Belfast Telegraph

ViTal fans hang on a Razor's edge

.... and another 25,000 head to Ormeau tonight for The Killers

By Maureen Coleman

Ulster rock fans were today gearing up for another feast of non-stop music at Ormeau Park in Belfast following the first day of this year's Tennents ViTal festival.

Tonight, up to 25,000 people are expected to pack into the venue to welcome Las Vegas indie rockers The Killers to Northern Ireland for the first time.

The Brit winners will be supported by Leicester lads Kasabian, New York DJ/producer Mark Ronson, The Shins and Albert Hammond Jnr.

Last night, it was the turn of Razorlight to top the bill in Belfast, with support from Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers, The View, The Hold Steady and Fermanagh band Nice 'n' Sleezy.

The organisers couldn't have wished for better weather - the sun came out in the afternoon and though it didn't stay warm for long, the heavy rain which has blighted the summer months managed to stay away.

However, many of the fashion-conscious female fans were still prepared just in case - decked out in colourful wellies, teamed with hotpants or skinny jeans.

First band to take to the main stage were Nice 'n' Sleezy who went down well with the crowd.

They were followed by up-and-coming Brooklyn-based band The Hold Steady, then young Scottish act The View, who entertained the crowds with tracks from their Mercury Prize nominated album, Hats Off To The Buskers.

On the Radio One stage, Belfast electro-pop duo Oppenheimer put in one of the best performances of the night for their second outing at a ViTal festival.

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Rocky said: "The last time we played ViTal we had hardly played any gigs before, so we were a bit more nervous. It's great to be back and to see such a good line-up here in Belfast."

A massive cheer echoed around Ormeau Park for Manic Street Preachers, who opened their set with the song Australia.

Nicky Wire, renowned for his wacky dress sense and controversial comments, sported an Adam Ant-style outfit, complete with full makeup, military jacket and white jeans.

The band, who return to Ireland next month for the Electric Picnic Festival, played all their old hits including If You Tolerate This, Everything Must Go and their anthem A Design For Life, as well as new material.

Not surprisingly the biggest reception of the night was reserved for Brit winners Razorlight, who only arrived in Belfast about an hour before they were due to go on stage.

But there was no sign of Hollywood actress Kirsten Dunst, the girlfriend of lead singer Johnny Borrell.

The audience was whipped into a frenzy as Borrell kicked off their fast-paced set with the hit single In The Morning, quickly followed by Golden Touch. The band ended on a high, with their singalong track Somewhere Else, taken from their first album Up All Night.

Joining in the singing was three-year-old Fionn Rylands, who had a good vantage point perched on his father Barry's shoulders.

Barry, from Belfast, said: "Fionn knows the words of the songs because he always hears them when I'm driving along in the car, so he's just picked up the words."

Belfast teenagers Paula Caffrey and Christine Crossan said they thought this year's line up was brilliant.

Paula said: "I'm here to see Justice who are playing on the Radio One stage. I came across them on MySpace and really liked their music."

Christine said: "I'm here to see The View. I have never seen them before but I'm really looking forward to seeing them."

Will Eve (23) from Finaghy and his pal, David Marsden (22) said they snapped up their tickets immediately after hearing that the Manic Street Preachers were on the line up.

David said: " I have been a fan for 10 years but this is the first time I'm going to get to see them play."

But the pair were disappointed with recent comments made by the Manic's Nicky Wire who described Snow Patrol as " deplorable".

Will said: "I have to say I am not too happy about that. After all, Snow Patrol are doing their bit for Northern Irish music."

Among the festival-goers was Calum Best, who was mobbed by fans in the VIP section.

He said: "I was here to do a personal appearance and to see some friends when I heard that this was on so I thought I might as well come along.

"I couldn't believe it when I heard that the Killers and Mark Ronson were on tomorrow night as I won't be here, but I am a big fan of Razorlight, so I am looking forward to seeing them."

The Killers were expected to fly into Belfast today for their Northern Irish debut.

Speaking ahead of the festival, the band's drummer Ronnie Vannucci, said: "We turned down other dates to play Belfast because we've never played there before and we're really excited about the gig."


From Belfast Telegraph