BLOSSOMS – LIVE AT THE LIMELIGHT 3.3.2020

Death, Taxes and Blossoms at The Limelight.

Even before the release of their debut album, Blossoms usually pop by Ormeau Avenue once a year. Well, apart from 2019. They were determined to make up for this.

However, their first trip to Belfast, and my first time seeing them, was at the more swankier surroundings of Waterfront Hall, supporting Paul Weller in 2015.

I was excited by this, as i’d already heard of them, knowing them as the band that do the song Charlemagne that I love, which ended up being voted The Song Of 2015.

They’ve done a lot of support slots in their career – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Charlatans and The Kooks have all had them as guests, sadly not at any concerts I’ve seen them that.

Surprising perhaps, for a band who have seen two of their three albums hit Number 1. The middle one “only” reached Number 4.

This would be a hits set, except their singles don’t really chart that high. They have radio hits, you know more songs of theirs than you realise, as noted during a recent interview with the BBC.

Despite their album success and radio hits, Blossoms are regulars at The Limelight. You’d expect them to be playing bigger venues.

There first visit here was in 2016, six months before the release of their debut album. I wasn’t at that. A concert that saw the venue upgraded from Voodoo to The Limelight, but a night looked back on with tragedy, as their support band that night, Viola Beach, died in a motor accident on tour the following weekend.

I was there in 2017 at The Limelight, just over six months after the release of that debut album.

They returned a few months later, as support to Kasabian, and I was there. There for Kasabian, but Blossoms was a nice bonus.

When I say supporting Kasabian, that was the plan. However, having warmed the crowd up, they would then be left cold as a bout of sickness saw Kasabian cancel their performance.

2018 saw another return to The Limelight. However, I would not be there, as I was in Manchester, watching United labour to a 1-0 win over Young Boys Berne.

So, 2020, a brief Irish tour announced, with The Limelight once again on the list

There was a surreal moment for me making my way to the venue. Walking along, minding my own business, somebody stops me to ask me to take a photo of them.

It was a group of fellas posing in the middle of the road, nothing usual there, but the Steve McManaman lookalike in the middle looked familiar. It was none other than Tom Ogden, lead singer of Blossoms.

I took the photos, and we all just walked to the venue.

Support came from The Lathums, who were decent.

Tom Ogden commented on how glad he was to be in “Beautiful Belfast”. I’m not sure where in Belfast he has visited.

Previous concerts have seen them dedicate a song to a member of the audience who had recently been dumped. That didn’t happen this time.

Three albums in, and they have a lot of hits behind them, all of which got played, songs like Your Girlfriend, There’s A Reason Why, I Can’t Stand It, Blown Rose, Honey Sweet and At Most A Kiss, as well as sneaking in covers of You’re Gorgeous and Half A World Away.

When doing an instrumental break after At Most A Kiss, the person in front of me turned around and shouted “CHARLEMAGNE!!” at me.

Of course, that was coming up next, the band signing off with their debut single, sending the fans home happy.

Talking of Paul Weller, who introduced them to Belfast, he’ll be coming back to Belfast in October for a concert at Ulster Hall. I’ve already got a ticket for that.

Having seen them (Well, one third of them) in HMV, Ash have announced a concert for The Limelight for a concert in May. Yep, already got a ticket for that.

Ian Brown is heading to Waterfront Hall in May. No ticket yet, undecided. I do enjoy some of his solo stuff.

Also coming to Belfast in Genesis. Love a lot of their big hits but waiting to decide wether to go. I saw the announcement video on Radio 2’s social media feeds and Phil Collins sounds as though his voice is fucked.

Also announced, is KT Tunstall for North Berwick for Fringe By The Sea in August. I might make this my weekend to go to Edinburgh. It would make up on missing out on her when she played North Berwick when I was in Edinburgh in 2017.

A lot to look forward to.

Photo Album

Blossoms live at Custom House Square 2017

Blossoms live at The Limelight 2017

2019 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February didn’t get off to the best start, as I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield exit the Irish Cup against Crusaders.

Things got better the following Saturday as Linfield came from 2-0 down to score a last minute winner against Coleraine.

It got a lot better the following Saturday as Linfield beat Ballymena United to win the NIFL Cup.

Finally, it was time for my first concerts of the year, going to see Chvrches at Ulster Hall, then Razorlight at The Limelight the following evening.

That was followed by some more football, as Linfield took on Ballymena United again, this time in the League, and then a midweek trip to Newry to see Linfield grind out a 1-0 win.

Linfield v Crusaders

Linfield v Coleraine

NIFL Cup Final

NIFL Cup Final Photo Album

Chvrches live at Ulster Hall

Chvrches live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Razorlight live at The Limelight

Razorlight live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

Newry City v Linfield

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

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