And The Farmer”

When introducing one of those Housemartins hits, he recalled how they won a battle of the bands, with the prize being to support Gary Glitter at Hull City Hall, which they withdrew from when they discovered they were having to pay for the, um, honour.

They came back for not one, but two, encores. The second of which, featured an a capella performance of Caravan Of Love.

Most of the big hits were performed. There was no “Perfect Ten” on the playlist. This gig, came quite close to a Perfect Ten.

(I’d go eight or nine, since you ask)

In other gig related news, I saw Suggs : My Life In Words And Music. It was part music, part stand-up, but totally enjoyable, as Suggs relived anecdotes from Madness through to their early days, heyday, split, and various comebacks.

It was a show that debuted at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012, the week after i’d left. I’d been waiting for almost two years to see that show, and it was worth the wait.

Talking of Suggs, i’ll be going to see him doing his day job in December. That’s as lead singer of Madness, not host of Night Fever.

Looking forward to this. Hope it’s as good as the time I saw Madness in August 2012.

Two weeks today, i’ll be seeing Wonder Villains doing a rooftop gig at the Oh Yeah Centre to celebrate the release of their debut album. Really looking forward to this, a fantastic band.

The week after that, i’m off to HMV in Donegall Arcade for an instore gig by Runaway Go, who I had previously seen at Belsonic last year.

The week after (yes, I know) i’m off the see Bray to see James for the 4th time, having also seen them at Belsonic last year.

At that concert, they’ll be supporting Paloma Faith, who I saw at Ulster Hall last year.

After that, it’s a bit of a break until August when I head to see The Killers at Tennent’s Vital. Guess what? I’ve already seen them. February 2013.

What i’m looking forward to at that gig, is seeing Bastille. I’ve never seen them before, so looking forward to that.

In terms of possible gigs, i’m thinking about going to Tom Odell/Kodaline at Belsonic. Undecided as yet. I like Tom Odell but I don’t know much about Kodaline.

Meanwhile, i’m on the lookout for a ticket to Erasure at Ulster Hall in November. They’d sold out within minutes before i’d a chance to purchase one.

Incidentally, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott have announced a new tour for the winter. No Belfast date as yet. If they do announce one, i’d recommend you go.

Photo Album