2019 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February didn’t get off to the best start, as I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield exit the Irish Cup against Crusaders.

Things got better the following Saturday as Linfield came from 2-0 down to score a last minute winner against Coleraine.

It got a lot better the following Saturday as Linfield beat Ballymena United to win the NIFL Cup.

Finally, it was time for my first concerts of the year, going to see Chvrches at Ulster Hall, then Razorlight at The Limelight the following evening.

That was followed by some more football, as Linfield took on Ballymena United again, this time in the League, and then a midweek trip to Newry to see Linfield grind out a 1-0 win.

Linfield v Crusaders

Linfield v Coleraine

NIFL Cup Final

NIFL Cup Final Photo Album

Chvrches live at Ulster Hall

Chvrches live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Razorlight live at The Limelight

Razorlight live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

Newry City v Linfield

RAZORLIGHT – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 22.2.2019

Playing at, in their words, a “Special place” to them, Razorlight made a welcome return to Belfast with a gig at The Limelight.

I’d previously seen them before, but it was a while ago. It was so long ago, it was when Tennent’s Vital was at Ormeau Park, as they appeared alongside Manic Street Preachers in 2007.

Back then, they were riding high following the success of their self titled second album, with massive hits such as In The Morning, America, Before I Fall To Pieces and I Can’t Stop This Feeling I’ve Got. The second of that quartet, America, provided the band with their first, and so far only Number 1 single in the UK.

It was two years before, that I got into Razorlight. There was someone I worked with who was obsessed with them, and especially Golden Touch.

I didn’t really need to be persuaded, it’s a fantastic tune, as well as other singles from their debut album such as Rip It Up amd Somewhere Else.

Sticking to the industry standard of a new album every two years, they released their third album in 2008, Slipway Fires, with the lead single Wire To Wire, being a, um, slow burner, a grower of a song, but still well worth a listen. Despite that, it would be the only major single release from that album.

So, 2010 comes along, and we await Razorlight album number four. Then 2011, then 2012, then we just forgot about them, the band going on haitus until album number four, Olympus Sleeping, arrived in 2018.

All the hits that were mentioned were unsurprisingly played, as was the underrated Who Needs Love?, which was only an album track on their second album. If they released it as a single, it surely would have been a massive hit.

The band were on stage at around 8.15pm and off by around 9.30pm. Not going to lie, i’m a big fan of The Limelight’s early starts and finishes.

There, I said it, 00s nostalgia and sensible bedtimes.

Razorlight crammed as much as they could into their stage time, it was all killer and no filler, but no actual covers of songs by The Killers.

By this point, Johnny Borrell was very sweaty, and channelling his inner Mick Jagger when allowed to strut on stage without a guitar. The boy can’t help it, it’s not his fault, just a dangerous dangerous age.

Unsurprisingly, their biggest hit, America, was saved for the encore.

It’s a song that sounds best in the Winter months, the soundtrack to the end of 2006 for me, and a hug in musical form, that last line doesn’t sound weird in any way.

The sentiment, wasn’t that friendly, as Borrell made a dedication before the song, declaring “Fuck you” to Donald Trump and Fox News.

You could say the lyrics of the song are prophetic, but then again, all my life, panic in America.

Photo Album

THE SOUND OF 2018

Better late than never, I decided to wait until the first day of 2019 to post my favourite songs of 2018.

It would have been a shame not to continue the tradition of this award* (*Disclaimer, no actual trophy) that goes all the way back to 2006.

I cobbled this up after browsing through my Friday Fives from 2018 with absolutely no scientific methodology whatsoever. So, here it is, the Top 50 Songs Of 2018.

