Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Review: Paul Heaton, Auntie Annie's, Belfast

Heaton’s familiarity breeds contentment

Paul Heaton was in celebratory mood in Auntie Annie’s last nightI HAVE a confession to make: Paul Heaton is sort of family to me.

The original female singer with The Beautiful South, Brianna Corrigan, she of ‘A Little Time’ fame, is my first cousin.

I have vivid memories of sharing a taxi with her after a gig in the Ulster Hall. It was my one and only experience of virtual Beatlemania. “But it's only me!” she exclaimed

The fan profile may have changed, and the space become somewhat more intimate, but Heaton remains the master of both lyricism and cynicism that fired both The Housemartins and The Beautiful South.

Sidling onto stage dressed in a tracksuit top and looking like a still useful, but ageing, midfield dynamo, he led his band through tracks from his new album, the aptly titled Acid Country.

For, indeed, his new direction is the American South, typified by songs such as ‘Old Radio’, dedicated to the most un-American sounding “Kev”.

There has always been something of the lay preacher about Heaton, and he has the sweetest of voices to sugar the socialist realism pill, as evidenced by the moving ‘This House’.

But tonight he was in a mood to be celebratory.

Old Housemartins tracks surfaced, such as the rapturously received ‘Build’. Indeed, his solo career can be seen as a way of rediscovering his old band.

He also proved to be a connoisseur of old Belfast pubs, which he talked about with the relish of the man who has given up golf discussing the Ryder Cup.

Michael Conaghan

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It's difficult to deal with a highly competitive colleague. Every time you submit work, they try to find ways to outperform you. Although you have no interest in pitting your talent against theirs, this other person thinks very differently. Ignoring them won't be possible. A good way to disarm this pest is to invite them out for coffee. Describe what you've observed and ask for a truce. Irrational people are often thrown off balance when their behaviour is addressed in a direct manner.More