THE FRIDAY FIVE – 23.12.2016 (AND SOME MUSICAL THOUGHTS FOR 2017)

1. Robert Goulet – Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
2. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
3. Greg Lake – I Believe In Father Christmas
4. Fountains of Wayne – Alien For Christmas
5. John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

You didn’t think I wouldn’t have any Christmas songs this week? I’m not that much of a Scrooge.

Somebody started a rumour that i’ve cleared my diary to watch Christmas With Daniel O’Donnell on RTE 1 at 9.30pm tomorrow. It might be true, or it might not be true.

This week, saw the first headliners for Belsonic 2017 announced, a lot earlier than usual (recent years have been announced between February and April)

Just the two announced, and they were, well, underwhelming.

If you don’t know, it’s Jess Glynne and Axwell Ingrosso (who sounds like a Swiss footballer)

I know i’m guilty of complaining about bands I don’t like/have never heard of being on the bill when Belsonic headliners are announced, because I should know by now that not every Belsonic concert will appeal to me due to the line-up being so vast and varied.

These concerts will be at Ormeau Park, the third venue in the last three years. It’s slightly concerning that it’s starting to have a nomadic existence like what Tennent’s Vital used to have.

I thought Titanic worked as a venue in my own observations. Spatious, easy to get to and out of. I didn’t experience any real problems, even though Ormeau Park will be very convenient for me.

I really hope they don’t go down the Tennent’s Vital route of having pits. I find the idea that someone could just turn up ten minutes before showtime and get a better view than me, simply because they’re mates of a mate of a mate of a mate of someone who works for a sponsor.

I love Belsonic because it’s not Tennent’s Vital. I really hope it doesn’t go down a road of trying to be Tennent’s Vital.

I would imagine there will be more concerts announced in the new year.

One of the fun things I like to do when announcements are announced is to try and predict who will be performing.

As you can see from the link, my predictions were well off.

Belsonic isn’t the only festival in Belfast/Greater Belfast. There’s also Catherdal Quarter Arts Festival, Feile and Open House Festival (Bangor) which will be staging concerts.

So, i’m going to post my musical hopes for people coming to Belfast. The only 2017 concert I have in my diary is Blossoms. They’re brilliant. You may remember them winning The Sound Of 2015 on this blog. If you want to see how good they are, they’ll be on Top Of The Pops on New Year’s Eve.

You may remember me getting excited about Simple Minds coming to Waterfront Hall in June next year. Well, it’s an all seated gig and I can’t be arsed with that.

So, i’m going to post my hopes for those who I would love to come to Belfast in 2017.

Cast and Embrace will have albums out in 2017, so hopefully they’ll fit in a Belfast gig.

Kaiser Chiefs, Paul Weller, The Kooks, Amy MacDonald, KT Tunstall and Two Door Cinema Club all have 2017 tours announced but no Belfast gig. Hopefully some of them well be adding Belfast to their schedule.

Rose Elinor Dougall is a singer I absolutely adore, a former member of The Pipettes (Remember them? They were brilliant too) who is releasing her first album in six years, so i’m hoping she stops off in Belfast.

This week, Red Hot Chili Peppers were supposed to be doing two concerts in Dublin, but due to Anthony Kiedis being unwell, they have been postponed until September 2017.

Wouldn’t it be great if they snuck in a couple of Odyssey gigs around that.

If you were to sum up 2017 in four words, it would be ………… LIAM. GALLAGHER. SOLO. ALBUM. Which i’m hoping is as entertaining as his Twitter.

It may be brilliant, it may be bad, it won’t be boring. Cannot wait for it. Potato.

Meanwhile, the race for Christmas Number 1 (Usually dominated by X-Factor in the same way Celtic have dominated the SPL over the last few years) is between Rangers and Little Mix, which gives me an excuse to post my favourite Youtube videos, from the time Celtic and Rangers players formed a band with a man in a tiger costume to record a charity single to promote Glasgow as a tourist destination.

Think of it as my seasonal gift to you.

Merry Christmas.

2016 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August began for me with a trip to Fermanagh to see Linfield take on Ballinamallard United in the opening game of the Irish League season.

The following day, I ventured to Cupar Way to check out the Peace Wall in Belfast, something I do every six months to have a look at the Street Art.

After that, came a triple whammy if Irish League matches, taking in Linfield’s games against Coleraine, Crusaders and Glenavon.

