ASH – LIVE AT TITANIC SLIPWAYS (BIGGEST WEEKEND) 26.5.2018

For me, it would be Ash who would be kicking off the second day of Biggest Weekend, as I headed back to Titanic Slipways to see them on the Saturday.

I could get used to afternoon concerts.

With a scheduled stage time of 4.10pm, i’d be heading over earlier than I did the previous day. Of the Saturday line-up, Ash and Franz Ferdinand were the acts I wanted to see the most.

For some, it would be the second time of the weekend they would be seeing Ash, as they did an instore appearance at HMV on the Friday teatime.

I wasn’t at that as I was heading to Biggest Weekend. I’m sure there were others in the same situation. I know we were getting to see them anyway, but it would have been nice to see them twice, and in a different kind of setting. They really could have scheduled that better.

I might have been in East Belfast, but it felt like Kiev with the amount of Liverpool shirts in the venue. Hope they enjoyed hearing the score when watching underworld. Born Slippy would be an apt description of Loris Karius handling and shotstopping.

Of all the concerts to go on Saturday, I was thankful, I wasn’t at Echo and the Bunnymen in Birmingham, with the band grumpy at having to do the concert after previously cancelling it because they wanted to watch Liverpool v Real Madrid and then relenting after anger from fans.

Ian McCullough enters the stage grumpy (to be fair, he’s always grumpy) as Liverpool go 1-0 down in a room full of Aston Villa supporters annoyed that their side has just lost 1-0 to Fulham in the Championship Play-Off Final. Gloriously miserable.

Ash at Titanic was thankfully a lot more upbeat, as the band began with Burn Baby Burn (which is what a lot of the crowd were doing due to the sun), which the audience were told when the band was being introduced was the first song played on 6 Music.

Afterwards, they announced they only had 35 minutes left, and were going to perform hits, which is what they did, performing songs such as King Fu, Oh Yeah, Shining Light and Girl From Mars, as well as more recent hit Annabel.

There was a brief chat where Tim Wheeler reminisced about Ash most famous concert, which recently celebrated it’s 20th anniversary, at Waterfront Hall, when Bono turned up as a guest alongside David Trimble and John Hume.

Guest stars seem to be a bit of a theme when Ash play Belfast.

When I saw them at The Empire in 2015, Nathan Connolly from Snow Patrol joined them onstage.

Tim announced that “Two legends from Derry” would be joining them.

Who could it be? Nadine Coyle? Dana? Fionnuala that owns the chippy?

Sadly, it wouldn’t be Baltimora. That would have been remarkable.

It was Mickey Bradley and Damien O’Neill from The Undertones.

Both of them had contributed to the recording of Buzzkill from Ash’s current album, which they performed together.

It would have been a waste to bring them down from Derry for just one song.

Tim Wheeler then reminisced about getting a guitar on Christmas Day and the first song he learnt. He said he was now getting the best guitar lesson in the world, as the men who wrote it would be performing it with him.

That song, of course, was Teenage Kicks by The Undertones, which Ash signed off with.

This was a local gig for Ash, after that, the line-up took on a Swedish theme with Neneh Cherry followed by First Aid Kit.

I like some Neneh Cherry songs, so it would have been rude not to stay for her. It wasn’t a long set, but it was more than Seven Seconds (Sorry).

Incidentally, that wasn’t performed, not that unsurprising given the logistics involved in getting Yossou N’Dour over or getting someone to sing his parts.

We did get Manchild, which was her opening song.

We also had some new songs, as she apologised for having to read some lyrics off a sheet which she blamed on “Old age” (She’s only 54) but added that and advantage is that she is now known as “Big mamma” in her house.

She then announced that her final song would be “A jazz song”. Surely she wouldn’t do a set and not perform Buffalo Stance?

She did a bass and synth heavy reinterpretation of the song as we know it. It was superb. It was definitely better than Kayleigh’s version in Car Share.

I wasn’t really that fussed on First Aid Kit (though I do love My Silver Lining) so I decided to go for a bite to eat during their set.

