Star Shaped Festival returns to Manchester this weekend and we for one couldn’t be more excited for it! It may be 2019 but with a line-up of Britpop legends including Cast, The Bluetones, Dodgy, Space and The Seahorses will takeover The Ritz for a day of 90’s rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia!
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
Don’t consider this a history lesson, but Britpop was important to music, as indie rock ‘n’ roll crossed over to the mainstream. It was all warranted success too. The “Britpop” label probably came as a result of the red-top newspapers finding plenty of material to fill the front pages with, based on this new set of superstars. The Gallagher brothers are always good for a quote (or a fight – remember Oasis vs. Blur?), Jarvis Cocker shook his bum at Jacko at The Brits, and there was even a love triangle with Elastica’s lead singer Justine Frischmann dating Damon Albarn having previously dated Suede’s lead man Brett Anderson.
But this was backed up with very important music. “Definitely Maybe” is probably the greatest debut album of all-time. Blur’s lead single from “Parklife” is a pop masterpiece and Pulp’s “Common People” and “Do You Remember The First Time?” still get played at peak times in 42’s.
Star Shaped headliners Cast were huge in 1996 and damn right too. “Walkaway” has many personal meanings for me as I’m sure many of their songs do to lots of people, but not least for when it was chosen to play out England’s Euro 96 semi-final exit to Germany on penalties.
The summer when football was coming home ended in heartbreak and nothing captures the moment more poignantly. Throw in “Sandstorm” and the more uplifting “Alright” and “Fine Time” and you’ll quickly realise how important their album “All Change” is. Add to this, lead singer John Power was an original member of cult heroes The La’s and I can’t think of what more you need to know to find an excuse to be able to tell your friends that you’ve seen these live.
CHRIS HELME (THE SEAHORSES)
Scratch a little deeper into the surface and The Seahorses’ one and only album is still a wonderful body of work, hugely important considering it is John Squire’s follow-up to The Stone Roses.
Frontman Chris Helme co-wrote plenty of that album, with his voice lending more melody than had been heard before to accompany Squire’s legendary sound. Star Shaped Festival sees an acoustic set from Helme including all the big hits such as “Blinded By The Sun” and “Love Me and Leave Me” – the latter co-written with Liam Gallagher, didn’t you know?
Expect to hear plenty about the origins of these songs during his set.
MARK MORRISS (THE BLUETONES)
You could argue The Bluetones were post-Britpop but “Expecting To Fly” is still one of my personal favourite albums – ever.
“Slight Return” was arguably their biggest tune but the album had so much depth and long-term fans of the band have been rewarded with plenty since. As this is a Britpop celebration, let’s go back to 95/96 and enjoy the timeless “Bluetonic”, “Cut Some Rug” and “Marblehead Johnson”.
The latter song was a tribute to the late, great, alternative stand up Bill Hicks. Again, expect chat, stories and plenty of good humour. You can see how Mark Morriss and co. appeared in Edgar Wright’s Spaced. A comedy that defined the 90’s in many ways – although now’s not the time for that…
(Not Spaced) These got a LOT of radio play at the time, mostly due to their huge hit “Female of the Species” but also “Dark Clouds”, “Neighbourhood” and “You And Me Versus The World” from debut album “Spiders” all saw chart success.
Despite not dominating the airwaves as much with their second album “Tin Planet” they did prove their musical abilities once again with the brilliant “Ballad of Tom Jones” and “Avenging Angels”.
And to top it all off, Dodgy will be playing their entire debut album “Homegrown”. It’s a shame it’s the opening track but how about this for a flavour of what’s to come…
Like this? Maybe you’d like to read all about Bands F.C. which helps celebrate such great music with graphic design and some very cool badge and poster designs – we caught up with the man behind it all…