That was then followed by a triple whammy of concerts – Madness and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Belsonic, then Red Hot Chili Peppers at Vital.

The month ended with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts.

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Belfast Peace Wall

Belfast Peace Wall Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

Madness live at Titanic Belfast

Madness live at Titanic Belfast Photo Album

Catfish and the Bottlemen Photo Album

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at Titanic Belfast

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds live at Titanic Belfast Photo Album

Red Hot Chili Peppers live at Boucher Road Playing Fields

Red Hot Chili Peppers live at Boucher Road Playing Fields Photo Album

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – LIVE AT BOUCHER ROAD PLAYING FIELDS (TENNENT’S VITAL) 25.8.2016

Against my better judgement, I headed to Boucher Road Playing Fields for Tennent’s Vital, this night headlined by Red Hot Chili Pepepers. Basically, because I love RHCP, though not so much love for the joyless event that Vital has become in recent years

It almost saddens me when a band I like headlines Vital.

It was the Chili Peppers first Belfast gig since 2011, when they performed at Ulster Hall as part of the MTV EMAs. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a ticket for that gig.

Their last Belfast gig before that, was in the same venue in 1992. I was a bit too young for that gig.

Having arrived at the venue, I was greeted by Airport Security. Yes, Airport Security. For a concert. We didn’t even have that during the troubles.

The main support came from Fall Out Boy. I like Fall Out Boy, and not just because they get their name from The Simpsons.

I wouldn’t have been rushing if they were the headliners, but as support acts go, not too shabby.

I was far back with not a great view, as I looked on in amazement at seeing The Pit being half empty.

An invention at Vital is to have a pit for VIPs while the plebs have to fight for scraps, as music fans get divided into the haves and have nots.

Belsonic might not be perfect, but at least I know if I want a decent view, I have to turn up early.

Want a decent view at Vital? Have a mate who works for a sponsor or a PR company.

Eventually, the Chili Peppers appeared on stage, rifling through hit after hit, even though the UK Record Buying Public has only rewarded them with one Number One, and that was when All Saints covered one of their songs.

They sounded good, the only downside was that I couldn’t see them, due to being so far away.

As an added bonus, I was surrounded by Shitebags.

One person grabbed my throat for simply being an onstacle on his route to the front of the stage. Thankfully, I managed to push him away from me, but it was too dark to get to get a look at them as he ran off.

It’s not a particularly nice feeling when you are trying to watch the gig while having to keep an eye on what is going on around you.

Big events in Belfast usually attract Shitebags sadly, and this was no different.

I’ll never understand the mentality of throwing beer at concerts.

The tightwad in me can’t understand buying something and not fully consuming it. Then there’s the factor that you’re being a cunt.

I’m not being precious, and you’re not “Rock n Roll”, you’re just being a dick. People are coming out to watch a band, and not to have drinks and (plastic) glasses thrown over you.

If it’s not acceptable behaviour in any other environment, why would it be acceptable at a concert?

From Shitebags to another type of bag, namely backpacks. A curious phenomenon of this gig was the sheer volume of people wearing backpacks, on two straps, taking up space, and then banging into you as they walk past.

Why on earth do you need to bring a backpack to a concert?

It’s only a one day event for group out loud. All you need is money, keys, phone and a camera if you wish. You don’t need to bring a packed lunch, there are food stalls there.

And then there was the joy of having people walking from side to side aimlessly.

“How was the Chilli Peppers gig?”

“Oh it was grand aye, I just walked about from side to side”

Onto the music, it was a hit filled set, with fans being treated to Can’t Stop, Dani California, Scar Tissue,
Snow, Otherside, Californication, Under the Bridge and By the Way.

Surprisingly, Under The Bridge was in the main set. I thought that would have been saved for the encore.

Amongst the new songs played was the lead single from their new album The Getaway.

It’s a grower, but when it grows on you, you will love it.

If they are still playing live in five or ten years time, it’s a song that will be cemented in their setlist.

The only downside of the setlist was that it got a bit self indulgent, veering into Spinal Tap territory, like duelling banjos but with guitars.

For the encore, we got a special treat, an instrumental version of We Will Rock You merged with an instrumental version of We Will Rock You, before performing Give It Away.

Immediately, after the gig, a Dublin date for December was announced, while a UK tour was also announced.

Can’t help but feel that an Odyssey gig in December would have been preferable to being sat in a field surrounded by Shitebags.

