Scared To Get Happy: A Story Of Indie Pop 1980-1989

Event: Saturday 22nd June, 2013 @ 229 The Venue, 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN

7.00pm to 7.30pm – THE WOLFHOUNDS
7.45pm to 8.15pm – MIGHTY MIGHTY
8.30pm to 9.15pm – BRILLIANT CORNERS
9.30pm to 10.15pm – BMX BANDITS
10.30pm to 11.15pm – THE PRIMITIVES

7.00pm to 7.45pm – YEAH YEAH NOH
8.00pm to 8.45pm – 14 ICED BEARS
9.00pm to 9.45pm – BLUE ORCHIDS
10.00pm to 10.45pm – POPGUNS
11.00pm to 11.45pm – JUNE BRIDES

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Now in its 35th year Cherry Red Records (along with Rough Trade) can lay claim to be one of the longest and most successful independent records labels in the UK. Co-founders Lain MacNay and Richard Jones started the label in 1978, in order to release singles by Punk band ‘The Tights’. Lain MacNay initially operated Cherry Red Records as something of a ‘hobby’ from his Wimbledon home, and today Cherry Red Records has an enormous and mightily impressive back catalogue, and they claim to release up to an astonishing ‘50 albums a month’.

On the 24th June comes the release of the eagerly anticipated ‘Scared To Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989’. This mammoth 5 album box set contains some 127 tracks by Indie bands that enjoyed limited success to those that eventually went on to become household names in the 1990s. According to the Cherry Red Records website, the inspiration for the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ box set came in the form of the ‘Nuggets: Original Artifacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968’. Both of these compilations focus on somewhat obscure and neglected bands, and ‘Scared To Get Happy’ like ‘Nuggets’ serves as an intriguing and essential guide for those curious enough to see beyond the smattering of famous names that litter the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ compilation. You can grab a copy HERE!

Last night saw Cherry Red Records launch the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ compilation in fine style at London’s ‘The Venue’ on Great Portland Street. With 10 bands split evenly between 2 rooms, it left the audience a little spoilt for choice. However, ‘Mighty Mighty’ was an easy choice for this particular audience member, and somehow this Birmingham 5 piece were bizarrely under my radar until last week. Their set consisted of ‘Maisonette’, ‘Settle Down’ (where Hugh Harkin sank to his knees and implored the audience of 30 and 40 something’s to do just that), ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’ ‘Built like A Car’ and their hilarious debut single ‘Everybody Knows A Monkey’. At one point in the set Hugh Harkin calls out for Bridget Duffy to join them on stage. The ex ‘Sea Urchins’ band member was nowhere to be seen, or did she hide when her name was announced? Many of us also know Bridget from her shop ‘What The Butler Wore’ which has been catering for my own and other like minded ‘Dedicated Followers Of Fashion’ sartorial needs since 1995. This impressive set was backed by singing fans at the front of the stage while holding their beers aloft. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, then you can view the YouTube clips attached here or catch a glimpse of their classic amusing videos to ‘Maisonette’ and ‘Built Like A Car’.

The Brilliant Corners’ were afforded the luxury of an extra 15 minutes, and an ensemble containing at least 6 members (starting to get beery eyed at this point) saunter onto the stage with Dan Pacini brandishing a trumpet and Davey Woodward a taped up acoustic guitar. ‘The Brilliant Corners’ story dates back to 1983 and they decided to reform to celebrate their 30th anniversary by playing at the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ launch party. They appear slightly fey especially with the introduction of Amelia Fletcher to sing ‘Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him’. Other songs included the slightly silly and amusing ‘Brian Rix’ and ‘Teenage’, which Davey Woodward awkwardly introduced and pondered the merits of singing such a song considering the age of him and most of the audience. However, this did not matter at all as the song was received rapturously. Seeing ‘The Brilliant Corners’ on stage made me think that the so-called under appreciated Indie Pop scene of the 1980s does indeed have a lasting legacy, which can be seen in Bands like ‘Belle and Sebastian’ and more recent Indie upstarts like ‘The Pains of Being Pure At Heart.’

‘The Brilliant Corners’ really did grab my attention to the extent that I missed the start of the “Blue Orchids’ in room one.  This post punk band featured ex ‘Fall’ members Martin Bramah and Una Baines, and my introduction to the Blue Orchids came in the form of a live appearance at the nearby ‘Social’ a few months ago.  What made that particular gig so compelling was the chaotic performance from an inebriated and out of tune frontman Martin Bramah. Last night I was expecting something similar and to my surprise this was a much more sedate, and sullen performance from Bramah and the rest of the “Blue Orchids’. The ‘Blue Orchids’ did step up a gear towards the end with tracks like ‘Work’ and the brilliant ‘Disney Boys’. ‘The Fall’ may release about 40 albums a year, but can they really claim to have done a 45rpm as brilliant as ‘Disney Boys’ coupled with ‘The Flood’?

Now it was back into room 2 to see the already started ‘BMX Bandits’ who hail from ‘Bellshill’ North Lanarkshire, Scotland. This was another band I was eager to see, and it was such a shame that their set partially clashed with the tail end of the ‘Blue Orchids’. The song I was most looking forward to the ‘BMX Bandits’ performing was ‘Serious Drugs’. Sadly I missed it and in fairness it did not really matter as they performed such a sweet and plaintive set that I quite forgot that Duglas T Stewart the long haired, and bearded front man could have been a member of ZZ Top, as opposed to being a member of a band that plays such fragile and wistful Indie Pop as the absolutely charming ‘So Many Colours’ ‘I Wanna Fall In Love’ ‘Girl At The Bus Stop’ and ‘Disco Girl’.

Now the moment I had been looking forward to was the appearance of ‘The Primitives’ and the ‘Lovely’ Tracy Tracy. They came on to a rousing reception and ripped through a set of songs that had enough hooks to hang all your coats and hats on! ‘The Primitives’ brilliantly played so many catchy tunes including ‘Stop Killing Me’ ‘Thru The Flowers’ ‘Really Stupid’ and the massive 1988 hit ‘Crash’, that it was rather difficult for anyone to remain dead still. The most impressive thing about ‘The Primitives’ unlike other bands that reform, was that it never at all felt purely nostalgic. They still retain their youthful vigour and sounded so fresh and relevant after all these years, that it makes the mind boggle why they ever split up in the first place. One side splittingly funny moment came at the end of the gig, when a fan brandishing a bunch of flowers produced them with a flourish and handed them to Tracy Tracy who accepted them without even a hint of surprise, which suggests that this has become something of a routine for both fan and singer alike.

* Editor says: ‘Apologies to any bands that were missed this time around, one set of Eyeplug reviewers got stranded on their way to the show, so LongJohn did an even more super solid job splitting his timings wherever he could! Big Thanks to all at Cherry Red!

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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Originally posted 2013-06-27 15:49:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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