World Party - the 90s also meant a nod to 70s and the singer-songwriter/serene soundscape.

World Party - the 90s also meant a nod to 70s and the singer-songwriter/serene soundscape.
World Party – the 90s also meant a nod here and there to the legacy of the 70s singer-songwriter/serene soundscape.

World Party – Live at Brixton Academy – 1993 – BBC Radio 1

Heading over to the 90s tonight for a concert by World Party, recorded at Brixton Academy in London in 1993.

Listening to World Party reminded me that the 90s were all over the map musically, but represented a sort of Anti-Techno phase of Popular Music.

Started as a solo effort by multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Karl Wallinger after stint with The Waterboys in 1986, World Party eventually morphed into a band by 1991 and scored a number of modest hits in the process. Even though they were considered an Alternative band, there was something unmistakably West Coast, even bordering on Folky in some of the band’s material.

After the 1991 EP Thank You World, Wallinger recruited guitarist David Catlin-Birch and ex-Icicle Works drummer Chris Sharrock as fully-fledged members for 1993’s album Bang!. It reached no. 2 in the UK Albums Chart, with the track, “Is It Like Today?” (no. 19 on the UK Singles Chart) also becoming a moderately successful single in Europe. Following the success of Bang! World Party appeared at the Glastonbury Festival in 1994, at which they had previously played in 1987 and 1990.

In 1994, World Party recorded “When You Come Back to Me” for the Reality Bites soundtrack, influenced by David Bowie’s 1975 song “Young Americans”. Catlin-Birch left shortly afterwards.

Their fourth album, Egyptology (1997), written following the death of Wallinger’s mother, was commercially unsuccessful, although “She’s the One” won an Ivor Novello Award and was subsequently recorded by Robbie Williams. Sharrock left the group after the recording of this album, leaving Wallinger on his own. Wallinger took a three-year break from World Party, before the release of Dumbing Up in 2000. However, in February 2001 he suffered an aneurysm that left him unable to speak.

After a five-year rehabilitation, in 2006 Wallinger re-emerged onto the scene. With his back catalogue reclaimed from EMI, a distribution deal was agreed (via his own Seaview label) with Universal, and he played his first live show in a decade at the South by Southwest festival in Texas, USA. He played additional US dates in 2006 including the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee. Big Blue Ball, a joint project with Peter Gabriel with production work by Stephen Hague was also released.

This concert, from 1993 finds the band at the height of their popularity with their 1993 release Bang! reaching Number 2 on the UK charts.

They rode the crest of that wave until 1997 when the band went on indefinite hiatus, resuming in 2006 after a serious health issue. The band has since appeared at SXSW and the Bonnaroo Festival. Their most recent appearance was in 2012.

But tonight it’s back to the 90s and 1993 at Brixton Academy.

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