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

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2018 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR ….)

December began with a top of the table clash on the first day, but not the result I wanted as Linfield lost to Ballymena United.

The following Saturday was a lot better, as Linfield thrashed Crusaders 4-1.

No football the following Saturday, meant a gap in photo adventures, before seeing Ash at The Limelight, followed by Linfield’s match against Glenavon.

Of course, there are still two more football matches for me this month, Linfield’s games against Glentoran (26th) and Cliftonville (29th).

Hope you’ve enjopyed my photographic look back at 2018, here’s to more in 2019.

Already booked for 2019 – Chvrches, Razorlight and a short break in Dublin.

Ballymena United v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

Ash live at The Limelight

Ash live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

ASH – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 20.12.2018

One last concert for me in 2018, as I headed to The Limelight to see the band I saw in my first ever concert, on the night that 1998 became 1999.

It fell on exactly three years to the day since their last indoor (outside of promotional appearances at HMV) concert in Belfast, at The Empire.

There was a previous Belfast appearance inbetween, with the band having performed at Titanic Belfast as part of Biggest Weekend in May this year.

There’s already a 2019 date in the calendar, but not in Belfast, but in Bangor, as support to Snow Patrol at Ward Park. Curiously, they didn’t mention that upcoming date during this concert.

They entered the stage looking different than they did at Titanic Belfast in May. Tim was now sporting a moustache which made him look like Freddie Mercury, while Mark now had his hair cut short, looking like Jason Orange. Meanwhile, Rick just looked like Rick.

The setlist began with a mixture of recent stuff and early stuff, before launching into biggies such as
Oh Yeah, Goldfinger and Girl From Mars.

As it was Christmas, we got some treats, such as a cover of Cantina Song from Star Wars, which had the crowd singing and dancing along, just as it did when they performed it at The Empire in 2015.

For the next cover, the fans were given a choice, as Mark Hamilton would perform an acapella version of Last Christmas by Wham or Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard, depending on who got the biggest cheer.

The winner of that was Wham, although it might have been a different scenario if the much superior Saviour’s Day was put forward as Cliff’s suggested song.

If anybody in the room was taking part in Whamageddon, they will have been relieved to know they weren’t yet out, as covers don’t count.

Tim said he wasn’t feeling very Christmassy as he hadn’t had any mince pies yet, but they then played There Is A Star as their sort of Christmas song, though Shining Light does mention Royal David’s City in the lyrics. Also played from Free All Angels, unsurprisingly, was Burn Baby Burn.

Rick was then given the billing of “The best glockenspiel player in Killyleagh”, which is a lot to live up to, but he lived up to, before Mark jumped into the crowd during the encore which caused a bit of a panic amongst Venue Security.

By now, the festive party was in full swing, with confetti now falling onto the crowd.

At their last two Belfast gigs, they’ve had guest appearance from members of famous Northern Ireland bands such as Snow Patrol and The Undertones.

For the encore, they had guest appearances from friends and family, as well as the support act, Brand New Friend, to perform a cover of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Wizzard.

As the band gave their bows to the crowd, guests still assembled, the PA system started playing (I think it might have been accidental) Time Of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, with the band, led by Mark, lip syncing along to it, egged on by the crowd.

Halfway through the song, the music stopped, and the band left the stage, giving us a comical and chaotic end to an enjoyable evening.

Photo Album

Ash live at Titanic Belfast May 2018

Ash live at The Empire December 2015

2018 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

September 2018 began for me with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ards on the first day of the month, for a match that finished 0-0.

The following day, I headed out on bike to check out the latest scribbles on the Belfast Peace Wall.

On the third day of the month, yes, three successive days of photo adventures, I headed to The Limelight to see The Kooks in concert.

The following weekend, it was a football double header, taking in Linfield’s trip to Warrenpoint Town, and then Northern Ireland’s first ever UEFA Nations League match, at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

There was more football, taking in Linfield’s matches against Dungannon Swifts and Coleraine.

Sandwiched inbetween that was a trip to The Palm House to see Kyle Falconer in concert, and then Belfast Culture Night.

In the aftermath of Culture Night, I was out getting photos of new Street Art which appeared in Belfast, as part of Hit The North.

The month ended with me taking in Linfield’s home match with Ballymena United.

