RICHARD ASHCROFT- LIVE AT ORMEAU PARK (BELSONIC) 16.6.2018

This year marks ten years since the first Belsonic. In those ten years, it has expanded, moved venue, changed month and then changed venue again.

When it started, it was mid August in Custom House Square. Now it is mid June in Ormeau Park.

Walking towards the venue, there were boardings put up to cut off the venue for the concert from the rest of the park. It looked rather drab. I couldn’t help but think that a mural featuring those acts who have performed at Belsonic over the past decade would have brightened up the venue.

Due to the wide nature of acts peforming, it is impossible for someone to be a fan of every act. Just the one Belsonic concert for me this year, as Richard Ashcroft would be to support Liam Gallagher, just as he did the previous night at Malahide Castle in Dublin.

The two of them will already be used to each other, having toured North America together in May.

For Richard Ashcroft, it would be a long awaited return to Belfast. The most recent gig as a solo artist (The Verve did play The Odyssey) that I am aware of is him supporting Coldplay at The Odyssey in 2005.

Upon arrival in Belfast, Ashcroft went exploring the city. I was hoping he might re-enact the Bittersweet Symphony video in the City Centre, just to send out a message to the slow walkers and footpath blockers.

He didn’t venture too far from Ormeau Park, heading to 16 Burren Way in Cregagh. If you don’t know, that’s the childhood home of George Best, and boasted to the crowd that he did a few keepy-uppies outside it.

As he entered the stage, he dedicated his performance to George Best, even having a mannequin with the Northern Ireland shirt as a stage prop, the shirt printing of ASHCROFT 11 being clear for all to see.

I’ve been a fan of Richard Ashcroft for a long time, especially loving Urban Hymns by The Verve and his debut solo album Alone With Everybody.

Disappointingly, none of the big singles from his debut solo album were played, such as Song For The Lovers, I Get My Beat, Money To Burn and C’mon People.

Ashcroft was delayed getting on stage by about fifteen minutes. Thankfully, due to the delays in getting in.

Security searches getting in were segregated by gender. The breakdown of the crowd was overwhelmingly male. It was obvious this would be the case.

However, staffing did not reflect this. While men were made to wait in slow moving queues, women were able to get in quicker.

If you were a woman or part of a group of women attending with a man or group of men, you were having to loiter about and wait for your friend(s) to get through.

Surely, getting info from sales from Ticketmaster could have helped them prepare better.

The same complaint would apply if it was an act appearing who would attract a majority female audience at their concerts.

Going through security, I had a bar of chocolate confiscated. Yes, really.

Cigarettes and vapes are fine, but a bar of chocolate is not allowed. What sort of fucked-up society are we living in?

There were times when you could barely breathe due to the fumes, but apparently someone having a bar of chocolate is more of a health and safety concern?

The Eventsec goon who confiscated my chocolate didn’t look when chucking it in a bag, and it hit the top of the bag and didn’t go in. I took back what was mine when he was searching people after me. Up yours Eventsec.

As hinted, this was another outdoor event in Belfast infested with fucking tramps that can’t go a few hours without a smoke. Literally surrounded by them.

Am I the only person who sees this?

As a society, we seem to just scratch our arses when it comes to the matter.

I know I keep mentioning it, but i’m going to keep mentioning it until it gets tackled and addressed.

Belfast City Council could take the lead on the matter and make smoke free venues a clause when granting licences for events.

If the Organisers can instruct Eventsec to confiscate chocolate from people, they can get Eventsec to confiscate cigarettes and vapes. Put it on the posters and tickets so everybody knows.

If somebody complains, fuck em, They can fuck off and go elsewhere. Society is moving on, and we don’t need tramps like that infesting outdoor events.

The important thing is, nobody was able to bring any chocolate into the venue.

Back to Ashcroft, and unsurprisingly, we was belting out a lot of The Verve’s hits – Sonnet (shamefully low chart position) and Lucky Man, which he dedicated to Kate, who I presume is Kate Radley from Spiritualized, his wife.

The Drugs Don’t Work, The Verve’s only Number 1, is a bloody awful song. He performed it, but solo acoustically, and it wasn’t that bad, to be fair.

Ashcroft, then went into a Yer Da type rant about how music was better in the old days, while revealing that he doesn’t do “Banter” with the crowd because he can’t hear them due to an earpiece.

He was pumped up, throwing his microphone down during one song, and by the end of the show, having half of his shirt unbuttoned, and pulling a muscleman pose similar to Mario Balotelli when he scored against Germany in Euro 2012.

We also got some solo hits, such as the fantastic Break The Night With Colour, before he ended on Bittersweet Symphony, before announcing that he will be returning to Belfast before the end of the year, but left us all in suspense by not saying where or when.

