11 things I learned this weekend
(1) You know you’ve reached Northern Ireland when the drivers with southern registration plates on their cars turn into boy racers. From Dublin to Dundalk, it’s the northern cars which think they’re in The Fast & The Furious. From Newry …
(1) You know you’ve reached Northern Ireland when the drivers with southern registration plates on their cars turn into boy racers. From Dublin to Dundalk, it’s the northern cars which think they’re in The Fast & The Furious. From Newry on, though, the southern cars turn into bad boys.
(2) Headline of the weekend: “RTE probe into High Society to clear station’s own staff” (Sunday Tribune). Now, there’s a surprise.
(3) Quote of the weekend (from the same article – getting value for my €2.50 this weekend)
An RTE employee told the Sunday Tribune: I truly believe that the coke (found in RTE) is from guests from The Late Late Show, Tubridy’s show, basically every entertainment show. It’s not rampant in RTE amongst staff, but this is a place where half the celebrities in the country come through, so obviously the place is going to get covered in it.
“Basically every entertainment show”? Surely not.
(5) Belfast’s Odyssey Arena is the most impressive large venue in the land because they’ve got all the basics right. There’s no hassle getting in or out. The sightlines to the stage are perfect. The sound is always good. It really makes you realise what a truly awful dump Point has been since, well, forever and how atrocious the RDS continues to be. The Nordies must guffaw at us when they come down to the dirty south to see gigs or fill their cars with cheap petrol.
(7) There were several points during Saturday night’s Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band show in Belfast when the roof threatened to blow off towards Cave Hill. One was during “Because The Night”, another came during “The River” and, of course, the audience reaction to “Born To Run” could have powered a small city for a few days. But, as in Madrid a few weeks ago, the new songs also resonated hugely. “Livin’ In The Future” is already a sha-na-na anthem, show opener “Radio Nowhere” sounds meaty and beaty and “Long Walk Home” is a monster ballad equivalent to anything else in the back-catalogue. Another awesome night out with Bruce. If you have a ticket for next May’s shows, keep it very safe.
(8) Before the show, I bumped into my favourite ex-NME commissioning editor Stuart Bailie from the Oh Yeah music centre. Their next big hop will be the “Astral Weeks” Revisited day out on January 5 to mark the 40th birthday of that seminal album and they’re also planning a similar outing for The Boss’s “Nebraska” next summer.
(9) It is the post which keeps on giving. There must be very few other mentions online of the “MT USA” album because people keep coming back again and again to the post and there has bee a steady trickle of comments over the last few weeks. Anyway, buy the album for the 80s nostalgia freak in your life this Christmas.
(10) For the third time this year, I saw 15 minutes of Fujiya & Miyagi live when they played the very impressive Button Factory last night. Only problem is I keep seeing the same 15 minutes. Some day I’ll get to see a full set. The gig was hopping too.
(11) The reason why I had to split was to hightail it to the Adrian Crowley show in Whelan’s. On a night when the mercury was plummeting and the singer was battling with the ‘flu (we recommend Pei Pa Koa), the songs from “Long Distance Swimmer” shimmered beautifully around the venue. He even has a substantial hit in the making in the shape of “These Icy Waters”. Buy the album today for everyone else still on your Christmas present list.