Are you ready for the return of Britpop? This summer, two of the most popular British bands of the 1990s are set to reunite after more than a decade for massive live shows, with Blur performing two sold-out concerts at the 90,000- capacity Wembley Stadium in July, and Pulp headlining outdoor shows and festivals across the country from May.
Does your heart stir even a little at the thought of fields full of bucket hats and branded sportswear, men of a certain age in baggy football shirts and Harrington jackets, women raiding the back of their wardrobes for vintage slip dresses and Doc Marten boots? Such has been the impactful iconography of the Britpop era, you really don’t have to have been a devoted subscriber of Loaded magazine to know what to expect: blasts of electric guitars and snarky attitude, vast gut-busting singalongs of such rousingly cheeky anthems as Parklife and Common People, perhaps even a smattering of Union Jacks waving, however ironically? And (inevitably) lager, lager, lager.
These shows will be big, they will be messy and, honestly, they could be just what the dysfunctional British music scene needs to give it a rudely required kick up the posterior.
There is, of course, a glaring absence in the 2023 Britpop nostalgia calendar, with the Gallagher brothers still bickering from afar and no Oasis reunion on the horizon. But both Noel and Liam Gallagher will be playing festivals this summer in sets packed with crowd-pleasing Oasis hits. Indeed, Liam remains arguably the most popular solo rock star in the UK, having performed to 170,000 fans at Knebworth over the Platinum Jubilee weekend, in a recreation of Oasis’s record-breaking 1996 concerts.
According to the British Phonographic Institute’s end-of-year charts, Oasis registered two albums in the top 40 UK bestsellers of 2022. It is certainly impressive, until you contemplate what that might suggest about the cultural currency of contemporary British bands, who struggled to make any impression at all.
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