Music life in lockdown week 8

This is a review of the albums that I have been listening to whilst working from home.  Albums listened to for week 8 cover from 11May to 15 May.

Monday 11 May – Singer-songwriters

Starting the week I went for a selection of artists from the American scene and international scene.Soundtrack May 11

Nick Cave was supposed to have just been to Dublin (Friday 8 May) and I had a ticket for the gig.  Sadly this one was one of many gigs that I have tickets for that have either been rescheduled or cancelled.  Thankfully this is going to take place next year instead.  So making up for not getting to see him, Monday starts with The Best of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds (1998) 16 tracks covering  his early career to the most recent output at the time of release.

Grant-Lee Phillips was in band called Grant Lee Buffalo.  I played one of their albums earlier in the lockdown but like a lot of things I kind of forgot all about them when they disbanded in 1999.  I wasn’t up to speed on his solo works, so I picked up The Narrows (2016).  Think I shall investigate some of this other solo works.

American Music Club lead by Mark Eitzel released Mercury in 1993.  I picked this one out as it was another one of those forgotten about CDs from the time.  I recently listened to the Aids benefit CD No Alternative (1993) and one of their tracks was on it.

Juliana Hatfield was in Blake Babies, Some Girls and also The Lemonheads.  I got into her solo music around the same time as listening to The Lemonheads.  I picked her second album, Become What You Are (1993) to listen to.  Will definitely be revisiting some of her other albums during lockdown.

Tanya Donelly I was familiar with her work with Belly, The Breeders and Throwing Muses.  Have CDs by The Breeders but none by Throwing Muses.  I will have to hunt out some of their stuff as I started to listen to some on Spotify.

Tanya was lead vocalist and songwriter for Belly and Feed The Tree was a bit hit.  She has recorded five albums and I went for the first one, Lovesongs for Underdogs (1997).

Another casualty of gigs being cancelled were Pearl Jam.  I have seen Eddie Vedder live twice and he puts on a great show solo as well as Pearl Jam!  Eddie has only released two albums as solo artist.  I played Into The Wild (2007) which was his debut solo album and soundtrack for the film of the same name.  Songs like Setting Forth, Hard Sun, Society and Guaranteed are all live favourites from his solo shows.

Tuesday 12 May – 2002 part 1

Today’s theme was 2002 following Tim’s Twitter Listening Party,that didn’t happened the previous night with Texas band And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead.   I will shorten this to Trail of Dead to make it easier reading.Soundtrack May 12

A technical hitch meant the live tweeting never happened as everybody tuned in listening to Source Tags and Codes.  I decided to give it another spin the next day.  And that lead me to creating a 2002 theme of the best albums released that year.  A fantastic live act.  One memory I have of them is seeing them in the Astoria in London and a gig ending with chaotic scenes as the band gave away their equipment.  Not often do you see anybody coming out of a gig with bits and pieces of a drum kit!

After listening to Trail of Dead, I selected some albums by Interpol, Sparta, Six By Seven, The Cooper Temple Clause and Primal Scream.

Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights was one of my favourite albums that year.  The first thing that came into my mind was how influenced they were by Joy Division.   They played Belfast in the Limelight (the tiny one) supported by the then unknown Franz Ferdinand. 

Sparta arose from the ashes of At The Drive In.  Their debut album Wiretap Scars was on the playlist that day.

I got into Six By Seven in 2000, so it was going to be their second album, The Way I Feel Today.

Next up was The Cooper Temple Clause.  Their debut album, See This Through And Leave was brilliant.  Some brilliant songs on that album.

Primal Scream need  no introduction.   This was their seventh album which makes a link between the bands two other albums XTRMNTR (2000) and Screamadelica (1991).  A really great album and one of my favourites.

Wednesday 13 May – 2002 part 2

Continuing the theme of 2002 some other favourite albums from that year came from Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Idlewild, Sonic Youth, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) and The Polyphonic Spree.Soundtrack May 13

Both Pearl Jam and Bruce release albums in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in America.  Riot Act was Pearl Jam’s seventh album was heavily influenced by 9/11 and also the tragedy at Roskilde Festival in 2000 where nine fans died at a crush during their performance.

The Rising was Bruce’s twelfth album.  It was also his first with The E Street Band in 18 years.  The album was part of his reflections on the aftermath of 9/11.  The last track on the album, My City of Ruins is quite haunting.

