THE FRIDAY FIVE – 21.4.2017

1. Paramore – Hard Times
2. Kasabian – Bless This Acid House
3. Prince – Deliverance
4. Camens – Boys Will Stray
5. Spoon – Hot Thoughts

Today is Robert Smiths’s birthday, and it’s his favourite day of the week. It’s the first time it’s fallen on a Friday since 2006, and won’t happen again until 2023, so he had better enjoy it.

To celebrate, here’s a The Cure Top Five

FIVE SONGS BY THE CURE

1. Friday I’m In Love
2. Lullaby
3. Hot Hot Hot
4. Close To Me
5. In Between Days

This Sunday, is St George’s Day, so time to lie back and think of England with some themed playlists for you

FIVE SONGS BY SINGERS CALLED GEORGE OR BANDS WITH SOMEONE CALLED GEORGE

1. Wham! – Freedom
2. One Night Only – Say You Don’t Want It
3. George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag
4. George Ezra – Blame It On Me
5. The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM ENGLAND

1. Pulp – A Little Soul
2. Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence
3. Cast – Finetime
4. The Beautiful South – Ole Red Eyes Is Back
5. Duran Duran – Ordinary World

Gig news, Paramore are coming to Belfast. The downside is, i’m already going to see The 1975 that night. If their marketing team had any brains, they could get them to do a gig at the bar of a South Belfast hotel and call it “PARAMORE AT THE PARADOR”

No doubt you all saw May’s big announcement on Tuesday morning. Brian that is, not Theresa. “Queen” are coming to The Odyssey in November. I’m not a big fan of him as a solo artist (apart from What Do You Want From Me?) but Adam Lambert is a capable vocalist and Queen + Adam Lambert looked decent at their BBC New Year’s Eve concert in 2014/2015. However, £74? For £74, i’m expecting Freddie Mercury and John Deacon on stage, and David Bowie to make a guest appearance on Under Pressure.

Ever since BBC Four had a night of programming dedicated to Depeche Mode, i’m been rediscovering how brilliant they are. There’ll be a Belfast gig this year, date to be announced, so I might pop along to see them.

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for his Ulster Hall gig.

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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

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 24.4.2015

1. Natalie Imbruglia – Instant Crush
2. FFS – Johnny Delusonal
3. Grant Nicholas – Everyday Society
4. The Charlatans – Let The Good Times Be Never Ending
5. Slaves – Cheer Up London

Yesterday, was St George’s Day. So, in honour of it, here’s a chart of songs by English acts. Sadly, there won’t be a chart of songs with cities in the title, because there aren’t many of them, unless they’re London, or boroughs in London. Well, apart from Long Haired Lover From Liverpool, obviously.

FIVE SONGS BY ENGLISH ACTS

1. James – She’s A Star
2. Lightning Seeds – Pure
3. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way
4. The Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes Is Back
5. Roxy Music – More Than This

And finally, a chart featuring singers called George, or bands with someone called George in it.

FIVE SONGS BY SINGERS CALLED GEORGE

1. Wham – Freedom
2. One Night Only – Say You Don’t Want It
3. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
4. George Ezra – Blame It On Me
5. George Harrison – Got My Mind Set On You

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

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : MAY 9 – MAY 15

Welcome to this week’s look through the Pop Tardis, beginning with a Happy Birthday to the lead singer of Fast Fashion. However, if you’re not a French speaker, it’s Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode. You just can’t get enough of him.

Sharing a birthday is Hull’s finest export, even though, whisper it, he’s a Scouser by birth.

Another Paul born this week is Paul McGuigan, best known as Guigsy from Oasis. Yes, there are members of Oasis not called Gallagher. Bassist on the first three albums since you ask.

And another (Greater) Manchester popstar celebrating this week, Graham Gouldman, with the greatest Reggae song from a bunch of guys from Stockport ever.

DISCLAIMER : If you are ever robbed at gunpoint, it’s not advisable to try and start small talk about Cricket.

Also blowing out candles, possibly from a 30 foot Lemon Cake, is Bono.

Now, a Steve Winwood double of sorts. Here he is being covered …….

…… and sampled.

Talking of 80s rockers and Dance music, this is the only David Byrne TOTP appearance on Youtube.

Ian Astbury of The Cult is 52 this week. No surprises what video will accompany that fact.

