CHVRCHES – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 19.2.2019

First concert of 2019 for me, and it was a first for the band, as Chvrches made their first visit to Belfast, as singer Lauren Mayberry declared this to be a sort of local gig for her, saying “I had a Granny McIntyre from near here”.

The band said during the show that they love touring so much, because it stops them from returning to Glasgow, where they hear about family friends and distant relatives dying.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though.

I’d first got into Chvrches back in 2013 when they released their debut album, with singles such as The Mother We Share, Recover, Lies and Gun, dreamy chilled out and atmospheric synthpop with a tune. Finally, they’d made it to Belfast.

Regular readers of this blog will know i’m a fan of Chvrches, featuring regularly in The Friday Five and The Sound Of, having the 14th best song of 2018, 7th best song of 2016, 3rd best song of 2015, and the 91st best song of 2013.

Wait a minute, isn’t Chvrches that Romanian guy that plays for Spurs?

No, that’s Vlad Chiriches, and he plays for Napoli now.

Support came from Let’s Eat Grandma, who were ok, very theatrical and dramatic, and there wasn’t a musical instrument that they didn’t play.

Coming from Scotland, Chvrches will be quick to tell you that Ye Cannae Throw Yer Granny Aff A Bus.

It was those hits that they jumped straight into, albeit more recent ones such as Get Out and Bury It.

Seeing the Mulholland Grand Organ (the keys were locked, much to their disappointment), they mistakenly believed the venue was a church, or a former church, pointing out the irony of a band called Chvrches playing there, a verbal exchanged which saw Martin Doherty being dubbed “The Phantom Of The Dochera” and “The Fanny Of The Opera”.

The gig wasn’t problem free, as the bass on the left hand side of the floor seemed to be a bit iffy, while Lauren was having microphone problems, stating she would prefer to have a headset microphone like Britney or Madonna, but stated that she wasn’t cool enough to use one.

One of the reasons that she wouldn’t want to use one of those microphones was that people would hear her mumbling and swearing inbetween songs, apologising to one young member of the crowd for using the mf word, while she sat on a box for a slow song, it was speculated, and hoped by the band that Gwyneth Paltrow’s head would be inside.

If you’re wondering, they explained that it was a reference to the film Seven, rather than them being weird Coldplay fans who wish ill will on her for divorcing, sorry, consciously uncoupling Chris Martin.

As the band appeared for their encore, Lauren commented that the applause she received made her feel like a sports star, though she was probably as knackered as one with the amount of pirouetting she did on stage.

It may not be the only time I see Chvrches in 2019, as the week before this, they were announced as one of the acts appearing at Summer Sessions, taking place in Edinburgh, the posh suburb part of their native Glasgow.

Regular readers will know I head to Edinburgh every August. I haven’t booked my trip yet, but the week when James and Madness appear at Summer Sessions a few days apart is very tempting.

Also recently announced was that Feeder will be headlining a night at Holywood Harmony, in Holywood, funnily enough.

As said last year, it’s good to see concerts in Northern Ireland outside Belfast. I’m tempted to head along to that. Good luck to them.

Photo Album

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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

PAUL WELLER – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 15.2.2018

Earlier in the day, Paul Weller’s Social Media channels pointed out that it was exactly 41 years to the day since he signed his first record deal, as a member of The Jam.

Four decades and one year later, he is still strutting his stuff, and did so in Belfast, the city getting it’s turn after he had spent the previous three evenings performing in Dublin.

Support came from a band called Tights. No wait, it’s Touts. It’s just the accent. These Derry boys were so loud, they’d probably be banned by Sister Michael, though I doubt they’ll be getting booked to perform at any of Jennie Joyce’s house parties.

It seems as though Touts are the support band at every concert in Belfast, having supported Blossoms, Kasabian (Well, or so they thought until Kasabian pulled out at the last minute) and ASIWYFA in the past year.

If you like The Jam, The Strypes and/or The Undertones, this is the band for you.

A lot of support bands bore the life out of you, but not these guys. They were acting as if it was their own headline show.

The setlist was described by Weller as “Some old, and some new” a few songs in, as he introduced From The Floorboards Up, describing it as an old song, though considering it was released in 2005, it’s not as old as some of the other songs that made an appearance in this setlist.

Weller wasn’t slow in exploring all areas of his back catalogue, having a short section dedicated to The Style Council, playing Have You Ever had It Blue? and My Ever Changing Moods back to back. The latter brought about a very serious outbreak of Dad Dancing in the crowd.

We were treated to Weller showcasing his piano skills by playing his classic hit You Do Something To Me and Wo Se Mama, the standout track from his current album A Kind Revolution.

Naturally, he delved into The Jam’s hits, dedicating Eton Rifles to “Theresa May and her fucking mob” to loud cheers. For clarity, if it was needed, I don’t think it was a tribute.

The bigger solo hits also got an outing, songs such as Friday Street and Peacock Suit. I would have loved to have heard The Changingman, as it was the song that got me into Weller.

Back to The Jam, he played Start, where he was joined on stage by a young fan, who jammed with Steve Craddock, before Weller left the stage.

