It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than three years since friends Ryan Hennessy and Jimmy Rainsford decided to start a band, every teen’s dream. Little did they know that they’d break the internet and swell up to the success that is Picture This in such a short space of time.
With a number one self-titled debut album and EP within a year of one another on their home turf of Ireland, they went from small venues, like the Mandela Hall, their first Belfast gig, to the Waterfront, selling out the SSE Arena and gracing the stage of Belsonic not once, but twice. Supporting their friends The 1975 in 2017, and now headlining their own show!
The packed out park was full of eager fans who sang along to every song, quite surprising as the boys wouldn’t be well known in the conventional sense like Ed Sheeran or Beyoncé would be, with their songs played and overplayed on the radio day in and day out.
You couldn’t even say that it is a cult following either, with the amount of people there. No-one was dragged there with a boyfriend/girlfriend either, as it seemed that everyone in the Belfast crowd were genuinely there to enjoy themselves. Pints in the air, singing along and rain ponchos covering themselves from the looming downpour.
The County Kildare duo played almost every song from their album and EP, short of their Christmas song ‘This Christmas.’ The boys were ecstatic to be back in Belfast, telling the crowd multiple times how much they loved coming back here and that the crowd were always ‘mental.’
‘Everything I Need‘ kicked off their set list, with retro-style backdrops zooming in on the pair and members of their band. The song was released as a single last year, with 2016 single ‘Let’s Be Young‘ following. Other hits included the heart-wrenching lyrics from ‘95‘ and ‘Jane,’ the latter of which main singer Ryan performed solo with an acoustic guitar.
Personal favourites included ‘Carry On,’ a song about knowing someone’s bad for you but not being able to stop being attracted to them, and ‘Smells Like Him,’ when you know your significant other is cheating on you. But nothing can top the boys breaking into the chorus of U2 hit ‘With Or Without You,’ as the crowd went wild, myself included as my all-time favourite song. Ryan commented afterwards: “Thank you, Belfast. That was f*****g beautiful.”
Ryan’s vocals were absolutely on point throughout, showing that he doesn’t rely on auto tune as you could’ve been listening to your CD and not the boys live.
‘Body and Mind,’ a song about being in a relationship with an older woman who is conscious of your age, and perhaps their defining song that cemented them as hit makers, ‘Never Change‘ were also crowd favourites.
After a short interlude where the boys waited to come back for their encore, where the crowd rejoiced in a chorus of ‘Olé, Olé, Olé,’ they came back out to ‘Take My Hand‘ where they ordered the crowd to go wild, with beers flying across the audience, and their new singles ‘This Morning,’ their most successful to date, and brand new single only released on Friday, ‘When We Were Young.’
Overall, the atmosphere was electric and when the boys walked off stage the heavens opened and the inevitable shower came almost as an aftermath, but couldn’t dampen the spirits as the Northern Irish crowd continued to sing as they left the venue.