Archives for August 2009

10 notable (non-music) things about Belsonic 09

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ATL | 18:08 UK time, Monday, 31 August 2009

1. The general buzz...
Belsonic is a little bit special - this we know. The location is sublime - in the centre of a capital city, flanked by a beautiful piece of architecture and just the right size and layout. The security where chilled, helpful and understanding. The burgers were outrageously good and the selection at the bar obviously had been well thought out. Everyone seemed so happy, comfortable and appreciative of a festival willing to go just that little bit further.

2. Rigsy and Paul's office...
Rigsy and Paul's officeMala and Bronagh, the charming 'hospitality' girls, decided to be nice to your favourite presenter and producer combo, reserving them a nice blue office backstage. It may only have been a few foot squared, but it did come with a plastic hand basin! It also had a desk, though it was quite a strange design - quite low down and with a weird lid thing that lifted up revealing a kind of watery, bleach-y reservoir. Very post-modern - must have cost a fortune to design. The office had a lock as well, so we had a little privacy to type up any particularly sensitive reviews. You'd even know if we were inside - red meant "hard at work", green meant "come on in say hello". Worked an absolute treat! Until someone wee-d all over our desk :-(

3. No one drinking on Saturday...
What is it with Duke Special fans and booze? The bar seemed empty all day Saturday, while the coffee and burger stall was pretty hectic. We're in no way suggesting everyone needs to get the beers in or advocating binge drinking - but maybe if a few drinks had been downed there would have been a little more movement down the front.

4. Deadmau5 Mau5headz...
deadmau5, complete with mau5headA welcomed diversion from a startlingly average performance was the handful of punters with proper, multicoloured Deadmauz heads on in the crowd. Apparently they travel all round the place after him! Impressive costumes and everything, but watching Deadmau5 every night... really?

5. Dizzee the brat backstage...
Word reaches us that Dizzee and his crew enjoyed a raucous food fight and general wreckin' session in and around their digs backstage. As if that wasn't rock n' roll enough, it's worth pointing out said food fight and wrecking session took place sometime before lunch.

6. 2manydjs keep the party going...
2manydjsAs if being responsible for the most fun Belfast has had ever wasn't enough, the Dawaele brothers kept the rave going long enough to throw an awesome aftershow at the Stiff Kitten, dropping everything from Dizzee Rascal to The Stone Roses. Rigsy even got to do the warm up and was so overcome by the experience he was spotted weeping gently, shortly after the changeover.

7. Backstage strops...
Not mentioning any names, but a certain act on the bill, who seem to go out of their way to be awkward, made it difficult/impossible for us to either photograph them or broadcast their set. An act who, in the past, gave us an 'interview' that was so unusable we had to abandon it half way through. I know it's, you know, fun and mad and outrageous and everything to be outrageously rude and unhelpful to people who only want to play your music to other people who may enjoy it, but still, if you really have to be like that, at least write a couple of decent songs first, okay?

8. Paul Noonan the stud...
Paul NoonanHard to dislike Paul Noonan, what with him being an absolute gent, but we are a little jealous of his way with the ladies. We watched with a certain bitterness in our eyes as all the females backstage swooned at his general being. The question though - is he enough of a stud that a pair of ladies can justify hiding in the adjacent changing room to his, in the dark, so they can spy on him getting changed? No point in asking the hospitality girls about this as they would have no idea what you're on about.

9. Magic numbers playing guitar at a house party...
A friend of ATL's arrived home on Saturday night/Sunday morning from a rave taking place elsewhere in town only to find the Magic Numbers playing guitar in her living room. We have no idea how or why they had ended up in a house in East Belfast and indeed whether they ever went home.

10. And saving the best until last - Donna's cup cakes...
Donna's cup cakesSweet holy moly these were good. Donna Legge, former ATL presenter and an all round wonderful human being, had teamed up with her mate Jane for 'Cakebox', a specially designed cupcake wonderland set up for day three.

