THE SOUND OF 2015 : 1-25

So here we go, what you’ve been waiting for …….. The Top 25 songs of 2015. Enjoy.

1. Blossoms – Charlemagne
2. The Strypes – Get Into It
3. Chvrches – Leave A Trace
4. Muse – Revolt
5. Chemical Brothers – Go
6. Muse – Mercy
7. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I
8. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
9. Florence and the Machine – Queen Of Peace
10. Everything Everything – Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread
11. Calvin Harris ft Haim – Pray To God
12. Mumford and Sons – The Wolf
13. The 1975 – Love Me
14. Little Mix – Black Magic
15. Taylor Swift – Style
16. Mini Mansions – Death Is A Girl
17. Florence and the Machine – Ship To Wreck
18. Muse – Dead Inside
19. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – SOB
20. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – You Know We Can’t Go Back
21. FFS – Piss Off
22. John Newman – Come And Get It
23. Everything Everything – Regret
24. Soak – Sea Creatures
25. Paul Weller – Saturn’s Pattern

So, congratulations to Blossoms. I bet they didn’t think that supporting Paul Weller and The Charlatans on tour could be topped, but it has.

If you haven’t heard the song before, here you go …..

They join an illustrious list of winners. Sadly, Bebo has wiped their archive, so I can’t link you 2006-2008.

THE SOUND OF …… PAST WINNERS

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

2015 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November took a while to get going, my first adventure being on the 7th, to see Linfield take on Crusaders. I would be spending a lot of time at Windsor Park in the opening fortnight of the month.

Windsor Park is where I would be based in the opening two weekends of the month, taking in Northern Ireland’s friendly against Latvia, then Linfield’s match against Cliftonville the next day.

The following midweek was all about music, as Paul Weller and U2 came to Belfast.

The busy month continued when I took in my annual Ulster European game, a defeat to Saracens.

The final two Saturdays of the month saw me on the road, to see Linfield lose in Mid-Ulster against Glenavon and Portadown.

Sandwiched inbetween that, was a trip to Manchester to see United take on PSV Eindhoven, where I also took the opportunity to get some Street Art photos.

Linfield v Crusaders

Northern Ireland v Latvia

Northern Ireland v Latvia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall Photo Album

U2 live at The Odyssey

U2 live at The Odyssey Photo Album

Ulster v Saracens

Ulster v Saracens Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Manchester Street Art November 2015

Manchester Street Art November 2015 Photo Album

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

PAUL WELLER – LIVE AT WATERFRONT HALL 16.11.2015

Paul Weller rolled into Belfast on Monday night as he kicked off his Winter 2015 Tour at Waterfront Hall. This was my first time seeing him, despite him being a relatively regular visitor to Belfast.

Last year, I had toyed with the idea of making his concert at Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin my first Weller gig, especially as the support was Tom Odell, but it being a midweek gig and needing to save my Annual Leave, I decided against it.

More tours followed, including a tour in early 2015 of lesser toured towns in the UK, before a full UK tour for Winter, with no Belfast. I was tempted by Manchester (Saturday 27th November) but the football fixtures didn’t go in my favour.

Eventually, I was rewarded when he announced a gig at Waterfront Hall. This year marks 40 years since Weller’s first gig, as a member of The Jam.

I first became a fan of Weller in 1995, when he released The Changingman, discovering his solo work, and then his back catalogue with The Jam and Style Council.

Weller was supported by Blossoms, from Stockport, who are supporting The Charlatans on tour next month, and have had their February gig in Belfast upgraded from Voodoo to The Limelight.

I was already in love with their single Charlemagne, but the rest of their set wasn’t bad.

Weller is a man of few words, not muttering much between songs, apart from the usual rock star pleasantries. In fact, it was Steve Cradock, taking time out from his day job with Ocean Colour Scene, to tour with Weller (he has played on all of Weller’s solo albums, and usually fits Weller duties around OCS duties), who said more between songs, introducing a section of Style Council hits.

The best of those, was Long Hot Summer. Already a brilliant song, the drums and bass get enhanced live at make it sound better.

A new album out this year, Weller performed the two lead singles from Saturn’s Pattern, the title track and Going My Way, both excellent and warmly received.

