Last week I attended my third Picture This gig in the space of 12 months. From June 2018 only knowing their famous ‘Take My Hand’ song to June 2019, pushing my way to the front of the crowd to sing every word of every song.
I definitely caught the Picture This bug after seeing them for the first time last year, followed by a second time at the 3 Arena in Dublin and then this most recent time at the Botanic Gardens in Belfast.
A new festival-type event, the Botanic Gardens was a lot smaller than I anticipated with one enclosed field with one bar and a few food trucks. But a festival that didn’t serve cider was also another aspect I hadn’t expected. Especially not in Ireland.
I think I preferred that the venue was smaller than I imagined as we were able to go that little bit more forward and get as close as we wanted. Plus, at the back, there was a lot of room to move around freely and not be a squashed sardine at the front, so we were able to make the best of both.
A new front man
I’ve spoke about this before, but I really think Ryan Hennessy is going to be up there with the top front-men of our time. Think Matty Healey of The 1975, Harry Styles of One Direction and Danny O’Donoghue of The Script. Three completely different bands, but lead singers with the same charisma. And with the voices to match.
There’s no doubt that Ryan Hennessy is your very typical Irish-looking fella, just with added tattoos and a few piercings. But there’s just something about the voice, the aura and the dance moves that will make him very famous in a few year’s time. Not to mention all of the songs they produce are top class.
Their album MDRN LV (that’s Modern Love to you and me) is full of great songs, not just a few hit singles and more songs to make up the numbers (which in my opinion, most albums contain). They’re worth a listen, they’re worth going to see live and they’re worth the follow on social media.
In the words of Louis Walsh, ‘they’re the whole package’.
Although I thought it to be quite a random venue for a concert (we were two minutes from Queen’s University), it was actually one of the easiest venues I’ve been to in Belfast.
Boucher Road playing fields for Tennent’s Vital is a mission in itself, the traffic after a concert in the Odyssey (now SSE Arena) sometimes isn’t worth it and Belsonic is a half hour walk from the nearest train station. Ulster Hall, you’re the perfect location.
So for the Botanic Gardens to be a ten minute walk from Botanic Station and right in the midst of the Holylands and next to Queen’s University is actually a perfect location. So why hadn’t someone thought of this sooner?
The only issues with the venue would have to be the lack of bar facilities (there was one) and lack of screens by the stage – unless you were close, the band was somewhat of a blur. Other than that, everything else about the gig was great.