Talking of which, I do understand economics and cashing in when there’s a market, but some of the prices being charged for food and drink (I can’t comment on the bar, i’m talking about the food vans) were scandalous and taking the piss.

It was made worse that there was no readmission so people couldn’t pop over to The Odyssey or to a cafe beside Spar for a bite to eat. People were stuck where they were, and got exploited as a result.

So, fed and rested (and ripped off) I was now ready for Franz Ferdinand. You can see photos of Neneh Cherry here.

Ash Photo Album

Ash live at The Empire 2015

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2015 IN PICTURES – MARCH

March began on a musical theme with concerts taking up two of the first three evenings of the month, The Kooks at Mandela Hall and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at The Odyssey.

The following Saturday, it was back to football, as Linfield took on Warrenpoint Town at Windsor Park.

The Saturday after that was a road trip to see Linfield take on Institute at Drumahoe.

Some new Street Art appeared in Belfast during the month, a tribute to the recently deceased Leonard Nimoy and a reappearance of the Teenage Kicks mural

There was more Street Art later in the month, when I headed to Glasgow to see Northern Ireland take on Scotland in a friendly, and took advantage of a clear day and some art on show.

From Glasgow, to Glenavon (well, Lurgan) for another football trip the Saturday after. The same result, a 1-0 defeat, but a more damaging than the one in Glasgow.

The day after, more football, as Northern Ireland took on Finland in a European Championship Qualifier. Managed to get some photos of the redevelopment of Windsor Park, which seemed to be going so well at that point.

Little did I know then, It would be my last time in The Kop before it got demolished.

The Kooks Live At Mandela Hall

The Kooks Live At Mandela Hall Photo Album

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Live At The Odyssey

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Live At The Odyssey Photo Album 1

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Live At The Odyssey Photo Album 2

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Institute v Linfield

Spock’s Teenage Dreams

Glasgow Street Art

Glasgow Street Art Photos

Scotland v Northern Ireland

Scotland v Northern Ireland Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Finland

Northern Ireland v Finland Photo Album

SPOCK’S TEENAGE DREAMS

Two new pieces of Street Art have appeared in Belfast in recent weeks at opposite ends of the city, one in the East and one in the West.

In West Belfast, in one of the streets facing the Kennedy Centre, there is a mural of Leonard Nimoy, who died recently, in his famous guise as Spock from Star Trek, but in a Hip-Hop style.

In the East of the city, there is a resurrection of an old favourite, as the Teenage Dreams mural, painted as a tribute to John Peel, which was removed in 2013 to accommodate renovation work.

However, as reported on Newsline last night, the new work has no mention of John Peel. You may also notice it has a different colour scheme from the original.

Of course, if you’re in Belfast and want to see a tribute to John Peel. You can always find one in the Cathedral Quarter.

Spock

Orginal Teenage Kicks Mural (Pictured in 2007)

Revived Teenage Kicks Mural

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS AUG 8 – AUG 14

We begin this week, by jumping straight into Madness, as Chris Foreman turned 58 this week.

Randomly, they once did a song with Feargal Sharkey. Amazingly, Sharkey wasn’t the only one on stage to grow up in Northern Ireland, as Chas Smash spent a year as a teenager living in Coleraine.

Now, quite literally, a criminal record.

East 17, innit?

There are some people, who erroniously think Justin Timberlake is the most talented member of N*Sync

Remember Vanessa Amorosi? Absolutely everybody does!

And now, for a bit of S Club 7

This week’s sad bit, Whitney Houston would have been 51 this week. (And yes, I know this is from the German version of the show, but they used clips from the UK show)

Joe Jackson turned 60 this week. His solo career never scaled the heights of his bother Michael. (WARING : Second clip introduced by Jimmy Savile)

And now Sparks, featuring the classic line-up of Adolf Hitler and Kevin Keegan.

…… which nicely links us into another band featuring brothers, Dire Straits.

It would have been brilliant if they did a studio appearance for “Money For Nothing”, as you just know the props department would have had a Microwave Oven, a Refrigerator and some Colour TV lying around the stage.

He made an appearance on earlier with Madness, but Feargal Sharkey turned 56 this week, so it would be rude not to include.

