Everyone likes to be seen as the first to like something that goes on to become really popular. I seem to remember in the late 90s everyone claiming to have seen Oasis and Blur when they were up and coming on the indie scene and playing really small venues, in much the same way that anyone of a certain age in the UK claims to have seen England at Wembley in 1966 when they won the World Cup.
My old boss was a self-confessed football hater, and even he claimed to have had a ticket to that game, Every time it was mentioned he would try to casually throw into the conversation the fact that he had been there. I’m still convinced that if he WAS there he didn’t know which team was which and to this day probably thinks that West Germany won on the day.
As for bands, I remember reading Popbitch in mid-2006 and seeing a link to a new artist. I had a listen on their MySpace (remember that?) page and the three songs that were up seemed pretty good. It turned out that it wasn’t a band but a solo artist, and he had a gig coming up at the Borderline in London, which is a small venue. I booked a couple of tickets and ended up taking Alan, my best mate.
We met up a few hours before the gig and Alan wasn’t keen on going. “Shall we just blow it out and have a few drinks instead?” he said. I was still keen to go, but Alan persisted. “What kind of music is it? It’s not rap, is it? Cos he sounds like a rap artist with that name!”
The artist was Mika - you couldn’t get any further from rap.
We ended up seeing the gig, and I was impressed. Six months later he released his first single, Grace Kelly and looked to all intents and purposes like he was going to go on and become huge. The first album did well, the second one not so well, and every time that Grace Kelly came on the radio at work, people used to tell me: “This song always reminds me of you!” such was the amount I banged on about having seen Mika live.
In retrospect, that’s probably not a good thing, is it?