Mandela Hall at Queen’s Students Union closed in the summer of 2018 to make way for the new Students Union building. The demolition team finally went to work yesterday and it was quite a sad say to see such an iconic venue come down with the main building.
Easily the best music venue in Belfast, since it’s closure it has been a major loss to the scene. One of my first gigs since the closure was to see The Lemonheads at Elmwood Hall across the road but it wasn’t the best venue and I felt the closure of the Students Union has impacted on the gigs.
The building is over 50 years old and it previously hosted gigs as the McMordie Hall where the likes of U2, Stiff Little Fingers and The Clash had played in the late 70s/early 80s. It was renamed Mandela Hall in 1986.
Looking back on the rich music history of bands that have played this iconic venue I must admit I was bit late discovering it and am envious of anybody that saw some great shows here.
My first gig there was in 1991 when I won tickets to see Big Country. I wouldn’t be back at the venue again until 1996 when I went to see Lush. So I have missed a lot of great bands during the 1990s that I like that have graced the stage but looking back I can see why I missed them as I didn’t like to go to gigs on my own compared to now.
Since then I have seen loads of great bands, some great memories and if it is coming back will it capture the same atmosphere of the old building.
So looking back at this fantastic venues, this is all the bands that I have seen here.
1991 Big Country
2002 Gomez, Hundred Reasons
2003 Idlewild, Public Enemy, Electric Six, Therapy?, Mogawi
2004 Therapy?, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Snow Patrol, Polyphonic Spree, Hope of the States
2005 Idlewild, Rooster, Funeral for a Friend, Teenage Fanclub
2006 Editors, Deftones, Snow Patrol
2007 Ash, Biffy Clyro x 2, Black Rebel Motorcyle Club, Idlewild, Lemonheads
2011 Glasvegas, Lisa Hannigan, And So I Watch You From Afar
2012 Ministry, Explosions in the Sky, Rancid, Mark Lanegan
2013 Frightened Rabbit
2014 First Aid Kit
2015 And So I Watch You From Afar, Villagers, Swans, Echo and the Bunnymen
2016 Ash, Wolf Alice, The Cult
2017 Mark Lanegan
2018 The The, And So I Watch You From Afar