Catherine Wheel – Crank

Last but not necessarily least, and first on my list of bands seen live, here’s Catherine Wheel, with Rob Dickinson (cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce) leading it out in front of a Finsbury Park horde. Bit different from The Hop & Grape – sorry, Academy 3 – where I saw them a few months later: a series of power outages threatened to curtail the set and send upwards of 100 disappointed punters home early.

The Boo Radleys – Wish I Was Skinny

Enough 1990s already!

Well, nearly enough. There’s just time for me to include tracks from the first bands I ever saw play live. First up, it’s The Boo Radleys again, who were the second band I deemed worthy of my hard-granted student money. I saw them up on the top floor of the Student’s Union, in what used to be called, spendidly, The Hop & Grape. It’s now called “Academy 3”, which is as yawn-inducingly unenticing as venue names get, frankly.

Teenage Fanclub – Radio

Nearly two months and I’m clinging manfully to my musical youth – by the end of the month we’ll have just about made it through the summer of ‘93. 1993: a year in which Meat Loaf, 2 Unlimited and Mr Blobby ruled the charts. 1993: a year in which both Simply Red AND Mick Hucknall won at the Brits, for British Group and British Male Solo Artist respectively. Not that the Brits coudln’t be cool, too. Suede played, and Nirvana won the International Breakthrough Act award in 1993. I’m sure it was a great moment for both bands.

Meanwhile, Teenage Fanclub spent 1993 being a generally brilliant collective song-writing animal, mostly living out their Big Star revival fantasies, only dialling it up occasionally. Like here, for instance.

New Order – Regret

It occurred to me recently that as much as I like New Order, I never actually seem to listen to them. Odd. And just now, I thought for a moment that Republic was the only one of their albums I’d actually bothered to buy, before finding that, no, Get Ready and Waiting For The Siren’s Call are also in my collection. I couldn’t even remember the name of their most recent album, Lost Sirens, and that’s even though tracks from it appear in my March Deezer playlist. I’m having to fight quite hard not to manufacture some sort of lame joke about a new disorder that makes me forget the names of things, or making some half-assed ironic link to the lyrics of “Regret”… oh.

The Cranberries – Linger

I’m well aware that “I was there first” musical boasts are empty glories at best, but for the record (heh) I bought this the first time around, when it sold no more than a handful of copies. A year later it was re-released and before long both the single and the album were inescapable, after which the band moved with impressive speed through the rising/popular/please make them go away cycle. Still, 30 million views for this, so some people out there are still listening.

Blur – Sunday Sunday

Reading wikipedia and today you’d be forgiven for thinking that everyone was in thrall to the album’s charms, but that’s not my recollection at all. Some people quite liked the bouncy baggy Blur of Leisure, and some people seemed to like the old-timey-wimey nostalgia of Modern Life Is Rubbish, but not too many seemed to go for both. It took Parklife to prevent Blur from slipping between the cracks in the cobbles, and Country House to make us all want to push them in anyway. Consider this a prelude to that even more larksome, irksome, Keith Allen featuring video.

Dodgy – Water Under The Bridge

The Dodgy Album was a favourite of mine during the spring and summer of 1993. For all the britpop and 60s revivalist revisionist nonsense that gets spouted about some mid 90s output, it’s worth just taking this album at face value: it’s a bit of a lark, not to be over-analysed or taken too seriously. And it does a pretty good job of it, if you ask me.

Frank Black – Hang On To Your Ego

No more Pixies – Boo! Black Francis going solo – yay! And he’s calling himself Frank Black and covering The Beach Boys… wha?

Actually Frank Black’s self-titled debut is not that far from being another Pixies album. It sounds more than a bit like a Pixies album, and it features Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago, and Eric Drew Feldman, who played keyboards on “Trompe Le Monde”. So if you’re into denial, really it’s like they never split up at all – very yay!

Pulp – Razzmatazz

Over on the BBC Radio 6 Music FB page someone’s been busy this evening updating something that calls itself “Steve Lamacq’s Britpop Timeline” with entries from March 1993. Don’t know where they got their inspiration from, but entries added have included items about Suede, Belly, and The Auteurs, so a hat tip for their fine taste 😀

Also mentioned are a Sheffield band about to hit the big time at long last, so for today why not take some Pulp on the cusp, as it were, with their last single for Gift Records. Don’t that Jarvis look young, eh?

The Auteurs – Show Girl

On one visit to Revolution Records I ask for a quick listen of New Wave, the debut album from The Auteurs. I’m hooked after 25 seconds of opening track “Show Girl”.

Of the bands featured in Select’s famous 1993 Union flag waving “Yanks Go Home” feature, The Auteurs are the only one whose lead singer (Luke Haines) has since gone on to record concept albums about German terrorists and the golden age of British wrestling. His two-part autobiography is refreshingly and unfailingly scornful.