Idlewild released The Remote Part which was one of my favourites of theirs.  It was a more melodic album than the previous one, 100 Broken Windows.  I think they were considered the Scottish REM at this point.

Sonic Youth albums are so different with every release and Murray Street was no exception.  I got into them time Dirty (1992) came out and that was down to the Nirvana influence.  Only ever got to see them live once and my ears were ringing for days!

Next up is the craziest band I have ever had the pleasure of seeing live! The Polyphonic Spree!  If you ever wanted to join a cult, this would be the one to join.  The Beginning Stages of…is a very different album.  Each song is broke up into sections, so all the songs roll into each other but it is fantastic listening experience.

Concluding 2002 was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, will reference the band in shorter version BRMC.  I don’t know why I have this down as 2002.  Wikipedia says 2001.  Must have got the dates mixed up but I think this album fits in well here.  I caught them on the NME tour in Dublin and really liked them.  Just as Interpol were influenced by Joy Division you could tell that BRMC were influenced by The Jesus and Mary Chain.  A great band, I hope to play more of their albums soon.

Thursday 14 May – La La love you!

At last Pixies get a day all to themselves.  It was inevitable that I would get round to listening to them.  The band I got into at the wrong time.  They split up when I got introduced to them but it was thanks to one of my work colleagues who leant me Doolittle (1989) and Bossanova (1990) that I was blown away.  Also unknown at the time I got into them they played at the Ulster Hall.  Didn’t get to see them play on that occasion but made up for it last year.Soundtrack May 14

So along with those two influential albums and indeed two of my all time favourites, I got playing loads that day.  On the pictures shown, there is a box set Death to the Pixies (1997) which collects their best tracks from all four albums as well as a live CD.

Surfer Rosa and Come on Pilgrim (1988) are in re-released box set here.  I only got this last year.  Complete ‘B’ Sides (2001) featuring b sides from six out of eight of their UK singles from the 1980s and 1990s and one US single.  One of my favourites on this is their cover of Neil Young’s Winterlong.

Beneath the Eyrie (2019) is their most recent release and their third album since reforming.  I was looking forward to getting to see them again this year supporting Pearl Jam in London and their own gig in Dublin.  Sadly going to have to wait until 2021.

Friday 15 May – Revolution Rock

In the red corner we have two politically charged bands, Rage Against the Machine and Refused.Soundtrack May 15

Three albums each from each band.  Rage formed in 1991 and their music expresses revolutionary political views.  Their eponymous debut album (1992) came out in right place at the right time.  I don’t know how I managed to play that at home when I was living with my mum and dad!  They must have heard the swearing on Killing In the Name.  So infamous, Radio 1 played the original unedited single with “F**k” going over the airwaves 17 times!

Evil Empire (1996) was the follow up to it and The Battle of Los Angeles (1999) was on next.  A great band live full of energy.  They released one more album, Renegades (2000) which I will write about on another blog. I was lucky to see them in Belfast in 1993.  Last time I saw them was in 2000 at the Reading festival.  They reformed this year but the whole Covid-19 situation has meant all tours are cancelled, including Rage’s return to Ireland in September at Electric Picnic.  Hopefully there will be some shows next year.

Refused are a Swedish hardcore punk band.  I started to take interest in them when I heard one of their songs, New Noise which was from the album The Shape of Punk To Come (1998).  I liked it so much that I bought the album and it is an amazing piece of work.  Inbetween songs there are political interludes which makes this a wee bit different from Rage.  Here we have samples were on Rage’s albums it was always credited as sound by guitar, base and drums.  Refused use technological sounds and also jazz.

What I didn’t know at the time was that they broke up after this.  The lead singer Dennis Lyxzen when onto to form The (International) Noise Conspiracy. But like everything else bands do get back together again and Freedom (2015) was their first album since 1998’s The Shape of Punk To Come.  I really enjoyed the new album and I even managed to get to see them live.  They played Glasgow one year and it was my birthday and I just had to go over and see them live.  They did not disappoint.  I was hoping to see them at Sunstroke festival this time next week but sadly that has been cancelled.  I do hope they make a return visit to these shores sometime next year.

War Music (2019) is their most recent album.  It is an album that fits in with the time we are living in at the moment.  With so much upheaval going on in the world at the moment, it is music by both Rage and Refused that feel right for the times.


