Saturday, July 12, 2008

Weekend 90s revisionism, part 1: Tiger

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.)

10 comments:

garfer said...

I liked Echobelly. Actually, that's not true, I liked Sonya. She wore a particularly nice pair of tight jeans in the video for 'Great Things' which I remember with affection to this day.

Charles Frith said...

Splendid. I'll be looking forward to these CS posts.

I shall also never look at an obstinate turd in the same way again. What some people eat for buoyancy I have no idea.

Billy said...

How can you listen to too much Krautrock?

Geoff said...

I remember that Race song from somewhere. And I remember the name Tiger. Radio One must have played it. Is this an exercise in memory recall? Because I'm failing miserably.

I haven't set foot inside a Camden pub since the mid eighties and we only had juke boxes then and my friend used to upset the indie applecart by putting on House Of The Rising Sun.

dh said...

A perfunctory analysis would suggest a somewhat lacklustre performance by the lead singer. Or perhaps his casual attitude comes across all too well.

Tim Footman said...

Garfer: Echobelly was a great idea, a reproach to the white blokiness of so much Britpop. And Sonya was indeed scrumptious. Pity they couldn't come up with songs to match.

Too much fizzy pop, I reckon, Charles.

It's when you start dancing to air raid sirens, Billy.

It is an exercise in memory, Geoff; if you remember it, I've probably failed.

Lacklustre, Dick? Positively somnambulent.

patroclus said...

Ahhh, how I miss the stinky Camden backrooms. I suppose these days they're full of Amy Winehouse and a massive throng of paparazzi.

Tim Footman said...

Apart from the ones that burn down...

pleite said...

Frank Carson and Cheggers! Found the song quite forgettable, though.

Del said...

Hello! Betty pointed me this way in response to my latest post which namechecked Tiger. And you're absolutely right, sir! (Although I did have a soft spot for Dodgy. Forgive me!)

Ah. Wonderful wonderful Tiger. They were just great. I listened to that album to death. I remember putting it on in the 6th form common room to widespread disgust. Which was pretty much the response I wanted. Sigh...