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

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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

THE CHARLATANS – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 11.12.2017

The last two Charlatans concerts in Belfast took place in tents. It was a fact that didn’t escape singer Tim Burgess as he commented on it, saying “Every gig we do here is in a tent” at the second of those, at Custom House Square in May 2015.

Two and a half years, they returned to Belfast (keeping up a recent run of coming here every two years) and we had found an actual building for them to perform in, The Limelight, which hosted the final night of their Plastic Machinery Tour.

It was a night that saw them blast through their hits, such as North Country Boy, Tellin Stories, Weirdo and The Only One I Know, which ironically, wasn’t the only one I knew.

We also got treated to Love Is The Key, not always played on their previous Belfast visits but one of my favourite Charlatans songs, if not my favourite.

Running it close in that regard is Blackened Blue Eyes, which wasn’t played. Can’t have everything I guess.

What we did get, was the (trademark?) dad dancing from Tim Burgess. It must be a Tim thing, as Tim Booth of James is just as bad, or good, depending on how you look at it.

There was a mixed reaction from the crowd then they introduced a song co-written with Paul Weller, with Tim commented that he was a mate. Tough Crowd.

What got the crowd going was the possibility of Tim stripping, as he took off his jumper to reveal a t-shirt, the crowd egging him on to strip, with guitarist Mark Collins looking on disapprovingly at them for doing so.

They did get to later see Burgess take his t-shirt off, but with a catch.

By the time of the encore, Burgess was resembling Joey in Friends when he was wearing all of Chandler’s clothes, as he was wearing three t-shirts.

The one that was visible was a green one with “SPROSTON” written on it, which he threw into the crowd, with a scrum following.

The t-short he was wearing now was one with “SALFORD LAD” written on it. He didn’t throw that into the crowd.

It probably wouldn’t have fitted me, but it would have been apt if I had caught it, as I was heading to Salford the following morning.

Later in the week, the band were announced as headliners for The Great Escape in 2018, so you can get your hopes up of a return to Belfast or Northern Ireland next year.

As well as classic hits, we got recent classics such as Plastic Machinery (Introduced by Ian Rankin on an LED Screen) and May The Good Times Be Never Ending.

The good times were never ending at The Limelight.

Photo Album

The Charlatans live at Falls Park 2013

The Charlatans live at Custom House Squad 2015

2017 IN PICTURES – MAY

May 2017 began with Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and a trip to Custom House Square to see The Divine Comedy in concert.

That was followed that weekend, by the Irish Cup Final, where Linfield beat Coleraine 3-0.

I then filled a football free Saturday afternoon by cycling to Lisburn and getting some Street Art photos.

Well, just the one football free Saturday, as the following weekend, I took in one more football match, travelling to Manchester to see United take on Crystal Palace.

While I was in Manchester, I took the opportunity to get some Street Art photos.

The month ended with a trip to The Limelight to see George Ezra in concert

The Divine Comedy live at Custom House Square

The Divine Comedy live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Coleraine Photo Album

Lisburn Street Art – May 2017

Lisburn Street Art – May 2017 Photo Album

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United v Crystal Palace Photo Album

George Ezra live at The Limelight

George Ezra live at The Limelight Photo Album

2017 IN PICTURES – MARCH

March 2017 began for me with a trip to Seaview to see Linfield beat Crusaders in an Irish Cup tie. That was followed a few days later by my first concert of 2017, seeing Blossoms at The Limelight.

It was then back to football for a Monday night match between Linfield and Cliftonville, and then returning to Windsor Park the following Saturday to see Linfield take on Ards.

I was then out on the trail of Street Art, getting photos of a mural of a Dancer in Belfast City Centre.

The following weekend, I headed to Fermanagh to see Linfield get a late win against Ballinamallard.

I then headed out again in search of Street art, getting photographs of a new mural of East Belfast legends.

The month ended with a trip to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Norway in a World Cup Qualifier.

Crusaders v Linfield

Blossoms live at The Limelight

Blossoms live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Linfield v Ards

The Dancer

The Dancer Photo Album

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

East Belfast Wall Of Legends

East Belfast Wall Of Legends Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Norway

Northern Ireland v Norway Photo Album

PAUL HEATON AND JACQUI ABBOTT – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 21.10.2017

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott returned to Belfast, a 4th concert since 2014, for a concert at The Limelight, a venue they last played in June 2014, with their last two Belfast concerts being in Ulster Hall.

It was billed as an early show, with Heaton and Abbot on stage just after 8.30pm. The crowd were ready for it, the venue packed as the support act took the stage.

Members of their backing band casually wandered onto the stage, with drums and keyboards kicking off proceedings. It looked like a false start as the crowd waited for Heaton and Abbott to appear, before they eventually appeared.

The crowd were clapping and and footstomping along, as they did for most of the concert.

Heaton stated that this was the 25th time he’d performed in Belfast, before clarifying that he just made that stat up, and didn’t actually know how many times he had performed there. He did comment that he preferred coming to Belfast in the 80s and 90s when nobody else did, commenting that the same people who were shocked at them visiting the city are now talking about how cool it is now.

As he introduced Old Red Eyes Is Back, he dedicated it to the people of Belfast.

He did also say that it was 30 years since he was first in Belfast, a Pearl Anniversary, and suggests that an appropriate present would be a Pearl Heaton CD.