1. Loveleytheband – Broken
2. Alice Merton – No Roots
3. Kyle Falconer – Family Tree
4. Rasmussen – Higher Ground
5. AJR ft Rivers Cuomo – Sober Up
6. Mumford and Sons – Guiding Light
7. Pale Waves – Eighteen
8. Jade Bird – Uh Huh
9. Kyle Falconer – Poor Me
10. Richard Ashcroft – That’s When I Feel It
11. George Ezra – Shotgun
12. Kylie Minogue – Dancing
13. Tom Grennan- Sober
14. Chvrches – Graffiti
15. Kyle Falconer – Kelly
16. Rudimental – These Days
17. Manic Street Preachers – Hold Me Like A Heaven
18. The Coral – Reaching Out For A Friend
19. Portugal, The Man – Feel It Still
20. Snow Patrol – Don’t Give In
21. Sam Fender – That Sound
22. Madame Monsieur – Mercy
23. James – Coming Home (Part II)
24. Manic Street Preachers – Distant Colours
25. Blossoms – I Can’t Stand It
26. Christine and the Queens – Girlfriend
27. Kylie Minogue – Stop Me From Falling
28. Snow Patrol – Empress
29. Dennis Lloyd – Nevermind
30. The Kooks – Four Leaf Clover
31. Blossoms – There’s A Reason Why
32. APRE – All Yours
33. Ash – Annabel
34. Pound Shop Boys – Fireman Sam
35. Editors – Cold
36. Vampire Weekend ft Danielle Haim – Sone Of A Preacher Man
37. Weezer – Africa
38. Natalie Prass – Short Court Style
39. Hozier – Nina Cried Power
40. Sleeper – Look AtYou Now
41. Turin Brakes – Lifeforms
42. Arctic Monkeys – Four Out Of Five
43. Yonaka – Creature
44. Florence and the Machine – Hunger
45. Courtney Barrett – Nameless Faceless
46. Weezer – Roseanna
47. Ten Tonnes – G.I.V.E
48. Razorlight – Carry Yourself
49. Ash – Confessions In ThePool
50. Aurora – Queendom

So, congratulations to Loveleytheband on winning this year’s poll.

If you haven’t heard it, the video is below.

They join an illustrious list of former winners, listed below.

2017 Liam Gallagher – For What It’s Worth
2016 The Strumbellas – Spirits
2015 Blossoms – Charlemagne
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

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 16.11.2018

1. Jade Bird – Love Has All Been Done Before
2. Johnny Marr – Spiral Cities
3. Editors – Cold
4. Razorlight – America
5. The Strypes – Get Into It

This Monday, sees International Men’s Day. So, as is tradition, here’s a series of musical charts. If you’re celebrating, that’s cool. If it’s just another day for you, that’s cool. Just don’t be a self-hating dick fishing for likes on Social Media about it.

FIVE SONGS BY MALE SOLO ARTISTS

1. Prince – Gold
2. David Bowie – Let’s Dance
3. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA … What A Life
4. Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
5. Kyle Falconer – Family Tree

FIVE SONGS WITH BOY OR MAN IN THE TITLE

1. The Killers – The Man
2. T-Rex – 20th Century Boy
3. Aneka – Japanese Boy
4. Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy
5. Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

FIVE SONGS BY ALL MALE GROUPS

1. Europe – The Final Countdown
2. Duran Duran – Ordinary World
3. A-Ha – Take On Me
4. U2 – The Fly
5. Queen – I Want It All

FIVE SONGS WITH MALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. Bat For Lashes – Daniel
2. Toni Basil – Mickey
3. Oasis – Little James
4. Sister Sledge – Frankie
5. Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny Come Home

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 30.6.2017

1. Liam Gallagher – Bold
2. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
3. The Killers – The Man
4. Rogue Emperor – Holy Ghost
5. Dagny – Wearing Nothing

A couple of national celebrations days this week giving me an excuse to do some charts, starting with Canada Day tomorrow

FIVE SONGS BY CANADIAN ACTS

1. Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance
2. Tegan and Sara – The Con
3. Celine Dion – It’s All Coming Back To Me Now
4. K’Naan – Wavin Flag
5. Glass Tiger – Don’t Forget Me

Not only that, it’s Dan Aykroyd’s birthday. Surely the two should just combined and called Danada Day?

