Welcome back to part two of 2004. The two festivals (T in the Park and Reading) are going to be covered separately in the festivals blog. So for the months of July and August it was quite barren gig wise for the indoor shows.
So that brings us to September and I have a free gig to go to! This is the first year that I get to go to gigs with my other half. She likes music but probably isn’t as mad keen going to see bands like me but since we started dating it was probably only a matter of time that we would go to some gigs together and I would go to some shows with her that weren’t my cup of tea. More on that later.
Anyway, the free gig turned out to be PJ Harvey. She entered a competition on Cool FM while it was on at work. I hate Cool FM. It is the one local station that I totally detest with a passion for the crap music that it plays but hey, she won me a ticket so maybe I should take that criticism back!
PJ Harvey had released a new album Uh Huh Her and brought the tour to the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. I think this was her first visit to Belfast.
A rare one for me to be seated for but I didn’t mind. After all it was a free ticket from Cool FM! I really enjoyed it.
The month of October was a mixed bag of gigs for both of us. And for this one I will be admitting to going to a gig along with her that I really shouldn’t be talking about. But hey, this blog is open and honest. It’s warts and all, the good and the bad. I have been to bad gigs as well as good ones and I have wrote about that, so it is only fair that I can admit that some of the gigs that I have been with my other half are well, let’s just say I am going to be very diplomatic about it!
Gillian wanted to go to see Avril Lavigne. Skater boy was all the rage at the time. Must admit it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea but she wanted to go so it was only fair that I should go to this one.
I wouldn’t quite call this pop punk. God only knows what it should have been labelled as. Avril Lavigne played at the Odyssey Arena. Our tickets said standing but when we got there the floor was changed to seated. Guess there must have been a lot of kids in the house with their parents. We took our seats quite near the front too but for me it was really terrible. All the kiddies giving the devil horns during songs. Guess you have to start somewhere. Hopefully they all moved onto Slayer or something heavier after this! I guess Gillian liked this more than me!
Making up for the horror of Avril was a visit to Belfast by Franz Ferdinard who had suddenly taken off with their debut album. I last saw them support Interpol in the Limelight the previous year so this was quite a big leap for them to the Ulster Hall.
The last gig of October went to Hope of the States at Mandela Hall. Their debut album The Lost Riots had just hit the Top 40 in the UK and they were championed by the likes of NME.
November was a busy month too. First up was the amazing Polyphonic Spree who finally made their Belfast debut at the Mandela Hall. This was an amazing gig. The entire band filled the whole stage and at one stage one of their members started to climb the stage rigging and proceed to climb onto the balcony walking the whole way around it.
As their ended their set the entire white robbed band walked off the stage and through the crowd as they made their way to the dressing room before coming back onstage for the encore. I have never been to a gig that had brought so much joy.
After that it was a trip to Dublin to see the Killers at the Olympia Theatre. The Las Vegas band were the breakthrough band of the summer who had just released their debut album, Hot Fuss.
I previously got to the see them at T in the Park over the summer and while they were good live at that one it was great to see them play indoors. Now like many new bands from the start of 2000 there aren’t too many that I continue to be passionate about today. Don’t get me wrong The Killers were good at the start. What could you not like about those early indie anthems that filled the dancefloors at the time. But there is always a time and a place for a band. 2004 for me was their year. What they did after that didn’t quite give me the same thrills.
Grunge icon Mark Lanegan came to the Limelight in support of his new album, Bubblegum.
Mark is amazing live. Doesn’t do much banter with the crowd but he does all the talking through his music. I don’t think have ever seen a bad Mark Lanegan gig but how I wished I could have seen him in his prime with Screaming Trees.
The last gig of the month is only getting a mere mention of the fact that I was at it.
Lostprophets were quite popular at the time and made their first visit to the Ulster Hall. I previously saw them in Dublin a few years ago as part of the NME tour.
December is usually my favourite month of gigs and 2004 didn’t disappoint.
First up was back to back gigs by Manic Street Preachers and Therapy? The Manics had just released Lifeblood which I must admit is definitely not my favourite Manics album. To some it is underrated but for me something just doesn’t seem right about it. And to make matters worst they play in what I could only think was the oddest place to put them, the Waterfront Hall.
The Waterfront never struck me as a place they would play but there you go. Would have preferred the Ulster Hall. If I remember correctly my ticket was originally a sitting ticket with Gillian but I really didn’t want to sit for a Manics gigs and left her to go downstairs to the standing area and came out with somebody else’s ticket! The Waterfront had this weird take the ticket stubs off you going in policy and then giving them back to you on the way out!
Therapy? brought their Never Apologise, Never Explain tour to the Mandela Hall the following evening. Normally when Therapy? are in town it’s a Christmas gig. That honour went to Snow Patrol that year. But Christmas gig or no Christmas gig, Therapy? do not disappoint.
So the two gigs closest to Christmas went to Dublin band The Thrills who headlined a show at the Ulster Hall on 20th December followed by Snow Patrol on 22th.
Gillian went with me for both gigs. The Thrills gig we had sitting tickets for but I managed to sneak downstairs. For Snow Patrol she just stayed at the back as the front was a bit too mad for her.
Snow Patrol would actually do three nights at the venue, the second one being 23rd December but for some reason another date was added to the Ulster Hall on 23rd November which meant that the gig on the 22th December was the second gig and not the first one.
This was probably the last best Snow Patrol show that I had been too. They didn’t disappoint that night but sadly it after that I would find myself going off the band completely which is the subject of another blog but for now 2004 was definitely their year.