2019 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR …..)

December’s photo adventures had to wait a full seven days, when I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield beat Cliftonville.

A few days later, I headed to Ulster Hall for my final concert of the year, to see Primal Scream.

The following Saturday, I headed to Warrenpoint to see Linfield get a 2-0 win.

That was followed by heading to Windsor Park to see Linfield draw 1-1 with Crusaders.

December so far hasn’t been that busy so far, but there’s still some photo adventures to come in the final week.

It’s unlikely that i’ll be at Seaview tomorrow for the Steel and Sons Cup Final, but i’ll be at The Oval on Boxing Day. As if i’d be anywhere else.

Boxing Day is the start of three busy days, as i’ll be heading to Ulster v Connacht the day after, and then Coleraine v Linfield the day after that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed by look back at my photo adventures in 2019. Of course, there’ll be more photo adventures in 2020.

In terms of concerts, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Blossoms and Badly Drawn Boy are already on the horizon.

Travelwise, Manchester and Bray are confirmed. I’m planning to walk up Bray Head. While in Bray, i’ll sneak in a trip to Dublin. I’m hoping to see a Euro 2020 game while i’m there, but i’ll definitely catch some League Of Ireland action.

May is the new date for Hit The North, so i’ll be photographing that, and any other Street Art I spot during the year.

And i’ll be crossing my fingers for some snow to photograph at some point because i’m a big kid.

Linfield v Cliftonville

Primal Scream live at Ulster Hall

Primal Scream live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

2019 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

October 2019 began with a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders.

A busy month of concerts began a few days later with a trip to Ulster Hall to see The Divine Comedy.

There was even some Street Art spotted during the month, heading to Stephen Street to see a mural of The Joker and Catwoman

The next day, I was on the road to Dungannon to see Linfield beat Dungannon Swifts 4-1.

From there, it was another concert, a first visit to The Telegraph Building, to see Two Door Cinema Club.

The flipping between football and concerts continued as I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ballymena United. The following midweek saw a football/concert double header, seeing Linfield take on Warrenpoint Town, before seeing OMD at Ulster Hall.

October’s photo adventures ended with a trip to see Linfield take on Coleraine, the month beginning and ending for me with a 1-0 defeat.

Crusaders v Linfield

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Joker and Catwoman Mural

Joker and Catwoman Mural Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Two Door Cinema Club live at The Telegraph Building

Two Door Cinema Club live at The Telegraph Building Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

OMD live at Ulster Hall

OMD live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

PRIMAL SCREAM – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 10.12.2019

Unless something dramatic happens, this was my final concert of 2019, and it ended how it started, by seeing a Scottish act at Ulster Hall.

Primal Scream rolled into Belfast, as they seem to do every three years, to promote a Greatest Hits album called Maximum Rock n Roll. I didn’t realise there were limits on Rock n Roll.

This time there would be a change of venue from those concerts in 2013 and 2016, with Ulster Hall hosting them instead of The Limelight, a return to the venue after 25 years according to Gillespie, before adding that his memory was hazy. A quick search online suggests it was 1992 rather than 1994.

As with my last visit to Ulster Hall, there would be no cloakroom facilities. So, I had a choice between wearing a raincoat indoors like a dick, or carrying my raincoat like a dick. I went for the option of looking like a dick.

Bobby Gillespie strode on stage, wearing a pink suit, but looking more like The Joker than Mr Blobby, being tripped out and chilled out, as per his usual vibe.

On Tuesdays we wear pink. So fetch.

Elsewhere on stage, Andrew Innes and Simone Butler, bounced off each other, metaphorically not literally, as they plucked their strings.

Those three were the only ones on stage who were visible, with Keyboards and Drums being hidden by their large equipment.

Butlet is now a permanent member of the band, having replace Mani who left to work on Stone Roses third album, which i’m sure will be released soon. Just finishing it off i’m sure.

For the early stage of the concert, it was mostly hits from their B List and C List, a lot of guitar driven songs and not a lot of dancing.

As a result, this concert took a while to get going.

Then, Gillespie asks the crowd “Do you want to party?”, before an automated voiced asked that immortal question, “Just what is it that you want?”

The party had now started, with Innes revelling in getting the opportunity to do the guitar solos he had been waiting all night to do.

At the end of that song, Gillespie said the next song had a choir and asked the crowd if they would fill in. We all knew what it would be, Moving On Up, and we all sang along, giving the band a standing ovation, and when our hands were sore, started stomping our feet.

From there, we moved on to Jailbird, then Country Girl, before finishing on Rocks, before Gillespie wished the crowd Merry Christmas.

