It’s a special Christmas edition of Melody Maker this week. Not only a new year coming up, but a new decade and a new century. It can only be 1999.

In news, Travis are doing homecoming gigs in Glasgow, and hoping to avoid playing large arenas, despite the success of their album The Man Who.

Justine Frischmann is subject of a Q and A, being asked to give her opinions on Blur and Suede’s new albums.

Meanwhile, The Charlatans have denied that their new single My Beautiful Friend is about Rob Collins, the band’s former Keyboardist who died in 1996.

There is an unscientific test of the bets Hangover TV, with SM:TV Live, Live and Kicking, T4 and Soccer AM all in contention.

There is a guide to the best Christmas TV, with Kevin The Teenager doing a guide to being a teenager being advised as “Don’t miss”

Naturally, 1999 gets reviewed, with a month by month look, as well as some of the best quotes.

There’s even a world exclusive interview with Santa Claus, conducted by Rick Witter from Shed Seven.

Metallica are interviewed about their perfect Christmas, declaring there is nothing more Christmassy than hardcore porn.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a few drinks, and Melody Maker goes out to get drunk with the band A.

Meanwhile, Longpigs give a guide to the best Christmas food.

Cover stars Stereophonics are interviewed, declaring 1999 to be a brilliant year.

Roddy Woomble from Idlewild talks about his favourite films of 1999, including Fight Club and South Park, while Dermot O’Leary talks about TV in 1999 including Friends, Eastenders and Louis Theroux.

In a magazine full of lists, Head Music by Suede wins Best Album, while I Try by Macy Gray wins Best Single, ironically not becoming a massive hit until 2000.

In concert reviews, Melody Maker took a trip to Belfast to see Travis at the Waterfront Hall.

The magazine ends with a Q and A with Macy Gray where she reveals she laughs when people sing Happy Birthday to her, while Noddy Holder discusses the lyrics to Merry Xmas Everybody.


November took a while to get going, my first adventure being on the 7th, to see Linfield take on Crusaders. I would be spending a lot of time at Windsor Park in the opening fortnight of the month.

Windsor Park is where I would be based in the opening two weekends of the month, taking in Northern Ireland’s friendly against Latvia, then Linfield’s match against Cliftonville the next day.

The following midweek was all about music, as Paul Weller and U2 came to Belfast.

The busy month continued when I took in my annual Ulster European game, a defeat to Saracens.

The final two Saturdays of the month saw me on the road, to see Linfield lose in Mid-Ulster against Glenavon and Portadown.

Sandwiched inbetween that, was a trip to Manchester to see United take on PSV Eindhoven, where I also took the opportunity to get some Street Art photos.

Linfield v Crusaders

Northern Ireland v Latvia

Northern Ireland v Latvia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall

Paul Weller live at Waterfront Hall Photo Album

U2 live at The Odyssey

U2 live at The Odyssey Photo Album

Ulster v Saracens

Ulster v Saracens Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Manchester Street Art November 2015

Manchester Street Art November 2015 Photo Album

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven

Manchester United v PSV Eindhoven Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield


Paul Weller rolled into Belfast on Monday night as he kicked off his Winter 2015 Tour at Waterfront Hall. This was my first time seeing him, despite him being a relatively regular visitor to Belfast.

Last year, I had toyed with the idea of making his concert at Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin my first Weller gig, especially as the support was Tom Odell, but it being a midweek gig and needing to save my Annual Leave, I decided against it.

More tours followed, including a tour in early 2015 of lesser toured towns in the UK, before a full UK tour for Winter, with no Belfast. I was tempted by Manchester (Saturday 27th November) but the football fixtures didn’t go in my favour.

Eventually, I was rewarded when he announced a gig at Waterfront Hall. This year marks 40 years since Weller’s first gig, as a member of The Jam.

I first became a fan of Weller in 1995, when he released The Changingman, discovering his solo work, and then his back catalogue with The Jam and Style Council.

