Wannadies, Temple Bar Music Centre, Dublin, Saturday 13th May, 2000
"I can't believe it. We make records and you guys want to listen to them," says a genuinely bewildered Par Wiksten to a load of duracel bunnies at the Wannadies gig in Temple Bar Music Centre. Mop topped and grinning like an idiot the Swedish popster launches into another song from their excellent "Yeah" album and breaks a guitar string perfecting the ending on the third attempt. The word enthusiasm doesn't quite cover it.
There's a few Triner Ball heads in the crowd giving it loads, who were presumably quite taken with the bands performance at the Ball the previous night. The support band The Marbles had been there too. With their single 'Slip into Sound' there's been excited chatter about the future of the retro-pop band, but unfortunately their set was more Kula Shaker than the Beatles. If they could stick with the pretty harmonising and the charming sequences that made 'Slip into Sound' so sweet to the ear they'd have a solid future, but the last thing the world needs is another guitar based "Alright man" scenario.
Not something that applies to The Wannadies. The room is filling up and the cut-out characters from the "Yeah" album sleeve have been assembled on stage making it seem like there's about 12 band members. When they play the title track the arm of one of the cut-outs moves up and down with the words "Have another one/have more of all never-ending fun/yeah". Keyboard player Christina Bergmark is making seductive eyes and every bloke in the audience is mesmerised. And then come the opening chords of 'String Song', the album's finest hour, an epic, sweeping... well stringy, song, which grabs all the hairs on your neck simultaneously and gives them a great big pull. Also impressive were 'Don't Like You' ("This is where you go to the bar or get out you lighters"), 'No Holiday' and 'Big Fan'. The Wannadies mostly played material from "Yeah", but also included some of "Bagsy Me's" better moments such as 'Friends', 'Someone Somewhere', 'Shorty', 'What You Want' and the finale 'Hit'. And of course, there was the inevitable 'You and Me Song', post-Hollywood movie and shampoo ad and still utterly charming.
Then it goes a bit mental. "This is our little home-made punk song", grins Par as he starts ripping into 'Kill You' and the punters in search of gentle 'You and Me'-type songs quake in their stilettos. Before they finish up Par explains the etiquette of bands leaving stages and promoters and rules, (in case we didn't know) basically telling us to call them out again. He arrives back with a drink, cigarette in hand and plays out with an almighty bang, leaving devoted fans gasping for more as the house lights go up. Heady mindless pop, silly yet effecting lyrics, unaware of their own brilliance, if only every band was like this.