I could be lazy and play “Teenage Kicks” but it’s not The Undertones best song. It’s not. And i’m not even going to apologise for saying it.

(WARNING : First clip features Jimmy Savile at the end)

Now for some Sarah Brightman. It’s almost, but not quite, time to say goodbye.

Actually, it is. Goodbye.

ESPANA 82 – THE PLAYER’S SOUVENIR

A curious thing came into my possession this week, ironically, on 25th June (You should know why that date is important) of a booklet previewing the 1982 World Cup for Northern Ireland.

The front cover features match action from the 1-0 win over Israel in November 1981 that secured Northern Ireland’s qualification.

The brochure is edited by Billy Kennedy and Ivan Little, then Co-Editors of Linfield’s matchday programme, and also co-edited Northern Ireland’s programmes during that period. Billy Kennedy is still currently writing for the News Letter, while Ivan Little now has a weekly column for Sunday Life after a long career with UTV.

The editorial congratulates Northern Ireland on qualifying for the finals, pointing out that the groundwork to a successful campaign began in winning the 1980 Home Championship.

There is an editorial from Dr Michael Scott, Consultant Cardiologist at Belfast City Hospital, congratulating the team on it’s success, and pointing out the benefits of not smoking. There are various anti smoking adverts in the publication from NI Chest Heart Stroke Association.

Despite the title, the publication was available to the public at a cost of £1.20.

Malcolm Brodie writes about how the World Cup has changed during his time covering the event, especially since Northern Ireland’s last appearance, 24 years previously, in 1958.

He notes that the tournament is now more commercialised, in his words, “It is big business, now on a global scale”, and about how there will be increased security surrounding all the teams in Spain.

Brodie signs off with “Reaching the Quarter-Finals would be an unbelievable boost, and in the opinion of many, a miracle. Knowing Billy Bingham’s luck, that may be achieved. You never know, stranger things have happened”

There were no Quarter-Finals in Spain 82, after the groups, there were 4 groups of 3. Northern Ireland were 1 win away from the Semi-Finals, so technically, it was a Quarter-Final of sorts.

There was also a fixture list for the competition, with dates/venues/kick-off times.

What struck me as odd was the volume of group games being played at the same time. For example, Hungary v El Salvador in Group 3 was played at the same time as Scotland v New Zealand in Group 5.

Ironically, the final group games weren’t played simultaneously in Spain 82, though that would change as a result of the Austria v West Germany game.

Honduras and Yugoslavia, two of Northern Ireland’s group opponents get a double page spread. Not knowing much about the Hondurans, Northern Ireland are being helped by Terry Moore, a Canadian international who grew up in Northern Ireland, played for Glentoran, but in 1982, was playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Honduras had beaten Canada for a place in the finals, with Moore bemoaning the fact that Honduras winner wasn’t disallowed for offside. Moore would get the chance to play for Canada in the 1986 World Cup.

Moore would point out that it would feel like an away game due to the Honduran population in Spain, and that they would get support from locals for their games against Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland.

Apart from Nikki Jovanovic, formerly of Manchester United, not much was known of Yugoslavia, though there was an admiration for their manager Milijan Milijanic, in his second spell as manager, after winning two La Liga titles with Real Madrid inbetween.

Bill Clark of Sunday Mirror pays tribute to the role played by two members of Billy Bingham’s backroom team, Martin Harvey and Bertie Peacock.

Some players are lucky enough to get full page profiles with the usual Q and A with footballers.

Sammy McIlroy was chosen by the UK government to front a “Behave yourselves” campaign (England and Scotland also qualified for Spain 82) but stated that Northern Ireland fans will behave, but that such a campaign was worthwhile. He also spoke about his transfer from Manchester United to Stoke City.

A former pupil of Mersey Street Primary School, his favourite football team growing up wasn’t in BT4, but across the city, as he supported Linfield, and Rangers. His favourite singer is Al Green and his favourite comedian is Tommy Cooper.

Chris Nicholl’s favourite singer is Mick Jagger and his favourite comedian is Benny Hill. David McCreery is also a fan of Benny Hill, but his favourite singer is Rod Stewart.

