Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Ten: The White Room

It's forgotten these days - partly, it has to be said, by Channel 4 themselves - that you can do a snappy live music show without becoming behoven to commercial sponsors asking why The Vamps aren't on, one which has the range and historical awareness of Jools without the aura of Real Music. The White Room, fronted by Mark Radcliffe, lasted four series between 1994 and 1996, which in its way makes it appropriate for this week's Britpop celebrations, and there's an atmosphere of celebrating and presenting music for its own sake here, as well as the tendency to throw these bands, some of whom were becoming uncommonly successful, at the viewer and seeing what sticks. Here's ten examples.

Course, after all that set-up it has to be acknowledged the one thing everyone remembers from the series is Iggy Pop in transparent trousers, doing Lust For Life about six months before the Trainspotting soundtrack was released but around the time - possibly the same week, actually - of the film launch. And don't that audience just go nuts for him. Note from when Iggy decides to fraternise with one that the show has its own dancers, something nearly all music television fell for in the early 90s. According to the credits Jimi Hendrix was a guest that week, which is some booking.

And if it's not that they recall, it's Ray Davies and Damon Albarn singing Waterloo Sunset together, starting here at about 5:45, though Damon doesn't appear to actually do a lot apart from backing vocals and looking bashful when Ray drops into Parklife at the end.

Here's the pull of their show - Portishead very much didn't just do any telly show that asked in the aftermath of Dummy's success, so when they did turn up you usually got something special like this early version of Over. They followed it with a reworked slo-mo Sour Times

Similarly, you rarely saw Bjork with her full live set-up on TV. They gave her plenty of space to run about in at the end too.

People were obsessed with David Bowie's teeth in the mid-90s, presumably because of his living in America but being from Brixton. He was on to promote Outside but couldn't resist pulling out Boys Keep Swinging with a coruscating Reeves Gabriels solo.

Sparks with guest Bernard Butler, who turned up a few times as guest guitarist on the series just after he'd left Suede. Russell had one of those Jamie Theakston-style wet-look heavily parted haircuts that was big in the mid-90s. Ron looked like Ron.

Nick Cave and Polly Harvey perform an intricate public courtship ritual.

Some of this upload looks like it's been left on a radiator but no denying the power of prime Rocket From The Crypt

Or for that matter Smashing Pumpkins, with dancers on the stage with the band this time, which can't have been Billy's idea.

And it was the mid-90s so Oasis were on, but doing Acquiesce rather than Some Might Say, possibly at Radcliffe's insistence.

1 comment:

23 Daves said...

Not to mention Pulp doing their eighties single "Little Girl (With Blue Eyes)", which was a bit of a startling moment.