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

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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

JOHN POWER – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 3.2.2018

Arriving on stage ten minutes late sipping a cup of tea, John Power told the crowd at The Limelight that he was “Caught unaware”, as he was joined by bandmate Jay Lewis, as half of Cast supported Shed Seven.

Back at the end of last year, Shed Seven were on tour, named Shedvember or Shedcember depending on the month, with Cast as the support act.

That tour didn’t include a Belfast gig. This was a bonus gig added when their Dublin gig was postponed, and half of Cast were able to make it to Belfast to support The Sheds as they finished off the tour a bit later than anticipated.

The cup of tea that Power was sipping from featured the artwork to Screamadelica, and Power stated that it belonged to Bobby Gillespie, that he left it there. He didn’t say if it had been in The Limelight since 2013 or 2016.

Power asked the crowd if they wanted hits, they replied yes, so he gave them hits.

Finetime lost a bit through the absence of drums, but still sounded brilliant. What we had was a condensed acoustic singsong through Cast’s back catalogue – Sandstorm, Live The Dream, Guiding Star and Free Me.

Flying was cut short to accommodate other songs, as a voice from the side was telling Power that the set was almost over, to which he replied “Eight minutes? Let’s make it ten”

Power and Lewis left the stage and didn’t return. The last time Cast played The Limelight, they played no encore, which caused a bit of unrest. Thankfully, there was no unrest this time. We were all perfectly warmed up for Shed Seven.

Photo Album

Cast live at The Limelight 2016

Cast live at The Limelight 2015

2017 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR …)

Here we are, the final photo round-up of 2017, looking back at my adventures in December. Well, December so far.

December began with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts.

That was followed by a trip to Ulster Hall to see The Divine Comedy in concert.

I was hoping to follow that with a trip to Carrick to see Linfield play Carrick Rangers, but that was postponed due to snow.

I decided to make the most of a football free Saturday, by going out and getting pictures of the snow in Belfast.

There was one final concert for 2017, as I headed to The Limelight to see The Charlatans.

The following day, I flew to Manchester, to see United take on Bournemouth primarily, but I also managed to squeeze in some Street Art photos from Manchester and Salford Quays.

Upon my return, I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield play Warrenpoint Town and draw 3-3.

The following Saturday, it was another visit to Windsor Park to see Linfield beat Cliftonville 2-0.

There’s still eight days left in December, i’ll be at The Oval on Boxing Day, and then back to Windsor Park next Saturday for more photo adventures.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series looking back at 2017 In Pictures. I’m already looking forward to see what 2018 will bring in terms of photo adventures.

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Belfast Snow December 2017

Snow – Friday 8th December Photo Album

Snow – Saturday 9th December Photo Album

Snow – Sunday 10th December Photo Album

The Charlatans live at The Limelight

The Charlatans live at The Limelight Photo Album

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth

Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth Photo Album

Salford Quays Street Art

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Linfield v Cliftonville

2017 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

In the first week of October 2017, I headed to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Germany in a World Cup Qualifier.

That was sandwiched inbetween me going out around Belfast to check out Street Art which was painted as part of Hit The North, these pieces were still works in progress when I went to photograph them in September

The following day, I went to my one Rugby match a year, as Ulster beat Wasps in the European Cup.

It was back to football the following day, seeing Linfield take on Coleraine.

There was a glut of concerts towards the end of the month, going to see Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, OMD and Liam Gallagher, with Linfield’s matches against Ards and Crusaders sandwiched inbetween.

Northern Ireland v Germany

Northern Ireland v Germany Photo Album

Hit The North Mop-Up

Hit The North Mop-Up Photo Album

Ulster v Wasps

Ulster v Wasps Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at The Limelight

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Crusaders

OMD live at Mandela Hall

OMD live at Mandela Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Ards

Liam Gallagher live at The Odyssey

Liam Gallagher live at The Odyssey Photo Album