Weller was supported by Blossoms, from Stockport, who are supporting The Charlatans on tour next month, and have had their February gig in Belfast upgraded from Voodoo to The Limelight.

I was already in love with their single Charlemagne, but the rest of their set wasn’t bad.

Weller is a man of few words, not muttering much between songs, apart from the usual rock star pleasantries. In fact, it was Steve Cradock, taking time out from his day job with Ocean Colour Scene, to tour with Weller (he has played on all of Weller’s solo albums, and usually fits Weller duties around OCS duties), who said more between songs, introducing a section of Style Council hits.

The best of those, was Long Hot Summer. Already a brilliant song, the drums and bass get enhanced live at make it sound better.

A new album out this year, Weller performed the two lead singles from Saturn’s Pattern, the title track and Going My Way, both excellent and warmly received.

There were also some of his earlier solo hits such as Into Tomorrow, Friday Street and Peacock Suit, before he finished, rather confusingly, with Start, one of his biggest hits with The Jam.

It takes a strange sense of humour to play a song called Start at the end of a gig.

Technical problems meant there was a delay in his encore, before he did come out. Fans had expected to be hearing the likes of The Changingman, Out Of The Sinking, Mermaids, Sunflower, Wild Wood or You Do Something To Me.

They didn’t get to hear any of them. They didn’t even get A Town Called Malice.

Weller left the crowd wanting more, but not in a good way.

Photo Album


It’s fair to say that April was a busy month.

The first Saturday of the month, I went to two football matches in a day, both Irish Cup Semi-Finals. That night, I went to see Ellie Goulding at Waterfront Hall.

The following morning, I went to get some Street Art photos from the Lagan Towpath.

Three days later, I was in Glasgow to see Linfield in a friendly. I stayed for a few more days so I could see James at SECC, supported by Echo and the Bunnymen.

While I was in Glasgow, I managed to get some Street Art pictures, and attended the Scottish Cup Semi-Final between Falkirk and Hibs.

As you can imagine, I went camera happy during that trip.

Upon my return to Belfast, I was out getting photos of a mural of Bananaman in Great Victoria Street, as you do, before seeing Linfield finish off a miserable season with two home defeats.

Glentoran v Portadown

Glentoran v Portadown Photo Album

Cliftonville v Crusaders

Cliftonville v Crusaders Photo Album

Ellie Goulding Live At The Waterfront Hall

Ellie Goulding Live At Waterfront Hall Photo Album

Down By The Towpath

Glasgow Street Art

Glasgow Street Album Photo Album

Rangers v Linfield

Rangers v Linfield Photo Album

Falkirk v Hibernian

Falkirk v Hibernian Photo Album

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At SECC

Echo and the Bunnymen Live At SECC Photo Album

James Live At SECC

James Live At SECC Photo Album

Bananaman/Stay Puft

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Linfield v Crusaders


March began for me with a trip to Dublin to see Linfield take on Shamrock Rovers in a Setanta Cup game. Unfortunately, I missed the first couple of minutes of the game, as I would have loved to have got the stadium in advance of kick-off to get some shots, and get a good shooting position.

The less said about the match, the better.

Three days later, I was at the Waterfront Hall (amazingly, it has been open since 1997, and this was my first concert attended at it) to see Stereophonics in concert.

Got a good shooting position and some good shots. An excellent concert as well.

That weekend, I went out and got some Street Art photos in Ormeau Park.

The following weekend, I was in Manchester to see United take on Reading. I didn’t know it then, but it would be the last time I would go to a United match managed by Sir Alex Ferguson.

On the Monday, I was at a freezing Seaview to see Linfield lose 3-0 to Crusaders. I should have just stayed in the house and watched it on TV.

The following Friday, I was hoping to go to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Russia. Unfortunately, it was postponed due to snow. In March.

I went out to try and get some snow photos. It wasn’t very photogenic snow. The photos of it weren’t particularly great.