A bit further, Trumpistan will be celebrating Independence Day. So, here’s a couple of charts commemorating the musical talents and inspiration of Murica.

FIVE SONGS BY AMERICAN ACTS

1. Tom Petty – Freefallin
2. Jane Wiedlin – Rush Hour
3. Ryan Adams – So Alive
4. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
5. Katy Perry – Wide Awake

SONGS WITH USA OR AMERICA(N) IN THE TITLE

1. Razorlight – America
2. U2 – The Hands That Built America
3. Miley Cyrus – Party In The USA
4. David Bowie – Young Americans
5. Green Day – American Idiot

SONGS WITH AMERICAN CITIES OR STATES IN THE TITLE

1. Ryan Adams – New York, New York
2. Bruce Springsteen – Streets Of Philadelphia
3. Beach Boys – California Girls
4. Tony Christie – Is This The Way To Amarillo
5. Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In LA

THE FRIDAY FIVE- 3.3.2017

1. John Hassell and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
2. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
3. Ryan Adams – Streets Of Philidelphia
4. Blossoms – In Da Club/Carelss Whisper
5. Ray Davies – Rock N Roll Cowboys

In gig news this week, it’s all about people not coming to Belfast. The Kooks are already on a Greatest Hits tour which bypasses Belfast, but now they’ve announced a European tour with Blossoms as support. It would be brilliant if that line-up came to Belfast. That said, i’m going to see Blossoms on Wednesday night as a headliner, having already seen them support Paul Weller. Regular readers will know I think Blossoms are brilliant.

Erasure have announced a new album and tour for May which has no Belfast gig. I’m staring expectantly towards the organisers of Belfast Pride. Outdoor show, Custom House Square. You know it makes sense. Go on go on go on go on. That’s just me hoping and wishing rather than any inside info by the way.

Shed Seven are back with their first album since 2001 and are touring in December. It gets better, they have Cast as support. Guess what? No Belfast gig. Seeing as Cast have been to Belfast the last two years, i’m hoping John Power has a word in Rick Witter’s ear and rectifies this.

Ryan Adams is coming to Belfast in September. Unfortunately, it had sold out by the lunchtime of the day it went on sale. So, if you know anybody selling a spare standing ticket, get in touch.

On Monday lunchtime, I chanced my arm by going to the Venue Box Office during my final ten minutes of lunch. I was third in line, and manage to spend all ten minutes queuing. The person at the front couldn’t make their mind about about what seats they wanted for whatever show they were booking for, then proceeded to pay with a credit card that wouldn’t work.

The next person had a complaint about tickets they had recently purchased and were referred to Ticketmaster but then proceeded to argue that the problem had to be dealt with by the Venue Box Office Staff.

Seriously, how the fuck do people get out of the house and be so fucking stupid?

Also announced in the past week was the line-up for Party At The Palace in August at Linlithgow Palace. If you’re wondering where that is, it’s near Edinburgh.

Regular readers will know I go to Edinburgh every August. Very tempted to make this the weekend I head over.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS APPEARING AT PARTY AT THE PALACE

1. Lightning Seeds – All I Want
2. Razorlight – America
3. Ash – Oh Yeah
4. Amy MacDonald – This Is The Life
5. Kaiser Chiefs – Oh My God

Finally, I spotted an article wondering whatever happened to the mythical and mystical place in music history called 3 Alveston Place. 90s kids will know what i’m talking about. You can read the article here.

This Wednesday, is International Richard Herring Being A Sneering Dick On Twitter Day. Or, if you prefer, International Women’s Day.

If it’s just another day to you, or if you’re doing something to commemorate it, enjoy yourself. Except if you’re planning on sitting in front of the computer screaming “IT’S NOVEMBER 19TH!!!!” all day. You’re a bit of a weirdo and you need help.