The apple/cinnamon ones in particularly were obscenely good, but we couldn't bring ourselves to eat the ones designed to look like tiny gramophones.

Donna - you're going to cater all of ATL's weddings. And our funerals. And our lunches, dinners and suppers if we get our way. We salute you.

Belsonic 09 - Duke Special

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ATL | 23:10 UK time, Saturday, 29 August 2009


Describe in a tweet: Cold crowd, warm performer.

What went down: In the context of Belsonic as a three day event,  'Dukebox' was pretty low key. For a start, when compared to Dizzee and 2manydjs, Saturday night's turn out is distinctly average. And Duke Special's fanbase are notably older. They're also notably polite and pretty sober. Such a novelty, given what we've witnessed at this venue in the previous 24 hours.

However, in the context of... well, what this actual is - a day of mostly Irish performers selected by Belfast boy Peter Wilson - Dukebox is still an absolute treat and a total success.

As for Duke Specials headline set - apart from everything else, it's a pretty precise reminder that with two great records under his belt, Duke Special has more than enough tricks up his sleeve to justify a headline slot at the country's biggest music festival. Opening with the delicate 'Slip of a Girl', performed without a band, is quite brave - but it totally sets the tone. Peter Wilson owns this crowd.


He also has the respect of his peers - Katie Richardson from Katie & The Carnival is the first of a handful of local musicians to wander onstage - helping out with both vocals and dance moves on 'Sweet Sweet Kisses', which now incorporates two huge umbrellas.  'Brixton Leaves' works particularly well in the open air, soaring across the cold night sky - the first of a few epic and memorable moments. 'No Cover Up' is along shortly to remind us that Duke Special is at his best not with the theatrics, but when quiet and reflective.

'The Jockey Club (A B*tch called Wanda)' encourages the kind of vaguely daft ragtime jiving we may require to stay alive during such weather (seriously, it was freezing!!) while the dark, messed up Jazz of 'Nothing Comes Easy' is the highlight of the entire set/day - making great use of both Duke's saxophonist and the invisible keyboardist (you had to be there) at the back of the stage.

The highlight: Apart from 'Nothing Comes Easy', Duke playing 'the hits' at the end and finally riling up a very reserved gathering.

'Freewheel' is performed solo and allowed to breathe, while 'Our Love Goes Deeper' and 'Last night I Nearly Died' force our hero into the crowd and among the people who have put him here.

In short - a triumph. It needed to be.

Belsonic 09 - The Magic Numbers

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ATL | 23:07 UK time, Saturday, 29 August 2009

Describe in a tweet:

We are family, we got all our magic brothers and sisters with us, as we count down to the Duke.


What went down: 

It's a safe and solid set from these GBOL (great bunch of lads) - pleasant guitars with country and gospel tinges.  It's not going to change the face of music, but coming to the end of Belsonic, this is perfect to keep this older, well behaved crowd happy. They'll dance to 'Love Me Like You' and act as a gospel choir to new song 'Hurt So Good'.  It's all a great big happy hug..

The highlight:

It has to be the closing hoedown, starting off slow before going all southern fried county rock in a jam.

Belsonic 09 - Bell X1

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ATL | 22:37 UK time, Saturday, 29 August 2009


Describe in a tweet: Mexican comfort blanket.

What went down: This is just the ticket. Bell X1's music is remarkably warm - as if imported from the Caribbean via Dublin City. And given it's a bit bloomin' freezin' at the moment, we're appreciative of those cosy vibes. The ever charming Paul Noonan also has the most reassuring voice in the world. A total change of pace from the madness of Dizzee and the Daweale brothers but (in our fragile state) a somewhat welcomed one.

The highlight: Being reminded that 'Rocky Took a Lover' and 'Flame' are two of the finest pieces of music written on this island. It's a bitersweet feeling however as both (the latter especially) really should have been massive hits all over the world. What's wrong with people?

