Review by Ivor Whitten for MPM
The Custom House Square music festival continues to absolutely kill it with the best of musical talent coming to Belfast. This time it’s the Welsh music maestros Stereophonics coming in to perform to a sold out crowd.
As the evening drew in and the crowd began to grow to fill out Custom House Square and the background music died down the support act came onto stage to a roar of appreciation. The young four piece group The Florentinas hail from Bangor.
With an easy going charm they had a an easy down to earth swagger about them that made them stand out immediately before a note was played. With a happy “Hello Belfast – thank you so much.
How are you all doing?” from Paddy and the loud reply from the solidly full Custom House Square everyone knew they were very welcome on home turf. Launching into their set and playing fantastically solid songs like “Sandcastles”, “Ghost”, and “Porcelain” amongst others got the place pumping with a lot of people jumping around, singing along and waving arms in the air.
The vibe was just fantastic on such a lovely evening. They left a solid impression with everyone and won over a lot of new fans. Though this shouldn’t be too surprising with their rise since they formed in 2019 having played Maida Vale along with a lot of other festivals and already have a music deal. They are definitely on the up.
With everyone in a very good mood it was not long until the stage was changed and the incredible Welsh wonders Stereophonics to a huge roar of joy and an enthusiastic welcome. The place was packed and everyone seemed to be ecstatic to see the group tread the hallowed stage of Custom House Square.
Kicking off with incredible full and pounding hits like “Do Ya Feel My Love”, “C’est la vie”, “I Wanna Get Lost With You” and “Hanging On Your Hinges” there was no real fear of building up to a good evening’s entertainment. Stereophonics from the very first note they were solidifying in everyone’s minds why they are so big with a massive fan base.
On they went with “Maybe Tomorrow”, “I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio”, “A Thousand Trees” and the song about an affair “Mr and Mrs Smith” the crowd were in a euphorically singing along, waving, dancing and totally taken to a different state of mind. It was an all encompassing performance of a fantastic light show that perfectly fit in with each song. There was definitely no missing the guys on stage.
The catalogue continued with “Fly Like an Eagle”, “Catacomb”, “White Lies” “Traffic”, and “Indian Summer” as people kept trying to get as close as they could. Though it has to be said Custom House square is a perfect size to have such a big band play as it is also small enough that no massive monitors are needed and you can identify who is on the stage. It was definitely a perfect mix for an incredible evening.
Professional, relaxed, down to earth and joyous are sometimes overused, but on this night Stereophonics embodied all of that.
Next came “Superman”, “All I Have Is You”, “Leave the Light On / Show Me How”, “Mr Writer” and a beautiful acoustic rendition of “Pick a Part That’s New”. And without any hesitation came the iconic “Have a Nice Day” that drove the crowd wild. Finishing their set they continued to land home with ease “The Bartender and the Thief”, “Just Looking” and “Dakota”
With a solid 22 song list, Stereophonics were not skimping on anything and the appreciation showed throughout the set. It was without doubt a superb well run event and many are already looking forward to the Custom House Square festival next year.
Overall the night was perfectly planned with The Florentinas in support and Stereophonics as the headliners. It was a jubilant evening of musical entertainment to allow you to leave your troubles at the gate.
The Florentinas are definitely well worth checking out and you can find out more at https://www.theflorentinas.com/ with links to all their socials. Definitely a band to keep your eye on.
Stereophonics are without doubt a superb band to see live and you can check out their website for more tour dates at https://stereophonics.com/tour/. They are well worth checking out if you have never seen them before.
The Custom House Square festival began on Sunday 7th August with Madness and finishes on Saturday 27th August with Ryan McMullan. Find out more about this amazing festival at https://www.customhousesquare.com/.
Photography by Paul Verner for MPM