“I wish there had been a music business 101 course I could have taken.” —Kurt Cobain
The parties lasted all day on VE day in 1995, but things really started going in the evening at The Monarch in Chalk Farm Road, Camden. The entertainment was provided by a triple bill of new bands; Autopop, Pippi and the Butcher Birds and Camden’s own rising stars The Weekenders.
Autopop were a four piece group with their origins in Ireland. Eddie, the guitarist, and Aidn, the bassist came to England with two other members who subsequently left. They then met singer Chris from Norwich and drummer Dave.
“Our problem is we look like a bunch of accountants,” says Eddie joking. They do look familiar though. They cite their influences as The Who, The Jam, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and the resulting sound is similar to two current popular bands. “Oasis are good and Blur aren’t bad either,” says Eddie. “We want to tour and sell lots of records,” says Chris. They would be returning to the Monarch on June 6.
People came from as far as High Wycombe to see their favourite band but some fans travelled a little further. Pippi and the Butcher Birds, two girls from Sweden and drummer Andy Ireland brought their fan club with them. Tina Bränden is the lead singer and plays guitar and harmonica and Lina Ikse Bergman plays bass and sings backing vocals.
Not long into the set the fan club started pogoing madly and they played a fun and bouncy set. When Tina screamed into the microphone though people started looking around to see if a spaceship had landed. The girls more than proved it’s what you’ve got between your ears, not your legs when it comes to making good music.
After requests for several encores they finally managed to leave the stage. Their influences include The Clash, The Rolling Stones, The Sundays and Swedish punk rock. With tender songs like Don’t Tell Me I’m Beautiful, You Don’t See The S— In Me they could go far.
The Weekenders were the band that most people had come to see and they were the highlight of the evening. With the songs Man of Leisure, Don’t Keep Up With The Jones’s (Drag Them Down To Your Level) and Window Shopper they speak to an intelligent youth who like to have some decent lyrics to listen to while they’re dancing.
Paul Tunkin is the singer, Steve Smith plays drums, James Hendon plays guitar and Chris Remington plays bass. They have their Mod influences, doesn’t everybody these days, but the audience loved it when they went all Punk. No pogoing though. But with a bit of luck they could make it very big indeed.
Melody Maker had recently devoted two pages to The Weekenders and it was not hard to see why. Their first single which they released on their own label sold over 3,000 copies and their follow-up single, Incredibly Wasted would come out on June 9. It was debatable whether or not there was a Mod revival in progress but there were certainly some fresh bands around and you’d see them in Camden.