Post grunge I was starting to find new bands to get into. With Britpop starting to dominate, there was some exciting new British bands coming onto the scene which didn’t quite fit in with the Britpop image.
Placebo were one such band which could have fitted in with the American alt-rock image. They came to Belfast on 08/05/97 to the Ulster Hall. The band did not disappoint and it was an excellent gig at what was becoming my favourite venue in Belfast. Support came from Scarfo. Had to Google that as I can’t remember from that night.
Another British band getting support from the likes of NME and Melody Maker was Symposium. One of the bands on the infamous NME Bratbus tour they came to Belfast playing at the Limelight on 08/06/97.
Symposium were a great live band and very much a singles band as they put out some really great records.
The first really big gig of the summer was a trip to Dublin to see Radiohead at the RDS. I got into them around the time of their second album, The Bends and I do remember them coming to Galway for the Big Day Out but cannot for the life of me remember why I wasn’t at that one!
This show was the weekend before their famous headline slot at Glastonbury. OK Computer had just been released and prior to the Dublin show they played a warmup gig at Mandela Hall in Belfast. How I would have loved to have been to that one but already had my ticket for Dublin so I wasn’t missing out.
Support on the day came from Teenage Fanclub and Massive Attack.
Back to the smaller gigs, Ash came to the Limelight on 10/08/97.
Ash had just been announced as support for U2’s forthcoming outdoor show at Belfast and this was pretty much a warm up gig ahead of that. Nu-Clear Sounds at this stage was a work in progress.
This brings us to the second biggest show of the summer, U2 at Botantic Gardens on 26/08/97. They brought the Popmart tour to Belfast and they did not disappoint.
This was my favourite U2 gig. I enjoyed it much better than the first time. To capture the sheer scale of what this concert was like I went I went online to see if there was any photos. No smartphones back in the day. From the picture below you can see the main stage and a slightly smaller stage sticking out.
The B stage as it was known was to feature in future U2 gigs. Me and my friends were exactly at this spot when a giant lemon appeared on stage and the band walked out of it. It was a surreal experience to get this close to them. Support on the day came from Ash and Stereo MCs.
Final gig of the year was Bush at the Ulster Hall on 12/10/97.
A band I really liked as their influence was definitely American grunge and they were huge in America before making it in their own country. They were not that well liked by NME! Support came from 3 Colours Red who would return to Belfast two years later.