Despite fronting an anti-smoking campaign, Sammy Nelson admitted to having the odd cigar to celebrate Arsenal winning a trophy. Interestingly, he was the first ever ex pupil of Inst, a school with a long Rugby association, to play international football. As of 1982, he was yet to be invited back to his old school. His favourite singer is Bob Seeger.

Mal Donaghy’s brother would be in Spain for the World Cup, but to cheer on Brazil, having formed the West Belfast Brazil Supporters Club.

There is also a mention of his 2 month old baby Ciaran “Mal’s hoping the latest member of the Donaghy clan, baby Ciaran will also be putting his best foot forward onto the soccer pitch”

Ciaran Donaghy has played in the Irish League, most notably with Cliftonville.

Billy Hamilton’s wedding anniversary fell during the 2nd Round of Spain 82, which he hoped he would still be in Spain for. Like Sammy Nelson, who he lists as his favourite comedian, he is a Rolling Stones fan. He states for his post football career, he hoped to own a business, which he did, setting up a Trophy and Engraving shop in Bangor, before selling it to Alan McDonald in 2009.

There is a double page poster of the qualifying campaign, while Billy Bingham gets a page to write about how his team shouldn’t be written off in Spain, despite a tough group, including this prophetic line, in relation to the 1958 team, and his 1982 team

“Who knows, maybe 24 years from now, in the year 2006, Northern Irish people will be talking about the feats of the 1982 team, with the same nostalgia and folklore attached to the 1958 team”

I think in 24 years on from 2006, they will still be talking about the achievements of 1982.

Ivan Little interviews sporting celebrities cheering on Northern Ireland such as Mike Gibson, Sean O’Neill, John Watson and Dermot Monteith. Alex Higgins is hoping that his Snooker schedule allows him to travel to Spain as a guest of ex Linfield player Sammy Pavis.

Martin O’Neill speaks of his pride at being captain, can speak a little French (unlike fellow Derry native Nadine Coyle) and his favourite bands are The Undertones (unsurprisingly), The Horselips and Jethro Tull.

There is a team poster in the middle, while some players have their baby photos featured.

Pat Jennings spoke of his regret that physiotherapist Bobby McGregor, who died the previous November, wouldn’t be in Spain.

There is a full page feature on players on the fringe of the squad, battling for a place such as Pat Rice, George Dunlop and Tom Sloan.

Interestingly, there is no mention in that article, or anywhere in the publication of Norman Whiteside, which would give an idea as to how late and unexpected his arrival in contention for a place in the squad was.

There is also a Smash Hits style lyric poster of the official team song, Yer Man, by Dana.

Sam Butler of News Letter writes a guide on what to do and not to do in Spain, warning fans that there will be a heavy police presence on the streets, and to beware of muggers.

On the back page, there is an advert simply saying “VIVA NORTHERN IRELAND ………… from the winning team at Downtown Radio”

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 22.3.2013

1. Bastille – Pompei
2. The 1975 – Chocolate
3. The Wonder Stuff ft Rankin Roger – Save It For Later
4. Biffy Clyro – Biblical
5. The Wonder Stuff – Oh No!

First of all, apologies for not having a Friday Five last week. It was due to “Technical Reasons*”

* Technical Reasons, being, I forgot, as I was busy getting ready to head to Manchester on Friday morning. I know.

As a result of “Technical Reasons”, I forgot to do a St Patrick’s Day chart. Better late than never I guess.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM NORTHER IRELAND

1. Baltimora – Tarzan Boy
2. The Adventures – Broken Land
3. Relish – Rainbow Zephyr
4. The Undertones – Wednesday Week
5. Snow Patrol – How To Be Dead

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

1. U2 – The Fly
2. Aslan – Crazy World
3. Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays
4. JJ72 – Oxygen
5. The Thrills- Big Sur

So, anyone watching The Big Reunion on ITV2?

No, well, you’re missing out. Pity there’s an S Club 7 shaped hole in it.

