The Specials and The Zombies
- Doug Johnstone
- 16 April 2009
‘Hope I die before I get old.’ Yeah, right. The way the band reformation juggernaut continues to pick up pace, that epithet should read, ‘Hope I reform before I die.’ There has been a relentless increase in the number of bands getting back together, usually claiming ‘unfinished business’ as the reason, but more often than not exploiting the opportunity to cash in on reputations.
This month we have live shows by The Specials (minus driving force Jerry Dammers) and cult 60s beat combo The Zombies. No doubt both shows will be well attended by lifelong fans eager to relive their youth, and no doubt those fans will walk away happy at the end of the night, but we also have to ask: what are we really buying into here?
The frightening levels of nostalgia within the music business threaten to strangle new music and suffocate musical creativity, with people happy to shell out a week’s wages to see rehashed sounds from Faith No More, My Bloody Valentine and Spandau Ballet.
Is this just harmless reminiscing about a bygone era or indicative of something more insidious? Whether it’s Slint strumming their way through Spiderland or The Police punting their latest Greatest Hits, there’s a base emotional manipulation at work here, a superficial pulling at the heartstrings rather than any real engagement, like a bad Richard Curtis movie in soundtrack form.
So, by all means go along and enjoy your favourite band’s latest moneymaking escapades, but please appreciate it as the emotionally and creatively dubious experience it is.
The Specials; O2 Academy, Glasgow, Tue 28 Apr
The Zombies; ABC, Glasgow, Tue 21 Apr