Looking forward to it.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 17.11.2017

1. The Killers – Run For Cover
2. Arcade Fire – Creature Comfort
3. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Fort Knox
4. Roy Orbison and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – I Drove All Night
5. Yazoo – Only You (2017 Version)

This Sunday is International Men’s Day. So, prepare yourself for some manly charts. Grrrr!!!

If you’re celebrating, enjoy yourself. That’s cool. If it’s just another day to you, enjoy yourself. That’s cool.

Just don’t be a self hating dick about it. Seriously, nobody wants to hear an attention seeker desperate for attention by sticking the boot into people to show how wonderful they are to people who hate them.

SONGS BY MALE SINGERS

1. Prince – Gold
2. John Parr – St Elmo’s Fire
3. Peter Gabriel – Big Time
4. Holly Johnson – Love Train
5. Seal – Kiss From A Rose

SONGS WITH MALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. Oasis – Little James
2. Bat For Lashes – Daniel
3. REM – What’s The Frequency Kenneth?
4. Joshua Kaddison – Jesse
5. Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe

SONGS WITH MAN IN THE TITLE

1. Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror
2. Hall and Oates – Family Man
3. Human League – One Man In My Heart
4. The Verve – Lucky Man
5. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 18.11.2016

1. Bastille – Send Them Off
2. Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
3. Tove Lo – True Disaster
4. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
5. Catfish and the Bottlemen – Outside

Tomorrow, is International Men’s Day. Just another day for me, but if you’re commemorating it, enjoy yourself.

Some people even choose to celebrate it by being a self-hating dick on Twitter.

But most importantly, it’s an opportunity to do some theme charts. And yes, I do the same on International Women’s Day. It’s on March 8th if you don’t know. You may be shocked to realise you can point out the date of something and not be a sneering dick like Richard Herring.

SONGS WITH MAN/MEN/BOY IN THE TITLE

1. Duran Duran – Wildboys
2. Michael Jackson – Man In the Mirror
3. The Verve – Lucky Man
4. The Charlatans – North Country Boy
5. Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy

SONGS BY MEN

1. Simple Minds – She’s A River
2. U2 – The Fly
3. Bruce Springsteen – Badlands
4. Enrique Iglesias – Do You Know?
5. 10CC – The Things We Do For Love

SONGS WITH MEN’S NAME IN THE TITLE

1. Elliott Smith – Son Of Sam
2. Bat For Lashes – Daniel
3. Joshua Kaddison – Jesse
4. Oasis – Little James
5. Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : VOX – AUGUST 1995

It’s the summer of 1995 and Britpop is on the rise, but it’s an American, Michael Stipe of REM, who is the cover star of this edition of Vox.

In news, Depeche Mode are now down to three members following the departure of Alan Wilder, while Oasis have announced that their second album, “Morning Glory” is finished and ready for release in September, while there were rumours that Paul Weller would join Oasis on stage at Glastonbury.

The Cure announced plans for a new album in February 1996, Nancy Sinatra posed for Playboy at the age of 52, and the BBC were planning six hours of programming to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Live Aid.

Vox looks at the trend of Indie bands becoming pin-ups, and Boybands getting serious, with contributions from PJ Harvey, Holly Johnson, and Martin Carr from Boo Radleys.

Bands tipped for success include Whale, Thurman and Cast.

Armando Ianucci is interviewed, ahead of the launch of his new satire show, Saturday Night Armistice, which is accompanied by a picture of him licking an iron.

Chemical Brothers get a two page interview about heir recent successes, while three pages are dedicated to Oasis singles cover art, with comments and anecdotes from Brian Cannon (Art Director) and Michael Spencer Jones (Photographer)

There’s more Oasis a few pages later, as Paul Slattery, a photographer who accompanied them on tour, shows off his best photos from the year he spent with them.

Therapy? get a four page interview, accompanied with a photo of them dressed as clowns.

The National Lottery has recently been set up, so Vox asks various bands such as Dodgy, Shampoo, Supergrass, Pulp, Sparks and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin what they would do if they won the lottery.

Gene were that months guest reviewers, sticking the boot into Paul Weller’s single “Wings Of Speed”, with Martin Rossiter stating “This is a dreadful ballad. If Mariah Carey sang this, we’d all be slagging it right off”

The Verve are interviewed over two pages in LA, with the introductory line “Can The Verve follow in Oasis footsteps?”

Jim and William Reid from Jesus and Mary Chain are asked about their most hated things, aiming their vitriol at UB40 and Chris De Burgh.

Cover star Michael Stipe is interviewed, speaking about how REM are getting back on track, following Bill Berry’s onstage collapse earlier that year.