The new year starts off with the very first Kerrang tour to come to Belfast.  This was their version of the NME tour where the metal magazine selects four bands on a bill for their tips of the year.BIFFY KERRANG

Headlining this gig at Mandela Hall was Biffy Clyro who were just six months away from releasing their breakthrough album, Puzzle.  Support came from The Bronx, The Audition and I Am Ghost.

I took Gillian’s cousin to the gig but we made it down in time for The Bronx and Biffy Clyro, missing the other two bands.  Biffy Clyro were incredible live.  To think you were witnessing them in a smaller setting compared to the big arenas that they are currently playing in.  We will catch up with them later on this as they will making a return visit to the same venue later on in the year.

In February, we had a trip over to Glasgow courtesy of my friend Colin who lives there.  He bought myself and Gillian a nights stay in a hotel in Glasgow for our wedding and we headed over to see The Killers at the SECC Arena (now the Hydro).  Colin came along to the gig as well.KILLERS GLASGOW

The Killers had just released Sam’s Town for their second album after the success of Hot Fuss.  Support came from Black Rebel Motorcyle club who also had a new album out, Baby 81.  I guess I was more excited about BRMC than the Killers at the time as I never really took to the second album like I did for the first album.

It was a decent enough performance by The Killers but after the gig I would find myself going off them which would result in seeing them for one last time later on in the summer.

There were no gig in March to go to, so next up was  James at the  Olympia Theatre in Dublin in April.JAMES

This was my second time seeing James in this iconic venue.  Quite possibly my favourite venue in Dublin.  The band reformed in 2007 and were getting ready to release a new album which would be coming out the following year.

James are a great live band with Tim Booth as a very energetic and lively front man with his mad dancing on stage.  This was a great gig.   Not sure about the ticket stub though!  We got a lovely print at home one.  Doesn’t have the same quality!

Next gig was the return of the Lemonheads to Belfast in May which was the last Irish stop of the tour having played at Cork, Galway and Dublin.  LEMONHEADS

Lemonheads gigs tend to be a mixture of being great and being chaotic.

Probably depending on what mood Evan Dando is in! Thankfully this gig at the Mandela Hall was the latter!

The band were in fine form giving us a blast of 90s nostalgia.

In June, local heroes Ash returned to Belfast’s Spring and Airbrake after 2005’s riotous sell-out show.ASH SPRING

This time the band were back to a three piece following the departure of guitarist Charlotte Hatherley.  Definitely much missed.  Ash released their fifth album, Twilight of the Innocents that year.  Must admit I think this is their weakest album but they always cut it live.

They would be back again in Belfast later on in the year.

A few weeks later I was over in London to see the White Stripes for what ended up as a free ticket!  Gillian won two tickets courtesy of O2 and asked me who I would like to see.  The White Stripes were headlining Hyde Park as part of the O2 Wireless festival so I opted for that.  WHITE STRIPES

She didn’t go to the gig with me so I went over to London and stayed with my friend David who took the other ticket.  Hyde Park is a huge place.  This was the first gig I had ever been to at the venue.

The White Stripes had just released a new album, Icky Thump and were promoting it.  It was a full support bill.   Main support was Queens of the Stone Age which I was pleased to get to see them again.  Trying to remember the other bands that were on the bill but not remembering too much as I think we just about got there in time for Queens of the Stone Age.

Queens of the Stone Age were excellent as always.  The White Stripes were great too.  I think this may have been the last time I would get to see them.

Summer back home was much quieter gig wise.  I was no longer heading down for Oxegen so the next big gig was Tennent’s Vital which came to Belfast’s Ormeau Park for two days in August.  It was a case of picking which one to go to as none of my friends were going to do both.  Day 1 was headlined by Razorlight with support from Manic Street Preachers. KILLERS VITAL

That would have been my choice but then I didn’t like Razorlight so left it would have been a waste of money so we ended up with The Killers on day 2.   Apart from Mark Ronson, the rest of the support bill was quite good – Kasabian (before they went rubbish), The Shins and Albert Hammond jr from the Strokes.

However as far as gigs go it was aright.  The sound wasn’t the best and it ended up as the last ever Killers gig I would go to.