Belsonic 09 - Jerry Fish & The Mudbug Club

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ATL | 21:49 UK time, Saturday, 29 August 2009

Describe in a tweet: Top festival fodder from pros and stars.


What went down: Swampy bayou blues and sleaze all the way, with a little splash of jive, latin and funk. And Jerry is a star, he knows how to work a crowd perfectly, laughing with us (and at us), constantly taking the mick. 'My Friend Jim' is the easy-to-dance-to Dr John style funk, but we're not quite liquored up enough to take advantage. Jerry attempts to remedy this by handing out beer vouchers and going walkies amongst an increasingly cheery crowd, creating a circle of good hope and demanding group hugs. We all love it and we sing all to 'Let It Roll' to close in a preacher's prayer.

The highlight: 'It Takes Balls To Be A Butterfly' is about our little city, easy rolling afternoon funk. We love it, they love us.

Belsonic 09 - David Kitt

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ATL | 21:42 UK time, Saturday, 29 August 2009

Describe in a tweet: KITT the Knight Rider car, Kit-Kats, and David Kitt - all equally great.


What went down: Guitar and FX combine to create the Hot Chip-esque 'The Way Back Home' while 'You Know I Couldn't Leave You Alone' recalls New Order and Jape. The crowd seems keen to hear some of his earlier work, so the Kittster delivers with 'Running', proving that one man (with an array of pedals and laptop beats) can entertain us all.

The Highlight: Realising that the old bluesy stuff now sounds a but like Spiritualized or Primal Scream - always a good thing.

Belsonic 09 - David Ford

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ATL | 20:44 UK time, Saturday, 29 August 2009

Describe in a tweet: English soul man charms us all (while predicting the future).


What went down: From a music box to loop pedals, with streams of consciousness. Like poetry or preaching in the raggedy blues, rather like our own Foy Vance. We're treated to 'Surfing Guantanamo Bay', a wonderful blues funk misconception in the style of The Zutons or Gomez, before Mr. Ford closes with an Eraser/Radiohead-esque collection of loops. While sprinting around like a madman. An unexpected joy.

The Highlight: The serendipity of singing about "rain it all down, what more can you throw at me" while the rain falls off the stage onto the front row.

Belsonic 09 - Panama Kings

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ATL | 19:06 UK time, Saturday, 29 August 2009

Describe in a tweet: Local lads wasted on an empty, damp arena. Fair play for trying, though.


What went down: It's a comedy turn out for the Panama Kings - the initial gathering would barely fill Auntie Annies. Singer Niall Kennedy is greeting people personally from the stage as if they've just wandered into his living room. And it starts to rain pretty much the minute they start playing. Nightmare.

The Highlight: Them carrying on regardless and putting on a show. Half these songs, especially superb set finale 'Golden Recruit' need a baying crowd. Which is a good thing for the band in general, if not for their set today.

Belsonic 09 - 2manydjs

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ATL | 17:10 UK time, Friday, 28 August 2009


Describe in a tweet: The most amount of fun Belfast has ever hosted.

What went down: Possibly the most entertaining performance ATL has witnessed at a festival ever. From the moment Stephen Dewaele rides a scooter onstage and tunes a transistor radio to Radio Soulwax's frequency, while specially dressed stagehands wheel on the mammoth front-of-stage light show, an incredibly infectious buzz consumes 4500 (!!) punters gathered in the centre of Belfast city.

Their remix of 'Hey Boy Hey Girl' (2manydjs, here we go!!) wrecks the place after about 30 seconds. And it only gets better after that.

In fact, the opening 15 minutes are sensational. And then something very special happens as a mammoth LSD screen is unveiled.


The highlight: Those visuals. Those incredible visuals. Such a simple idea - take the artwork to the tracks being played and make them come alive to the music. So you get a wee Van Morrison jiving, an enormous Beth Ditto waving to the crowd, a big breasted Aphex Twin giving everyone the creeps, Tiga singing 'Mind Dimension' while munching a banana, various iconic images of Michael Jackson, a headbanging Bishop from some Slayer artwork, Dolly Parton dandering across the screen with a mop and bucket and the baby from Nevermind chasing that dollar bill. It's utterly captivating and the perfect, daft accompaniment to ninety minutes of some of the finest party music ever recorded.

