This week, #indieamnesty captured social media and set off a giant nostalgia bomb for people all over the globe. It was a confessional of noughties behaviours. The golden era for indie.
The Strokes are often cited as the beginning of this particular moment in time. A skinny jean, converse clad generation (later to be replaced by the winkle picker). Britpop had come to an end. Dance music’s star was also rising.
Indie at that time was somewhat dirty to me. Sticky dancefloors in not nice venues. Greasy hair and second hand leather jackets. But there was still a touch of glamour to it. Or maybe romance is more apt. Still, GLAMOROUS INDIE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL ANYONE?
My time in these wonder years was mostly spent between Yorkshire and London. Although Manchester, Dundee and even Hebden Bridge feature in my hangover filled memory of indie nights across the UK.
Particular highlights would have to include:
House parties in Hull after Club Yo-Yo with The Paddingtons. At the time they were knocking around with The Libertines. These house parties were more like giant squat parties where homes were transformed into something akin to The Crystal Maze. I always remember thinking that it was utterly bizarre that some of the most creative house parties I was going to anywhere in the world were in Hull. HULL.
If you were in East London, you could walk Bethnal Green Road anytime of the day and night to find out if Pete Doherty or Carl Barat were doing “something”. Mostly I’d walk around just seeing who I could spot(Kele from Bloc Party was my regular)White Heat was THE NIGHT. Well it was “the cool” night anyway. Trash and Young Turks were also doing interesting stuff. And as #indieamnesty revealed Alex Zane and/or Noel Fielding would be up in Camden “stealing your girlfriend.”
There was a cracking, almost fisty cuffs, moment with The Pigeon Detectives over shoes and beauticians in Leeds. And something similar with The View.
I also remember spending the day interviewing a little known Northern band called Parva. WHOOOOO? Well, they’d later agree they needed a rebrand while supping pints in their local. To the Kaiser Chiefs natch.
And where were you when I played Arctic Monkeys for the first time on Viking FM? A little known band from Sheffield who, and I quote from local radio programmers at the time, “sound a bit shit…”
Good times. Filled with Strongbow, Red Stripe and lots of Aftershock.
Some saw #indieamnesty as a platform to confess guilty pleasures and secrets from more than a decade ago. But here’s the thing. I still spend time playing DJ sets all over the country and in certain parts of the world where ‘indie’ is still part of people’s lives. There’s no guilt for 500 people singing their hearts out to ‘Mr Brightside’ or jumping up and down to The Kaiser Chiefs. It’s people having fun to the music they still love. It reminds me how much I enjoyed those years, because I still see people finding pleasure in the music 10-15 years later. So it’s clearly not over.
In a music business sense, it lives on in a different way. Catfish and The 1975 are two of the biggest “indie” acts in the world right now. I don’t know if they’d call themselves that. But they certainly sit in it’s family tree. Waiting to spawn the next generation of bands who can fire us up, and make us want to go and see them in a dingy pub or club.
I just hope this next tier of indie rockstars aren’t sat around in Topman trilbys. The noughties can keep the hats.