Is the late ()(ls. there‘s a post-Britpop lull and indie is
dead. Instead of going to gigs. young people are
worshipping faceless DJs and piling into clubs. our rock stars are supping champagne vvith politicians and. as a result. your favourite genre is a dirty word. Then record shops create sections for nu-metal. trousers seemingly expand overnight and everyone vvants to mosh — all thanks to the imbecilic lired Durst and his gang of cartoon rap/rockers. with the only alternative being cry-baby stadium acts like Travis. (‘oldplay and Starsailor or past their glory days has-beens. ()asis. But
thanks to the [S and Antipodean garage rock invasion of
bands like the Strokes and the White Stripes. something starts to stir. Pulp and Suede finally give up the ghost. Blur crumble and from their ashes rise some spectacular new sounds: more and more acts start to spring up. and now. not since the Pixies first gave it that visceral tvvist. it’s 200-1 and you can he proud to be an indie fan.
Just take a look around you. In the past few months there has been hysteria at performances by Sons and Daughters and the Duke Spirit. magnificent debut LPs from Razorlight and
Hope of the States. compelling drama from the Libertines and mania for liranz l‘erdinand. It’s a truly magniﬁcent time for music. reflected by this year‘s amazing 'I‘ in the Park line-up. and one that also has seen many bands who have been plodding avvay for years finally take their rightful place in many more CD players across the country. Belle and Sebastian are one such act. as are Snovv Patrol. and the latter‘s frontman (iary Lightbody is as excited as the rest of us about the talent seemingly oozing out of every corner of the l'K. Ireland and indeed the world.
'I am completely inspired and enthralled by it all.’ he gushes dovvn a phone line from London before reeling off a list of some of his favourite bands. "I‘he Beta Band are just extraordinary. Sons and Daughters are my favourite Scottish band. Razorlight are finally a band that lives tip to their ovvn bullshit. Secret Machines make music from another universe and Hope of the States have made an album that sounds like being at church and at war all at the same time. I've bought so many records recently that I just love; I‘m very passionate about music at the moment.‘
It‘s no wonder Lightbody is happy. As vvell as lapping it all up as a fan. his band have finally come of age after ten years in existence. and their gritty guitar-driven anthems novv have a home in the mainstream. Yet. for someone who has just seen years of vvork transformed into huge sales of third LP l-‘itia/ Straw. thanks to breakthrough single 'Run‘. the Glasgow- based quartet‘s frontman spends our entire conversation playing dovvn his band's achievements.
‘l’m pleased with the vvay things have been going but there‘s plenty of work still to do.’ he explains. ‘Nothing has
changed as far as we‘re concerned. We‘re maybe on the radio but we‘re not that famous. We don‘t get stopped in the street or anything. and I don‘t think anyone vvould chase me for an autograph. (lo and get Alex from liranz l"erdinaml‘s. but don‘t get mine. It's not worth the paper it‘s written on.‘ he laughs. Whether Lightbody believes it or not. however. Snow Patrol are currently one of the country‘s biggest bands. Yet you can understand why they'd find it all a little hard to take in. as the four-piece have been struggling away on the Scottish music scene for years after the Belfast—born fronunan‘s eyes met bassist Mark .‘ylc(‘lelland‘s ‘across a crovvded dancefloot“ at Dundee Lfniversity in 199—1. Realising they liked the same music they formed Polar Bear with .lonny Quinn on drums. and after changing the name because of legal reasons. Snow Patrol were born. The hand then upped sticks to (ilasgovv. signed to Jeepster (then the home to Belle and Sebastian). and
released 1998‘s Smtgsﬁrt‘ Polar Bears and When It 's' .»\l/ ()l‘(’l'
We Still HUW’ to (Year (Tl) in 2()()l. winning a small but
devoted fanbase. But it was signing to l‘iction. an offshoot of
Polydor. and the addition of former llMV vvorkcr Nathan ('onnolly on guitar that allovved Snow Patrol to finally release the album they've alvvays wanted to make in last year’s l'l/Hl/ Straw.
So vvhy does he reckon it took them so long to creep into the nation’s consciousness'.’ ‘I guess it‘s just one of these things.‘ he says. "l‘his was supposed to be our time. You could be very Zen about it and say it vvas meant to happen this way and I think it vvas.‘ With the rest of the year booked tip with touring commitments around the world. the Snovv Patrol vocalist can‘t hide his excitement at the prospect of this forthcoming 'l‘ in the Park performance. ‘We've done the festival about five or six times and people are there because they love music. It‘s not a catvvalk and you feel like you’re among kindred spirits. We love King Tut’s so much. and so to finish on their stage will be emotional experience.’
Happy to heap praise on the festival and its fans. he turns uncharacteristically quiet. hovvever. when asked what the band have actually got planned for the big night. 'Well. it will be mostly tracks from l-ina/ Straw but there will definitely be one surprise. I don‘t want to give anything avvay.’ he laughs. ‘l‘m very bad at keeping secrets and I‘m dying to tell you btit I‘m not going to. Put it this way. I ptit in a call and he said yes.‘ Who the mystery guest will be is anyone’s guess. but the way things are going for this ban. nothin. is impossible.
Snow Patrol headline the King Tut’s Tent, Sun 1 1 Jul.
‘60 AND GET ALEX FROM FRANZ FERDINAND’S AUTOGRAPH. MINE'S NOT WORTH THE PAPER IT'S WRITTEN ON'
A new generation:
Hope of the States, Franz Ferdinand, Sons
“1 .J1. THE LIST 15