Following two completely sold out years, the much-loved Star Shaped Festival returns bigger and better than ever on Saturday 29 September, taking over London’s iconic O2 Academy Brixton and celebrating the indie genre for a marathon of live music and class DJs.
The festival has become renowned by fans of the music and the artists who made this period what it was as THE event of the year for all-things indie and Britpop and its line-ups always reflect that. In 2018 Star Shaped Festival once again proves that such praise is well-deserved, with Ocean Colour Scene, Black Grape, Echobelly, The Supernaturals, The Real People and My Drug Hell all playing this year’s event.
Ocean Colour Scene
The era defining Ocean Colour Scene. Lauded as “the second-best band in Britain” by Noel Gallagher after Marchin’ Already knocked Be Here Now off the top of the album charts in 1997, OCS have racked up five Top 10 albums and 17 Top 40 singles during the course of their career.
With Moseley Shoals going multi-platinum and spending an incredible 92 weeks in the charts, ‘The Riverboat Song’ being adopted as the walk-on music for every guest on TFI Friday and the abundance of bucket hats seen at festivals and gigs everywhere from ’96-’98, it’s debatable if any other band soundtracks and sums up those years quite as much as them.
Indie-dance legends Black Grape bring their unique brand of musical hedonism to Star Shaped Festival in 2018, led by the inimitable Shaun Ryder, one of the faces of 90s music for his work in both The Happy Mondays and Black Grape. Their debut album It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah was met with commercial and critical acclaim and went straight in at Number 1 before achieving platinum status and was undoubtedly one of the standout and landmark albums of 1995.
With two Top 10 albums and five Top 40 singles, vocalist and songwriter Sonya Madan was one of the figureheads of the Britpop movement. A favourite among critics and fellow musicians, Echobelly have constantly drawn praise from press and industry figures. Their latest album Anarchy and Alchemy (2017) was released to critical acclaim and received support from BBC 6 Music.
The Supernaturals are a five-piece guitar band from Glasgow. Fronted by singer-songwriter James McColl, they signed initially to Food Records by the man who also discovered Blur, Andy Ross. With hits including ‘Smile’ and ‘I Wasn't Built To Get Up’, the band scored five Top 40 entries in the UK singles chart and were also nominated for the prestigious Ivor Novello Award in 1998. The Supernaturals are returning from relative hibernation for Star Shaped Festival.
The Real People
Hitting something of a resurgence this year following Liam Gallagher’s tweets citing them as his favourite band (after the Beatles!) and admitting Oasis owe a lot of their early sound to them. They have also since been awarded writing credits on several Oasis songs, somewhat begrudgingly, by Noel Gallagher. Originally influenced by The Stone Roses and the Inspiral Carpets, as well as by the Mersey sound of the 1960s, The Real People started playing in local clubs and later toured with the likes of Ocean Colour Scene, The Pixies, Simple Minds, David Bowie and others.
My Drug Hell
Formed in 1995, debut single ‘Girl at the Bus Stop’ spent several weeks in the Melody Maker and NME independent charts, immediately becoming Single Of The Week on Radio 1's Evening Session, the Mark Goodier show and on XFM and GLR. Two more UK. singles followed (‘2am’, ‘You Were Right I was Wrong’) both making the Indie Top 10. Despite technical issues during the recording of their LP and the record label folding before its release, Star Shaped never forgets a great band that contributed to this era welcome My Drug Hell back to open Star Shaped Festival 2018.
In 2017, the festival toured the UK with events in four cities, bringing thousands of people from around the world into what was the biggest celebration of the indie genre / era the world has seen since the 90s. Artists that have appeared at the event previously include: Shed Seven, Sleeper (who reformed specifically to play at Star Shaped), The Bluetones, Dodgy, Space, and Republica.
“The Home of Britpop”, Star Shaped was initially born out of a frustration with the current state of indie club nights. Star Shaped is the brainchild of some of the biggest Britpop boffins in the business who wanted to recreate the euphoria of the mid-90s. Star Shaped has gone on to become an established national and international clubnight, festival and events force, with hundreds of partygoers enjoying the monthly residency at London’s O2 Academy Islington, as well as regularly sold out nights in Brighton, Manchester, Birmingham and Paris.
Star Shaped has been hailed “London’s best indie night. Proving there’s life left in London’s indie scene, an explosion of pure, vintage Britpop” by Time Out and featured in (among others) The Guardian, MOJO, Uncut, and Louder Than War. The festival has already generated a stir with BBC 6 Music, NME and Radio X with scene icons such as Steve Lamacq, Chris Moyles and Lauren Laverne excitedly discussing the events on air.
All of this alongside Star Shaped resident DJs bringing the party before, between and after the bands, makes Star Shaped Festival an unmissable celebration of the Britpop genre. We’ve also heard rumours of an aftershow party in a nearby venue featuring a motown/northern soul DJ set from Steve Cradock – watch this space…
Star Shaped promoters, Rob Smith and Bobby Foster say; “The mid-90s. Britpop. It felt like a different time, socially and politically. There was a lot of optimism in the air and great music in the charts. We have always strived to give people a glimpse (or a glimpse back…) into an erwe feel was the last great youth movement, and to enjoy that sense of reckless abandon that seemed to accompany it! Star Shaped events are like a time capsule, or an entrance at the back of a wardrobe, leading back into an era long thought passed…”
If you remember a time when the charts were filled with great bands and the highlight of your month was the latest edition of Select and Vox magazines, then there is only one place to be this September.
To buy tickets for Star Shaped Festival including accessible tickets go to the Brixton Academy website.
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