GET SET FOR TOP CLASS FESTIVAL; ULTIMATE ULSTER.
So the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is in its teens - surely testament to the tenacious and determined efforts of the organisers.
Not because it has last this long; rather that it has established itself as Belfast's No1 festival long in such as short spave of time.
We've had some sublime nights over the years - the best of which we can't remember - and the 2012 schedule aims as we do to continue that theme. As ever, it's the musicky stuff we're most excited about but there's tonnes of other amazing events from comedy to street theatre, visual arts to words and ideas and planty of crossover with it.
And, as ever, a few acts have really grabbed our attention. High among these is The Monochrome Set who released their tenth studio album Platinum Coils this year - but only after reforming BECAUSE lead singer Bid had a stroke...
The post-punk legends, and we don't use that term lightly any more, formed in 1978 and have been responsible for some of the most intelligent English jangly guitar pop ever (even if that sounds like a fairly narrow field) and even the master of the genre, Morrissey, is a fan. We dipped into the Monochrome Set a few years ago after being lent Eligible Bachelors but they've largely been off our radar since then. Perhaps the unlikely environment of the Dockers Club, on May 12, will be the place to re-establish contact.
Siblings Kitty, Daisy and Lewis belie their tender years and Kentish upbringing by making music that sounds sorched by the sun of the Deep South and Jamaica and recorded for gramophone. Whatever the trick - old, battered instruments and a vintage record collection perhaps - it seems to have worked, for the trio's gig at the Black Box on May 4 has well sold out. Beg, borrow or steal, we say!
Richard Fearless's Death In Vegas make a welcome return with album Trans Love Energies - something of a return to his minimal house roots. Fearless was one of the great mash-up artists, fusing indie, ambient, ska and electro to produce something new. Impressive stuff. They play the Festival Marquee on May 5.
We've been listening to St Etienne of late - largely because of their cover of Wouldn't It Be Nice from Mojo's recent Beach Boys tribute CD. Lucky, again, then that the Euro-electro trio are on their way to the Festival Marquee on May 10. Only love Can Break Your Heart? Missing this could as well..
Of course there's a billion and one other amazing gigs on at this year's festival, give or take, so check out www.cqaf.com for all the bizz..
GREAT CRACKNELL: Sarah leads St Etienne GREY HEY! Monochrome Set ready for Belfast show