New year and new gigs to go to. Starting off 2005 was two trips to Dublin within a week of each other before going back down at the end of the month.
First up was US supergroup Velvet Revolver consisting of Guns N’ Roses members Slash (lead guitar), Duff McKagan (bass, backing vocals), and former member Matt Sorum (drums, backing vocals), alongside Dave Kushner (rhythm guitar) formerly of punk band Wasted Youth, and Scott Weiland formerly of Stone Temple Pilots (STP).
Their debut album came out in 2004 and they played the Point Theatre on 12 January. This was the only time I had got to see members of Guns N’Roses play.
I never got to see them ever nor did I ever get to see Stone Temple Pilots. They were fantastic live and it was a great gig.
Following that gig it was another trip down the road on 16 January to see Taking Back Sunday at the Ambassador Theatre.
This was my first time seeing them and there was rumours that My Chemical Romance might have been backing them but they in turn took off themselves leaving the likes of Taking Back Sunday behind.
The end of January and another trip to Dublin, this time back to the Point for Green Day. This time Gillian came along with me for the gig.
The American Idiot tour was well on the road at this stage and compared to the low key gig at the Ambassador the previous year this was a big jump up for Green Day. It was probably the last indoor Green Day show I would get to go to.
When you are with your other half you know there is going to be potential for going to gigs that you don’t want to go to. I must admit I am a music snob but Gillian did like some bands that I liked although not all of them. In turn I never quite returned the same feeling for the music she liked. So in the interests of fairness it was only right that I would go along with her. She wouldn’t go to gigs on her own so again it wouldn’t be fair on her to miss something that she liked.
Rooster came to Mandela Hall on 11 February. Time to earn brownie points as it was close to Valentine’s Day and that would put me in the good books, right? I think they were the hard rock version to the pop punk of Busted. Who knows? I can’t remember too much about the gig to be honest. Think Gillian enjoyed it more than I did.
To take my mind of Rooster, REM were coming to town for their first ever Belfast show!
REM played in Belfast for the first time on February 25, 2005 which caused great excitement among fans who snapped up 9,500 tickets in a matter of hours. This was great to see as it was always going to be a trip to Dublin to see them.
I normally hate arena gigs but the thing about the Odyssey (now SSE Arena) is you need to be at the right spot to enjoy it and the sound is actually quite good compared to the King’s Hall which really wasn’t fit for purpose gig wise. The ticket stub is for seats but I had a standing ticket. Odyssey staff for some reason took the standing tickets off us and handed random tickets on the way out. I ended up with someone else’s seating ticket. Weird!
An amazing show and I was so glad to get to see them in my home city for a change. They even played Teenage Kicks towards the end of the set which was a nice nod to local heroes from Derry, The Undertones.
Another American band making their Belfast debut was Jimmy Eat World. The gig on 14 March was originally going to be in the Spring and Airbrake but their popularity gained momentum with the release of their fifth album, Futures and they were bumped up to the Ulster Hall. My original ticket stub is still for Spring and Airbrake.
Again a welcome break from having to make the trip to Dublin to see a band, I had previously went down to Dublin to see them twice. First time when they played Temple Bar Music Centre (now the Button Factory) and then the Ambassador Theatre. Jimmy Eat World are great live and I can’t wait to see them again hopefully some time in the new year when a new tour is announced.
After that gig, I had the rare birthday gig. Feeder came to Belfast on 22 March and are probably the only band I have seen twice on my actual birthday.
Feeder have been a band I have been into since their second album and they have never disappointed. I had previously seen them at festivals and also as support. Still never forget the time they blew Stereophonics off stage at the Odyssey. Feeder have never had the opportunity to headline a huge venue so the Ulster Hall was a perfect fit for them and what a great gig it was.
Following that it is the inevitable trip to Dublin. This time, Gillian’s choice not mine! Good Charlotte came to the Olympia Theatre which is one of my favourite venues in Dublin. There was no way Gillian was going to be able to stand so we opted for seating tickets. Upstairs in the Olympia is quite nice and you get a great view of the stage.
I must admit whilst I liked Jimmy Eat World I couldn’t quite get into this band were quite pop punk but the kids must have liked them. Just like the previous gig with Gillian to see Avril Lavenge there were plenty of kids in the seats with their parents giving the devil horns. That was quite funny. Gillian was glad to get to see them. Me? Just another gig I have been too.
Kaiser Chiefs were making some noise at the start of the year and were getting a bit of notice from the likes of NME. I Predict A Riot was a sleeper hit of the year and they were billed to play in the Limelight (the smaller one).
This time friends suggested we go to the gig. Remembering the ill-fate who were Oasis moment from 1994 I thought better of it and decided we should go to it. While Kaiser Chiefs may not have quite been as good as early Oasis this was a cracker gig to see a band at the start for their career. After that they did take off and as usual I went off them quite quickly when they released Ruby from their second album. I hated that song! But I have fond memories of the Limelight gig. It was brilliant though.
Had another trip to the Olympia although this time on my own for Interpol. They were promoting their second album, Antics and this time round they skipped Belfast.
This was the last time I ever got to see the band. Turn Out The Bright Lights was a great album and I thought Antics were just ok.
The third album killed it for me and I went off them completely. Shame. Of the three times that I have seen Interpol, their debut gig at the Limelight remains one of the best.
I started to take an interest in Biffy Clyro. This is way along before their mainstream success of late. I bought their first three albums and thought these guys were good. Then I remembered seeing them support Weezer in Glasgow and my mate Colin said they were shite. Wonder if he still holds that view.
Anyway the gig at Spring and Airbrake was a very sweaty affair. They were very loud and it was an amazing gig. Hard to believe that this band would be making its way up to the bigger stages in years to come. Post mainstream Biffy is ok. I tried to get one of my work colleagues to listen to their early stuff but he wouldn’t give it a go instead preferring their later stuff.
The last gig in April was Embrace at the Ulster Hall.
This was their first visit there and they were touring their album, Out of Nothing. Embrace are a great live band and it was a very enjoyable gig.