24
Jan 05

During The Goldrush

FTPost a comment • 753 views

So what does ‘haircut indie’ have instead? Confidence, for one thing. Compared to the clubs of four or five years ago there was something very noticeable about Club Seal – it had ditched the fallback anthems, the indie disco classics. An angry looking lad went up and asked for something by the Stone Roses. No Stone Roses, he was told. He went round the whole club asking everybody if they liked the Stone Roses, as if statistical weight could be brought to bear on the DJs. But there were no Roses, no “Cannonball”, no Nirvana, no “Song Two”, no Manics, no “Common People”, no Pavement – those days are gone, the long hangover of ‘Alternative’ has ended. They did play The Strokes, though. When the Strokes first came out I wrote an article about how tentative and sad they sounded, like they knew what they were playing was pointless. That came through more than ever hearing “Hard To Explain” up against the newer bands. The fanbase is rewarding brash, confident, spiky music – it needn’t promise to change the world but it’s in nobody’s shadow either.

The confidence surrounding the newest groups has a lot to do with their cutting a commercial dash. The pop audience wants this stuff, and so bands like the Kaiser Chiefs can get away with their ridiculous “I tell thee”s, and the Futureheads can get away with being the Futureheads, and everyone listening knows all the music. Which was another big difference between Club Seal and the 90s indie clubs I remember. Back then there was a real division between the people who knew a track and those who didn’t, a division made physically real each time one was played. But in a boom time there aren’t any obscure tracks – pretty much everything becomes a big tune.

So our Libertines fans had to assert their identity through negation, through refusal to dance – if the currency of dancefloor knowledge has plunged, you have to get off the dancefloor. The rest of the crowd were delightfully open minded – they danced to long electronic sets, to 70s and 80s pop cuts, to pretty much anything. No hip-hop, but I got the feeling that the DJs could have played it without too much problem. As someone who spent a good year trying to work out how to get indie people to dance to pop, I felt rather jealous. The massive DJ energy at Seal didn’t hurt, but I think it’s just a case of the time being right for that kind of clubbing now.

Some people might see this open-mindedness as a kind of shallow assimilation, ‘indie’ or ‘new wave’ or whatever as just another pop option. And from a quality point of view, as a pop option it’s still dire – Franz’ breakthrough hit and a Kate Bush cover and after that, well, happy hunting. But after Friday night I think my knee will jerk a lot less often in the direction of the big NME bands – for the first time since the mid-90s, I don’t get the feeling that this music is an excuse to exclude people.

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)


Required

Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page