Anyone who thinks all DJs are boring needs to see this show and promtly take a wise. A ridiculous, ludicrous and uncalled for amount of fun.

Belsonic 09 - deadmau5

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ATL | 17:08 UK time, Friday, 28 August 2009

Describe in a tweet: Big-eared electro from someone who is probably old enough to know better.


What went down: Once the initial excitement of a man with a massive mouse head on stage DJing wore-off, we weren't really left with an awful lot to go on. His first 24 minutes 32 seconds was impressive as he carried on where Boys Noize left off, but after that we descended into a 60 minute prog-a-thon that only served to increase the anticipation levels for 2manydjs who followed. We were too tranced-out to even notice the "Rick Roll" at the end of his set which, let's face it, is a tad 2008. Or 1958 in internet years.

The highlight: Little Miss Deadmau5 on backing-dancer-duty.

Belsonic 09 - Boys Noize

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ATL | 17:07 UK time, Friday, 28 August 2009


Describe in a tweet: Forgive the cliche, but "it's on".

What went down: This is astonishing. It's barely half-eight, but three thousand people are getting on like it's 2am in a sold out club in somewhere (supposedly) cooler, like Berlin. The first thirty or forty rows of people have their hands in the air like they do indeed not care.

The highlight: Quite a few. Alexander Ridha clambering about the decks is one. That bleepy remix of 'Beat it' was definitely another. His own 'Jeffer' and a few other newbies going down well. The criminally overlooked Felix Da Housecat tune 'Elvi$' wrecking the place. That disconcerting track with the screaming and creepy laughing he dropped about two thirds of the way through. But mostly the crowd. They are absolutely loving it - never before has Belfast witnessed such a joyous combination of rave and fun.

Belsonic 09 - Mix Hell

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ATL | 17:06 UK time, Friday, 28 August 2009


Describe in a tweet: Full-on electro badness with an extra dose of large, all courtesy of the whopping great drum kit on stage.

What went down: His 'n' hers electro set from two very unsuspecting looking DJs complete with co-ordinating wooly jumpers to take shelter from the Belfast chill. The 'Thriller' riff that refuses to go away sets things up and the crowd respond as energetically as the guys on stage perform. Just when we  think it's going a bit electro-by-numbers, we go rock-a-tronic as the dude takes to the drums and starts playing live over the mix as his lady friend twiddles the knobs. Pure festival gear, and the perfect warm-up for the big guns later on.

The highlight: That scary looking dude in the v-neck jumper banging the drums.

Belsonic 09 - Phil Kieran

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ATL | 17:04 UK time, Friday, 28 August 2009


Describe in a tweet: Phil Kieran, tea-time techno for the early birds.

What went down: A highly-polished journey through some of Phil's biggest hits of the past few years plus some of the finer moments from his new album 'Shhh'. We're not that used to day time raving around these parts but the crowd fairly settled into it once the familiar hooks of 'I Am A Monster' and his Dancing Bear's remix pumped through the square. Lots of whoops, lots of whistles and lots of "COME ON, PHIL!". The rave is on.

The highlight: Need you ask? Skyhook of course.

Belsonic 09 - Space Dimension Controller

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ATL | 17:03 UK time, Friday, 28 August 2009


Describe in a tweet: Intergalactic, planetary, planetary, intergalactic.

What went down: Irritatingly young and remarkably talented Space cheetah Jack Hamill opens Belsonic Day 2 under the moniker 'Space Dimension Controller'. It's early, quiet (a lack of both punters and volume) and more than a little wet. You'd think that would make for a rubbish gig, wouldn't you? Think again.

