Welcome back to the second part of 2003 which covers gigs attended from June to December.
Therapy? came to Mandela Hall in support of the Alternative Ulster Magazine launch and they were supported by two local bands, Yakuza and Some Days Better.
The gig was also filmed which would become Therapy?’s only DVD release. I purchased this and after repeated viewing managed to find myself in the crowd.
A few weeks later I was on the road again to Dublin to see Audioslave.
I was a big fan of both Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden.
Basically a supergroup of two legendary bands from the 1990s, some people even called them Rage Against The Garden!
A brilliant band live. For their first big tour and only one album they were playing at the Point Depot in Dublin. As always Chris Cornell has a great voice and the band were in great form here. We got the debut album played and they also done a few covers of The Clash’s White Riot and The White Stripes Seven Nation Army. There were no RATM or Soundgarden songs played during the evening and I thought this was quite right as Audioslave were their own band rather than having to bask on past glories of their previous bands.
A few weeks after the Witnness festival which is covered under the festivals blog, I was back down in Dublin for the second date of REMs two night stand at Dublin’s Marlay Park. Situated in south Dublin, there were buses being run to the venue from the city centre.
It was quite an overcast evening compared to the first day as it had been fine and sunny. For day 2 it felt a bit cold but REM wasted no time in getting the crowd warmed up. REM are a great live band and certainly did not disappoint that evening.
Interpol came to the Limelight that summer and after seeing them play in Glasgow earlier in the year I was definitely going to be going to this one. This was their one and only visit to Belfast.
They put on a really good show and it was great to see them in such a small venue. Support on the evening came from up and coming Scottish band Franz Ferdinard who themselves would go on to be hugely popular.
A work colleague of mine recommended that I try Rancid and I liked what I heard. I was vaguely familiar with them but had never had a chance to check them out.
Rancid played at the Ulster Hall and I got a ticket for the show. Rancid play a blend of punk and ska. Formed from the ashes of Operation Ivy, they even played one of their biggest known songs Knowledge that night.
I cannot remember too much about the support band from this one.
October was a really busy month for gigs which included another trip down to Dublin. This time to see Pixies legend Frank Black at Vicar Street. It was great to see him live and also to play some Pixies tunes as well. After this the band would reform and hit the road again.
The next three gigs are all in Belfast some I can remember and some I cannot! First up in the not remembering stakes is Athlete at the Limelight. Why I was at this one I can vaguely remember. Think the ticket was passed onto me so I went anyway.
Mogwai at Mandela Hall was definitely a disappointment. I had heard great things about this band especially being loud and heavy with the guitars but this gig could hear a pin drop. Worst than that you could hear actual conversations people were having during the gig. So bad the band walked off stage vowed never to return because some of us wouldn’t shut up. I prefer less talking and more listening to the band playing.
The Raveonettes played at the Limelight at the end of the month after their appearance at Witnness. They were from Denmark and were a two piece similar to The White Stripes. Two piece bands were all the rage back then.
November saw the return of two 90s legends, Mark Lanegan from Screaming Trees and Evan Dando from The Lemonheads.
I had never seen Screaming Trees live so it was great to see Mark Lanegan play Belfast again.
It was the same with The Lemonheads another band I never got to see at the height of their popularity but another chance to see Evan Dando was not going to go amiss. Mark Lanegan took to the stage of the Limelight whilst Evan Dando played at the Empire. Both great venues to see them.
The last gigs of the year were split between Belfast and Dublin. I had two visits to Dublin with the first one being Radiohead returning to the big arenas following their club shows from earlier in the year.
The band brought the Hail to the Thief tour to a much bigger setting at the Point Depot in Dublin. I enjoyed this show more than the Belfast one as I was sitting down for that one. It was much better standing watching them in the Point.
The second Dublin gig was a return to Ireland by Kings of Leon. Having last played here during the Witnness festival over the summer which I will write about in the next blog.
Kings of Leon played at the Olympia Theatre and from here on would go onto bigger things and play larger arenas after this.
The last two Belfast gigs of the year were both Christmas specials. As always I am a big fan of a good gig at Christmas especially when it was local favourites Ash and Therapy? but this time neither of them were playing Belfast at Christmas.
The first gig was billed as a Christmas gig at the Students Union in Queens. It was spread out throughout three floors in the union building. I only went along to see Electric Six who were playing downstairs in Mandela Hall.
The Thrills played at the Ulster Hall just before Christmas. They were doing a headline tour.
The Dublin band were enjoying a successful year having earlier been on the road as part of the NME tour in January.
So that concluded a very busy 2003. There wouldn’t be much rest as I got ready to do it all again in 2004.