There were also some of his earlier solo hits such as Into Tomorrow, Friday Street and Peacock Suit, before he finished, rather confusingly, with Start, one of his biggest hits with The Jam.

It takes a strange sense of humour to play a song called Start at the end of a gig.

Technical problems meant there was a delay in his encore, before he did come out. Fans had expected to be hearing the likes of The Changingman, Out Of The Sinking, Mermaids, Sunflower, Wild Wood or You Do Something To Me.

They didn’t get to hear any of them. They didn’t even get A Town Called Malice.

Weller left the crowd wanting more, but not in a good way.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 13.11.2015

1. X-Ambassadors – Renegades
2. Cee-Lo – Music To My Soul
3. Fleur East – Sax
4. Bear’s Den – Agape
5. Coldplay – Adventure Of A Lifetime

It’s a good week for gig goers in Belfast. Today, tickets go on sale for Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott (tickets shall be purchased for that) and Busted (Just a Public Service Announcement, i’m not purchasing one for that) while Paul Weller and U2 are due in town in the next seven days. Ever so slightly looking forward to those two.

Meanwhile, next Thursday is International Men’s Day. In celebration of all that manliness (grrr) here’s a man based music chart.

FIVE SONGS BY MEN

1. Ryan Adams – Bad Blood
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA …… What A Life
3. Paul Weller – The Changingman
4. John Parr – St Elmo’s Fire
5. Elton John – I’m Still Standing

FIVE SONGS WITH BOY, MAN OR MEN IN THE TITLE

1. Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror
2. Texas – Black Eyed Boy
3. Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy
4. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World
5. REM – Man On The Moon

FIVE SONGS WITH MALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. Rick Springfield – Jesse’s Girl
2. Elliott Smith – Son Of Sam
3. Wonder Villains – Oh Peter
4. Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – Johnny Appleseed
5. Kasabian – Stevie

2015 : THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY

Well, we’re now at the halfway stage of 2015 and as is tradition at this time of year, it’s time for a Top 50 Songs Of The Year So Far, and it will keep you in suspense for the next six months as to what the best song of 2015 will be. Enjoy.

1. The Strypes – Get Into It
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I
3. Mumford and Sons – The Wolf
4. Muse – Mercy
5. Little Mix – Black Magic
6. Taylor Swift – Style
7. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – You Know We Can’t Go Back
8. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
9. Florence and the Machine – Ship To Wreck
10. FFS – Johnny Delusonal
11. Frank Turner – The Next Storm
12. Kodaline – Honest
13. Blur – Ong Ong
14. Giorgio Moroder ft Britney Spears – Tom’s Diner
15. Mini Mansions – Death Is A Girl
16. James Bay – Hold Back The River
17. Kodaline – Ready
18. Years and Years – King
19. The Courteeners – Has The Told You That He Loves You Yet?
20. Charli XCX – Famous
21. Cathal Smyth – Do You Believe In Love?
22. Rae Morris – Under The Shadows
23. Soak – Sea Creatures
24. Imagine Dragons – Warriors
25. Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
26. Charli XCX ft Rita Ora – Doing It
27. FFS – Piss Off
28. Brandon Flowers – Can’t Deny My Love
29. Blur – There Are Too Many Of Us
30. Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
31. Stereophonics – Cest La Vie
32. Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
33. Paul Weller – Going My Way
34. Mans Zelmerlow – Heroes
35. The Charlatans – Come Home Baby
36. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Riverman
37. James Taylor – Montana
38. Natalie Imbruglia – Instant Crush
39. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)
40. Muse – Psycho
41. Little Boots – Better In The Morning
42. Gravity Storm – (Don’t You) Forget About Me
43. Nick Jonas – Jealous
44. Years and Years – Shine
45. Prides – Higher Love
46. Brandon Flowers – I Can Change
47. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear – Silent Movies
48. The Strypes – Scumbag City
49. Blur – Lonesome Street
50. Florence and the Machine – What Kind Of Man

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 29.5.2015

1. Florence and the Machine – Delilah
2. Paul Weller – Going My Way
3. Mans Zelmerlow – Heroes
4. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)
5. Little Mix – Black Magic

Yesterday teatime, I went to see Ash play an acoustic gig at HMV – performing three new songs and A Life Less Ordinary. Ash was my first gig on New Year’s Eve 1998, going into 1999. Some drunk guy clumbed onto a signpost and rearranged the directions. Such memories.