I know, he has a song called Start and plays it at the end.

Except, it wasn’t. After what seemed like an eternity, Weller returned to the stage to do an acoustic set.

It didn’t really work. It was a Thursday night and we were all in the mood for the weekend. If he was going to go acoustic, we wanted hits to sing along to.

We eventually got that in the shape of That’s Entertainment and Wild Wood.

He left the stage again and returned for a second encore, signing off with Town Called Malice.

I’d previously seen him at Waterfront Hall in November 2015, when he was a bit iffy and off form.

This was not the case at Ulster Hall.

Photo Album

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall November 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 – SEPTEMBER

September 2017 began with a road trip, and a long one at that, to Edinburgh, to see Linfield take on Spartans in the Scottish Challenge Cup.

Two days later, it was another football match with an international feel, an actual international, as Northern Ireland took on Czech Republic at Windsor Park.

The following weekend was busy, taking in Ryan Adams at Ulster Hall and then Linfield’s match against Glentoran.

There was more football to follow, taking in Linfield’s matches against Crusaders and Ballinamallard.

The following weekend was football free but not photo free, as I was out capturing Culture Night, and Street Art painted as part of Hit The North.

The month ended with a trip to Solitude to see Linfield take on Cliftonville. The less said about which, the better.

Spartans v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic Photo Album

Ryan Adams live at Ulster Hall

Ryan Adams live at Ulster Hall

Linfield v Glentoran

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Culture Night 2017

Culture Night 2017 Photo Album

Hit The North 2017

Hit The North 2017 Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

THE DIVINE COMEDY – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 7.12.2017

As fans waiting for The Divine Comedy to appear on stage at Ulster Hall, the warm-up playlist played Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon. Halfway through the song, the band appeared on stage led by the impish Neil Hannon, dressed in smart suits, though not as smart as James Bond. Neil Hannon, Licence To Thrill.

Yes. Yes. I know it’s the theme tune to The Spy Who Loved Me, i’m just using a bit of creative licence.

It was the band’s second Belfast concert this year, having played Custom House Square as part of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. It was a fact that escaped Hannon as he spoke inbetween songs, saying that it had been a long time since their last Belfast concert, before correcting himself that it had only been a few months.

Earlier, he had said he would be doing less chat, as people wouldn’t hear him anyway, declaring that the band will just continue to play “cool songs” as he introduced Generation Sex.

For this, and for a lot of people in and around the front row were dancing in sync, i’m not sure if it was by accident or if it just happened. They were dancing awfully though, but this isn’t Strictly Live, and nobody’s dancing was to be judged.

We were treated to favourites such as Becoming More Like Alfie and How Can You Leave Me On My Own? as well as a cover of Where Do You Go To My Lovely? by Peter Sarstedt, who died earlier this year, which was reference by Hannon when he described him as “A lovely man”.

They were even allowed to use The Ulster Hall’s own in-house organ for some of their set.

There was even a surreal moment when Neil Hannon had tried to interact with several people shouting at him.

One woman was shouting “Introduce the band” at him, while there was an embarrassing borebag who was shouting “Play My Lovely Horse” inbetween songs.

You’re probably imagining what he looks like, and yep, a definite Harp drinking Rugby sort. Even worse, over 50 and old enough to know better. It was probably the only night he’s allowed out over Christmas, a walking “Yer Da” joke.

Around me, you could hear people muttering “Shut the fuck up”, Neil Hannon even told him that, and another member of the band commented “You’ve been at every concert on this tour”. Metaphorically rather than literally i’d imagine.

Hannon would then let the crowd know that he was in control of the playlist, introducing the next song and telling the crowd that they would like it. They would, it was Something For The Weekend, quite apt as it was a Thursday night and so close to the weekend.

There may have been no My Lovely Horse, but we did get Songs Of Love, best known as the theme tune to Father Ted, with the crowd singing along to the riff that everyone knows and loves, with Neil Hannon proclaiming “Eat your heart out, Ronnie Hazelhurst” with Ronnie Hazelhurst being a composer of TV theme tunes, the theme to Only Fools And Horses being on his credits

Hannon left the stage, and returned, dressed as Napoleon Bonaparte, a costume that Hannon says he will be returning in three days time, very sweaty, with the “Sweat of a thousand gigs”

Those who enjoyed it had the opportunity to relive it, of sorts, as there was a live album called Loose Canon being sold at the merchandise stand, recorded during their Foreverland Tour of 2016-2017.

I’ve purchased a copy but haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. That will be the soundtrack to my next drive.

Leaving the venue to the early stages of a snow storm, curiously, it was the third time I had left an Ulster Hall concert to be met by snow outside, having done so after Ellie Goulding in 2010 and Paloma Faith in 2013.

Inbetween songs, Hannon was assisted by a very well dressed Roadie/PA known only as Alistair. Hannon said there could be a move about his life, as “Forrest Gump would have nothing on him”, to which the crowd showed their support for Alistair.

It was hard to know which if the two was the star of the show. Hannon could make a good case that it was him, having got a standing ovation as he left the stage following an encore that included National Express.

