Keeping in the same format at the 2002 blog, I have split this again half yearly due to the amount of gigs I had been too. There will be a separate blog for the one festival that was attended that year as well.
2003 kicked off with the annual NME tour show which was headlined by The Datsuns, The Polyphonic Spree, Interpol and The Thrills. This time I was over in Glasgow for it.
On arrival to Glasgow airport I met Colin Murray who was a local DJ on the BBC Northern Ireland Evening Session. He had moved onto tv work and I asked him was he over to review the gig. He said he was going to it as part of a show for Channel 4.
My friend Colin from Glasgow hosted me for the evening. Neither of us had a ticket for the gig but he knew how to get some. We went to a bar near the Barrowland and funny enough he was able to obtain two tickets!
As always the Barrowland is a brilliant venue for the gig. The Thrills from Dublin opened up and were really good. Next up was Interpol. They were brilliant. Turn Out The Bright Lights was one of my favourite albums around that time. Then we had the brilliance of The Polyphonic Spree who literally filled the stage.
At some point during the gig, I noticed that somebody dressed up as a giant chicken gatecrashed the stage during one of the songs and was manhandled by security and thrown off the stage. Turned out the guy dressed up as a chicken was indeed Colin Murray who had been given the task as part of a dare! Hilarious! Garage rock was all the rage with NME at the time and New Zealand’s The Datsuns brought the proceedings to a close.
The end of January was quite busy with back to back gigs in the Limelight and Mandela Hall for two of my favourite Scottish bands, Teenage Fanclub and Idlewild.
Feeder came to Belfast in February and played at the Limelight. This was the first time I had got to see the band headline their own show. Previously I had only seen them at festivals and supporting Stereophonics at the Odyssey. I credit Feeder for putting me off them.
The band had just come through a very difficult period following the death of drummer Jon Lee. They released Comfort In Sound was a much mellower album but live they are still brilliant.
One of the best Feeder gigs I have been too.
A few weeks after this I went to see Cave In at Auntie Annie’s. This is quite possibly the tiniest place to see any band. Used to go there for discos and it was always pretty full.
I was checking out new American bands to listen to and had been listening Cave In to see if I would like them. I really only had one album and I think they may have been supported by a local band Element who went onto to become In Case of Fire. If anybody reading this was at the gig please let me know if this is correct and I will amend.
The one gig I do not have a ticket stub for is Public Enemy! The came to Belfast on 11 April and played at Mandela Hall. I remember having the ticket as it was back to having the band logo on the ticket. For some reason they took the ticket stubs off us and never gave them back! Not being a big fan of rap I did like their cross over with Anthrax when they did Bring The Noise so I went along to see what it would be like.
I was back over in Glasgow the following night after seeing Public Enemy. Went over to see American Hi-Fi at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. Quite a strange name for a venue but it quite an amazing venue. It is a bar with a very small stage! So tiny you could cram in everybody. Like a lot of venues they would host many bands who would go on to bigger things.
At the end of the month The Cooper Temple Clause brought their noisy racket to the Limelight. Another band championed by NME. I last saw them at Witnness the previous summer and they were quite good live. Limelight was probably one of the best places to see them.
Can’t seem to remember who was support for this one. Probably a local band but if anybody remembers let me know and I will amend here.
May was a really busy month for gigs with three of them involving the long trip to Dublin!
I was down in Dublin around the May bank holiday as they were doing the annual Green Energy festival. There wasn’t much interest in the line up that year apart from The Vines who took to the stage at the Ambassador Theatre.
The Vines exploded onto the scene the year before and were heavily hyped by NME at the time. The new Nirvana tag had been landed on them which was a very lazy comparison.
As much as I was looking forward to this gig, it was awful for all the wrong reasons. Craig Nicholls was all over the place, thrashing around like a mad man and smashing guitars. It was just a chaotic mess and lots of people were leaving. I decided to stick around and hope that it was going to get better but it didn’t. A very disappointing gig for a band that probably did have a bit of potential.
So back up to Belfast the next day and hoping to put behind me the disappointment of seeing The Vines and hoping Hell is for Heroes at the Empire would make up for it.
Hell is for Heroes arose from the ashes of Symposium and were great live. They really tore up the Empire. I had totally forgotten all about the shambolic gig in Dublin 24 hours previously.
It is possible to have two really bad gigs in quick succession when you are travelling to Dublin? I was down again to see The Dandy Warhols at the Olympia Theatre where they were playing for two nights. I was at the first night.
Like many people Bohemian Like You was the breakthrough track thanks to that infamous Vodafone ad which brought them loads of new fans. I had heard of them before and seen them at the festivals but was really looking forward to seeing them do a headline gig.
The band had just released Welcome To the Monkey House which was the follow up to Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. When I say that this was a bad gig is probably an understatement. I don’t think it was the bands fault that it was a bad gig, I think really it was down to the fans in attendance. I don’t think they were enjoying the new material. Everyone just wanted to hear the songs that they liked.
Radiohead were back on form and brought their Hail to the Thief tour to Belfast. This was their last visit to the city and they played the Waterfront Hall this time which I thought was a strange choice of venue. They played the Odyssey in 2001. Unless there was somebody else on the Odyssey that night they had to settle for the Waterfront.
Standing tickets were impossible to get as there is limited standing in the Waterfront. Me and my friend Paddy went to the gig and we settled for sitting tickets. It was a bit weird sitting of a Radiohead gig but it was really good. Such a shame that they have never been to Belfast since. They would return to Dublin later on in the year and I will write about that on the next section.
To bring the month of May to a close it was yet another trip to Dublin. This time the Boss was coming to town along with the E Street Band.
Bruce Springsteen is always a joy to watch. He puts on such a great show. This tour was promoting the new album, The Rising.
This would be the last of single gigs in Dublin. Future tours would see him play two or three nights minimum such was the height of his popularity in Ireland.