Linfield v Ards

Belfast Peace Wall Art

Belfast Peace Wall Art Photo Album

The Kooks live at The Limelight

The Kooks live at The Limelight Photo Album

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Bosnia-Herzegovina

Northern Ireland v Bosnia-Herzegovina Photo Album

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Kyle Falconer live at The Palm House

Kyle Falconer live at The Palm House Photo Album

Culture Night Belfast 2018

Culture Night Belfast 2018 Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

North Street Art

North Street Art Work In Progress

North Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

2018 IN PICTURES – MARCH

March 2018 began for me photographing snow. Yes, you read that right, the snow came down in the early days of March 2018.

That snow caused the postponement of Linfield’s Irish Cup tie against Cliftonville, so I had to wait a week for my first football match of the month, as Linfield took on Carrick Rangers.

That was then followed up the following midweek by Linfield’s Irish Cup tie against Cliftonville.

Two days later, I headed to The Odyssey to see Stereophonics in concert.

St Patrick’s Day was spent watching Linfield draw 1-1 at home to Glentoran.

The following Thursday, I headed to The Limelight to see Feeder in concert.

Off work the next day due to needing to use up excess Annual Leave, I made the long journey to Ballinamallard to see Linfield drop two points in the last minute.

That weekend, and the month, ended with me heading to East Belfast to get photos of some new murals that had appeared during the month.

Belfast Snow March 2018

Belfast Snow March 2018 Photo Album – Thursday 1st March

Belfast Snow March 2018 Photo Album – Saturday 3rd March

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Linfield v Cliftonville

Stereophonics live at The Odyssey

Stereophonics live at The Odyssey Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Feeder live at The Limelight

Feeder live at The Limelight Photo Album

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Northern Ireland v South Korea

Northern Ireland v South Korea Photo Album

East Belfast Street Art

East Belfast Street Art Photo Album

2018 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February 2018 began with a trip to The Limelight, a first proper concert of the year, to see Shed Seven supported by John Power.

That was followed the following midweek by a trip to Warrenpoint to see Linfield take on Warrenpoint Town.

The following Saturday, was Linfield’s 0-0 draw with Dungannon Swifts.

The following week was very busy, with Paul Weller at Ulster Hall followed by Ulster v Edinburgh and then Cliftonville v Linfield.

The weekend after that was a trip to the seaside, to see Linfield take on Ards.

That was then followed by a midweek trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield lose to Glenavon.

Around that time, it was getting cold. So cold, there was the possibility of snow. That didn’t come until March 1st, so you’ll have to wait until next month’s round-up to see that.

John Power live at The Limelight

John Power live at The Limelight Photo Album

Shed Seven live at The Limelight

Shed Seven live at The Limelight Photo Album

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Ulster v Edinburgh

Ulster v Edinburgh Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

Ards v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

CAST – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 23.11.2018

Death, taxes and Cast at The Limelight.

In the last few years, it’s felt like a certainty, an almost annual event.

It hasn’t been every year, but the last football season Cast weren’t in Ormeau Avenue in some shape or form was in 2014-2015.

When I say some shape or form, what I mean was, the last time Cast performed at The Limelight was in February this year, when only half of them were there. It was better than nothing though.

In late 2017, Cast were the support act for Shed Seven in a tour which didn’t include Belfast. However, a dose of illness in Shed Seven worked in Belfast’s favour when a Dublin concert had to be cancelled, and a Belfast date was added when the Dublin one was rearranged.

The full band weren’t able to appear, so John Power and Jay Lewis turned up to perform Cast’s back catalogue.

There is something about when Cast appear in Belfast, that they do so at the weekend. Their three previous visits have been Friday, Saturday and Saturday.

Cast’s back catalogue was the theme, as this was officially a Greatest Hits Tour, with the band promoting a new singles compilation album.

We began with some of the lesser known singles, before eventually moving on to the biggies, all sung word for word by the crowd, even covering for John Power at one point when he missed a word, hits such as Finetime, Sandstorm, Walkaway, Flying, Guiding Star, Live The Dream and I’m so Lonely.

We even got to hear Beat Mama, which I don’t remember being played live before. I do stand to be corrected though.

An underrated song, which was their last Top Ten hit and the lead single from Magic Hour in 1999.

The first stage of the concert saw Keith O’Neill and Jay Lewis on Rhythm Section having a musical duel, before O’Neill was left to perform drum solos on stage.