The highlight: Space Dimension Controller is a recent invention, so it's impressive just how established his music has become in a matter of months. It's a tough enough gig for our space hero and he doesn't get much of a chance to really get this small gathering all riled up. Lucky for those here nice and early, there's more than enough decent tuneage on show to justify his place alongside Phil Kieran as the local representation on this bill. It's mostly quirky electro decorated with spangly production and on (set highlight) 'Space Party' some intergalactic rapping and it goes down well with a crowd that has just about quadrupled by the time Jack sheepishly wanders off stage. What planet will we see him on this time next year? One things for sure - it'll be well populated and much more noisy.

Belsonic 09 - Dizzee Rascal

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ATL | 17:00 UK time, Friday, 28 August 2009

Dizzee Rascal

Describe in a tweet: Even Da Boys In Da Corners goes Bonkers for the Rascal when it's Showtime.

What went down: The crowd are chanting his name before he even gets to the stage. We're that anxious. The sight of waving crutches proves that he can make the lame walk. It's a mini-retrospective, old stuff like Jus A Rascal mixed with new favourites. Sirens is particularly bass-heavy and pounding while Fix Up, Look Sharp is as fresh as ever as he manages that difficult task of mixing the credible and the popular. Unashamed pop magic sits easily side by side with the old skool grime.

The highlight: Highlight: for us old-timers in particular, the old stuff, for everyone, it has to be the trio of singles with us all going bonkers for Bonkers.

Belsonic 09 - Vampire Weekend

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ATL | 22:01 UK time, Thursday, 27 August 2009

Vampire Weekend

Describe in a tweet: The sun goes down, the Vampires come out to play, we all become children of the night.

What went down: The proper festival vibe gets going as the night comes in, and the quirky African funk fills the air. Good summer songs and a charming band equals a very happy festival crowd. We dance like madmen, howling at the moon, or lights. The repeated instruction is, if we don't know the new material, "just dance". We do so.

The highlight: A cracking set topped off by the huge sing-and-dance-along single that proves you can do credible, popular and brilliant all at the same time. The bubbles and flying bra were good as well.

Belsonic 09 - Crystal Castles

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ATL | 21:28 UK time, Thursday, 27 August 2009

Crystal Castles

Describe in a tweet: Gameboys are for playing games not music. The uber-trendy post-irony is lost on some of us.

What went down: Belting out the beats and crashing the keyboards, it's a shame but later a blessing that we can't hear the vocals. The post-nu-rave-wannabe-stadium stuff may please. Standing on the bass drum is so good isn't it? Sorry love, you aren't Karen O. They aim to recreate the happy golden age of rave but it was a while ago people. Difficult does not equal good. Still the people love it, commercial as it is.

The highlight: Going crowd walking is passé, but they escape with it and end up chucking microphones into the crowd. The vocals are probably better.

Belsonic 09 - Two Door Cinema Club

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ATL | 21:13 UK time, Thursday, 27 August 2009

Two Door Cinema Club

Describe in a tweet: Extra wide entrance for the extra funky Bangor boys who are going to be bigger than the Oscars.

What went down: The local lads get the show on the road in their two door party funk mobile. The immensely summery brilliance of current single "Something Good Can Work" is well worth getting down early and raving about. By the time of closer "She Spoke" the crowd are dancing like these guys are the favourites they will be very shortly.

The highlight: Crowd dancing to the tunes of a practically unknown act (to your average punter) - are they that good, are we that clued up, or both?

Spotify This - Belsonic 2009

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Rigsy | 13:59 UK time, Monday, 24 August 2009

Around this time last year, Wayne Coyne rolled across Custom House Square atop a crowd of people so ludicrously happy, the confetti and glitter in the air seemed to be coming out their ears. It was 2008's finest day (by some distance) and the opening night of the first ever Belsonic - a three day festival slap bang in the centre of the city. Thankfully (and in "the current climate"™ we really do mean that) Belsonic is back, with three strong contenders for the finest day out of 2009. We shall, of course, be in attendance with the usual awesome coverage.

