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!










The new year bring me over to London for the first of two NME gigs in the city at the iconic Astoria venue.

I was staying with friends in London that weekend and got them tickets for the second night which was the NME tour show.  This was the first time I had ever done the NME tour.

First night was done on my own.  I got to see And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead.

This amazing gig include support from the awesome Rocket From The Crypt and the then unknown band from New York, The Strokes.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead were amazing live.  A very riotus affair which resulted in a finale that saw the band literally giving away their gear to the crowd.  Saw someone walking off with bits of the drumkit. Unreal!

The following night was the main event, the NME tour finale had finally hit London.  For this year they picked their tips for the future by putting on your four very diverse and different bands.

The differences couldn’t be more obvious.  Starsailor and Alfie both described as indie bands, Amen from America were the most metal band on the bill and Irish trio JJ72 who were very much influenced by Joy Division.

It was an enjoyable gig.  You could feel the floor caving in when Amen hit the stage.  They were so loud.A few days later I would catch Amen again this time at the Limelight.

This gig was as equally loud as the Astoria one.

For this one I stayed more towards the back reluctant to be caught up in the moshpits at the front as it was getting a bit wild down there.

The Pixies were a band that I never got to see.  I remember telling one of my work colleagues that I was listening to Nirvana and he mentioned that he liked the Pixies and thought I would too.  I borrowed both Bossanova  and Doolittle and was blown away.  Sadly got into them too late and I think I did miss a gig at the Ulster Hall in the early 90s.

So Frank Black came to Dublin in February and I had to go to that one.

Post-Pixies, Frank Black has had a very successful solo career.  With this backing band, The Catholics they took to the Vicar Street venue in Dublin.  This was to become one of my favourite venues in Dublin.  It was such an intimate gig.

Never did I think I would hear some of the Pixies tunes that he did play that night.  I would eventually get to see The Pixies play when they reformed a few years later.

Following the success of the NME tour, JJ72 did a headline slot at the Olympia in February and then they did support for the Manic Street Preachers at Smithfield in Dublin in May.

For my 30th birthday, I had the never ending birthday with celebrations in both Belfast and London.  I made my first visit to Brixton Academy which was a venue I had always wanted to go to.

The Manic Street Preachers had just done a very short tour promoting their new album at the time Know Your Enemy following a visit to Cuba where they played for the first time.

Having seen Nirvana in 1992, I was intrigued with the idea that there would be a tribute band for them.

The Australian Nirvana came to the Limelight in April.

They put on a good show.  For many in the audience it might have been the closest they would get to hearing Nirvana live.

Don’t think they were as popular as the Australian Pink Floyd.

My friend Helen was dating a guy from Glasgow called Colin. She knew we would both immediately hit off with each other as he was big into music and going to see bands. Colin invited me over to Glasgow to catch Ash in the iconic Barrowlands.

This was an amazing venue.  The atmosphere was electric and the crowd were really up for it.  We couldn’t get to the front but when Ash hit the stage a huge tidal wave of bodies from the back was taking us in the direction of the front.  Definitely one of the best music venues I have ever been too.

I got to see metal legends Motorhead who played the Ulster Hall.

Was great to see them live.  They were loud, fast and amazing.  Was great to see them.

Also saw the Beta Band on the strength of only one song which was used in the High Fidelity movie.  They did a show at the Limelight.


Just before festival season, Witnness put on a promotional gig at the Empire showcasing Sparklehorse, Ed Harcourt and Gemma Hayes who would be playing Witnness during the summer.

I went to see And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead again for the first time in Belfast.

This was another fantastic gig by the band.  No instruments left this venue like their appearance at the Astoria.

The Empire was quite an amazing venue to see them.

The Strokes made their Belfast debut at the Limelight which was definitely not the most packed out gig I have been too.  I don’t know if anybody knew of it but it wasn’t sold out.  After this they got bigger and were heading to the larger venues.

I went to two festivals that summer which will be the subject of a separate blog, 2001 Festivals which will follow this one.

September 2001 was quite a dark month.  Following the aircraft attacks in America on 11 September many bands were pulling tours following the terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon.  I had a ticket to see Radiohead at the Odyssey in Belfast which took place 3 days later.

I really thought this gig was going to get pulled.  It was hard to find out information on what was actually going to happen but the gig eventually went ahead.

Radiohead continued where they left off from the big top tour the year before.

They insisted on a blackout of any of the corporate sponsorship that was situated around the area which was also home to the Belfast Giants ice hockey team.

The month of October was quite busy from 1/10 to 4/10, there gigs in the space of those days.  Got to see Elbow at the Limelight who remembered there performance at Witnness from the summer.  This was the only time I have ever seen them and they went on to bigger venues after this.

A quick trip to Dublin two days later took me to the Ambassador Theatre which was situated at the top of O’Connell Street.  A really great venue, they hosted Mercury Rev. Was a good gig but not as good as the Limelight one in 1999.

No chance for a breather back to Belfast and another gig.  Shed Seven took to the stage in the Limelight.  Went along to see what they were like.  I quite liked some of their songs so wouldn’t say I was a huge fan.  What I remember from this gig was the guy at the front row who kept holding up their latest CD for lead singer, Ricky Witter to sign.  He was quite persistent that during the gig he eventually took the CD off him and signed it on stage!

Went to see Stereophonics play at the Odyssey for the first time.

Support came from Feeder who blew them away.  Stereophonics on the other hand were becoming very bland and boring.  This was the point that I started to go off them.  The third album really killed it for me and I never listened to them since.November was also a very busy month for gigs.

The Frames came to the Limelight at the start of the month.  It was great to see them in a really good venue.

The really long weekend too place at the end of the month.  Three gigs in a row.

First up was a new event that was introduced to St George’s Market in Belfast for the first time promoted by Orange, called Enjoy Music.  For £5 you got to see Embrace and two local bands Snow Patrol and Payola.  Quite a bargain.

Following that it was two night stint at the Empire which was becoming one of my favourite venues in Belfast.  Will have to do a wee poll sometime to see what other people think.

Anyway, David Kitt was first.  Was familiar with some of this stuff after seeing him at Witnness.  Apart from this gig I can’t remember anything else about it.

Was really excited to see Mark Lanegan for the first time.  The one Seattle band that I never got to see was his old band, Screaming Trees.  I got into them thanks to the Singles soundtrack for the Cameron Crowe romcom to the backdrop of the early Seattle scene.  Mark Lanegan has such an amazing voice.  You just stand in amazement listening to him.  He doesn’t do too much banter on stage more lets music do the talking.

This brings us to a close with the traditional December Christmas gigs by two of my favourite bands, Therapy? and Ash.

Therapy? done a show at Mandela Hall which I think was the first time they played their since their debut in the 90s.

The next two gigs were back to back gigs at the Ulster Hall by Ash.





This was the first time I had done back to back gigs with the same band.

Ash were ending the year on a high after the rebirth of the band following the release of Free All Angels.

I got a ticket for the first night and then a second night was put on and I went and bought another ticket.  Why not?

Both very memorable gigs and sadly this would be the last time that Ash would headline a show at this venue.  They would be back for other shows but this was definitely the end of the headline slots.  As always the Christmas gigs were a bit special and this was no exception.


A new millennium begins and first gig goes to Therapy? who brought their 10 year anniversary tour to the Empire.  This was the first time I would get to see the band play here.

Support on the night came from American rockers Clutch.

Next up was Gomez at the Ulster Hall.

Gomez were enjoying success with their second album Liquid Skin. A fantastic live band.

The next gig remains a mystery as I have no idea why I was at it or who recommended it to me!

Wheat came to the Empire on 27 June.

It might have been one of those take a chance moments to go and see somebody at random but even looking at my CD collection I can’t find anything.  Definitely odd.  If anybody was at this and has any memories of it, this is your chance.

With festival season fast approaching, (see 2000 Festivals for more) the only gig that summer in Belfast was the Radio 1 Session in Northern Ireland show at the Limelight.

Up and coming Dublin band JJ72 came to the Limelight with support from local acts Audiosyncracy and Desert Hearts.

This was a free gig so it went out to first come, first served at the queue.  Not bad for a free gig.  Think it also went out on radio broadcast as well.

Radiohead came back to Ireland in September to promote their new albums Kid A and Amnesiac.  It was a tour with a difference as Radiohead brought on tour with them their own big top.

We got tickets for the second night of the gig.  It had a strange buzz to it as it somehow lacked the atmosphere of their previous gig in Dublin a few years earlier at the RDS for the OK Computer tour.

I don’t think the fans appreciated the new material.  Everybody just wanted them to play stuff from The Bends.  I think a lot of that material got pushed out as the band played mostly stuff from OK Computer and the two new albums.

I guess there was a bit of indifference to this.  It certainly wasn’t the worst Radiohead gig I had been too but the crowd really killed it and totally ruined it.  This would be the beginning of a new phase for the band.

So how do you top that mild disappointment?  You come home from Dublin that night and get ready for Coldplay at the Ulster Hall!  I was starting to give the band a listen that summer and really liked their first album Parachutes but this gig?  Possibly one of the worst gigs I have ever been too.  It just wasn’t great at all.  With only one album under their belt I think there was lack of material to cover.  So bad, they ending up playing Yellow twice.  The second time round was the most cringe worthy!  Since then I went off the band and have never seen them live since.  My loss I guess!

Embrace came to the Limelight just before Halloween and this was one of my favourite gigs there.  I had definitely been converted to them after previously dismissing them as a poor man’s Oasis.

On account of this gig, I think Embrace were better then Oasis.

I was back down at the Limelight the next night to see Teenage Fanclub.  They had just released Howdy! and it is always a pleasure to see them live.  They were Kurt Cobain’s favourite band, so they can’t be that bad.

Muse brought the Showbiz tour to Dublin’s Olympia with support from locals JJ72.

They didn’t get off to the best start as their gear was stranded in England coming over from the ferry.  The band had to borrow some gear from Muse and we were treated to a short acoustic.

Muse however came on and delivered a really brilliant performance.  This was probably the closest I would get to see them in such an intimate venue.  They really blew the roof off the place.

I finally got a chance to see the Smashing Pumpkins following the disappointment of the cancelled Belfast gig from 1996.  It had been cancelled due to a crush the night before in Dublin.  I went over to London to see my friend David and we took in their gig at Wembley Arena.

This gig was a huge disappointment as we were watching the band literally break up on stage.

It really was so bad.  The band were definitely going through the motions and you just knew the end was nigh.

When it came to introducing the band Billy Corgan turned round to James Aha and retorted “and you are?”.  Ouch!  Such a nasty put down to a fellow band member.  After that it was all over.

JJ72 did an Irish tour in December making a return visit to the Limelight.

This time they remembered to bring their gear with them.

JJ72 gigs tended to be pretty short sets.  You could tell they were pretty much influenced by the likes of Joy Division and early Manic Street Preachers.

Mark Geary also had a habit of smashing guitars on stage as well.

I took advantage of my workplace having an office in Dublin for the next two gigs!  Staying in Dublin for two days while working, it was great way to see both bands.

So night one was Placebo.  No Belfast date this time round, so it was going to be a trip to Dublin to see them.  As always Placebo are great live.  Back to my digs and up for work the next day soon it would be the time to see the Foo Fighters again.

This would be the second time I would see them having saw them make their Irish debut in 1995.  Standing tickets were hard to get for this gig so I settled for seating tickets.

Can’t complain really as I witnessed a brilliant gig that had two drum kits on stage.  We were treated to a drum off between Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl.  So I got to see Dave now drum in two different bands!

Back to Belfast I got to witness the most hyper active band I have ever seen….At The Drive In at the Empire.

Whatever you do, don’t ever try to mosh at any of their gigs.

There were plenty of people who were up for a bit of this on the night but one punter wasn’t so lucky and was called out and rejected from the venue.

I went down to Dublin to see Green Day on the Warning tour.

This was Green Day’s biggest gig in Ireland to date.  The memory of my first Green Day show in 1998 was a distant past.

Green Day as always put a good show on and even invited members of the audience to jam on stage with them and one lucky guy walked out with a guitar.

To round up the year, it was the return of the traditional Christmas gig.

Ash came to the Limelight with the support of Snow Patrol.

Still have the flyer above from the gig.  Worst thing about it, I didn’t get to see Snow Patrol that night!  Bummer.  Was late getting down for the gig but was down in time for Ash and what a gig it was.  They were in blistering form.  We even got treat to a cover of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.  Quality gig and this was before Free All Angels came out too!