Eventually, the band appeared for the encore, their failure to do so in 2016 caused some annoyance amongst the crowd that night.

It was an encore which included Alright, with John Power signing off “See you soon” to the crowd.

On recent form, that would probably be correct.

This would have been the first of two visits to Ormeau Avenue in the space of a week, but i’ll be missing Blossoms due to being in Manchester. Hopefully, it needs to get rescheduled as that would suit me a lot better.

My first Limelight gig of 2019 will be Razorlight in February, the day after Chvrches, so that’ll be something to look forward to.

I’ll be giving Foo Fighters a miss at Vital as Vital is dire. Shit venue, stinks of fags, and a shit view, unless you’re a mate of a sponsor.

I’ve already got a CQAF event in my diary, as i’ll be going to see Kieran Hodgson at The MAC, which is nice, as I missed out on seeing him in Edinburgh this Summer.

And i’m sure Cast will be at The Limelight at some point.

Photo Album

John Power live at The Limelight February 2018

Cast live at The Limelight December 2016

Cast live at The Limelight October 2015

THE KOOKS – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 3.9.2018

A new album released on the previous Friday, The Kooks rolled into Belfast on Monday for what is billed as a series of small concerts to promote the album, making the two and a half hour trip from Stradbally, where they had played the previous evening.

Unsurprisingly, the setlist was filled with songs from their new album Let’s Go Sunshine, which sounded decent.

Of course, we also got hits, the crowd singing along to the apt intro of “At my show on Monday ….” to She Moves In Her Own Way, with this concert taking place on a Monday. This was my third Kooks concert, taking place on a Sunday, Saturday and Monday. I need four more days to get a full week of The Kooks.

I would have had Tuesday if I went to see them at Belsonic last year when they supported Arcade Fire, but I couldn’t justify the expense only going to see the support act.

This was their first headline gig in Belfast since 2015, with their proposed concert at Feile in 2016 being postponed due to injury.

No injuries tonight, everybody was on top form.

When they performed their more disco-ey songs, Luke removed his guitar so that he could dance while singing. Things were getting serious.

He didn’t quite have the dad dancing of Tim Booth, Tim Burgess, Alex Kapranos or James Dean Bradfield, but he did score high for having more buttons out than in.

The most curious moment of the night came when an audience member handed Luke Pritchard a Sven Goran Eriksson mask, much to his bemusement.

How very 2006.

As they played songs from their first album, Luke remarked that it was like a 2006 Indie Disco. I’ll take his word for it, not that I attended many Indie Discos in 2006.

The encore began with new song No Pressure, before introducing the final song as a song that needs no introduction, by simply saying “You’ll know what song is next”.

You’d be, um, naive not to work out that it wasn’t Naive.

The only downside was that lead singles from their 2008 album Konk, Always Where I Need To Be and Shine On weren’t played, but it was still an enjoyable evening.

The day after, some exciting concert news for The Limelight.

Blossoms announced that they would be coming in November. Unfortunately for me, i’ll be in Manchester that night. Gutted by that. Hoping for something minor but enough to cancel the gig then I can go to the rearranged one.

Ash announced a gig for mid December, The Ash Christmas Bash, if you will, like in 2015.

I got Kyle Falconer’s solo album this week. It’s decent. He’s playing The Foundry later this month. Tempted to go along to that.

Photo Album

The Kooks live at Mandela Hall 2015

The Kooks live at Albert Hall Manchester 2016

FEEDER – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 22.3.2018

It seems that Thursday nights are all about the Welsh. The Thursday before this was Stereophonics. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Thursday after this I was seeing Shakin Stevens or Bonnie Tyler.

Feeder were back in Belfast eighteen months after their last visit, back at The Limelight as well, for a Best Of tour. Simple concept really, lots and lots of hits.

The reason for this is that they have a Greatest Hits album currently out, which reached the Top Ten of the Album Chart in late 2017.

Confusingly, a compilation album titled The Singles was released in 2006 and went Top Ten. It’s self explanatory really what is in that album.

If you were going to buy one Feeder compilation, i’d go with the 2006 one. The lead single from that was the superb and underrated Save Us, which was disappointingly not played.

For some reason, standalone singles released to promote a Greatest Hits album don’t get fondly remembered by fans of that act, but this genre has produced some brilliant songs such as Destiny Calling by James, You’re My Star by Stereophonics and Keeps Getting Better by Christina Aguilera.

