Thursday, 26 November 2009

gigsplurge 19, mansun & my vitriol, october 2000

Mansun & My Vitriol, Oxford Brookes, 19 October 2000

2000 didn't look like a fun year to be in a band, if eking out a career was your bag: stranded at the arse-end of Britpop, before the Strokes and White Stripes provided a coherent new model for indie types to work towards or against. This gig found two bands on opposite trajectories--Britpop somebodies Mansun in freefall, emo nobodies My Vitriol looking for a break--but united in glum resignation. Not a joy to watch.

Mansun never quite fitted the Britpop mold, which seemed to suit them fine. Blending baggy swagger, early-Verve psychedelia, Bowie shape-shifting, Oasis sneer and Blur cheek, they looked set to outlast the Casts and Sleepers of the mid-90s scene. They were a hard band to warm to, lacking much that was sympathetic beneath the artifice, but their ability to wring five singles and several EPs from their debut album was at least impressive.

The bursting of the Britpop bubble left Mansun without a scene less interesting than themselves. Their prog-disaster of s second (concept) album, Six, left them a laughing stock. By 2000 they were hawking its successor the "RnB-influenced" Little Kix. A couple of years before rockers started citing Timbaland as an influence--however spuriously--this was a pointless left-turn by a band that no longer cared.

My Vitriol (grrr) were also, perhaps, a little ahead of their time, peddling a spiky, glossy type of emo complaint rock. At the time, the only major point of comparison was Ash, who were already off the boil. The emo credentials were in no doubt: My Vitriol played like someone had insulted their shoes. Teenage angst? Touring with Mansun? Paying dues? Playing the blues? Nobody's smiling.

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