TONY CLAYTON-LEApicks five of the best acts at Belfast’s Belsonic festival, and quizzes The Enemy and Oberhofer about their festival lives
Two Door Cinema Club
Thursday August 23
It’s a long way from Bangor to the Olympics, but it seems that Two Door Cinema Club – whose singer, Alex Trimble, enjoyed a good old warble at the opening ceremony of the athletics event several weeks ago – have jumped the shark. It’s a curious position to be in; less than three years ago, the trio (which also features Sam Halliday, lead guitar, and Kevin Baird, bass) were just another aspiring Northern Irish indie act on the edges of electro-pop. Just over two years ago, they released their debut album, Tourist History; about 18 months ago they nabbed the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year 2010; and then, following a veritable blitz of music placements in TV advertisements and games – someone clearly was working very hard on the band’s behalf – they proceeded to sell more than a million copies of it. At this show they’ll preview tracks from their forthcoming (leaked online!) album, Beacon.
Song of the Day:We love Something Good Can Work, so either that or Undercover Martyn.
Friday August 17
It’s highly unusual for a “heritage” act to get a creative edge on bands many, many years their junior, but that’s exactly what Madness did in 2009 when they released what is arguably their best album to date, The Liberty of Norton Folgate. Of course, the Camden Town ska-pop act are perhaps too well known for their string of more than 20 superlative hit singles, released between 1979 and 1985; and there was the band-authorised Our House musical, which ran in London’s West End from late-2002 to mid-2003. In short, the best of Madness’s songs (and there quite a few of them) have become part of the pop-culture landscape, rightly viewed as classics of their kind. And yet The Liberty of Norton Folgate (a concept album about London, described by the now defunct Word magazine as “Peter Ackroyd writing for The Kinks”) caught pretty much everyone by surprise. A new album is due shortly; in the meantime, prepare yourselves for a feast of the familiar.
Song of the Day:Primrose Hill (from their 1982 album, Rise Fall), which out-Kinks The Kinks and almost out-Beatles The Beatles.
Thursday August 16
Let’s forgive her the early association with Chipmunk, and let’s pass over that fact that – like, you know, for a second, like – Simon Cowell professed her to be his favourite songwriter (“at the minute”). Let us, instead, hail Scotland’s Emile Sandé not just as a writer of strong urban pop/soul material for the likes of Cher Lloyd, Cheryl Cole, Professor Green and Tinie Tempah (and, says us, really looking forward to hearing them, the reformed “not-Sugarbabes” Mutya Keisha Siobhan), but also the proud creator of this year’s debut album, Our Version of Events. She’s come a long way in a short time, then, but the former medicine student seems to have her wits about her – not only does she abandon a song within a day if she can’t finish writing it, but she’s engaged to a scientist, not a pop star. Clever.