This was a relatively late purchase for me. This concert fell during an International Week, and I held off in case Northern Ireland had an away trip I could do, or a home game on the Thursday night.

As the band appeared onstage, they jumped straight into Feeling A Moment, backed by lights that were going as furiously and frantically as the guitars.

For the first few songs, the sound appeared to be iffy. I’m no Technician, but it was clear that something wasn’t right. My suspicions were backed up by Grant Nicholas referencing this when speaking to the crowd.

He did say that he wanted to keep chat to a minimum, as the band were on a curfew and wanted to fit in as many songs as possible.

Again, his guitar didn’t work, but the day was saved by a Roadie called Flea providing him with another guitar.

I don’t think it was Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, due to the fact he had his shirt on.

Nearing the end of a long tour, Nicholas apologised for the relative chaos, stating that everything had gone fine so far.

During the rare speaking inbetween songs, Nicholas dedicated a song to Feeder drummer Jon Lee, who died in 2002. This concert was six days before what would have been his 50th birthday.

It was the man filling in Lee’s shoes, Geoff Holroyde, who provided the comedy moment of the night by prematurely starting a song while Grant Nicholas was drinking water. Nicholas told him to calm down. The crowd gave an impromptu rendition of Hey Mickey by Toni Basil to the drumbeat. Grant Nicholas even joined in.

The hits continued – Pushing The Senses, Lost and Found, High, Insomnia, Come Back Around, Just The Way I’m Feeling and Buck Rogers before an encore that included Seven Days In The Sun and Just A Day

Photo Album

Feeder live at The Limelight October 2016

SHED SEVEN – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 3.2.2017

Well this was an unexpected bonus.

Shed Seven headed out on tour in late 2017 but sadly, Belfast was left off the list. However, a bout of illness was to work in Belfast’s favour.

A throat infection saw a couple of concerts scheduled for November have to be postponed. One of those concerts was Dublin. When new dates for these concerts were announced, an extra Belfast gig was slotted in alongside the Dublin one, to the delight of Northern Ireland fans.

Curiously, Erasure had to cancel a couple of Dublin concerts this week. Their tour also left out Belfast, so hopefully they’ll be following Shed Seven’s lead.

Appropriately, they entered the stage to the theme tune to The Return Of The Magnificent Seven. Shed Seven are now the only band who can use that now that Madness are now a six piece.

They were backed by a brass section, one of whom was wearing a Shed Zeppelin t-shirt from the concert at Royal Albert Hall on November 31st last year where they formed a supergroup with the surviving members of Led Zeppelin and performed each others hits.

Oh wait, that was an April Fool’s joke.

They went straight into Room In My House, from their most recent album Instant Pleasures. It was instantly pleasurable, and there wasn’t a lot of room in this house.

Instant Pleasures was their first new album in sixteen years, with Rick Witter stating that the album only actually took three years, they were just lazy bastards for the thirteen years prior to that.

I got into Shed Seven after seeing the video for She Left Me On Friday on The Chart Show in 1998. I’d heard nothing like it. I also loved other singles from that album Let It Ride such as The Heroes, Devil in Your Shoes and Chasing Rainbows.

The following year, they released a Singles Compilation/Greatest Hits album titled Going For Gold, named after one of their earlier hits, promoted with the footstomping single Disco Down.

It was just wall to wall tunes. I listened to that album a lot, on repeat.

I remember purchasing their next proper album Truth Be Told, and that was it, they disappeared and never released an album until 2017.

One song in, Rick Witter addressed what he described as “The elephant in the room”, namely the cut above his left eye.

He said there was ten of them and one of him, but he floored them all, before admitting what happened was the slightly heroic and less rock n roll truth that he fell over at 10am one morning.

Witter interacted with the crowd like a Gameshow Host, with one person coming from Kendal for this gig, and another coming from Leeds (he was booed when he revealed he was from Leeds. Tough crowd), prompting Witter to ask if there was anyone in the venue actually from Belfast. A big roar went up.

All the hits were there, songs such as Disco Down, Going For Gold, She Left Me On Friday, On Standby, Dolphin, High Hopes and Devil In Your Shoes.

Meanwhile, for Chasing Rainbows, the lighting flashed all the colours of the rainbow.

Overall, the night was a pot of gold. Well, that’s what Shed Seven were going for.

Photo Album