The Boo Radleys – Live At The Astoria, London – January 26, 1997 –
The Boo Radleys to wind out the weekend. In Concert at The Astoria in London and recorded on January 26, 1997.
The Boo Radleys were an English alternative rock band of the 1990s who were associated with the shoegazing and Britpop movements. They were formed in Wallasey, England in 1988, with Rob Harrison on drums, singer/guitarist Simon “Sice” Rowbottom, guitarist/songwriter Martin Carr, and bassist Timothy Brown. Their name is taken from the character Boo Radley in Harper Lee’s 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Shortly after the release of their first album Ichabod and I, Steve Hewitt replaced Robert Harrison on drums and was in turn replaced by Rob Cieka. The band split up in 1999. In their 11-year-long career, the band had one top ten single, the 1995 single “Wake Up Boo!”, which charted at no. 9; and a number one album, Wake Up!.
In 1990, the band’s first album Ichabod and I was released on a small British indie label, Action Records. Although not a commercial success, this release brought the band to the attention of Rough Trade Records, to whom they signed. Around this time, Hewitt was replaced on drums by Rob Cieka. He then went on to drum for Placebo until 2007.
Almost immediately after the release of the Every Heaven EP in 1991, Rough Trade collapsed and the Boo Radleys were signed by Alan McGee’s Creation Records. Their first for Creation was Everything’s Alright Forever in 1992, and Giant Steps (1993) followed. Giant Steps was awarded 9/10 by the UK music magazine NME, which stated, “It’s an intentional masterpiece, a throw-everything-at-the-wall bric-a-brac of sounds, colours and stolen ideas. That The Boo Radleys (of all people!) have decided to accept their own challenge and create a record as diverse and boundary-bending as this is, at first glance, staggering. Isn’t this the job of the U2s and the leisured idols of rock, unable to do anything without the tacit approval of history? Fortunately not. The Boo Radleys are sifting through time (the mid-’60s, mostly) and conjuring up something that’s as cut-up and ambitious as anything you’d care to mention”. Reviewing the album’s re-release in 2008, Sic Magazine wrote, “For 64 minutes they were the greatest band on the planet.”
Giant Steps placed second to Debut by Björk in the 1993 NME album of the year list, voted by the paper’s contributors, although it came in first place in the subsequent NME readers’ poll. The now-defunct Select magazine declared Giant Steps their album of the year for 1993. The Boo Radleys also appear on the original motion picture soundtrack to the 1993 film So I Married An Axe Murderer with their cover of The La’s song “There She Goes”.
The Boo Radleys disbanded in early 1999. Brown built a popular recording studio before going on to John Moores University for teacher training. He progressed on to teaching information technology at St Louis Grammar School in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, and also taught at Park High School in Birkenhead.
In 2020, it was reported that some members of the Boo Radleys were coming together to record new music to mark 25 years since the band’s heyday.
Stay tuned – in the meantime, time-travel back to 1997 for the next hour.