Photo Album

The Divine Comedy live at HMV Belfast September 2016

The Divine Comedy live at Custom House Square May 2017

RYAN ADAMS – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 8.9.2017

Load of rubbish. He was on stage for two hours and didn’t play Summer Of 69.

Might as well get that out of the way first. It was Ryan, not Bryan Adams. Curiously, they share the same birthday, fifteen years apart.

Bit of a late one this, only getting a ticket three days before the concert, with tickets being sold out on the first day of sale. Curiously, for an event listed as “Sold out”, there was a lot of space in the venue.

This was supposed to be his first Belfast concert since 2012, except that it was his first Belfast concert since the previous night.

He was bored on Thursday night and was looking for something to do, so via the power of Social Media, he did a quickly arranged gig in McHugh’s, with profits going to Assisi.

If you want, you can view clips from the McHugh’s gig here.

It was 2001 that I first got into Ryan Adams with his album Gold, and singles such as New York New York and Answering Bell.

It was 14 years later and 12 years earlier came the album that turned him into a Panto Villain in the eyes of the internet, which is literally the worst thing you can be due to him causing anger for “Mansplaining” (Not a real word. Anyone who uses it should not be taken seriously) 1989 by Taylor Swift.

There were no Taylor Swift covers, but we were treated to a two hour trip through his back catalogue, and a lot of guitar solos, and then some harmonica solos.

The highlight of which was New York New York.

I would have love to have heard Answering Bell and So Alive, it didn’t matter, Ulster Hall was very much alive.

Photo Album

2016 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

It was a musical start to September 2016, by going to see Squeeze in concert at Ulster Hall, then going to see The Divine Comedy perform at HMV two days later.

It was back to football the following weekend as Linfield took on Portadown.

I was then off to Liverpool for a wedding and made a trip out of it, getting some Street Art photos in Liverpool.

The following weekend after my return from Liverpool, it was back to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ards.

Having photographed Street Art in Liverpool, I was photographing Street Art in Belfast, of North Street and surrounding areas, having missed Culture Night due to being in Liverpool.

Squeeze live at Ulster Hall

Squeeze live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

The Divine Comedy live at HMV Belfast

The Divine Comedy live at HMV Belfast Photo Album

Linfield v Portadown

Liverpool Street Art

Liverpool Street Art Photo

Linfield v Ards

North Street Art

North Street Art Photo Album

2016 IN PICTURES – APRIL

April 2016 began for me at The Odyssey to see Muse in concert.

The following Saturday, I headed for Seaview to see Linfield lose to Crusaders, a match that killed off their title hopes.

Another concert soon followed, this time it was to see Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott at Ulster Hall.

Back to football, and a double whammy of convincing Linfield wins, over Coleraine and Glentoran.

The match against Coleraine allowed me to check out the facilities in the South Stand for the first time since it was officially opened.

Towards the end of the month, Prince died, and Belfast wasn’t slow in paying tribute, a mural appearing within a day of his death.

I then headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

Around that time, I purchased a new camera as my camera was broken beyond repair. I was still getting used to it, so that’s why some photos towards the end of the month are a bit different.

Muse live at The Odyssey

Muse live at The Odyssey Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at Ulster Hall

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Glentoran v Linfield

Purple Rain

Purple Rain Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

SQUEEZE – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 4.9.2016

80s Pop Legends Glenn and Chris popped into Belfast last Sunday to perform at Ulster Hall.

Not that Glenn and Chris. Obviously, Glenn Hoddle was in Trnava commentating on the England match for ITV.

No, this Glenn and Chris is Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford from Squeeze, one of those bands who you know more songs than you realise.

They entered the stage unremarkably, Tilbrook strolling onstage playing a bluesy guitar solo before launching into Hourglass, with the saxophone bits being replaced by organs.

Squeeze are back after a 17 year absence, returning in 2015 with a new album, Cradle To The Grave. The title track, was the theme tune to the BBC 1 Sitcom of the (almost) same name.

As a side note, if you haven’t seen Cradle To Grave, you really should. It’s based on Danny Baker’s autobiography. If Danny Baker is involved in something, you know it’s going to be brilliant.

That song went down well with the audience, as did the song that followed it, a cover of Harper Valley PTA.

After Tilbrook hogging the microphone, it was Chris Difford’s turn in the spotlight, singing their signature song which he sang lead vocals on, Cool For Cats.

During the performance, the LED screen on the stage had visuals to sync up with the lyrics, including a newspaper clipping of a 14 year old Glenn Tilbrook being suspended from school for having long hair.

A lot of the songs had slight changes to them, compared with the recorded version.

Tempted began with Glenn Tilbrook performing solo at a piano, with the audience clapping along where there should have been a drum beat before performing the song as it is known.

Clapping seemed to be a theme throughout the show, and dancing. A lot of clapping along and dancing.

Unsurprisingly, all the big hits were performed – Is That Love?, Pulling Mussels From A Shell, Labelled With Love, Another Nail In My Heart and Up The Junction.

For the encore, they performed Black Coffee In Bed, which is what a lot of the audience were looking forward to by this point, literally, and then finished where it all began, by performing Take Me I’m Yours, their first hit single.

Photo Album