The gig was described by Tim Wheeler as “A good warm-up for Slane”, very much tongue in cheek.

On Saturday, Ash will be performing at Slane, a line-up that is already impressive before headliners Foo Fighters enter the stage.

Talking of which, remember in 2012 when Dave Grohl promised Foo Fighters would be back to Belfast?

Come on Dave, don’t let us down. There’s a Facebook group with a ridiculously low number of members here.

If you’re going, i’m very jealous of you. I won’t be so jealous when you’re trying to get out afterwards.

Anyway, here’s a Slane playlist for you

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS PERFORMING AT SLANE

1. Foo Fighters – The One
2. Hozier – Take Me To Church
3. Ash – Envy
4. Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way
5. The Strypes – Blue Collar Jane

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 17.4.2015

1. Paul Weller – Saturns Pattern
2. Blur – Lonesome Street
3. George Ezra – Did You Hear The Rain?
4. Saint Raymond – Come Back To You
5. Black Rivers – Age Of Innocence

So, this week, Paul Weller announced a concert at Waterfront Hall in November. I’ve never seen him play live, and i’m desperate to see this.

Was tempted to see him at Kilmainham last year, but it was a midweek gig and wanted to save my Annual Leave.

The lack of a Belfast gig was tempting me to head to Manchester in November, assuming United were at home that weekend.

But, he’s coming to Belfast. Now, all I need to do, is make sure I get a ticket.

In the meantime, here’s a Paul Weller solo Top Five for you

FIVE SONGS BY PAUL WELLER

1. The Changingman
2. Sunflower
3. Mermaids
4. Sweet Pea, My Sweet Pea
5. He’s The Keeper

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : VOX – AUGUST 1995

It’s the summer of 1995 and Britpop is on the rise, but it’s an American, Michael Stipe of REM, who is the cover star of this edition of Vox.

In news, Depeche Mode are now down to three members following the departure of Alan Wilder, while Oasis have announced that their second album, “Morning Glory” is finished and ready for release in September, while there were rumours that Paul Weller would join Oasis on stage at Glastonbury.

The Cure announced plans for a new album in February 1996, Nancy Sinatra posed for Playboy at the age of 52, and the BBC were planning six hours of programming to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Live Aid.

Vox looks at the trend of Indie bands becoming pin-ups, and Boybands getting serious, with contributions from PJ Harvey, Holly Johnson, and Martin Carr from Boo Radleys.

Bands tipped for success include Whale, Thurman and Cast.

Armando Ianucci is interviewed, ahead of the launch of his new satire show, Saturday Night Armistice, which is accompanied by a picture of him licking an iron.

Chemical Brothers get a two page interview about heir recent successes, while three pages are dedicated to Oasis singles cover art, with comments and anecdotes from Brian Cannon (Art Director) and Michael Spencer Jones (Photographer)

There’s more Oasis a few pages later, as Paul Slattery, a photographer who accompanied them on tour, shows off his best photos from the year he spent with them.

Therapy? get a four page interview, accompanied with a photo of them dressed as clowns.

The National Lottery has recently been set up, so Vox asks various bands such as Dodgy, Shampoo, Supergrass, Pulp, Sparks and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin what they would do if they won the lottery.

Gene were that months guest reviewers, sticking the boot into Paul Weller’s single “Wings Of Speed”, with Martin Rossiter stating “This is a dreadful ballad. If Mariah Carey sang this, we’d all be slagging it right off”

The Verve are interviewed over two pages in LA, with the introductory line “Can The Verve follow in Oasis footsteps?”

Jim and William Reid from Jesus and Mary Chain are asked about their most hated things, aiming their vitriol at UB40 and Chris De Burgh.

Cover star Michael Stipe is interviewed, speaking about how REM are getting back on track, following Bill Berry’s onstage collapse earlier that year.

Mick Jones of The Clash gets a full page interview of his memories of punk.