Next up was Idlewild.  After a two month break of not seeing anybody this was a welcome return to the live scene.IDLEWILD

Idlewild are one of my favourite bands and they never disappoint.   This gig at Mandela Hall was celebrating the bands 10th birthday as they released as best of collection ‘Scottish Fiction’.  I don’t think I have ever been a bad Idlewild gig.


Sometimes you get gigs that you go to and wonder WTF!  Well, this next one definitely sums it up!YOU SAY PARTY

My friend Paddy picked a gig to go to at the Spring and Airbrake.  You Say Party! We Say Die! was definitely getting filed under WTF as to be honest I have no idea what we were thinking of going to this one!

My wife seemed to have the knack of wining tickets for gigs.  This never really happens to me as I haven’t won a concert ticket since that Big Country gig back in 1991!

Anyway, I am not complaining as this being the third ticket she has one.  This time for Crowded House at the Waterfront.CROWDED HOUSE

Now I must admit I was never a big fan.  I think that song back in the early 90s about the weather did my head in that I was instantly turned off them, as everywhere you went (no pun intended!) they were always on the radio with that song!

However, I was willing to give it a chance even for a seated gig and I will admit I was pleasantly surprised that I actually did enjoy this gig.  Sometimes you have to go beyond the song that you despise.

Ash came back to Belfast in December and finished their 2007 shows in ephantic style in  playing a 24 song set in front of a home crowd packed with their friends and familiesAsh Mandela.

For the encore of the year the band were joined on stage by friends Barry Peak, frontman of school friends and mentors Laser Gun Nun (more recently Backwater) for a cover of their anthem, and Cosmic Debri, ‘Melon Farmer’. Then ending the night with Nathan Connelly from Snow Patrol on guitar for ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Burn Baby Burn’.  Mark also teased the crowd almost providing ‘Goldfinger’ backing vocals.

Following this was a return visit to Belfast by Black Rebel  Motorcycle Club who had released the really excellent Baby 81 album.BRMC

Having seen them support The Killers in Glasgow earlier in the year it as great to see the band showcase their new material that night.

A great gig by a great band.

Last gig of the year was going to be Biffy Clyro.

They were the first band I would see at the start of the year and it was kind of appropriate that they would be the band that would close 2007.Biffy Mandela Dec

From that moment in January the wheels were in motion that this would be Biffy’s year and it certainly was.

Puzzle was released in the summer and it would become their breakthrough album.  The kind of album that would divide fans into old and new.

A bit like the Manic Street Preachers in a way.  While the new stuff is definitely more radio friendly, it is in no comparison to the edgy sound of the first three albums.

But no matter what you think of old Biffy vs new Biffy you couldn’t deny that they are great live.  This might be the last chance to get to see them in a small setting and they didn’t disappoint.

2004 – January to June

The new year didn’t kick off with the traditional NME tour in 2004.  There wasn’t one coming to Ireland that year so January was a very quiet month for gigs.

February turned out to a be a busy month.  First up was a visit by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to Mandela Hall.BRMC (2)

BRMC had just put out their third album Howl and it was good to see them back in Belfast.  They always put on a good show and post-millennium they have been one of my favourite bands.  I would look forward to seeing them again in the future.

The following evening  I went along to the Limelight to catch the Ataris.  ATARIS (2)I had picked up their album So Long, Astoria after listening to one of their tracks on free CD given away by Kerrang magazine and I liked what I heard.  Free CDs on magazines back then were good ways of checking out a band if you were not sure if you would like them before investing your money into buying the record or CD back in the day.  They were a good band and I really liked them.

At the end of February, it was time for Muse to make their Belfast debut.  I had been listening to Muse since picking up Showbiz and they have been firm favourites of mine.  Having previously seen them live in Dublin I was really looking forward to their first visit to Belfast.MUSE (2)

Their third album, Absolution had been released in 2003 and is one of my favourite albums.  This gig at the Ulster Hall was just astounding.  Quite possibly the best gig I have seen there and I have been to quite a few.  If I was going to do a top 10 favourite Ulster Hall gigs poll this one would definitely be up there.

There were a couple of gigs in March, one around my birthday as Hundred Reasons came back to Belfast to play the Limelight. HUNDRED REASONS (2) It was good to see them back in Belfast again.  Their rise went from Limelight to Mandela and then back to the Limelight.  This would be the last time I would get to see the band.

A couple of days later, Snow Patrol would play Mandela Hall.  Prior to the release of Final Straw the band had put out the first single from the album, Spitting Games in 2003 which hadn’t done very well.

The second single Run released in February 2004 suddenly became a sleeper hit and propelled the band to stardom.  The gig at Mandela Hall showcased the band on the way up.SNOW PATROL MANDELA (2)

I have to admit this was a very good gig.  I don’t speak highly of the band now which is a discussion for another blog down the line but those early gigs are definitely the memorable ones.

Look at the price of it too! £10 was quite cheap!

April was also a busy month of gigs with Ash being the band to see more than once!  First up was a trip to Dublin to see the band play at Temple Bar Music Centre.  This was like Dublin’s version of the Limelight and it was a very good venue.  Support came from fellow Northerners, The Answer who were different to Ash in terms of their style.  They were very much in the classic rock vein but were fantastic live.

A few days later the band played a surprise show at their hometown in Downpatrick as part of their 10th anniversary.  The gig took place in Downpatrick Arts Centre.

Support for the Downpatrick gig came from a local band from their old school which Mark Hamilton was managing.  Their name escapes me but I definitely remember they had a nu-metal edge to their sound.  Even played Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name complete with swearing and their parents were in the audience!

Last gig of April was a visit to my first ever gig in Lisburn at the Island Arts Centre to see Derry’s finest band since the Undertones, Jetplane Landing who were doing a gig to promote Alternative Ulster Magazine.JETPLANE LANDING (2)

I was a big fan of Cuckoo who released a fantastic album in the 1990s.  From the ashes of Cuckoo came Jetplane Landing who were brilliant.  I spoke to Andrew Ferris at the gig telling him how much I liked Cuckoo and he was pretty pleased to hear that. Support came from local bands Torgas Valley Reds and Yazuka.

Celebrating 10 years of Ash continued during the month of May with a trip over to London to see them.  ASH LONDON (2)It was a good excuse to head over to London for the weekend and visit some friends.  We got tickets to see Ash at the Carling Apollo in Hammersmith which was a wonderful Art Deco venue in London and was the biggest London gig the band had done to date.  A brilliant venue to see Ash and they were in great form.

The month of June was pretty busy too.  First up was a visit to Dublin to see Red Hot Chili Peppers at Phoenix Park.  Now I wasn’t too impressed with their show at Landsdown Road a few years previously and this gig was no exception.RCHP (2)

Main draw for me was Pixies who had just reformed and were doing a reunion tour.  Tickets were hard to get for these shows so I settled for seeing the band as support to Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Definitely wasn’t the best time to see them as you could hardly get anywhere near the main stage to really enjoy it.  To say I was disappointed was an understatement.

Anyway back to Red Hot Chili Peppers and this was really a big low as far as going to gigs was concerned.  The band were terrible and it felt like a completely phoned in performance.  The audience wasn’t much better either as quite a lot of people didn’t know any of the older songs they performed and would end up building human pyramids.  Needless to say this put me off the band and I have never went to see them again.

Brushing off the disappointment from that gig, a few days later New Zealand’s The Datsuns came to Belfast for the first time bringing their garage rock racket to the Limelight.  Now this was a better gig. DATSUNS (2)

I finally got to fill the final piece of the Big Four jigsaw when I got to see metal legends Anthrax at the Ulster Hall.

Having previously seen Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth, it was Anthrax who were the one band that alluded me and it was great to see them live at last although this wasn’t quite the original line up.  ANTHRAX (2)

Final gig of the month was My Morning Jacket at the Limelight.  This was my first attempt at trying to listen to alt-country or Americana as it is normally known as.














2002 – June to December

The second part of the blog takes in the second half of the year.  2002 shaped up to be a pretty busy year for gigs, so to make it a bit easier to read I decided to split 2002 three ways and keep the festivals on a separate page (4 festivals to cover this time!).

Ok, first up is the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I must admit that I am not their biggest fan but have seen them twice now.  The second gig will be covered at a later date.  Anyway, I was more into Faith No More than the Chili Peppers.  Missed a chance to see them in 1993 at Sunstroke.  That was the year they pulled out and Faith No More replaced them and missed them again the following year 1994 at same festival which I am told was one of their best gigs.