We were treated to some forgotten Beautiful South classics such as Blackbird On The Wire and The Table. The Table is one of my favourite Beautiful South songs, but it didn’t chart that high due to it being the fourth single from Quench.

At the grand old age of 55, Heaton has passed his driving test, he proudly told the audience, at the fourth time of asking with only one minor. He then proceeded to introduce the backing band and Jacqui Abbott by what car they drive.

The reason why the introductions were taking place mid concert were that, according to Heaton, the tour had been jinxed so far. One of Jacqui Abbott’s friends fell in the shower and had to go to hospital, while the previous night was described as a disaster, but no reason was given why.

The previous night, they were doing a concert in Cork. So, if any Corkonians can fill me in, feel free to do so.

At the start of Rotterdam, Heaton disappeared as this was a song sung solely by Abbott, but he then reappeared to play harmonica at the end.

As with their previous gigs, we delved into Paul Heaton’s back catalogue with The Housemartins and The Beautiful South. With so many songs to choose from, it’s natural that people would be disappointed at not hearing all of their favourites.

Five Get Over Excited, You Keep It All In, Don’t Marry Her and Good As Gold were all on the setlist, that would have kept a lot of people happy.

We also got Perfect Ten, with disco style drums and guitar, allowing Heaton to show off his dad dancing. Abbott was also getting involved. I’m not sure what the woman version of dad dancing is. Mum moving?

It wasn’t planned, but it was a happy accident, but I ended up being surrounded by people who were shorter than me, meaning I got a clear view. Also, everyone in the crowd was so sound, footstomping and clapping away.

You don’t realise how much a dead on audience adds to the enjoyment of a concert until you’re at a concert and surrounded by shitebags.

Thankfully, this was shitebag free.

They were enjoying themselves so much, they lost track of time, and announced they didn’t have long left due to a curfew set by the venue. It was a nice set-up as Heaton asked what the time was, answering his own question that it was Happy Hour.

Because of this, there wasn’t going to be a long encore, just the one song. With only a little time left, it was perhaps apt that they played A Little Time, a country/rockabilly/boogie woogie version of it.

As they left the stage, Heaton told the crowd “See you soon”.

So, touring in 2018?

If so, hopefully, someone from Belsonic is getting ready to book them. I quite fancy a bit of toetapping in the sunshine at Ormeau Park next June.

Ok, sunshine in June in Belfast is a bit ambitous.

Photo Album

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at Ulster Hall 2016

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at The Limelight 2014

GEORGE EZRA – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 26.5.2017

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but I was at The Limelight on Friday night to see George Ezra in concert. The thing is, it’s supposed to be a secret.

Billed as the Top Secret Tour, it was anything but. Announced at a few weeks notice, taking in Northern Ireland (there was a gig in Derry the following night. Ezra had previously been to Derry in 2014 as part of Other Voices Festival), Republic of Ireland (gigs in Dublin and Limerick followed his brief stay in Northern Ireland), before moving on to Wales and then South-West England.

To use a football analogy, these were the music equivalent of pre-season friendlies, as Ezra aims to fine-tune himself and get match fitness (or should that not be gig fitness?) ahead of a busy summer of festivals.

However, a gig at The Limelight is in no way comparable to a kickabout against Dunmurry Rec. A Limelight crowd demands to be entertained.

Ezra is no stranger to The Limelight, having played there in October 2014.

Back then, his debut album Wanted On Voyage was enjoying it’s second week at Number One in the UK Album Chart, having eventually climbed there just over three months after it’s release.

Now, he is at another milestone in his career as he arrived in Belfast, getting ready to release his currently untitled second album, and Belfast was going to get a preview of this new material

Entering the stage at 9.30pm, I was home from his last Belfast gig by that point, he was held up by a band member not being ready, before jumping into Cassy O, one of the singles from Wanted On Voyage.

After that, he played a new song. Unfortunately, I was unable to get titles of the new songs.

Ezra then mentioned about travelling to Barcelona. The crowd cheered because they were anticipating him to play Barcelona. Well, not quite.

His debut album Wanted On Voyage was written while travelling around Europe, inspiring song titles such as Budapest and Barcelona.

This inspired one Internet Prankster to run a story that Ezra was planning to do a whole album about cities beginning with B.

The reason why Ezra was talking about Barcelona, was that he went back there to get inspiration for his second album, and found somewhere to stay using Airbnb, but chose the option of living with someone instead of having a flat to himself.

Eventually, he did play Barcelona.

He announced that this was his first gig in eighteen months, and had spent most of 2016 writing and recording, admitting that 2016 was the first year in his life that he felt scared and anxious by what was going on in the world, and that he felt like he was running away from it all.

Ezra said that the setlist will be a mixture of old and new material. Naturally, all artists have old and new songs. An artist on their second album doesn’t even have a mid point in their career.

One of the highlights of the new songs was one called (Something …..) Happy People. I didn’t get what the first word in the title was. It was nothing like the REM (with Kate Pierson on uncredited vocals) song that the title almost sounds like, but it’s still good.

A lot of the new songs had a Bluesey, Americanised sound, songs you can sing and clap along to, which most of the crowd did, before finishing with Budapest during the encore.

Ezra commented that he had to go to Belfast to get a tan, with this gig coming on the warmest day of the year, before commenting that he will be back soon.

Belfast may not be able to guarantee sunshine for his return, but it looks likely if he does return, it will be in a bigger venue than The Limelight.

Photo Album

George Ezra Live At The Limelight October 2014