A Love Letter To Live Music


Red Hot Chili Peppers // Tennent’s Vital, Belfast, 2016 – Emma Monaghan 

In the summer of 2016, yellow August days arrived out of nowhere and music lovers across the land dawned concert buses together, in the traditional Irish war-paint of the festival goer: neon face-dots, sunny Gs, glittery eyeliner, checked shirts and big comfy, puddle-dominating boots (and maybe a wee hip flask taped to someone’s belly, or a cheeky packet of bines).

One of the best days came with a shock of heat. Having a big family, we packed in together like a hippy band and drove in a car-load of my cousins to Belfast’s Boucher Road. We crammed ourselves into a huge, sun and beer-drenched field, and simmered under too many happy pints of Tennent’s, in wait for the apparition of a beautiful, timeless man called John Frusciante.

The crowd were old and young lovers of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, transcending the normal social barriers dictating what ages should bop around together in wellies and muddy fields. An orange sunset stretched lazily behind fans of every generation, together belting “addicted to the shindig” and crooning in solidarity with the Chillies to the soft, lamenting riff of ‘Scar Tissue’. I remember feeling so free. As the sky purpled, the stage lights glowed like stars and the Chillies encored a goodbye to the love of the crowd, tangible in the air like the heavy, magic smoke of grass. Rain fell like warm confetti on the audience of strangers, together in love with the same sounds. 


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