This blog will be commemorating it in the only way it knows, by having a series of charts of songs by and about women

FIVE SONGS BY WOMEN

1. Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
2. Kylie Minogue – I Believe In You
3. Madonna – Rain
4. Taylor Swift – Ours
5. Laura Branigan – Self Control

FIVE SONGS BY GIRL GROUPS

1. Girls Aloud – Biology
2. Eternal – I Wanna Be The Only One
3. Bananarama – Cruel Summer
4. The Saturdays – Up
5. All Saints – Pure Shores

FIVE SONGS BY BANDS WITH FEMALE SINGERS

1. Chvrches – Lies
2. Paramore – That’s What You Get
3. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
4. Echosmith – Cool Kids
5. The Pretenders – I’ll Stand By You

FIVE SONGS WITH FEMALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. The Beatles – Dear Prudence
2. Bastille – Laura Palmer
3. Cosmic Rough Riders – Melanie
4. Glasvegas – Geraldine
5. Britney Spears – If You Seek Amy

FIVE SONGS WITH FEMALE PRONOUNS IN THE TITLE

1. Oasis – She Is Love
2. James – She’s A Star
3. U2 – Hallelujah Here She Comes
4. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way
5. Shed Seven – She Left Me On Friday

FIVE SONGS WITH GIRL/WOMAN IN THE TITLE

1. Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl
2. Kate Bush – Rubberband Girl
3. Ash – Girl From Mars
4. Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire
5. Simple Minds – Chelsea Girl

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : AU – FEBRUARY 2007

A trip to the recent past this week to February 2007, a month when Bloc Party appeared on the cover of AU, formerly known as Alternative Ulster.

On the AU stereo this month was songs by CSS, Stylofone, Idlewild, Future Of The Left, Shiny Toy Guns and cover artist Bloc Party.

The Goodies and Baddies list makes for interesting reading, with Sylvester Stallone being listed a Goodie due to the new Rocky movie not being awful. I’m guessing the magazine went to print before Stallone appeared on the pitch at Goodison Park waving an Everton scarf in January 2007.

Also on the Goodies List was Victoria Beckham (for stopping David becoming a Scientologist), Ronnie O’Sullivan and Noel Edmonds.

On the Baddies List was a Goodie, well, Jade Goody, for a variety of reasons.

Preston was also on the list. The singer from The Ordinary Boys, rather than the town, as was Ian McCullough and the band James.

“What’s On Your Ipod?” is a feature stopping people in the street and asking what’s on their Ipod. Simple enough. Among those stopped was Joe Lindsay, he of Getaways fame. His three songs are Big Julie by Jarvis Cocker, DJ’s Got A Gun by Robots In Disguise and Yesterday’s Folks by US69.

An amazing fact about him (according to the feature) is that he can do a “passable” impression of Christopher Walken.

Patrick Wolf is interviewed about his music collection. His first record bought was Saturday Night by Whigfield.

Having just released their debut album, Kieran Webster from The View is interviewed about his favourite things. His favourite TV show is Shameless (Gerard Kearns, AKA Ian Gallagher would appear in the video for The Don later in the year) and his favourite live band was Primal Scream.

In news, The Stooges were set to release a new album, their first in 33 years, while In Case Of Fire were in the studio working on a new album.

Side projects get looked at in a feature looking at the good, the bad and the weird.

Elliott Smith, who died in 2003, gets a double page spread, with a guide for those looking to purchase from his back catalogue.

David Bowie also got a double page feature, with AU doing an A to Z guide to his career.

Hotly tipped new band The Klaxons get a three page feature as they prepare to release their debut album, which is followed by six pages of cover stars Bloc Party.

In live reviews, there is a review of Chuck Berry’s recent gig at Waterfront Hall.

Upcoming gigs include Nerina Pallot at Spring and Airbreak, Badly Drawn Boy at Mandela Hall, Razorlight doing two nights at Waterfront Hall and Amy Winehouse at Ulster Hall.