- 10 Jul 16
The progenitors of Britpop came to Marlay Park in Dublin yesterday – and the crowd lapped it up. Report: Anne Sexton
There’s a singalong on the Number 16 bus as we head to The Stone Roses at Marlay Park. A group of lads start a rousing, if somewhat off-key, version of ‘She Bangs the Drums’ while necking back cans good humouredly. It’s a foretaste of what’s to come.
It’s a beautiful day in Dublin. People are cheerfully drinking pints, and lounging on the grass in this south Dublin redoubt. There are bucket hats as far as the eye can see, and it feels like a sun holiday, circa 1990. The average age of the crowd skews a little older, but there’s a manic energy in the air nonetheless. They say there’s no party like a middle-aged party and the adage rings true — these are prisoners on day release from childcare, from mortgages, from jobs, and they are determined to have a good time. And why not?
The band takes to the stage, opening with perennial favourite ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. As the vocals kick in, it the thought strikes me that Ian Brown may have strained his voice playing T in the Park the night before. Brown has never had the greatest of vocal ranges; instead his voice is a window into his soul. Tracks like ‘Shoot You Down’ and ‘Fools Gold’, with the rhythm section of Mani and Reni holding it down superbly, require almost deadpan vocals and during these he sounds fine; on others, he is clearly struggling. But the show must go on, and so it does. It hardly matters — he has thousands of back-up singers. All around me people are singing-along and dancing – and having a great time.