Good Vibes with The Undertones

Punk legends are back to headline Good Vibes From Belfast. Listen to a podcast with the band and Good Vibrations founder Terri Hooley



Good Vibes From Belfast makes a return to Mandela Hall on May 15, building on the success of the initial concert held in April 2008 to celebrate the positive contribution that the Good Vibrations record label made to life in Northern Ireland during some very dark times.

It was billed as Good Vibes - Celebrating A Light in the Darkness with former US president Bill Clinton sending a message of support.

'People really loved the first gig not just because of the great music but also because it was such a positive celebration,' says organiser Arthur Magee. 'It seemed a shame to let this just slip away, so we've decided to try and build on it and hold regular Good Vibes from Belfast events that focus on the positives of life here.

'This year's concert will be a celebration of Thomas McCabe's opposition to the formation of The Belfast Slave Ship Company', says Magee.

At first glance, there may seem little connection between a small punk record label and a man who lived 200 years ago but as Good Vibrations founder Terri Hooley explains, 'Good Vibrations let the world know that there was more to people here than hatred and sectarianism and the first concert was a celebration of what President Clinton describes as "the better part of ourselves".

'This year's gig will celebrate John McCabe, who opposed the formation of the Belfast Slave Ship Company in 1786, which was a brave thing to do as a lot of people were in favour of the Slave Ship Company. Not a lot of people know the story, it's something to be proud of and it's as good an excuse as any to have a party!' Hooley says. 'It's also great that my friends at Fresh Garbage are on board as they're celebrating their 40th birthday and it was in their original premises that I first began trading.'

The Undertones braved the treacherous weather last week to travel to Belfast's oldest church building, the First Presbyterian Church in Rosemary Street, to meet with its Minister, Reverend Nigel Playfair.

'In 1786, a member of this church, Thomas McCabe successfully opposed the formation of the Belfast Slave Ship Company. The concert the Undertones are playing will draw attention to this little known part of our history', Rev. Playfair says.

John O’Neill from the Undertones added, 'We played the first Good Vibes from Belfast concert, two years ago. We’d a great time and we’re glad to be back again. It’s good that the event celebrates the positive and Thomas McCabe’s story is about as positive as you can get.'

Good Vibes from Belfast
with The Undertones, Pocket Billiards and Acoustic Dan is on May 15 at Mandela Hall, Belfast. In addition to the concert a number of ancillary events will be held including a night of literature and music on Friday 14 May, entitled Good Scribeations. Tickets available from and The Welcome Centre.

Eddie Mullan

Photo by Stephen Shaw