It took a while to get going, but when it did, Primal Scream were unstoppable, a very enjoyable concert.

From Rocks to Roxette, and it was sad to hear about the death of Marie Fredriksson earlier in the day. Can’t say I would have rushed to see them in concert (They played Dublin in 2015) but you have to acknowledge they had some absolutely banging tunes back in the day.

So that is me in terms of concerts for 2019, but I’ve already got concerts for 2020 booked – Badly Drawn Boy in January, Blossoms in March, and Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott in April.

There are a few i’m going to pin my hopes on for 2020.

Crowded House announced a concert for Dublin on July 1st, the night i’ll be leaving Dublin after a short break. This triggered a rediscovering of Crowded House for me, it’s easy to forget how good they were.

They announced a UK tour this week. No Belfast gig. Hopefully, a Belfast concert can be squeezed in around their Dublin and Cork concerts.

While i’m in Dublin in late June/early July, Haim will be playing Dublin. Tempted, but then I remember that I hate outdoor concerts.

As a result, i’ll be giving Liam Gallagher at Boucher Road a miss. Sat in a field in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the stage as the Golden Circle is kept for people who know people and plebs like me can fuck off. Add into that, the place will stink of fags and vapes, and it will be infested with spotty faced fuckwits from Ards putting on crap Manchester accents and doing the Gallagher Strut, boasting how they’ll “Beat up some Cockney bastards”. I think i’ll pass.

Next time Liam, just do The Odyssey. I’ll pin my hopes on Noel turning up there.

Duran Duran have announced an outdoor concert for Dublin in the Summer with a new album also on the way in 2020. Fingers crossed a tour later in the year that takes in Belfast.

Ash are playing Dublin concert for New Year’s Eve, so i’ll be expecting a Dublin concert in 2020 to be embargoed, with a Dublin/Belfast double header being announced.

I’m hoping to go away over the July Holidays, i’m still trying to get those plans in place. I’ll keep an eye out on the listings for Galway International Arts Festival and Live At The Marquee in Cork around those dates.

So, that’s my plans for 2020. We shall see if it comes to fruition.

Photo Album

Primal Scream live at The Limelight 2016

Primal Scream live at The Limelight 2013

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

OMD – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 23.10.2019

“This first song was from 1980, and this last song was from 2017” said Andy McCluskey two songs in, before adding “And the rest will be from inbetween”, stating the obvious, considering that it was a 40th Anniversary Greatest Hits Tour.

1991, then 2009 (supporting Simple Minds), then 2017, and now 2019. Thankfully, the gap between their appearances in Belfast seem to be getting shorter. In fact it was one day short of two years since they were last in Belfast, at Mandela Hall.

It was back in 1996, when channel hopping and coming across the video for Walking On The Milky Way on VH1 (Because all the cool kids watch VH1), I always remembered how such a great song it was.

Then I knew Enola Gay. I liked two songs.

Then a few years later, I couldn’t sleep, and was watching some 80s videos on one of the music channels, and they played Souvenir.

So that was three songs I now knew and liked.

Later, when I joined the Music Library at Belfast Central Library, one of the first albums I took out was the 1998 compilation album The OMD Singles, and found I quite liked them.

It was a long wait for them to come to Belfast, though thankfully not long for them to return.

Pishing down with rain when I walked to the venue, I soon discovered there were no Cloakroom facilities at the venue, so I faced a choice.

The raincoat I was wearing came from Decathlon, and is more for sailing, Sailing On The Seven Seas, you could say. It is absolutely roasting and the venue was roasting. Do I continue to wear it and be roasted squared?

Or do I tie it around my waist and look like a dick?

If you care, I went for the looking like a dick option.

The heat was referenced by McCluskey during the set, asking who had been at Mandela Hall in 2017, and commenting that it was just as hot.

Pointless fact about Andy McCluskey. His real name is George but he prefers to be called Andrew. That must have been really awkward if he was ever hanging out with Wham.

I’m not really a fan of Ulster Hall, but I saw Chvrches there earlier this year and it was fantastic, so it might not be dreadful for this genre of music.

As in 2017, McCluskey was taking Dad Dancing to a new level, and I’ve seen Tim Booth and James Dean Bradfield dance. The key, he said, was to dance like nobody is watching.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he holds Dancercise classes at Birkenhead Community Centre on a Tueaday night. He was working up such a sweat, that his black shirt was an even darker shade of black.

He even managed to display a sense of humour, telling people not to nip off to the toilet during a new song as it was actually quite good. When introducing a song he described it as a new song, before adding “From 1991”.

