Backstage at the Cool Britannia festival earlier this month, David Heartfield and Jack Gray are explaining why the moment is right for a 90s revival. It takes anywhere from a dozen to twenty years for nostalgia to kick in for a previous era of music. And lest we forget, Britpop was a revival of its own, a return to the British rock of the late 60s and early 70s. As we speak, Space are on stage. In other words, we’re due. So what’s next? They have visibly been on an intriguing journey since the mainstream spotlight left them – they now have a keyboard player in a Crass T-shirt and a bass player who looks like he is moonlighting from a death metal act called something like Mildewed Crucifix – but the audience are lapping up their 90s hits: Avenging Angels, Female of the Species, Neighbourhood. 1995-2000: Retro-80s with the biggest emphasis on 1978-1984. A revival once removed? Keep reading. There’s a dance tent with PAs from Rozalla, Urban Cookie Collective and Alison Limerick, among others, but the main stage skews distinctly towards Britpop: Ocean Colour Scene, Cast, Dodgy, Toploader, the Lightning Seeds and something called Britpop Classical, an alt-rock equivalent of those tours where an orchestra belts out old dance hits to an audience of ageing ravers, complete with Phil Daniels reprising his monologue from Blur’s Parklife. For example:
1958-61: A fondness for traditional jazz in some quarters. 1971-74: The return of the 50s. But they would say that, wouldn’t they? They are the promoter and the booking agent of Cool Britannia, a two-day event in the grounds of Knebworth House that offers nostalgic punters a cornucopia of musical delights from 20 years ago. Think American Graffiti, Happy Days, Sha Na Na, Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.”
1985-89: The rise of classic rock featuring rejuvenated careers of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd and so many others. Heartfield’s and Gray’s argument about a 90s revival is, in fact, a convincing one. A return to Britpop, apparently. 2017-present: A renewed interest in the grunge-like guitar rock of the 90s. This is from The Guardian. This makes sense, given that Britpop took root in late ’91, early ’92. So is this a revival of a revival?
Next up on the resurrection/recycling list: Britpop!