Mick Jones of The Clash gets a full page interview of his memories of punk.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.11.2014

1. McBusted – Air Guitar
2. Becky Hill – Losing
3. Alexa Goddard – So There
4. Erasure – Always
5. Ting Tings – Shut Up And Let Me Go

This Sunday, is St Andrew’s Day. Do, how about a chart? How about two charts? One for all things Andrew, and one for all things Scottish.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS WITH A MEMBER CALLED ANDREW

1. Wham! – Freedom
2. Wax – Bridge To Your Heart
3. Roachford – Cuddly Toy
4. Andrew WK – Party Hard
5. Andrew Cole – Outstandin

FIVE SONGS BY SCOTTISH ACTS

1. Biffy Clyro – The Captain
2. Chvrches – Recover
3. Prides – Messiah
4. Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday
5. Bay City Rollers – I Only Wanna Be With You

Last week, was International Men’s Day. Being the big sexist that I am, I forgot about it. So here, is a chart to commemorate it.

FIVE SONGS ABOUT MEN

1. Mansun – Electric Man
2. Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror
3. REM – Man On the Moon
4. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World
5. The Verve – Lucky Man

FIVE SONGS WITH MEN’S NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. Oasis – Little James
2. Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al
3. Bat For Lashes – Daniel
4. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Geno
5. Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny Come Home

Last week, on X-Factor, was Elton John v Whitney Houston, that well known rivalry. They’re not even trying any more.

FIVE SONGS BY ELTON JOHN

1. I’m Still Standing
2. Made In England
3. I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
4. Step Into Christmas
5. Kiss The Bride

FIVE SONGS BY WHITNEY HOUSTON

1. Your Love Is My Love
2. I Wanna Dance With Somebody
3. How Will I Know?
4. I’m Your Baby Tonight
5. If I Told You That (ft George Michael)

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : VOX – NOVEMBER 1994

Dolores O’Riodan is the cover star as Vox celebrates it’s 50th edition.

The main features, however, were of Blur and REM. Guitarist Peter Buck comments “I Shudder to think that I might be playing in stadiums when i’m 51, like the Stones”

When Peter Buck was 51 (2007), REM were still doing stadium gigs.

This month saw the launch of a column where musicians guest review singles. The honour of the very first one went to Andy Cairns, frontman of Therapy?

To celebrate the 50th edition, Vox asked 90s popstars for their review of the 90s so far, and what they thought would be on the cover of Vox in 2000 (Vox was actually wound up before then)

Noel Gallagher’s 2000 front cover is “OASIS – WHERE ARE THEY NOW?” – the answer would be, releasing their 4th album, while his hopes for the rest of the 90s would be for a second Stone Roses album, Man City to win a trophy and The Verve to do a gig on the moon.

Only one of those events happened, and it was the most far fetched suggestion, Stone Roses releasing a second album.

The Grid, a side project of Soft Cell’s David Ball list Bryan Adams being number one as the worst global event of the 90s, while suggesting that Oasis will be on the cover of Vox in 2000, as “We’ll all be having a 90s revival by then”

Nicky Wire’s Vox cover reply is “Hopefully Vox won’t exist by then” – His hope was correct.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : Q – AUGUST 2005

In this edition of The Magazine Archive, i’ll be looking back at the August 2005 edition of Q, featuring Oasis on the cover, but also including a feature on Charlotte Church, then just about to release her first ‘pop’ album, and Michael Jackson, who had just been on trial for child molestation.

I should issue a disclaimer that when I was searching for magazines to review, a lot of them are editions of Q with Oasis on the cover.

In the news section, three pages are dedicated to a feature on a trend of bands reforming, prompted by rumours of a Stone Roses reunion.

A picture of the Spice Girls during their 1990s peak is caption “Spice Girls : returning in 2006”

In fact, it was 2007 that the Spice Girls would reform, releasing a single called “Headlines” for Children In Need.

The song failed to reach the top ten, and Spice Girls have never recorded since.

A sub-feature looks at the possibility of other bands reforming.

The Verve were listed at 10/1. They did reform and release an album in 2008 titled “Forth” but split up again soon after.

Take That were listed as 25/1, with the text stating “Robbie Williams is unlikely to be keen on playing second fiddle to Gary Barlow again”

Bet you wish you took up the offer of those odds back in 2005.

In the section titled “Rising”, looking at up and coming bands, this month’s feature focuses on Arcade Fire, who won Best International Group and Best International Album at the 2011 Brit Awards.

Not only that, but Arcade Fire also do the best walkout music of any football team in the world, I say without a hint of bias.

In the album chart, very few ‘pop’ acts are in the Top Twenty, with Coldplay just holding off Oasis at Number One.

In the download charts, animation ruled as Gorillaz were keeping Crazy Frog off the top spot.

The middle of the magazine was dominated by a feature called “Scandal” with a compilation of “The 50 Biggest Villains In Music”, and features on “Wildchild” Charlotte Church, and Michael Jackson’s recent trial.

Eight pages are then dedicated to an interview with Oasis. It’s standard Gallagher interview, with the obligatory swearing.

And that, was the world of music in August 2005.