The following Tuesday, I did get to see Northern Ireland play, against Israel, in a 2-0 defeat.

Shamrock Rovers v Linfield

Shamrock Rovers v Linfield Photo Album

Stereophonics Live At Waterfront Hall

Stereophonics Live At Waterfront Hall Photo Album


Manchester United v Reading

Manchester United v Reading Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield


Snow Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Israel

Northern Ireland v Israel Photo Album



Ellie Goulding was at Waterfront Hall last night, playing the first gig of her tour in support of her new album, Halcyon.

I’d previously seen her at Ulster Hall in 2010, a very enjoyable gig, so I headed over to this.

Having a very Electro sound, it was no surprise that her support acts should also have a similar sound. The first was a singer called Matthew Koma.

There was some sound problems during the first couple of songs, but his set was enjoyable. Unashamed radio based commercial pop, worth checking out.

The second support act, was a singer called Charli XCX. The first thing that came into my head when seeing her was, Marina and the Diamonds. She looks like her, and sings like her. It gets even better …… she’ll be the support act for Marina on her American tour later this year.

Now, I like Marina, but I don’t think being a blatant copy of her is the way to go. Most of her act was mainly shouting and whipping her hair back and forth.

Eventually, Ellie went on, and went straight into performing songs from her new album, which went down well with the crowd.

She then slowed it down but playing an acoustic version of Guns and Horses, and performing her cover of Your Song.

To be honest, I don’t really like her version of Your Song, mainly as it gives a false impression of what she is about to casual music fans.

Thankfully, the slow section wasn’t too long, as she started to get things moving by performing her debut single Under The Sheets, then merging it into Anything Could Happen, the lead single from Halcyon and best song on the night.

With the setlist now going uptempo, she started dancing. Not very well, but she didn’t care as she was having fun. And so, was everyone else in the room.

Photo Album

Ellie Goulding Live At Ulster Hall 2010

Ellie Goulding Live At Ulster Hall Photo Album


Was at Waterfront Hall last night to see Stereophonics for the third time, having previously seen them at The Odyssey (2005) and Custom House Square (2010)

I love Stereophonics. To give you an idea of how long the’ve been going for, I got into them via The Chart Show, playing songs such as Traffic, Local Boy In The Photograph and A Thousand Trees from their first album, Word Gets Around.

Word Gets Around was released in 1997, the year Waterfront Hall opened. Last night, believe it or not, was the first time I attended a concert in Waterfront Hall.

They began with hits from their first two albums, including Bartender And The Thief (I bought a Live EP from HMV Forestside on my way home from school on the day it was released), before entering into Superman, one of their finest songs, Kelly Jones strutting in the limelight and revelling in the adoration of fans.

Two songs in, it looked like being a chronological greatest hits set. It wasn’t, though I doubt anyone would have complained if it was.

After a few hits, it was time for some songs from their new album, Graffiti On The Train, starting with lead single Indian Summer getting the biggest reaction, unsurprisingly.

I haven’t had a chance to listen to their new album, but on the basis of the songs played last night, it could be a grower.

A lot of the songs are a lot slower than Indian Summer (the classic fast paced Stereophonics song) but still enjoyable.

The choice of venue seemed strange to me, as I would have considered Stereophnics to be Odyssey-able.

I have a strange ranking system for a band’s popularity/commerical appeal by using Belfast concert venues.

Since you ask, in descending order :

Auntie Annie’s – Limelight – Mandela Hall – Ulster Hall – Waterfront Hall – The Odyssey

The reason that this concert was at Waterfront Hall turned out to be simple, One Direction had already booked The Odyssey.

Kelly Jones, however, announced that they would be back to Belfast later in the year, at The Odyssey (but didn’t actually state a date)

If you get the chance to go and see them there, take it.

Photo Album

See Also

Stereophonics Live At Custom House Square 2010

Stereophonics Live At Custom House Square 2010 Photo Album