Friday 6th May saw Belfast come alive to the intoxicating sounds of The Haggis Horns as part of The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club running in this year’s CQAF’s line up. The Haggis Horns, a 7 piece band which describe themselves as a “live funk extravaganza combining heavy breakbeat funk, soul, hip-hop and afrobeat with the virtuosity of trained jazz musicians.”

And they certainly lived up to their claim. Watching a live band is always the most raw and exposed way to appreciate music, of any genre. But the difference with The Haggis Horns is the fluidity in which their set comes together. Never once do you as an audience member feel like you’re waiting for something to happen. The bands on stage dynamic fell like a soothing velvety blanket upon the audience. With twinkly lights on the ceiling creating a comforting sense of tranquil and people from all walks of life allowing themselves to be seduced by the sensational sax solos, funk break downs and energetic soul numbers, the room was electric and alive. The Haggis Horns, members of which were formerly in the backing band to Jazz legend Amy Whinehouse, require no real ‘reviewal’ as such, more, it’s a testimony of an experience that was unique both to Belfast and to many live music events. Sadly, the set had to come to an end, as this was the prequel to the main event, Craig Charles DJ set. Craig Charles, Radio 6 DJ, come Robot Wars presenter, come Cornation Street actor is somewhat of a big deal in the UK funk and soul world, so I set my sights high for this headline act. I don’t know if it’s the fact that the audience has just been treated to live and alive music, happening right there and then, or if it was the fact that the venue was now packed to capacity, full of excitement and anticipation, but witnessing a DJ set after such impressive creativity comes in some ways with a sense of an anti-climax. Not that it doesn’t take equal amounts of creativity to construct a set, DJ’s are in my opinion often musicians in their own right. However after the initial uproar of the crowd upon seeing this famous face take to the stage, that electricity that The Haggis Horns had sparked started to fade. Whilst of course everyone danced, sang, partied and made the most of the music, it was hard not to long for the alluring presence of the live band once again. Overall, CQAF really pulled this one out of the bag, a dedicated team of volunteers make for a night to remember and I know for certain I’ll be talking about this evening for a long while yet. Be sure to check out the other events happen as part of CQAF details of which can be found at

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