Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

NEW BLOG PAGE FOR 2013


2013
01.03
Michael Fisher

Michael Fisher

I have written a series of blogs on various topics since I started up my website in July 2010. I have also had some articles published in various newspapers and I have included them in this section. Now in a move to prompt me I hope to write more blogs on the issues of the day and other subjects of interest (including local history), I have created a dedicated blog page, FisherBelfast’s Blog. I have transferred the blogs from here to the new site, but I will leave the ones for 2010, 2011 and 2012 here for archive purposes. So I am now inviting you to take alook at how I have cast my rod and started fishing for stories on a new page. Thank you to all those who have read my blogs here. Please sign up on my new page for regular emails about fresh stories.

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http://fisherbelfast.wordpress.com/

HORSLIPS ON TOUR


2011
04.24

Horslips concert in Belfast

Horslips were always one of my favourite bands. In 2009 when they got together again after a thirty year gap since their last live concert, they played in front of packed audiences in Belfast and Dublin. Twelve months on they were back again, this time at the O2 in Dublin followed in quick succession by Belfast (December 1st 2010). I left it a bit late to buy tickets for the Waterfront Hall gig and ended up on the second floor, up in the “gods” as it were. There were more than a few empty seats at that level. Although the overall view was fine and the sound was good, it did not enable me to see the members of the band in any detail. So I would recommend these fine profile photos by Daragh Owens (copyright) which convey the atmosphere in front of the stage really well. Those who chose to stand and dance or rock along to the music seem to have enjoyed themselves immensely. I could not help noticing the profile of the audience. Most were like myself, in the 50+ age group and showing definite signs of middle-age spread!! The ageing rockers were there to relive the glories of youth. Horslips did not disappoint. There were the usual favourites, including my own, Dearg Doom from The Táin. The lyrics can be found here.

Man who built America

Then came The Man who built America. This was one of the tunes when the lighting (a mixture of blue, white and red) matched the lyrics really well. The original album released in 1978 was produced by Steve Katz of Blood, Sweat and Tears and Blues Project fame. It concerned Irish emigration to the USA and was commercially their most successful album (Wikipedia). For some of the numbers the five lads were joined by three female backing vocalists and a three piece brass section (trumpet, trombone and saxophone). Another tune when the lighting effects blended really well with the music was Sideways to the Sun.

Sideways to the Sun

Sun symbols appeared intertwined with the name of the group.  All in all a great experience. Thanks once again to Barry Devlin, Jim Lockhart, Charles O’Connor, Johnny Fean and his brother Ray who stood in once again for Eamon Carr on the drums. His drum kit was unusual with what looked like two helter skelter type sets of cymbals perched above the main drums. Horslips were back at the Waterfront on St Patrick’s Day 2011 in a live BBC Radio Ulster concert with the Ulster Orchestra. It sounded great but I was one of the unlucky ones in the ballot to get free tickets. The venue was full. Another great night to savour. Alf McCreary gave this verdict in the Belfast Telegraph, rock and reels on a night of true magic. He awarded them four stars out of five for their performance (new page). More recently I have been watching the TG4 series Horslips Rotha Mór an tSaoil The Man Who Built America: Barry Devlin and Jim Lockhart re-trace the steps of Donegal man Micky MacGowan whose memoirs ‘Rotha Mór an tSaoil’ inspired the band to write some of their finest work. From the Steel Mills of Bethlehem to the gold fields of the Klondike the two perform some of the Horslips music inspired by Micky and his journey. Well worth watching. Finally another memory from the Waterfront Hall concert in December:

Green lighting this time

BEATLES


2010
12.23

Zebra crossing at Abbey Road studios

Like most of my generation I am a Beatles fan. So I was delighted to find out from my fellow tweeter @EamonnMallie that the iconic zebra crossing at Abbey Road in St John’s Wood, London has received listed status, albeit Grade II. The Liverpool lads recorded most of their output at the studios in Abbey Road. Their final album as a group was recorded there in April 1969.  ’Abbey Road’ became their best selling album and the front cover consisted of a picture of the four members of the group crossing the road at the zebra crossing beside the studios. Zebra crossings in Britain are usually distinguished by belisha beacons on either side, named after a former Transport Minister who introduced them in 1934. These are the flashing amber globes on top of poles with black & white stripes.

Since the Abbey Road photo was taken, zigzag lines at the kerb and in the centre of the road have been added to all zebra crossings to indicate the no-stopping zones on either side. The band Shriekback’s album Sacred City contains an entire song, “Beatles Zebra Crossing?”, about the famous zebra crossing and its status as a tourist attraction (Wikipedia).

The scene is still very much a tourist attraction. When I visited it four years ago I met a group of Japanese visitors waiting to take their turn crossing the road at the same spot and also taking photographs.

There is also a live webcam accessible on the Abbey Road studios web page.

The initiative to list the crossing came from the studios who approached the Department of Culture, Media & Sport. They say the crossing is the first of its kind ever to be listed, reflecting the cultural and historical importance of the crossing and the studios. Some 41 years after the photograph of the Beatles on the crossing outside the studios was taken, it continues to be a must-see destination, attracting thousands of music fans all over the world. Artists have also paid tribute to the iconic image, from the infamous Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album art to Kanye West and Seal. In a statement the general manager of the studios Jonathan Smith said when the Department listed Abbey Road Studios in February, the zebra crossing had been excluded from the listing. As an important cultural landmark and icon of British culture, he said they believed the crossing should receive the same protection as the studios and were delighted this has now been granted.

Abbey Road zebra crossing now a Grade II listed structure

VIDEO


2010
07.20

Here is a new video of an uilleann piper in County Antrim