ATL at Belsonic 09

You can check the line up and stage times for this Thursday, Friday and Saturday here and get your tickets here.

While you do that, check out our Spotify playlist of ten awesome tracks you'll hear floating in the air in Belfast city centre sometime this week...

10. DAVID KITT - Dancing in the Moonlight
Saturday, 5.55pm

Given he's been making decent tuneage for the best part of a decade, Kittser's short set on Saturday evening should be a treat for devoted fans and a pleasant surprise who anyone who thought they didn't care.

9. DUKE SPECIAL - Sweet, Sweet Kisses
Saturday, 11.00pm

It's not every day you get to host and curate your own festival, so the assumption is that Peter Wilson will be in pretty good form. Pretty, pretty, pretty good form. And, given his comparatively 'normal' gigs in the past have been as unpredictable (and entertaining) as Liverpool FC's home form, this could easily be the set of the entire festival. We'd like to tell you exactly what he has in store, but we doubt even the man himself knows at this point.

8. PHIL KIERAN - Nitzer Ebb remix
Friday, 6.40pm

After finally taking Alloy Mental out with an (extremely strong) tranquilizer dart and successfully storing the project somewhere in his garage, Phil is now out on his own, plugging a blistering collection of mind mangling techno (debut album 'Shh' on Cocoon Records). As a 'live set', this performance will showcase said album's finest moments, which may be a little strange at 7pm on a (hopefully sunny) Friday evening.

7. DEADMAU5 - I Remember
Friday, 9.30pm

He comes across as a total melter and it's nothing short of scandalous that he's on after Boys Noize (most likely at his management's insistence), but 'I Remember' is a reasonably nice, summery tune. I guess.

6. BELL X1 - Flame
Saturday, 8.10pm

They're a strange concept, old BellX1 - absolutely massive in the south (they regularly headline arenas and outdoor shows in Dublin), barely known in England and somewhere in the middle in Northern Ireland. Best not dwell on that too much - just enjoy some strangely bittersweet pop-music and shuffly melodies courtesy of the nicest Mexicans in music.

Friday, 11.15pm

For just two brothers from Belgium, the Dawelle's have done reasonably well in the last few years - practically inventing a genre (before eventually trying to kill it), producing a bunch of our favourite records (their own nite versions and tracks for the likes of Tiga and LCD Soundsystem) while making incredible records by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Justice, Robbie Williams, MGMT and Daft Punk sound even better. After putting a band together and being one of the few dance acts to pull of a decent live show, they're now boasting an audio-visual set put together to headline festivals. Alongside The Chemical Brothers. Soulwax/2manydjs are the finest dance act on the planet. If you've not had the pleasure - go to Belsonic on Friday night and you'll see why.

4. BOYSNOIZE - &down
Friday, 8.00pm

ATL had the pleasure of broadcasting his set from Oxegen and it was an absolute blinder. The best of his own nasty productions and scuzzy remixes - no messing about - just slight tweaks and reworks to suit the mood. It will go off.

3. TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB - Something Good Can Work
Thursday, 7.00pm

Constant touring and festival performances (including Glastonbury and V) this year mean their sunshine pop is nicely polished and well prepared for what will be the first special moment of the festival. The Bangor three piece have come a long way since their first public appearance of note (on ATL Rock School as Life Without Rory) and have signed to Kitsune - one of the coolest record labels in the world. About time you found out why.

2. DIZZEE RASCAL - Dance Wiv Me
Thursday, 10.30pm

About to have another smash hit with 'Holiday' and off the back of two of the biggest pop songs of the last 12 months, Dizzee doesn't need much hype. Of course, all the cool kids are looking forward to hearing tracks from his grimey, pre-'sell out' debut 'Boy in Da Corner'. But whether you'll admit it or not, we're all looking forward to Custom House Square going Bonkers.

