x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

The summer of Brit band comebacks

We take a look at some of the most exciting Brit band reunions set to take place this summer.

Damon Albarn of the British band Blur. The group is set to make a comeback at August's Olympics Closing Ceremony Celebration Concert. Dave J Hogan / Getty
Damon Albarn of the British band Blur. The group is set to make a comeback at August's Olympics Closing Ceremony Celebration Concert. Dave J Hogan / Getty

Is it one final surge of those old creative juices? Are those ageing bodies yearning for one last blast of adoration? Or are funds a little tight and Trixie-Pixiebelle's school fees getting a little too hefty?

Whatever the reason, there's a veritable festival line-up of old bands reforming this summer and autumn, some to just trundle out their old hits (or in some instances - hello, Inspiral Carpets - hit) and some with the rather menacing intention to record some new music (please don't, Blue, we're begging you).

These reunions seem to break down into two distinct camps - grizzled 40- and-50-something men with guitars and ladies of unspecified age brandishing dance moves that would have them laughed off the dance floor at the local over-30s singles night. So, we investigate whether these rebirths will be dignified returns to form or humiliating disasters.


Who? Blur - the darlings of Britpop, led by Damon Albarn, a man so fractious he could fall out with himself while asleep.

Why? Blur have reformed before, in 2009, when they played some shows in London's Hyde Park. They even won a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Brits, celebrating with a performance so rubbish several refuse lorries were seen circling the O2 Arena trying to find a way in. This year, however, they are to play the Olympics Closing Ceremony Celebration Concert, with New Order and The Specials. Albarn's tuneless yelping will have millions setting unofficial world records for reaching for the TV's mute button.

When? August 12.

Can we expect any new music? We'd rather a new album than a new tour, quite frankly, but it's unlikely. Albarn, ever the pretentious poser, is probably right now composing a space-jazz opera for unicorns.

Girls Aloud

Who? The UK's best pop band of the last decade, that's who. Unfortunately, their de facto leader is Cheryl Cole, a bland woman who made the mistake of marrying the allegedly philandering Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole. Meanwhile, Nadine Coyle, the band's best singer and looker in our opinion, has apparently been pencilled in for the next Celebrity Big Brother.

Why? "What happened was it had been seven years, consistently non-stop touring, album after album, and just as women we needed that space to grow as people," the former X Factor judge Cole says. "That, and we really need the money now 'cos we're terrible on our own." She may not have actually said the latter sentence.

When? November. Possibly.

Can we expect any new music? Almost certainly. But, we hope, only with the pop masterminds Xenomania, the writers of all the best Girls Aloud songs.

Stone Roses

Who? Along with the also reformed Happy Mondays, the Roses were the very epitome of Madchester, the late 1980s phenomenon that saw the northern English city become the hub of UK rock and dance. Their eponymous first album regularly tops polls for the greatest debut album ever. Their next effort, the much-delayed, heavy rock-inspired The Second Coming, also regularly tops polls, too. Unfortunately, the polls are for worst second album ever recorded.

Why? The lead singer Ian Brown's solo career has not exactly been stellar but the lead guitarist John Squire's next band, The Seahorses, were so dire they spawned a comedy tribute band, The Shirehorses. That wouldn't have been so bad if the tribute band hadn't actually written better songs than The Seahorses. In short, we suspect that the Roses are doing it for the money.

When? The band play three shows in Manchester at the end of this month.

Can we expect any new music? Let's hope so. On record the Roses, with the aid of a producer who can take the, er, edges off Brown's voice, can be startlingly good. Live, however, Brown sounds like a wounded buffalo.

Atomic Kitten

Who? After the Spice Girls went their separate ways, Atomic Kitten were the girl band of the early noughties. But, no, we can barely remember any of their hits either.

Why? Kerry Katona, the erstwhile face of Iceland (the UK supermarket, not the country), has a well-documented history of financial problems. But the rest of the band are reportedly furious that the reunion seems to be all about Katona. They may have a point but I'm not sure even the other girls' mothers know they were in Atomic Kitten, so deft have they been in avoiding any kind of high profile after the demise of the band.

When? The girls will be playing a series of shows in the UK this summer.

Can we expect any new music? We can hardly remember their old stuff so let's hope not.

Also reforming

Pulp, Happy Mondays, Steps and Black Sabbath among others. There are even rumours that The Smiths and Led Zeppelin may be coming back…

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