Been watching bits of this year's Glastonbury, and it's a bit depressing. Apart from the entertaining Ting Tings (a Flying Lizards tribute act, but what's wrong with that?) most of the bands were so generic, they may as well have been concocted for an episode of Midsomer Murders, in which John Nettles infiltrates the seedy underworld of provincial indie rock, after an aspiring bass guitarist is found crushed to death under a crate of blank contract forms and hair product.
But I don't want this to turn into a Jeremiad about how horrible pop music has become these days; as Theodore Sturgeon put it, 90% of everything is crud. An equivalent string of clips from the 1997 festival, now fondly remembered by hacks for Radiohead transcending myriad lighting cock-ups blah blah blah (Paul Trynka: "...it's been galling to hear the odd person describe it as merely 'a good gig'. It wasn't. It was something far more profound.") would have to include Ocean Colour Scene, Cast, Dodgy, Echobelly, the Longpigs, 60 Ft Dolls, Reef, the Seahorses and Kula Shaker (twice).
The problem is, it's Kula Shaker and the like that come to mind when we recall that era, like an obstinate turd that won't be flushed. This galls me particularly, because Small Boo and I spent much of that time in stinky Camden backrooms, bulking out the audiences for a band she was managing. It was the comedown from Britpop (as depicted in Pulp's This is Hardcore, the best album of the decade), and bands still desperate to be the new Menswe@r rubbed various body parts with acts that had no idea where they were going, and would probably never get there.
It's these Stars That Never Were (how's that for the name of a 90s revival package tour?) that tug the memory strings for me, and once again I'm disobeying my own manifesto, in a new, regular CS feature, to highlight a few decent bands that never sported ironic Union Jacks.
To kick off, here's Tiger, who I first saw at the Camden Crawl in about 1996. Bad name, technically inept, listened to too much Krautrock, came from Princes Risborough and oh, those mullets. But they possessed a certain shambolic charm that was conspicuously absent in some of their more lauded contemporaries.
(If this whets your appetite, here's the band appearing on The Big Breakfast. Not quite as good, but you do get to see Frank Carson shaking his not inconsiderable thang down the front.)