Thursday, 9.00pm

A no-brainer for this writer - I picked their debut as my album of 2008. Every track is magnificent - all killer, no filler. And it was dead short, which suited my frazzled little brain. A rare live outing for the New York quartet is an absolute treat for Belsonic and will be the finest 45 minutes of the entire three days. Which is, all things considered, really saying something.

Chart Attack #4 - Back to School

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Paul McClean | 21:02 UK time, Friday, 21 August 2009

You can almost smell it. The summer *guffaw* is almost over, a certain crispness creeps into the evening air and an undefined sense of dread fills us all, whatever age, conditioned from all those years of dreading the inevitable. School is back soon.

So, if you're celebrating A or AS level success, fair play, you found the escape hatch. For those about to make the dreaded trip to the local tailors for some interesting charcoal coloured attire, commiserations and don't worry, its only another ten months before next summer.

Here are ATL's top five educationally-themed tracks to help us all bear the stress.

5. Deftones - Back to School (Mini Maggit)
Claustrophobic and dark, as one expects from the Sacramento five-piece. While so-called rivals Limp Bizkit were sniggering about boobies and farts, Chino Moreno and his buddies were fusing a genuinely fresh sound between hip-hop, grunge and metal on the album White Pony. This tune was as close to a mega-hit as Deftones had come, and because it was a re-worked album track, some fans thought it tantamount to a sell-out. Moreno himself says he penned the song to prove just how easy a hit single was to write. Either way, oil up your nuts (the skateboard ones) and get the headphones on while you bust some ollies on the way to the bus stop. Awesome.

4. The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays
Yes, we all know it's about Brenda Ann Spencer, a girl who really, really didn't want to go to school one day. Obviously, we would very much rather you handled any apathy towards your educational establishment in a more constructive manner, such as tutting loudly when the homework diary starts to fill up. By far Bob Geldof's defining moment as a songwriter, I Don't Like Mondays is an old school epic pop song complete with sweeping piano, bashing timpani (yes that's plural, grammar fans) and quiet/shouty bits. It also enabled the Live Aid guru to put his kids through college. Money well spent...

3. Pink Floyd - Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)
Oh how successive generations have delighted in singing "We Dont Need No Education" to hapless stand-in teachers since 1979 and the release of Pink Floyd's seminal ode to scholastic life. In reality, we would find it very difficult to function in a modern world without at least a basic education. An inability to read traffic signs, restaurant menus and instruction manuals for household appliances would lead to all kinds of embarrassing and awkward situations. Great song, nonetheless. This track provides good air guitar solo material too, so extra kudos point.

2. Belle and Sebastian - We Rule the School
From the now much sought-after debut album Tigermilk (worth gazillions of pounds to certain lonely, lonely men) this is like every single song by Belle and Sebastian. They are the Bovril of indie - you either love them or you wish a death upon them. "Do Something Pretty While You Can" is the general gist of this song and not a bad mantra, in fairness. If so inclined, you could attempt air flute (see above) but do not do this in a public place or your chances of pulling anything except a Christmas cracker with your ma will be greatly hindered.

1. Wheatus* - Teenage Dirtbag
No matter how cool you actually are to everyone else, inside your little brain you feel like an awkward loser. This is our national anthem. Raise your puny fists to the sky and proclaim proudly that yes, I AM a teenage dirtbag, baby! It has twee nostalgia-inducing references to the prom and tube socks but, more importantly, features Mena Suvari in the video. All you haters who think we should only be listing obscure DC hardcore B sides, think on. Joyful cheese ftw!

*The fact that Wheatus were actually in their late forties (by the looks of it) when they had a hit with this should not detract from its status as our top school tune.

Chart Attack #3 - The First Dance

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Rigsy | 15:08 UK time, Tuesday, 18 August 2009

When you get to my age, it seems you end up going to an awful lot of weddings. In the space of just four weeks, three of my best friends will be married. For me, this is an opportunity to wear a suit, subsequently think I look awesome, drink and eat too much, dance to daft songs with small children and start a sing song in the residents bar at 4am. Best of all, if I've consumed just the right amount of alcohol come 8pm-ish, I'll maybe get a little weepy when the newlyweds enjoy their first dance together as husband and wife.

