Life could have been very different and then…something changed.
Except, nothing has really changed.
Oh sure, I’ve got less hair and a wider waist.
You’ve got a few grey hairs.
We are all a little older.
But none of the things that matter have changed.
By the things that matter I mean, of course, the music. Because, as Pete Postlethwaite told us in “Brassed Off”; “It’s music what matters”.
So there we were, now here we are.
Supergrass on the front cover of Melody Maker…all mutton chops, feather cuts and cheeky grins. Ready to take the world on again after the massive success of “I Should Coco” and “Alright” the previous year.
This week I saw Supergrass in concert playing songs from “I Should Coco”, including “Alright”, and lots of the songs that followed and sounding like they were ready to take on the world again…again.
The front cover gives a hint as to the musical landscape in Britain following the near total dominance of Britpop in 1995..
Ocean Colour Scene ready to make a splash for the first time since they appeared in Melody Maker in 1991, a new film from Danny Boyle called “Trainspotting”, Britpop originals The Auteurs, the King of Kitsch, Mike Flowers, the mighty Bluetones (who were sitting at the top of the album charts with their debut Expecting to Fly) and the first rumblings of Simon Price’s antidote to the dad rock leanings of Britpop ’96 with Sexus and Hollywood.
Giddy nights…as evidenced by a story about a punch up involving Fluffy at a Bluetones shindig!
Oh…Jarvis Cocker is there too.
Inside the front cover is a full page ad for the latest single from Oasis, something called “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. I used to love these full page adverts and would often tear them out and pin them to my walls as unofficial posters. I even had a couple of Suede ones turned into t-shirts. Rock and roll or what?
The Bluetones were celebrating the success of “Expecting to Fly” with a tour later in the year and also had to move to bigger venues following the album bursting into the charts at number one and knocking Oasis off the top spot.
Their is also a brief mention of a prior support band “Hooker”…remember them?
“Londoners had a new river view to admire on Friday (February 16th) when giant posters of Liam and Noel Gallagher were hung from Chelsea Bridge…”
Salad were set to be the first band to play at the new Powerhaus venue, formerly the Sir George Robey pub. According to the band all traces of its previous “crusty” heritage had been removed…
A news special told us all about Jarvis Cocker’s plans to move into the world of film…
In support of the Rock the Vote campaign members of Gene attended an event at the House of Commons along with the likes of Eddie Izzard and Carl Cox…
The Bluetones were, in the words of Mark Morriss, the frilly shirts in amongst the Fred Perry and Ben Sherman of Britpop so it comes as something of a surprise to see those charming men at the centre of a story about a right old tear-up at their album launch party.
Members of Fluffy and Hooker went toe-to-toe in a bit of pavement dancing and more with someone called Tommy from a band called Freaks of Desire having a cut eye…won’t someone think of the children?
One of the great lost acts of the Britpop era were Denim, the brainchild of ex-Felt front-man, Lawrence. Their second album “Denim on Ice” was released this week in 1996 and to celebrate Andys Records were offering the album for only £9.99. Interesting too to note that the band were on tour with Pulp.
A lot of people really love “Trainspotting”.
I am not one of those people.
But Melody Maker marked its release with this article…
A nice reference to Sydney Pollack’s classic “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” which, arguably, was even more depressing than “Trainspotting” but for very different reasons.
By this point in the Britpop story Simon Price had had quite enough of badly dressed boys and their “laddish” tendencies. He was the antidote to Loaded. A dandy, a romantic and a man who understood that Boy George always mattered more than Morrissey. Thanks to his efforts a gaggle of bright young things who viewed wearing Adidas trainers as a crime, not just against fashion, but against humanity were beginning to make their way onto the pages of the Maker. May I present…Hollywood;
“I love them because they are tragic, and because tragedy is all that heroes are good for.”
That, my friends, is what happens when you let writers who actually care about pop music write about it.
Well done Jonathan Selzer.
Here is a little bit from the gig section on The Bluetones tour and Supergrass “spilling the beans in Oxford”!
An advert for the wonderful Echobelly single “Dark Therapy”…
I have written a fairly gushing article on the brilliance of Orlando who were very much a part of the Romo scene but I think a really strong argument could be made that the best single from that scene was “The Official End of It All” by Sexus…
Super Furry Animals were on tour along with the none more magnificent Bis!
Back in 2018 at the Star Shaped Festival’s closing night in London Black Grape turned up and took the place apart…in 1996 they were embarking on the Fat Neck tour.
That night in London also saw Ocean Colour Scene headline and it was, beyond any doubt, one of the most incredible experiences I have had at a gig. They were wonderful. But back in February of 1996 journalists were asking Ocean Colour Who?
Not that Simon Fowler cared…
Quite right too Simon!
I think I know the answer to that question…tunes.
It would be tricky to argue that Edwin Collins was a part of Britpop given his long recording career prior to the term being coined (although that hasn’t stopped Wellends giving the Modfather a central role in the era) but, regardless, this advert for his single “Keep on Burning” is beautiful.
Great song too.
Cover stars Supergrass are given a LOT of space…
PROOF! The Bluetones at number one in the indie and official album charts.
What a time to be alive.
Can you guess who was reviewing the singles?
Well done you.
Yes, Simon Price gives the first of three singles of the week to the brilliant Plastic Fantastic with Fantastique No.5…
Single of the week two went to Kenickie…
Single of the week three (yes THREE) went to the aforementioned Sexus and “The Official End of it All”…
Sexus also had a proper feature this week too…
“We’re earthy and we’re Northern…but we’re not Northern Uproar”
If you can’t love a band with a line like that then I’m not sure you and I will ever really be friends.
Remember kids…style is more important than substance.
But Sexus had both.
Simon Price was all over this edition of the Melody Maker and so it is fitting that I end with his review of the lost classic “Denim on Ice” from Denim…