It wasn’t all bad. As I was walking along the Lisburn Road, a woman kindly helped me put on my poncho (Don’t laugh, I had one in my back pocket. I’d gotten it free at a Northern Ireland match when I sat in the roofless pre-redevelopment Railway Stand)

I guess Belfast folk aren’t all knobs.

Photo Album

2014 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

It took a while for August to get going, but when it did, it was rather good.

My first photo adventure came on the second weekend, when I headed to Portadown to see a new era begin, Linfield’s first domestic game with Warren Feeney as manager. The less said of the result, the better.

Late that night, I headed to Falls Park to see Kaiser Chiefs in concert.

The following day, I was off to Wales for a few days, specifically to see the European Super Cup Final between Real Madrid and Sevilla.

I took the opportunity to explore Cardiff, go to Bristol for a day, and spend some time in Bath. Loved the Street Art in Bristol. Would have loved to have gone on the official tour, but it wasn’t on the day I was there.

Back in Belfast, it was off to The Oval to see Linfield come from 2-0 down to beat Glentoran.

I wasn’t back in Belfast long, as it was time to head to Edinburgh, mostly for the Festival, but I did take in some football, Hearts v Hibs. I also managed to get some Street Art photos when in Edinbugh.

Not long back in Belfast, it was time for Tennent’s Vital to see Bastille and The Killers on the same bill.

Two days later, it was on the road to see Linfield, a theme through the opening weeks of the season. This time, it was to Institute, my first time there.

Two days after that, was a trip to see Linfield go out of the League Cup to Ballyclare. The less said of that, the better.

One more road trip, to Dungannon, to see Linfield get a 1-0 win. At least the month ended on a winning note.

Portadown v Linfield

Kaiser Chiefs Live At Falls Park

Kaiser Chiefs Live At Falls Park Photo Album

Bristol Street Art

Bristol Street Art Photo Album

Cardiff/Bristol/Bath

Cardiff

Cardiff Street Art

Cardiff Street Art Photo Album

Real Madrid v Sevilla

Real Madrid v Sevilla Photo album

Glentoran v Linfield

Hearts v Hibs

Hearts v Hibs Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Bastille Live At Tennent’s Vital

Bastille Live At Tennent’s Vital Photo Album

The Killers Live At Tennent’s Vital

The Killers Live At Tennent’s Vital Photo Album

Institute v Linfield

Ballyclare Comrades v Linfield

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

THE KILLERS – LIVE AT BOUCHER ROAD PLAYING FIELDS 21.8.2014 (TENNENT’S VITAL)

After a seven year absence, myself, like The Killers, was at Tennent’s Vital last week. My last Tennent’s Vital gig in 2007 wasn’t for The Killers, it was for Manic Street Preachers/Razorlight the night before.

It was my 4th Vital, having been in 2002 (the very first one, in a tent in Botanic Gardens), 2005 and 2007 (Ormeau Park) – I had now been to three of the four venues used for Vital.

I’d been unsure how the venue would work, being on a main commuter route on a weekday, and then getting out. I was impressed as I had no bother getting in or out of the venue.

There was even a big wheel, if you were that way inclined. I didn’t go on it.

One downside, was there being a pit. I arrived at 5.30pm and all the passes were gone. I managed to get a good view, but I would have preferred a better. Especially frustrating, as there was plenty of space in it when the concert was ongoing.

First on stage, was drummer Ronnie Vanucci, doing a drum solo. Each other member of the band walked on, and began playing their instrument.

With each layer, it became obvious they were going to start with “Somebody Told Me”, and when singer Brandon Flowers joined the stage, that’s what happened.

Exactly 18 months after their last gig in Belfast, The Killers were ready to go.

It was the last night of their, as they asked the crowd if they were ready to make it one to remember. They were.

Having released a Greatest Hits compilation in 2013, that’s where most of the setlist came from, playing hits such as “Smile Like You Mean It”, “Spaceman”, “Runaways” and “All These Things I’ve Done”

They even fooled the audience, by playing a slow, piano led version of “Human”, before abandoning it, and then playing the version we all know later on.

There were also covers, which will have pleased the locals, doing a cover of a song by, what Brandon Flowers described as “Stroke City’s finest”, The Undertones (Teenage Kicks), quite apt, on the day of the death of the man who coined the phrase “Stroke City”

They also did a cover of “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, just as they did at The Odyssey in 2013.

We were even treated to an extended drum solo from Ronnie Vanucci when Brandon Flowers asked him if he’d brought his dancing shoes.

The band had spent the day before the gig in Northern Ireland, exploring some tourist spots, with Ronnie enjoying Bushmills Distillery (hmmm, possible headline slot at Bushmills Live in 2015?), while others went to Giants Causeway, before having a Guinness in “The Crowns”

I think Brandon Flowers needs to brush up on his pub names of Belfast.

Their encore began with “Shot At The Night”, the lead single of their Greatest Hits album, and included “When We Were Young”, before ending on “Mr Brightside”

Photo Album

The Killers Live At The Odyssey 2013

The Killers Live At The Odyssey 2013 Photo Album

BASTILLE – LIVE AT BOUCHER ROAD PLAYING FIELDS 21.8.2014 (TENNENT’S VITAL)

“The first time we played here was a place called The Oh Yeah Centre. This is a bit bigger” said Bastille singer Dan Smith inbetween songs. Bit of an understatement that, but not a surprise, for one of the success stories of 2013.

Bastille, had already played bigger Belfast venues since that Oh Yeah Centre gig, playing a sold out gig at Ulster Hall in October 2013.

Their introduction to the stage caught a lot of people by surprise. As a playlist of upbeat current pop hits was played, then suddenly the theme tune to Twin Peaks came on, to which the band just walked on stage, taking some of the crowd by surprising.

Considering that Bastille have a song called Laura Palmer, it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise that the song was to signal the band’s entrance.

Upon entry to the stage, it was straight into “All This Bad Blood”

They might have been supporting The Killers, but it wasn’t a bad time for them to be onstage, just after 7pm, with the sun still shining.

With only one album to their name, most of the material came from that, hits such as “Laura Palmer” and “Things We Lost In The Fire”, but they did try out some new material.

Not afraid of a cover, they did their own version of “No Scrubs” by TLC.

The crowd managed to get a close-up glimpse of singer Dan Smith, as he jumped into the crowd. Not content with being in the pit area, he went into the rest of the crowd, just so that those with pass wristbands don’t get all of the glory.

By his own admission, he stated that he “Wasn’t a very good dancer”, trying to set up a dance move for the crowd to do. With mixed results.

They ended with their two biggest hits, “Of The Night” and “Pompeii”

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 9.8.2013

1. Haim – The Wire
2. The Vaccines – Melody Calling
3. Manic Street Preachers – Show Me The Wonder
4. Aviici – Wake Me Up
5. The Charlatans – Love Is The Key

So this week, is the start of Tennent’s Vital, so to commemorate this, there will be a chart for you. Next week, I’ll do the same for Belsonic

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS APPEARING AT TENNENT’S VITAL

1. Kings Of Leon – Fans
2. Snow Patrol – How To Be Dead
3. Jason Mraz – The Remedy
4. The vaccines – If You Wanna
5. Kodaline – High Hopes

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 30.3.2012

1. The Shins – Simple Song
2. Bruce Springsteen – We Take Care Of Our Own
3. Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know
4. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Jackie Wilson Said
5. Lloyd – Dedication To My Ex

As stated in a previous blog, I purchased Belsonic tickets for Madness and Two Door Cinema Club. Not going to lie, i’m pretty much excited about it.

This morning, I shall be desperately trying to get tickets for Noel Gallagher.

It’s great how much Belsonic has grown since it’s inception in 2008. I thought it was doing too much too soon, but it’s great to be proved wrong.

In honour, I shall do a Top Five for Belsonic and Tennent’s Vital.

FIVE SONGS BY BELSONIC WEEK 1 ACTS

1. Madness – My Girl
2. Emeli Sande – Next To Me
3. Madness – Lovestruck
4. The Darkness – Friday Night
5. Madness – Lola

FIVE SONGS BY BELSONIC WEEK 2 ACTS

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA ……. What A Life
2. Noah and the Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N
3. Two Door Cinema Club – What You Know
4. The Enemy – No Time For Tears
5. James Morrison – Wonderful World

FIVE SONGS BY TENNENT’S VITAL ACTS

1. Stone Roses – Waterfall
2. Florence and the Machine – Shake It Out
3. Foo Fighters – The One
4. Florence and the Machine – Rabbit Heart
5. Black Keys – Lonely Boy