I’ve arrived just in time to hear Salad (undressed) working there way through “Motorbike to Heaven”. That’s good because it’s my second favourite song of theirs! “On a Leash” which I used to own on 12″ is my favourite. Marijne van der Vlugt looks like she’s stepped off of the pages of Select magazine in 1996…which makes me cross because age has been much crueller to me. The stripped back nature of this incarnation of the band gives her the chance to show off a powerful voice and the small group of early arrivers seem to be enjoying the performance. Salad were one of those bands who deserved a much larger audience but the crowded nature of the scene probably denied them the space they needed to break through. Musically they always seemed to be doing something to the left of everyone else and the lyrics were fabulous. I’m glad I’ve caught them.
Here come My bloody Life bloody Story. I’m a bit excited. OK, a lot excited. I’m going to do as Jake Shillingford is urging and breathe in…breathe out…breathe in again. Shillingford is all high kicks, high energy and high style. How this band were not bigger than Oasis is a bigger mystery than the body in the library. They kick off with Jakes other projects exileinside track “Breathe In/Breathe Out” and its fabulous.
Album tracks, singles, b-sides, oldies and newbies…it’s a set that has feet stomping and hands clapping from start to magnificent finish. It’s a rare talent that Jake Shillingford possesses, to be able to write pop songs that have heart and soul in equal part.
As if by magic the crowd has quadrupled since My Life Story were on stage…it’s not really magic though. It’s much easier to explain. Dodgy are melody makers. Songs that fill hearts and bring people together. Proof of that arrives when they deliver “Staying Out for the Summer” and every single person in the venue roars back every word. Brilliant!
Here come Scouse psychedelic pop stars Space. Leader of the gang Tommy Scott is wearing a hat. Quirky.
They open the set with a genuinely dazzling barrage of noise and light which reminds me of PiL. Clearly a band who haven’t stayed trapped in their, or the scenes, past.
As this set goes on in coming to a realisation…SPACE ARE THE BEST BAND I DIDN’T KNOW I LOVED. This is a proper performance…seriously it’s ridiculous how good this is.
Here is Cerys Matthews up on the video screens to join in with “The Ballad of Tom Jones”. Have I mentioned how good this is yet??
“Female of the Species” is still a wonderful song. A bona fide pop gem.
Well. That was a surprise. I’ve fallen a bit in love with Space.
About 8 minutes until Sleeper.
Hmmmm? What? Excited? Who? Me?
HERE THEY COME!
The first part of this set was, to be blunt, absof$%#inglutely magnificent. Beyond description. I’m literally breathless. What a performance. What a performer.
Louise Wener is THE best thing to come out of Britpop. She’s “smart”, witty, sensitive and too cool even for old skool.
I feel lucky to have been here. Thank you Sleeper and thank you Star Shaped.
Now they’re playing “Lady Love Your Countryside” and I know I can die happy.
“Sale of the Century” finishes their set and the roar at the end can be hard in Edinburgh. Amazing.
Look who’s up next…
Here they are. The thinking (wo)mans indie pop scoundrels of choice. Cheeky, clever and with tunes that would make Burt Bacharach green with envy it’s The Bluetones.
As one would expect from the last band of the night the blue boys pull out all of their biggest and bestest pop hits. The crowd roar every word back at them. It’s what an Oasis concert would be like but without the threat of violence hanging heavy in the air and with lyrics that actually make sense and mean something.
Then it’s all over.
8 hours of Britpop.
A celebration of a celebratory moment in British pop cultural life. I feel elated. And knackered…none of us are as young as we used to be.