Natalie Appleton from All Saints celebrates a birthday this week. Does anyone remember the All Saints spin-off Appleton?

And finally, Olly Murs hits the big 30. If TOTP was still on, he’d be on it every week, either performing or presenting. Just think about that.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 11.5.2012

1. Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart
2. Saint Etienne – You’re In A Bad Way
3. Keane – Silenced By The Night
4. Fun ft Janelle Monae – We Are Young
5. Marina and the Diamonds – Primadonna

Paul Heaton celebrated his 50th birthday this week, and this milestone deserves a Top Five, a song of his for every decade he has been alive.

FIVE PAUL HEATON SONGS

1. The Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes Is Back
2. The Beautiful South – The Table
3. The Beautiful South – This Could Be Our Year
4. The Housemartins – Shelter
5. The Housemartins – Caravan Of Love

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 4.5.2012

1. Goldie Lookin Chain – Tony Pulis
2. Marina and the Diamonds – Primadonna
3. Thea Gilmore – London
4. Fun ft Janelle Monae – We Are Young
5. Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill

This weekend, is Europe Day, so in honour of this, let’s celebrate this great continent in music, by songs from acts from Mainland Europe, and songs about cities in Europe

FIVE SONGS BY MAINLAND EUROPEAN ACTS

1. Europe – The Final Countdown
2. Falco – Rock Me Amadeus
3. Desireless – Voyage Voyage
4. Freiheit – Keeping The Dream Alive
5. 2 Unlimited – No Limit

FIVE SONGS ABOUT EUROPEAN CITIES

1. Boney M – Belfast
2. The Clash – London Calling
3. Editors – Munich
4. The Beautiful South – Rotterdam
5. Ultravox – Vienna

Meanwhile, the line-up for the Olympic Ganes opening concert was announced, featuring a band from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Duran Duran are representing England, with the organisers presumably thinking it’s the 1984 Olympics rather than the 2012 games. Snow Patrol got the Northern Ireland choice as Baltimora is dead, and Janet Devlin was too busy sitting in her bedroom listening to obscure music.

Stereophonics got the Welsh vote as Bonnie Tyler was too busy washing her lovely blonde hair. I have no idea why Paolo Nutini was chosen to represent Scotland.

To celebrate this, I shall do a Duran Duran, Stereophoincs, and Snow Patrol Top Five, as well as another Scotland Top Five (after previous St Andrew’s Day and Burns Night Top Fives)

Choosing a Duran Duran Top Five wasn’t easy. It was about as easy as a nuclear war.

FIVE DURAN DURAN SONGS

1. Wildboys
2. Hungry Like The Wolf
3. Ordinary World
4. Save A Prayer
5. White Lines

FIVE STEREOPHONICS SONGS

1. Dakota
2. A Thousand Trees
3. Superman
4. Just Looking
5. Madame Helga

FIVE SNOW PATROL SONGS

1. Signal Fire
2. Hands Open
3. How To Be Dead
4. Called Out In The Dark
5. Chocolate

FIVE SONGS BY SCOTTISH ACTS

1. Big Country – One Great Thing
2. Aztec Camara – Somewhere In My Heart
3. Del Amitri – Roll To Me
4. Simple Minds – She’s A River
5. The Proclaimers – Letter From America

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 20.4.2012

1. Fun ft Janelle Monae – We Are Young
2, Keane – Silenced By The Night
3. Embrace – You’re Not Alone
4. Saint Etienne – You’re In A Bad Way
5. Hector Nicol – Hearts Song

It’s Robert Smith’s birthday tomorrow. The only reason I remember this is because it is on the same day as a mate. Happy Birthday Greg if you are reading this.

So, to commemorate this, here’s a Top Five The Cure chart.

FIVE SONGS BY THE CURE

1. Close To Me
2. Friday I’m In Love
3. Lullaby
4. Lovecats
5. Push

On Monday, it is St George’s Day. Having done St David, Andrew and Patrick, it’s only fair to do George. So, for all my English readers, here’s a St George’s Day chart.

FIVE SONGS BY ENGLISH ACTS

1. Pulp – A Little Soul
2. Cast – Finetime
3. The Charlatans – Blackened Blue Eyes
4. Duran Duran – Wildboys
5. The Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes Is Back

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FEATURING SOMEONE CALLED GEORGE

1. George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag
2. Wham – Freedom
3. One Night Only – Say You Don’t Want It
4. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
5. The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun