THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY, 2017

We’ve reached that time of year when we are halfway through the year and it is time to do the Top 50 songs of the year so far.

There’s no scientific formula to it. I just went through The Friday Five, and tried to assemble them into some sort of order.

If you love pointless stats, there are three former “The Sound Of …..” winners in the chart.

Remember, it can all change by the time of the main chart in December.

It could even be a Gallagher brother duopoly.

1. Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
2. Rose Elinor Dougall – Closer
3. The Killers – The Man
4. Paramore – Hard Times
5. John Hassell and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
6. Rose Elinor Dougall – All At Once
7. Royal Blood – Lights Out
8. Blondie – Long Time
9. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
10. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
11. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
12. Harry Styles – Sign Of The Times
13. Lorde – Green Light
14. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
15. Beth Ditto – Fire
16. Dagny – Wearing Nothing
17. Haim – Want You Back
18. The Kooks – Be Who You Are
19. Haim – Little Of Your Love
20. The XX – On Hold
21. Coldplay – Something Just Like This
22. Amy MacDonald – Dream On
23. Erasure – Love You To The Sky
24. Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill
25. Rag n Bone Man – Skin
26. Liam Gallagher – Chinatown
27. The Charlatans – Plastic Machinery
28. James – Sit Down (Game Of Thrones 2017 version)
29. Joy Williams – Ordinary World
30. Liam Gallagher – Bold
31. Muse – Dig Deep
32. Shed Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times, Disco Down
33. Barry Manilow – New York State Of Mind
34. Kasabian – Bless This Acid House
35. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
36. Black Grape – Pop Voodoo
37. Imagine Dragons – Believer
38. Matt Maltese – As The World Caves In
39. The Courteeners – Don’t Look Back In Anger
40. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
41. Ryan Adams – To Be Without You
42. Miley Cyrus – Malibu
43. Cast – Faith
44. Blossoms – In Da Club/Carelss Whisper
45. Imelda May – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
46. Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus – Don’t Dream It’s Over
47. Rory Lavelle – Poor Pride
48. Rose Elinor Dougall – Hell and Back
49. Amy MacDonald – Automatic
50. Paul Draper – Things People Want

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.4.2017

1. Beth Ditto – Fire
2. Hurts – Beautiful Ones
3. The Amazons – Black Magic
4. Paramore – Hard Times
5. Goldfrapp – Systemagic

So, concert news – The Kooks confirmed as supporting Arcade Fire at Belsonic. Not that fussed on Arcade Fire and £45 seems a bit steep just to watch a support act.

Ryan Adams update. Guess what? Still looking for a Standing ticket for his Ulster Hall gig at Face Value.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 31.3.2017

1. The Kooks – Be Who You Are
2. Paul Weller – Long Long Road
3. Brian Pern – Poundland Polly
4. The Foundations – Baby Now That I Found You
5. Gorillaz – We Got The Power

Apologies for forgetting last week, but Reginald Dwight turned 70 last week. You probably know him better by his alter ego Elton Hercules John.

So, to belatedly celebrate, here’s five Elton John songs for you

FIVE SONGS BY ELTON JOHN

1. I’m Still Standing
2. Made In England
3. Passengers
4. Can You Fee The Love Tonight?
5. I Want Love

Switzerland Squared has announced a new headliner, Walking On Cars. They’re ok. If you love The Coronas or Kodaline, this will be your thing. I hoped to see them when they supported Ellie Goulding at Belsonic last year but they were on too early. Hopefully, there’ll be more CHSQ headliners announced.

The latest in acts I like announcing tours but not doing Belfast – Pet Shop Boys and Paul Weller.

The timetable of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival was launched yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to properly look through the programme yet. You can do so here.

I’m already going to The Divine Comedy and Rich Hall.

Staying with the Cathedral Quarter, it’s under threat. You can read more about it here or like the Facebook page here.

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for Ulster Hall in September. Standing, Fave Value. Ta very much.

And finally, RIP Brian Pern. Singer. Actor. Entertainer. Father. Husband. Snail Welfare Campaigner.

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

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 – JANUARY

2016 began the same way as 2015, by watching Linfield take on Crusaders. Like the previous year, it was a home win, but thankfully the game was at Windsor Park this year.

Over the next ten days, there were two more visits to Windsor Park, with Ballymena United the visitors both times, once in the Irish Cup and once in the County Antrim Shield.

David Bowie died during the month, and he got a tribute mural in Belfast, which I went down to see get painted, and then snap the final results.

Towards the end of the month, I headed to Manchester, to see United take on Southampton. While there, I took advantage of some Street Art, plus I also went to see The Kooks in concert.

The month ended by heading to Windsor Park to see Linfield beat Carrick Rangers.

Linfield v Crusaders

Linfield v Ballymena United

County Antrim Shield Final

County Antrim Shield Final Photo Album

David Bowie Mural

David Bowie Mural Photo Album

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Southampton

Manchester United v Southampton Photo Album

The Kooks live at Albert Hall Manchester

The Kooks live at Albert Hall Manchester Photo Album

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 4.3.2016

1. Lukas Graham – 7 Years
2. James – Nothing But Love
3. Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
4. Richard Ashcroft – This Is How It Feels
5. Nathaniel Rateliffe and the Bad Sweats – I Need Never Get Old

Firstly this week, an apology. Who to? The nation of Wales, all 3 million of them. Last Tuesday was St David’s Day and I forgot to do a Welsh Music Chart.

A bit belatedly, here is a Welsh Music Chart for St David’s Day.

FIVE SONGS BY WELSH ACTS

1. Stereophonics – Dakota
2. Donna Lewis – I Love You Always Forever
3. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
4. Manic Street Preachers – Autumn Song
5. Lisa Scott-Lee – Electric

I could just about get away with offending the Welsh, but there’s one group of people you shouldn’t offend, and that’s Internet Feminists, which is why there was never any danger of me forgetting International Women’s Day next Tuesday.

So, to celebrate this event, here’s some related charts for you – Female acts and songs with female names and pronouns.

FIVE SONGS BY FEMALE SINGERS

1. Nina Nesbitt – He’s the One I’m Bringing Back
2. Jane Weidling – Rush Hour
3. Lisa Loeb – Stay
4. Sinead Lohan – Whatever It Takes
5. Brianna Corrigan – Love Me Now

FIVE SONGS BY GIRL GROUPS

1. Sugababes – Soul Sound
2. Little Mix – Black Magic
3. Girls Aloud – Biology
4. Madasun – Don’t You Worry
5. All Saints – Pure shores

FIVE SONGS BY FEMALE FRONTED BANDS

1. Chvrches – Leave A Trace
2. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
3. Texas – Black Eyed Boy
4. Hole – Celebrity Skin
5. Sixpence None The Richer – Kiss Me

FIVE SONGS WITH FEMALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. The Killers – Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
2. Oasis – Lyla
3. Jon Bon Jovi – Janey Don’t You Take Your Love To Town
4. Glasvegas – Geraldine
5. Franz Ferdinand – Eleanor Put Your Puts On

FIVE SONGS WITH WOMAN/GIRL/SHE/ HER IN THE TITLE

1. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way
2. White Town – Your Woman
3. Ash – Girl From Mars
4. Neil Finn – She Will Have Her Way
5. Kate Bush – Rubberband Girl

Of course, when International Men’s Day comes around, there’ll be similar charts for the menfolk.

If you don’t know when International Men’s Day is, just go on Twitter on Tuesday and you’ll have smug and self righteous comedians (looking at you Richard Herring) and journalists pointing it out to you in a patronising manner.

It’s on November 19th, if you want to save yourself the effort of being spoken down to by patronising wankers (looking at you Richard Herring) desperate to boost their own personal brand.

That’s eight months away. Until then, you have St Patrick’s Day, St George’s Day, Euro 2016 and International Yorkshire Day charts to listen to.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 26.2.2016

1. Lorde – Life On Mars?
2. Foxes – Feet Don’t Fail Me Now
3. Richard Ashcroft – This Is How It Feels
4. All Saints – One Strike
5. Lush – Out Of Control

Last night, saw the announcement of the line-up for Belsonic. It’s a bit different this year, in more ways than one.

For a start, it’s moved from August to June, and it’s now taking place at Titanic instead of Custom House Square. To be honest, i’m not that enamoured with the move to a new venue. I thought Custom House Square was perfectly fine in terms of location.

That was one of the great things about Belsonic, that you knew where and when it would be, instead of moving around every few years like Tennent’s Vital.

I remember in 2010 blogging about the expansion of Belsonic and how ambitious it was. It’s fair to say it has worked spectacularly. Hopefully, this move will do likewise, i’m prepared to give it a chance.

Looking at the line-up, There are two periods of six day gaps, which suggests there are more headliners to come. This would make it a month long event, similar to Live At The Maqruee in Cork. No offence to the Corkonians, but Belsonic has a better line-up this year.

When I was following the launch event on Twitter, and saw it mentioned as taking place in June, with no dates being mentioned, I was worried that a concert i’d want to go to would be on whenever i’m in France. Thankfully not, as it turned out.

So, of the line-up, here’s a chart for you.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS APPEARING AT BELSONIC 2016

1. Stereophonics – Dakota
2. Biffy Clyro – The Captain
3. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
4. Faithless – Don’t Leave
5. The Vaccines – If You Wanna

Meanwhile, talking of music events in Cork, Indiependence, taking place in a farm in County Cork announced it’s line-up, and it’s rather good. Here’s a chart from those on it.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS APPEARING AT INDIEPENDENCE

1. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way
2. The Strypes – Get Into It
3. Editors – A Ton Of Love
4. Ash – A Life Less Ordinary
5. Idlewild – American English

THE KOOKS – LIVE AT ALBERT HALL MANCHESTER 23.1.2016

Exactly ten years since the release of their debut album, Inside In Inside Out, The Kooks were in Manchester for a concert at Albert Hall, a city that singer Luke Pritchard said gives him a tingle every time he visits there.

It was a gig that was supposed to have taken place the previous month, but was cancelled due to one of their members suffering a family bereavement.

Upon hearing that the rescheduled date would be on the weekend I would be in Manchester, I decided to get a ticket, especially as they were so good when I saw them at Mandela Hall in 2015.

Inside In Inside Out got to Number 2 in the album charts in 2006, and spawned the hit singles Naive, She Moves In Her Own Way and Ooh La.

The follow up, Konk went to Number 1 and spawned the Number 3 single Always Where I Need To Be. It looked like The Kooks were going to be one of the biggest bands in the world.

Then, well, nobody knows what actually happened next. It does seem unjust that a band like The Libertines were playing Manchester Arena on the night The Kooks were playing Albert Hall.

During the set, Luke Pritchard engaged in what will be the biggest concert cliche of the early months of 2016, toasting the recently departed David Bowie.

The Kooks had good reason to though, as they (just like Simple Minds) got their name from a David Bowie song.

The whole show was basically just people jumping up and down and from side to side. Unsurprisingly, the biggest jumps were saved for their biggest hits – Forgive and Forget, Naive, Ooh La, She Moves In Her Own Way, Always Where I Need To Be and Shine On.

Hopefully, when the 20th anniversary of Inside In Inside Out comes around, The Kooks will still be touring and making people jump up and down and from side to side.

Photo Album

The Kooks Live At Mandela Hall March 2015

The Kooks Live At Mandela Hall March 2015 Photo Album