Happy Mondays are the latest in a string of nostalgic ’90s acts on their way to Dubai
‘Dadrock’: if you were to look up this term in a modern urban dictionary, it would probably say something along the lines of: ‘vintage popular music performed by ageing musicians no longer in their heyday, to a predominantly male crowd of balding fathers’. The entry for ‘Madchester’ would be rather more lively, something like: ‘a hedonistic brand of rock, pop and house that emerged around the turn of the 1990s from Manchester, a city in the north of England’.
But those Mad/Man hedonists have now become has-beens – the once-riotous youths who listened to New Order and partied at The Haçienda have now settled in English suburbia with a mortgage on an identikit semi-detached home and a hatchback in the garage for the school run. Or, it would seem, they’ve decamped to a villa in Jumeirah.
That’s the only way we can explain the recent invasion of ‘Dadchester’ in Dubai. A term recently coined by witty satirists to describe the increasingly gray-haired crowd at nostalgic gigs by reformed Manchester bands, in 2013 ‘Dadchester’ has invaded Dubai. February saw an uncharacteristically emotional fervour break out with the second coming of The Stone Roses. After ending a 15-year hiatus last year with a triple stand of homecoming gigs at Manchester’s Heaton Park, Ian Brown and co lumbered into Media City in what was easily one of the most-anticipated gigs of the year. The hype was nearly matched when, less than a month later, Oasis’s driving force Noel Gallagher became the first standalone act to headline Atlantis’s beach, with nearly half his set comprised of Oasis songs. And now, just a month later, we get another of Madchester’s most renowned: the Happy Mondays.
In name at least, we’ve had them before – ‘Happy Mondays’ played a gig at the Dubai Sound City festival, hosted at The Irish Village, in 2009. But that was a very different Mondays: there was no Paul Ryder, who reportedly vowed never to perform with his brother, lead singer Shaun, ten years earlier. Also missing was Bez, and much of the fire and danger that went with him. But last year Paul, and the rest of the Mondays, followed in the footsteps of bands like Blur, Pulp, Suede and a slew of other British ’90s acts by burying the hatchet and going on the road, the original line-up reuniting for the first time in 19 years to embark on a 13-date UK tour last May. And so it is that Shaun and Paul, Mark Day, Paul Davis, Gary Whelan, Mark ‘Bez’ Berry and Rowetta – who formed the band back in 1980 – are performing at Dubai Tennis Stadium on Friday April 26.
It’s likely to be another emotional night. While time hasn’t been entirely kind to The Mondays’ music – all that acid house crossover is unmistakably of its time – on stage Ryder is reported to be glowing in the glory of it all. Paul, who supposedly hasn’t touched a guitar in ten years, does his thing. And Bez – that happy-go-lucky, talentless percussionist and talisman of hedonist – makes a ceremonious entry to take us all back in time. Like the audience watching them, the band wear the years of age and abuse on their faces, and with this line-up yet to follow up the Mondays’ last release, 2007’s Uncle Dysfunktional, this is undeniable and shameless nostalgia. But sometimes, the good times are worth remembering. Happy Mondays play Dubai Tennis Stadium on Friday April 26. Tickets from Dhs200. www.timeouttickets.com
Back for good: bands giving it a second shot
To mark the Mondays’ fully-fledged return, we pick the good, the bad and the ugly of ’90s Brit band reunions…
Tip list Reformed bands we might see in Dubai Blur It might sound unlikely, but one Dubai promoter has told us they’ve put an offer in for Albarn and co. Fingers crossed.
Suede With a new album out last month and a tour this year, surely there’s a chance of Brett Anderson sizing up the city.
The Verve They may have officially split for a third time (’95, ’99, ’09), but Richard Ashcroft told the Atlantis crowd last month he’d be back with his full band.
Checklist Reformed bands we’ve already had in Dubai Razorlight Johnny Borrell brought a whole new Razorlight line-up to last year’s Gulf Bike Week
The Farm The vintage Liverpudlians split in ’96, reformed in ’04 and played Dubai Sound City in ’09. Travis Okay, Travis never actually broke up, but we were pretty sure they had before we saw them rock Sandance in May 2012.
Pit list Reformed bands we couldn’t care less if they come to Dubai Cast The passing of time has revealed just how derivative John Powers’ post-Las jangles really were.
Dodgy We’re not sure anyone was looking forward to last year’s Dodgy reunion album, Stand Upright In A Cool Place, their first in more than a decade.
Kula Shaker Surely all that Indian mysticism and ’60s psychedelia is best left in the ’90s.