In truth, I’ve been pretty spoilt in recent times when it comes to bands I used to love reforming. In recent years I’ve had a blast seeing the likes of Pop Will Eat Itself, Sunny Day Real Estate, EMF, Cud, The Seers, ABC, Carter USM, Blancmange, The Woodentops, Th’ Faith Healers, The Specials, Swervedriver – the list goes on and on.
Of course, some bands would’ve made this list if it was remotely possible; sadly sometimes mortality gets in the way and it’s too crucial for it to be worth bothering: Thin Lizzy, Mega City 4 (with the exception of the fantastic Four4Wiz shows), Nirvana, Gwei-lo, The Clash and many more. In all these kinds of cases, I’ve left them off the list.
So here we go – the 10 bands I most want to see back together and gigging (in your own time people):
- 10: The Fatima Mansions (1988-1995)
This is one of those bands you like a bit at the time, but only really quite how much after they’ve gone – and I never saw them live, damnit. Headed by former Microdisney frontman Cathal Coughlan they mixed poppy keyboards and amazing lyrics with just enough crazy to keep you interested. And they got bottled off when supporting U2 – a clear sign of greatness.
- 9: New Fast Automatic Daffodils (also weirdly 1988-1995)
These guys I did see live and boy were they good – funky like a lot of the indie around at the time, but darker and brooding too, again with great lyrics. Albums ‘Pigeonhole’ and ‘Body Exit Mind’ are still favourites. In fact, while researching (ahem) this blog post, I found out they did a third one and I’ve ordered it from Amazon.
- 8: The Senseless Things (1986-1995 – what was it about 1995?)
While I always preferred Snuff and Mega City 4, I still miss the The Senseless Things. And, just as importantly, most of my old friends do too. If these got back together, it would be one hell of a party so for that reason more than any other, I’d like to see them back and playing.
- 7: Gunshot/Hijack (1990-2000/1988-1991)
Either one, or both, I’m not fussy. Gangster rap was at its peak around the late 80s/early 90s and these bands proved you didn’t have to be from some shit hole in America to do it right – a shit hole in London did just the same job. From Leyton and Brixton respectively, these were both brilliant live acts . Gunshot would probably just edge it for me, thanks to their collaboration with Napalm Death.
- 6: Catherine Wheel (1990-2000)
Winners of my ‘Nicest band I Ever Interviewed’ Award (Fountains of Wayne were runners up), Catherine Wheel are another band from that period that I still listen to a lot now. Awesome live, they mixed a massive wall of sound with a truly great lead singer in Rob Dickinson. Black Metallic at Reading will always stay with me, while their Rock City show in the mid-90s was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.
- 5: Talk Talk (1981-1991)
Sadly these guys will be remembered for some pop hits that largely haven’t aged well, but anyone who has been lucky enough to kick back on a sofa and enjoy albums such as Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock will know there was a lot more too them than that. They’re the second band on the list that I didn’t see live back in the day, which again I sorely regret now.
- 4: Th’ Faith Healers (1990-1994)
Since they split in 1994 I’ve been lucky enough to catch Th’ Faith Healers live a couple of times for occasional shows. They’ve been awe inspiring each time and it pisses me off that I can’t go see them every week, instead of once in a blue moon. One of the few bands I know I’m going to dance (or should I say lurch) to, their infectious noise grabs me by the soul; as does singer Roxanne, my one and only indie front bird crush. There can be only one!
- 3: Hofman/The Broken Family Band (199?-2000/2002-2009)
By far the best things to come out of Cambridge while I’ve lived here, and probably ever, these two Steven Adams/Jay Williams bands comfortably transcended from ‘local’ to ‘favourite’ bands. while Steve’s lyrics were always a big part of it, what made both bands so special was the complete lack of passengers; Jay’s guitar alongside drummers Bugs and Mick and bass players Chad and Gav all player their parts in making music that was complex, fun, beautiful and/or deafening. Wonderful stuff.
- 2: Crazyhead (1986-2000)
Crazyhead’s Desert Orchid is still one of my favourite albums, while in the late 80s they were one of my favourite live bands. In researching this, Wikipedia claims they’re back together in some form but I can’t find any concrete evidence beyond a super-shit MySpace page. If anyone knows any more please let me know – if there’s any truth in it, I want to get them a gig NOW! Scuzzy, dirty grebo rock has never sounded better than this.
- 1: Gaye Bykers on Acid (1984-1990)
As great as it is to listen to Robber’s ramblings on Facebook and to see Mary up on stage with the Poppies, it just makes me crave one of the most shambolic, entertaining, rough-as-fuck and downright danceable indie bands of their generation. With sleeze, punk and techno all rolled into one dirty live show, they’d go down a storm now – make it happen! If they did the PFX album in its entirety, with an encore of ‘hits’, that would keep me going for a good long while.
So that’s my top 10 and it was hard as hell to narrow down – the nearly list included The Smiths (would’ve easily made the 10 if I wasn’t so convinced they’d be incredibly overpriced and then shit), Green On Red, Saloon, 16 Horsepower (Wovenhand is close enough to push them off the list), Adorable and LCD Soundsystem (it’s already been too long!).
But who would you add to the list? Who did I embarrassingly miss off? Or should I let it lie and go and see you new band who are WAY better than all these old fogies?
PS: All dates stolen from Wikipedia, so probably inaccurate.