James Nesbitt stole the show with an impromptu performance of Teenage Kicks with Ash and T'Pau frontwoman Carol Decker.
The 57-year-old Bloodlands star thrilled the crowd of celebrities and award winners at the Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards when he took to the stage to belt out The Undertones’ classic at the end of the night on Friday at the Culloden hotel in Cultra, Co Down.
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler said: “I didn’t know Jimmy was going be here until I saw him in the afternoon. I know he is a massive Teenage Kicks fan. He was watching our soundcheck and I asked him to get up with us but he said he had to think about it. He went away and thought about it for a bit and said ‘it’s pretty high’. He must have gone and listened to it. We played it in a C and The Undertones did it in a D so we dropped it down a bit. And he said ‘cool I’ll do it.’
"I was hoping that Carol Decker would jump up. I wanted it to be a surprise. She helped me out with the backing vocals. It was exactly the way I would have wanted it to happen, it was brilliant.”
The Downpatrick rockers gave a fantastic performance of their hits that got everyone up dancing, including Shining Light and Oh Yeah. It was perfect to whet the appetites for their December Ulster Hall show which will celebrate 25 years since the release of their debut album, 1977.
Tim explained: “This is our first time at the awards. It’s brilliant. I just love what the awards stand for and hearing all the stories. It’s been amazing reflecting on 30 years with the band and so much has happened in that time. I don’t feel that different to when I started. We can’t wait for the Ulster Hall show. We wanted to do something big this year. We always used to play the Ulster Hall at Christmas for a homecoming show and we managed to get it this year and it’s going to brilliant.
"I’ve got some really embarrassing early stuff but then I wrote Girl From Mars when I was 16 and we still play that and I was really proud of that. I don’t think I would change anything about it.”
Tim also revealed the truth about the rumour that Girl From Mars was originally called Girl From Ards but was changed when they hit the big time.
He added: “It’s not true. Sorry people from Ards who thought it was. Maybe it’s time I did an Ards song.”