Red Hot Chilli PeppersLansdowne Road was the venue for their Dublin show for the 2002 tour.  Kenny and myself went down for this and we ended up in the south terrace which was probably behind where the rugby goal posts were.

Support came from New Order which I was excited to see.  Sadly they didn’t live up to my expectations and they were pretty awful.

The same can also be said for the Chili Peppers.  They were truly awful on the day.  Definitely the most phoned in performance I had seen.  1/10 for effort guys!  Sadly I would give them another chance but we will find out how they fared at later date.

Witnness 2002 is covered in the festivals section but one of the bands from that weekend ventured north a few days later to the Limelight.Rival Schools

Rival Schools were considered godfathers of the emerging emo scene that was coming through.  I caught their set at Witnness and they were a brilliant band to watch.

The gig in Limelight was great too.  They are a band I would love to see again.


The first Tennent’s Vital took place in September at Botanic Gardens.  Again I will cover this one as part of the festivals blog.

October was a pretty busy month for gigs.  First up was Queens of the Stone Age at the Ambassador Theatre.  Queens of the Stone Age

This was the first time I had seen the band on Irish soil after getting to see them at the Reading festival in 2000.  I think they were due to play Belfast in 2001 at the Limelight but pulled out.  No idea what the reason was.

A band at the peak of their powers, Songs for the Deaf was one of my favourite albums that year.  With guest vocals from Mark Lanegan and Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters taking a time out to drum on this album, you can guess that I am really looking forward to this gig.  To say you had seen Dave Grohl drum in two different bands would have been great.

Standing tickets were pretty hard to get so I settled for a sitting ticket.  A rarity but I done it before.

A fantastic gig, I was dripping in sweat and that was being in a seat.  I think pretty much anybody around me were headbanging like mad!  Sadly Dave wasn’t on board the tour for this one as he got the Foo Fighters back together and was going on the road with them.  Mark Lanegan would come on stage at several points when he was called upon for vocal duties.

Hundred Reasons returned to Belfast following their sell out show at the Limelight back in May.  This time they played at Mandela Hall with support coming from the remaining members from At The Drive In, who went on to form Sparta.

JJ72 made a return visit also to Belfast as part of the Queens Festival that autumn.  They were promoting their second album at the Limelight.

The last three gigs of the year all involved a trip down to Dublin.

Dave Grohl did come to Dublin this time but brought his own band with him!  This was the first Foo Fighters gig at the Point Theatre.  Foo FightersThey had just released One By One and this was the biggest venue at the time I had seen the band play.

A few days later I would be back in Dublin again to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  A band becoming a firm favourite for me I first them at the Ambassador Theatre on the NME Brat Tour the year before. BRMC

Again another highlight from Witnness 2002 which I will go into a bit more detail in festivals.

They played at the Olympia Theatre which is one of my favourite Dublin venues and were awesome.

Manic Street Preachers brought their Forever Delayed tour to Dublin in December with support from Ian Brown. Manic Street Preachers

Last time I saw Ian Brown was the Big Day Out in Galway in 1998.  Still wasn’t any better this time round.

A tour with a difference as this was basically a Manic Street Preachers greatest hits setlist.  Kind of ticked all the boxes and played all the songs you wanted to hear with no encore.  Result!









2002 – January to May

For this blog I am going to break it down due to the amount of gigs that year.  This first part covers January to May and the second part will cover June to December.

The first gig of the new year was one of sheer impulse.  Jimmy Eat World were due to support Blink 182 on their European tour which was to start in January.  Blink 182 pulled their entire European tour that year leaving Jimmy Eat World with a void to fill so they put on their own shows.

I had just got into the after hearing Bleed American which they got retitled Jimmy Eat World following the events of 9/11.

Jimmy Eat World 1I took a chance and got a ticket for their gig at Temple Bar Music Centre (now the Button Factory).  It was an amazing gig and definitely one well worth travelling down for.

There was one casualty at this gig…my glasses!

They went skyward and hit the floor.  Mad panic ensued as I tried to relocate them.  I managed to get them but they ended up in such a state that I had to get a new pair.  The joy of venturing into the moshpit.

Within a few short weeks I would be down in Dublin again.  This time NME brought the Brat Tour to Ireland for the first time.