Amberz and Ross danced to 'I Got You Babe' while Rich and Suzanne are going to dance to a song by Neil Young. I think the couple in the third wedding would appreciate it if I didn't spoil the surprise.

Anyway, I was thinking about some alternative songs for the first dance. Took ages, but here's what I've come up with. Now all I need is a wife...

You'll both look a bit daft dancing to this, but who cares about looking stupid when you can say so much without words.

Tearjerking lyric: "As soon as I wake up, every night, every day, I know that it's you I need to take the blues away"

Most people probably won't appreciate the faint praise peppered throughout this song, but at least it's honest, especially if you've settled for someone with a 'great personality'.

Tearjerking lyric: "And when you're on the street, depending on the street, I bet you are definitely in the top three good looking girls in the street (depending on the street)"

Hard to know whether a drunken, laddish singalong is what you want to see/hear while dancing for the first time as a married couple (why not though?!) but there's just something incredibly simple and beautiful about the refrain, which constitutes the tearjerking lyric below...

Tearjerking lyric: "I call out your name when I'm sad"

Probably not the best idea given penning his own love song kinda backfired for old Milhouse's da, but if you've hit rock bottom and have literally exhausted every other way of regaining that lost love, this might be the song for you.

Tearjerking lyric: "Take my hand with your glove of love"

For a start, it's got the line "love's the greatest thing that we have". And a gospel chior. And Graham Coxon, the ultimate nerd, getting the girl.

Tearjerking lyric: "Oh my baby, oh my baby, Oh I, oh my"

The greatest song they wrote and yes, it's on that supposedly terrible second album. Another one of those songs that makes you wonder about the girl it was written about. She must have been something a little bit special, just like (we're all assuming) the person you are set to spend your life with, eh?

Tearjerking lyric: "When you're so much in love, you don't know how much you can stand"

Things were just so much simpler when the Ronettes were making music. Nothing about this song sounds contrived - to the point you find the inspiration for this song, whoever he was, is actually making you pretty jealous. But the great thing is, if this is your first dance, you become that guy. Imagine that, eh?

Tearjerking lyric: "I'll make you happy baby, just wait and see, for every kiss you give me, I'll give you three"

Strings + xylophone + piano + French dude singing + unashamdely sweet lyrics +  shuffly drums = swoon. There won't be a dry eye in the house.

Tearjerking lyric: "I wanna spend my life with you..."

The greatest, sweetest love song of all time. 'Nuff said.

Tearjerking lyric: "You and me, always...and forever"

For me, this is a front runner, should I ever find that special someone. It's actually a pretty cheesy and lyric, but because it's The Ramones it's still pretty rock n' roll. Mushy, yet credible. Perfect.

Tearjerking lyric: "I can't live without you, I know everything about you"

Do You Surf?

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Rigsy | 12:06 UK time, Wednesday, 5 August 2009

It's really never been my thing - when it comes to accomodation, I tend to look for a reasonably priced hotel or whatever I could possibly afford (depending on when it was in my life) rather than "crash" at a mate's house, let alone a randomer. If I'd no money, I'd rather just stay at home. And I've never done backpacking.

Which is why I'm not doing a feature on sofa surfing - but ATL contributer Keith Anderson is!

Sofa surfing is all about meeting up with people and getting accomodation for free anywhere in the world. Apparently, if you stay in someone's house you can make them dinner or walk their dog or do some stand up or whatever and that's you square.

And so to the reason for this blog. Have you done this? Have you any experiences of either hosting a random person on your sofa or crashing on someone's else living room who you'd not known existed the day before? Would you consider this an option should you ever want to travel around the world? What would it take for you to give up your sofa every weekend?

Email us at with your stories and whether you'd like to take part in our feature by sharing your experiences on air. Put SOFA as your subject matter.

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