Saturday, 24 March 2012


James will be headlining the first day of Sound Island Festival 2012 at Quex Park in Birchington on Saturday 28th July this year. They'll be topping the bill in a lineup which includes a handful of prominent Britpop and Madchester bands, so I for one am tremendously excited since I was far too young to catch most of these bands in their heyday, which is a shame because Britpop was the first contemporary musical genre which captured my imagination as a kid.

The festival promoters have really outdone themselves by managing to book James as headliners as they really are masters of their craft and I'm a huge fan of their music. Lead singer Tim Booth is a lyricist only matched by Morrissey in witty coins of phrase and quintessentially British eccentricity. I defy any oddball kid who never quite felt they fit in at school to listen to 'Sit Down' and not feel like it's a call to arms - I know I did. I chose to show you the music video for 'Destiny Calling' as I feel it's a sublime example of how James have shown that musicians don't need to sacrifice their social conscience, their intelligence or their intellectual insight in order to have a hit single, as well as being delightfully ironic and subversive into the bargain. It's probably my favourite song of theirs.

Echo & The Bunnymen
The post-punk icons Echo & The Bunnymen are a pre-Smiths band who I didn't really get into until a few years ago. Like most people my age, I first heard of them when 'The Killing Moon' was featured on the Donnie Darko soundtrack back in 2001. I think they're a very underrated band - I borrowed a copy of their greatest hits album More Songs to Learn and Sing from Margate Library recently and their songs have definitely stood the test of time. It will be great to see them run through their back catalogue at Quex Park. What's the betting that Ian McCulloch will be moping around wearing a trench coat and a pair of sunglasses, even if it's rains (which I hope it doesn't!)?!

For most of the late 1990s, Cast were a band who I really enjoyed listening to, particularly their debut album All Change. Rising to prominence after Oasis became mega-stars, Cast churned out some excellent Top 10 singles such as "Flying" (see below) which I remember seeing on TV and being puzzled as to why it wasn't on my copy of All Change. I have to admit, I was very lucky to first get into music at a time when Britpop was in vogue. Listening to bands like Cast who were so influenced by British Invasion sounds really widened my musical tastes and enabled me to discover bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I mean, come on, isn't it better I was listening to this sort of stuff at school than the bloomin' Spice Girls?!

Inspiral Carpets
Perhaps unfortunately, Inspiral Carpets will forever be known as 'the band who used to have Noel Gallagher as a roadie.' And yes, that is 100% true, long before he found fame in Oasis, Noel Gallagher used to join Inspiral Carpets on tour and oversee their gigs as a technician, helping them set up on stage. Even though Oasis eventually eclipsed the Inspiral Carpets, it's unfair to overlook them, as if nothing else I reckon the Inspiral Carpets managed the impossible feat of making the Farfisa organ cool again, bringing it back into fashion for probably the first time since the mid-1960s. I can't wait to see if "This Is How It Feels" sounds as epic as it does here:

The Farm
Everybody's heard "All Together Now" haven't they? Cribbing its melody from a piece of classical music by Johann Pachelbel and with production being overseen by Suggs from Madness, this Madchester dance tune hit #4 in the UK Singles Chart in 1990, and was eventually re-released in the early noughties in a bid to become a football anthem for Euro 2004. Since then, it has been used for Cancer Research UK's Race for Live adverts, so there's no excuse if you haven't heard it. Unless you've been living under a rock, of course.

The Britpop band Space have a very special place in my heart. Since I got given my first CD player in Christmas 1995 (along with a giftwrapped copy of "Wonderwall by Oasis), I seem to remember that 1996 was the first year I started buying my own music with my pocket money. This was back in the days when you had to buy singles on CD, and I remember walking into Sound House in Deal at age 10 and asking if they had the song "Neighbourhood" by Space in stock after I saw this music video (see below) on ITV's The Chart Show. Thankfully, they did. See, even as a child I had eccentric tastes. Enjoy.

If you want to book tickets, please visit I'm not going to tell you how much they cost. That's for you to find out. Just promise me you'll do one thing - don't buy too many tickets because I haven't even bought mine yet and will be furious if it sells out, okay?! Good. Job done. 

Image of James performing at House of Blues © Alyse & Remi via Flickr and licensed for reuse. The inclusion of the image is not an endorsement of this post.


  1. The North West comes to the South East: my god, there'll be no hub caps left in Thanet!