Indie: In Memoriam

“I no longer hear the music” – Music When the Lights Go Out – The Libertines

The year is 2008, the Indie Revolution is in full swing. Oasis will release their final album, Dig Out Your Soul, in October, V Festival and Reading and Leeds are headlined by Stereophonics, The Prodigy and The Killers respectively. Johnny Borrell has just proclaimed himself an “Innovator” of music. All is well, all is calm, everything is going swimmingly.

At the time of writing I’m 29 and 11 months (a very important fact), maybe it’s being close to the inevitably bleak 30 that has me reminiscing on those glory days.

I was not able to fully grasp the concept of “Britpop” due to my age at the time, however what I heard during that period set me up for what would be my musical glory years.

The Britpop Battle between Oasis and Blur – 12th August 1995

That iconic bend of the 15th fret on the b string the smashing of the drums, and that roaring rhythm guitar will forever be stuck in my mind. For those of you who have absolutely no clue what I mean, I am of course describing one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed; “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory”

When I first heard this song I remember thinking, this is for me, this is what I want to hear, this will indeed, “do nicely”

Didn’t We have a nice time? Wasn’t it such a fine time? – To Be Someone (Didn’t we have a nice time) – The Jam 1979

Due to the Gallaghers well publicised hate for each other, and that guitar and bowl of fruit, we had lost one of the finest bands the world had ever seen and heard. The question on everyone’s lips was who would take there rightful place of ruler of this indie kingdom that had been built.

Below I’m gonna spotlight a few of those “chosen few”…

Carl Barat & Pete Doherty – The Libertines

The Libertines: Formed in London in 1997 by Pete Doherty and Carl Barat, these two and not to forget the clean cut bassist, John Hassall and animalistic drummer Gary Powell, combined together to create some of the most anthemic songs of the 00’s. From the growling scream of drummer Gary at the start of “Up the Bracket” to the melodic tones of “Music When the Lights Go Out”, and not to forget the feel good number, Don’t Look Back Into The Sun. The Libertines had everything, a punk edge mixed with feel good indie anthems, it was a cocktail for success. As we all know Pete had his demons and Carl explored other avenues but the buzz from watching The Libertines made you feel like I can do this. I can do what they are doing. Their simple style of leather jackets, Chelsea boots and ripped skinny jeans appealed to the masses and the boyhood swagger of both frontmen, downing bottles of Jack Daniels and copious amounts of beer instilled the post Oasis generation to refresh there rock and roll lifestyle.

Kasabian – Ian Matthews, Tom Meighan, Serge Pizzorno & Chris Matthews

Kasabian: Formed in Leicester in 1997 as an original 5 piece. These 4 lads honed in on the synth, acid house of the late 80s and early 90s mixed with rhytmic guitars. Another band who instilled the “lad” culture of indie music, with hit such as “Shoot the Runner,” “Empire,” “Club Foot” and “Processed Beats” (to name a few of their earlier pieces) and not to mention being the touring band with Oasis. Kasabian, whilst not ascending to the glorious heights they still continue to impress 6 albums later even in this time of Grime and Rap music filling the airwaves.

Arctic Monkeys: Nick O’Malley, Matt Helders, Jamie Cook & Alex Turner

Arctic Monkeys: Back in the 00’s young Alex had not had his head turned by the 50’s Rock n Roll scene, he still played with his guitar high up his body, sang in his native Sheffield accent and produced 3 of the bands greatest works to date. Founded back when MySpace was still popular this Indie Superstars began by filling dance floors across the UK with hits such as “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor,” “Fake Tales of San Francisco,” “Teddy Picker” and “Fluorescent Adoloscent” to name but a few. The combination of lyrics, guitars and the high pitched backing vocals of Matt Helders from the drum kit provided the indie scene with a soundtrack that would live on forever.

Everytime you turned on the radio there were guitars being thrashed about, and that unique indie guitar sound resonating around. Some pale faced sweating (frankly unhealthy) looking front man leaning against a mic (al la Johnny Rotten)

NME and Q are out and about at local gig venues trying to get their hands on the next big thing or out on the streets of London and Manchester trying to get that prize snap of the next indie superstar falling out of their local boozer covered in sweat, beer and more than likely some other substance. Even branching out with their own nights. Who can forget the legendary Club NME nights, giving punters the chance to rub elbows with their idols, drink, dance and be merry.

I still struggle to this day to understand how that once fine empire crumbled. You ask anyone around in that period how it all came crumbling down to the diabolical music on offer now the answer simply put is “Who Knows?”

At the time of my writing I’m currently sat with headphones in on a train listening to some of the above bands having a great time listening to my youth

Now don’t get me wrong there are some bands who are breaking down the oppressive walls of mainstream society, Inhaler, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Sam Fender to name a few, however the scene to me is dead and it’s a crying shame.

There will always be someone in his bedroom strumming away to his old mans record collection and there may one day be another revolution of this type, but for me now at the 29 years and 11 months stage (again, still a very important fact) I can’t comprehend what could of been.

And so to finish…

Here lies the Indie Scene of the 00’s. Taken from us far to early. We all have our memories but the void will never be filled. Fly high you Wonderful Dreamer!

NME and Q Articles from the Indie Scene

“Take it away i never had it anyway. Take It away and everything will be okay” – Dosed – Red Hot Chilli Peppers


By Adam Atkinson

Music Lover and new found blogger

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