Crowds relive 1990s as Blur take to the stage

Band closes 'Blur 21: The Exhibition' with concert at IMMA


What better way to close Blur 21: The Exhibition at Imma than with a full-on live performance by the subjects themselves in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham?

As well-attended as the exhibition was, it was nothing compared to the stream of fans who strolled up to Kilmainham last night to see the band that in so many way encompassed Britpop in all its pomp, pretension and near-perfect pop music.

This was a rare chance to relive the 1990s, when such tunes as There’s No Other Way, Song 2, Beetlebum, Country House, Parklife and Boys & Girls were bouncing all over the Top 10.

With no sign of a new album, although they have played new tracks The Puritan and Under the Westway – they’ve been accused of being “a tribute band to themselves”, but no one was complaining last night.

The clouds hung ominously over the venue as the support acts, Cavan teenage sensations Strypes and British band Bat For Lashes, got the evening off to a fine start. The only sign of tornadoes was when Blur launched into their dancey Ibiza-influenced hit Boys and Girls, and the crowd were brought back to their glorious party days. When Coxon began the Beetlebum, the crowd welcomed it like an old friend. Bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree kept the offbeat going nicely. Tender gave the backing vocalists and crowd a chance to exercise their gospel muscles. Country House was an all-out knees-up, and, with perfect timing, the band brought out their surprise special guest, actor Phil Daniels, to take over lead vocals for Parklife. If they’re a tribute band at least they picked one of the best bands of the 1990s to to imitate.