FIVE (OR, 5IVE) SONGS BY ACTS ON THE BIG REUNION

1. Liberty X – Song 4 Lovers
2. 5ive – Got The Feelin
3. Honeyz – Finally Found
4. Blue – One Love
5. B*Witched – Cest La Vie

And finally, while The Big Reunion is on our TV screens, let’s take a moment to remember Girls Aloud, who sadly split up this week.

Don’t worry though, they will be appearing on the 2022 series of The Big Reunion, performing in Qatar at the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Cup, and go on a tour which includes a date at The Venue in Ebrington, which was renamed Nadine Coyle Hall in 2017

FIVE SONGS BY GIRLS ALOUD

1. The Promise
2. Biology
3. I’ll Stand By You
4. The Show
5. Life Got Cold

I’VE GOT A COUSIN CALLED KEVIN ……

It was during an episode of Outnumbered last week, which i’ve recently become addicted to which started this nostalgiafest.

It was a scene when Pete challenges Jake to a game of Subbuteo, to which Jake just looks confused. Poor Jake, he never got to experience the joy of Subbuteo.

It was Christmas 1991, perhaps the greatest Christmas of all. That year, I got my first football top (Man United Adidas) , went to my first football match (Glentoran v Linfield at The Oval) and I got my first ever Subbuteo kit.

I got a pitch, but not just any old pitch, an Astropitch, which didn’t need to be ironed before a match. It came with the goalposts and ball, but not just that, a scoreboard.

From then, my mum used to check charity shops for bits and bobs, be it teams of equipment, such as a stand. Yes, I had a stand.

Mind you, this stand only had about 20 people in it. Neither my mum or dad would buy me the boxes of people (Yes, supporters were sold as accessories) required to fill it, so I had to pretend that all my Subbuteo matches were being played at The Oval.

Of course, a football stadium with only one stand looks a bit silly, so I used empty boxes to pretend that they were stands being built, as was quite common at the time as Premier League grounds were being made all seater as a result of the Taylor Report and in preparation for Euro 96.

I had various teams including Manchester United (91/92 home, 92/93 home and away), Norwich City (92/93 home), Aston Villa, Juventus, Feyenoord, West Germany, Holland, Scotland, England, Italy, Soviet Union and Wales.

There was one tragic incident when I accidentally stood on three Aston Villa players. Thankfully, quick thinking and a supply of blutac meant that they were able to resume their table football careers.

When we were playing, we could multiteam, if there were sides with similar colours. For example, Wales v Italy would become Portadown v Linfield, and so forth.

It is, of course a trivia question, but there is a UK Top 10 single which references Subbuteo in it’s lyrics. Just the one mind.

The answer of course, is ‘My Perfect Cousin’ by The Undertones. The artwork to the single is based upon this reference, where a Subbuteo player wearing a red and white striped shirt, the colours of The Undertones hometown club Derry City, with the band’s name on a pitchside advert while the crowd holds up a banner bearing the name of the song.

Of course, if there was a band doing a similar song today, it would probably go “He always beats me at Pro Evo, as he had a cheat code and I didn’t know”

They don’t know what they are missing out on.

TEENAGE DREAMS, SO HARD TO BEAT …..

Saw today it was mentioned that today marks the 6th anniversary of the death of DJ, Writer and Author John Peel from a heart attack in Peru at the age of 65.

I remember that day I was in BIFHE (Despite it being half-term, I was a very dedicated student) and came home, flicked on Ceefax to see it was the top headline story and was in a state of shock.

I’d always imagined that John Peel would live well into his 90s and die live on air, but summoning enough strength to put on ‘Teenage Kicks’ before signing off just before the fatal moment.

It was well known that the song ‘Teenage Kicks’ by Northern Ireland band The Undertones was his favourite song.

This fact is referenced in a tribute mural painted in Belfast soon afterwards, and still there to this day, which simply reads “TEENAGE DREAMS, SO HARD TO BEAT”

The mural is in East Belfast, at a bridge just as you would be walking towards the Short Strand area.

It also reminded me of a paint tribute to another music figure, Tony Wilson, after his death three years ago, simply reading “TONY WILSON RIP UP THE PUNX”

Unfortunately, that was cleared by the council within a day. Thankfully, Belfast’s tribute to John Peel remains.