NME Brat Tour

Again NME picked their tips for the new year and it was quite a mixed back.  Party rocker Andrew WK headlined with support from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Lostprophets and The Coral.  A very diverse line up.  Out of all the bands, the stand out for me was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club who I would get to see more than any other band on the bill here.

The Charaltans

There was one gig in February of that year and a lot more closer to home for a change.  The Waterfront was a strange venue for such an iconic band like the The Charlatans.  This was the first time I had got to see them in Belfast and they did not disappoint.

I had a birthday gig in March which was a trip over to Glasgow to see the mighty Weezer.  They have been one of my favourite bands and it was great to see them live indoors for a change.


Support was to come from American band Remy Zero, famous for their theme song to the Superman origins series Smallville.

They didn’t turn up and were replaced by local band Biffy Clyro who according to my Glasgow friend Colin “are shite”.   Wonder if he still feels about them this way now?

Weezer were brilliant and this was one of my favourite shows in the famous Barrowland.

April saw Gomez make a return visit to Belfast, this time playing at Mandela Hall.


May was the start of the crazy month.  Lots of gigs but none quite like doing six in one week!

It all started on the May bank holiday weekend.  First up was Rocket From The Crypt at Conor Hall.

RFTCThis was my first and only visit to Conor Hall which was part of the Art College in Belfast.  Quite a few famous bands have graced the stage here like Radiohead.  Rocket From The Crypt were amazing.  It was great to see them in my home city having previously seen them in London the year before.

The following evening Evan Dando did a solo gig at the Limelight.

Evan Dando

A fantastic performance by Evan who for a change wasn’t stoned out of his head!  It was great to hear a mixture of solo stuff as well as some classic Lemonheads.

So two gigs down, four to go.  The next two were going to be in Dublin so it was going to be a weekend stay for the Heineken Green Energy Festival at Dublin Castle.

Saturday night was headlined up The White Stripes which was their biggest gig in Ireland since their debut at the Witnness Festival the year before.  Their support all came from Detriot and all friends of the band – The Von Bondies, The Dirtbombs and the Detriot Cobras.

Now the second ticket is going to cause a bit of confusion as I have mentioned that I am in Dublin for two gigs at Dublin Castle.  The second ticket which has The Hives at the Ambassador was my original ticket and then Muse got announced for Dublin Castle.  As there was no ticket exchange, The Hives were added to the Dublin Castle bill and their headline slot was cancelled.

I was really excited for this one as the Hives were my new favourite band at the time.  They were good but I would get to see them in Belfast which was a better gig.

Muse put on a good show but they were touring Origin of Symmetry which was the follow up to Showbiz but the crowd were having none of it and wanted to hear the first album.  Go figure, I think the second album was better but we Irish audiences can be a right fickle bunch.

So on the Monday it is time to go home and no time to rest either as the six day gig fest is coming to a close!

The last two nights would be a trip to the Limelight twice.  Monday saw the Hives bring their maniac brand of rock and roll to Belfast.  Having seen them in Dublin the night before this gig was one of my favourite ever in the Limelight.  They brought immense joy to their performance and I came away from that gig with a big grin on my face feeling that I had just witnessed an incredible performance.  Sadly the Hives never graced our city again following this show.

Tuesday night and I was wrecked.  I think by day six it had taken it’s toll on me with the travel and standing around.  Considering that I don’t drink I was still knackered.   Maybe this was one gig too many.  Can’t remember too much about Ikara Colt apart from NME hyping them up.  Of all the gigs this was not the best attended of the bunch.  I could have done with a night off!

I had a few weeks break from gigging until the end of May when it started all over again.

Another trip to Dublin and this time Jimmy Eat World returned to the city to play at the Ambassador.

Jimmy Eat World 2

Their popularity was building so it was only a matter of time before they would move up to the bigger venues.

I enjoyed the gig but still think the first one was something special.  This time however my glasses remained intact and didn’t get smashed.

Another trip south brought me to Ozzfest at Punchestown Race Course.  I will cover this on the festivals blog.

Finally, last gig of the month went to Hundred Reasons.

Hundred Reasons Limelight

They were enjoying chart success with their debut album, Ideas Above Our Station and were part of the new wave of Britrock that was breaking through at the time.  Championed by the likes of Melody Maker, they hit the Limelight but it wouldn’t be their last visit to Belfast as they got popular they would be back later on in the year.