Just as people were expecting Sailing On The Seven Seas, opening up a Pandora’s Box by playing, um, Pandora’s Box.

Most of the big hits played usually resulted in hand clapping and fist pumping from the audience.

Hits such as Tesla Girls, getting a Yes Yes Yes from the audience as soon as the synthesised “No No No” intro was heard.

Other hits included Enola Gay, Sailing On The Seven Seas, Electricity, Messages, Joan Of Arc, Maid Of Orleans, Locomotion and So In Love.

Paul Humphries was even allowed out to sing Forever Live And Die, thankfully not being hit in the face by a bra thrown from the crowd as he was in 2017. Andy said he was jealous of the applause he got from the crowd, allowing him to sing another song, Souvenir.

The only downside was that my three favourite OMD songs, Walking On The Milky Way and If You Leave weren’t played, but I can live with that, considering how many of their big hits.

As they left the stage, Paul Humphries said “See you soon”.

You could read that as a quick return to Belfast to meet up with A-Ha next week, who they toured with in 2018.

Or maybe not, though that would be nice. Whenever it is, i’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Photo Album

OMD live at Mandela Hall 2017

THE DIVINE COMEDY – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 7.10.2019

A busy month of concerts for me saw The Divine Comedy (Two Door Cinema Club and OMD to follow in the coming weeks) take to the stage at Ulster Hall, my first concert in four months, if you don’t include Edwyn Collins instore appearance at Strange Victory last month.

That concert by Edwyn Collins has raised the bar though, now i’m expecting tea and cake at every show I go to.

I was tempted, two days before this, to go and see John Power in Warrenpoint. If Linfield were away to Warrenpoint on Saturday, that would have sealed the deal. If I did end up doing a Football/Concert double header, I would have seen seven goals and got drenched. I sat at home and stayed dry.

Death, Taxes, Cast at The Limelight. But maybe not this year.

You were spoilt for choice on this particular evening. You had Keane (who I haven’t seen and would have love to have went, but I had my ticket for this before Keane were announced) at Waterfront Hall or you could have had Little Mix at The Odyssey if you wanted.

I wasn’t really that fussed on Little Mix, so were The Divine Comedy worth missing Keane for? Well, you’ll have to read on.

I’m just grateful that anybody is playing in Belfast these days. The last few months have seen Simple Minds, Pet Shop Boys, Stereophonics, Blossoms and Liam Gallagher all announce tours with no Belfast gig. Flip sake.

Support came from a band called Man and the Echo, who sound like Echo and the Bunnymen backwardsand featured a Keyboardist who fancied himself as Ron Mael, were decent, with a few toetapping tunes

The Divine Comedy are touring their latest album, called Office Politics, a concept album about life in an office.

The stage was set up like and office, with and in door and an out door.

Annoying they didn’t walk in through the out door, as a sort of tribute to Prince.

Neil Hannon, the impish little frontman appeared on stage and you couldn’t miss him, wearing a suit with images of a Test Card and wearing sunglasses indoors ……… in October.

And yet, he still managed to not look like Colin Hunt from The Fast Show.

It was an outfit that Hannon would decribed as “Hot”, stating that nobody told him how hot it would be.

This current album didn’t get an instore appearance at HMV in Belfast to support it like the last album, the people of Manchester had that honour. So, this would be the first the people would get to hear it.

This album made up most of the playlist, with Hannon stating that he is at a disadvantage in terms of research, as he doesn’t work in an office in his day job as a Pop Star, with his business being that of Show.

Part of this show was theatrical with a clock in the background being manually adjusted to take us on a journey through the working day. This work was done by a Roadie called Alistair, who got some sympathy from the crowd during the band’s last Ulster Hall gig after Hannon told him off.

The lights went down, and by the time they went back up, the band were wearing party hats, holding a balloon, as it was time for the Office Christmas Party.

And what song would kick off this party? Something For The Weekend, of course.

Hannon then disappeared into the pit between Stage and Floor, he was engaging in a “Watercooler moment”, although not many would have been able to see it. He then went on to make fun of people who work in HR. Less of that please.

As Hannon prepared inbetween songs, there would always be someone shouting “Play My Lovely Horse”. He was rather polite in his rejection of any such request, even though the temptation would have been to shout “Feck off”.

There would be at least one Father Ted song on the setlist, Songs Of Love, an instrumental version of which was the theme to the show.

For the encore, we were treated to a stripped back version of National Express. It worked, surprisingly so when you consider how big and loud the song is.

I wonder if they fancy doing some overtime?

Photo Album

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall 2017

The Divine Comedy live at Custom House Square 2017

The Divine Comedy live at HMV Belfast 2016

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