Growing up in the ‘90s, I feel blessed to have experienced the Britpop era. It isn’t just that style of music that I adored (and still do).
I’d like to share seven of the bands I am still head over heels in love with… and why.
- Manic Street Preachers
I remember the first time I saw this band. It was at Newcastle City Hall; I was 14. I had known of the Manics for a while. However, it was only around this time that I started going to gigs. I felt lucky. Standing on my seat and bouncing up and down (and getting told off for doing so), they were a band that I couldn’t help but be mesmerised by. Their stage presence, togetherness and incredible tunes made them irresistible. 24 years later and they are still my favourite band. Every time they tour, I make the effort to see them. I shed a tear each time, worried it might be my last gig of theirs.
Favourite song: Faster
- Shed Seven
Coming from North Yorkshire, Shed Seven were one of those bands that I’d heard of way before the rest of the country. When Britpop really took a hold on the nation, Shed Seven did well and I remember seeing them in their home city of York at the Barbican, just a few months before seeing the Manics. I still have my Shed Seven mug that I treated myself to at that gig (the t-shirt failed to fit a long time ago!) and I don’t even drink hot drinks. Shed Seven are still going strong these days. In fact, their most recent album (2017’s Instant Pleasures) is one of my favourites of theirs.
Favourite song: Where Have You Been Tonight?
- The Prodigy
At the age of 9, I remember seeing the Prodigy perform Charly on Top of the Pops in 1991. I was somewhat confused as to what was going on, more frightened than anything else. I’ve been lucky enough to see them live a handful of times, but none of the gigs will be more memorable than the latest one at Alexandra Palace, just months before Keith’s death. Put a track by the Prodigy on when I’ve had a few too many drinks and I am bound to be throwing myself around on the dance floor; yes, it’s embarrassing.
Favourite song: Out of Space
- The Bluetones
One of my best friends is totally and utterly obsessed with the Bluetones. I am not even close to being as head over heels in love with them (especially Mark Morriss!!!) as she is, but I am a fan. I remember seeing them perform at Leeds Festival and thinking what a great stage presence they had. Again, I’ve seen them a few times over the years in a number of venues. My youngest loves them too and sings along beautifully to Tiger Lily.
Favourite song: Bluetonic
- Green Day
One of two complete deviations from the theme in this list, Green Day are one of those bands whose songs are so incredibly catchy that you fell into bed with them before you even had the slightest opportunity to say no. One of the first videos I remember seeing on MTV when I went round to a friend’s house (we never had Sky) was Basket Case – such a fun video and an anthem for the ‘90s.
Even as they veered away from songs about masturbation and turned their attention to more political matters, they still produced excellent tracks. Even a musical along the way with American Idiot, which is well worth a watch if you ever get the chance. I remember seeing Green Day for the first time at V98 and being rather shocked at the nakedness and fire on stage. I’ve seen them a few times since then with Billie Joe Armstrong always engaging the crowd in a way akin to Freddie Mercury with the sing repeat approach. If you’ve never been to one of their gigs, add them to your to do list at once.
Favourite track: Walking Contradiction
One of those bands that you just couldn’t help but love from the ‘90s. Their songs were so quirky, and they were always great live. Well, having seen them in 2017 and again in 2018, they are still just as fun! I adore the fact that you can sing along to their songs, laugh about the weird characters contained within them, and have a ‘boss’ night out (as they say!).
Favourite song: Me and You vs the World
Late night music TV programme Noisy Mothers was something my dad would record on a regular basis and it was via that I first encountered Terrorvision. I always found them quite jolly for a rock band; most of the other music on there was loud and angry. A school trip to France had Perseverance as its theme tune, played from a discman with speakers attached. Everybody knew about the whales and the dolphins by the end of the trip. I’ve been lucky enough to see them on their farewell tours about six times and they never fail to deliver. Tony Wright is an excellent frontman with the broadest Bradford accent. What’s not to love about this band?Favourite song: Oblivion