After coming back from France in 1990 to finish off my degree in Coventry, I got back into the gig going scene again, watching a variety of bands at the Poly, locally, in Birmingham and a bit further away. There were several venues to go to in Coventry and I remember seeing Dr Feelgood supported by The Hamsters at one of them. I also started going to Reading Festival again, which had now moved away from the mainly heavy metal line-ups of the 80s to something that was more diverse and included comedy by the end of the decade. I stayed in Coventry for a while and, after a short time over summer at my parents’ place, I went to Colchester to do a postgrad. Whilst there and afterwards I saw bands in the uni and in local venues or a bit further away in Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury, which were advertised on Teletext.
Whilst I was in Sussex I saw an ad for Kathryn Tickell playing at The Concorde 2. She didn’t seem best pleased about the turn out as the gig hadn’t really been advertised well by the promoters. It was a good gig though. At Essex I should have seen Therapy?, having been hooked by their Teethgrinder single, but they pulled the gig as I was one of only 14 people to buy a ticket. I did manage to see Megadeth supported by Pantera at the beginning of my time there and New Model Army, both gigs in Cambridge.
After Essex I returned to Sussex for about 18 months and managed to see various gigs there, in London and in Colchester, as I kept visiting friends there and made new ones. My interest in goth, industrial and EDM grew during that time too although I was ignoring a lot of the extreme metal that was coming out: I was writing it off as I had become bored with thrash and at first listen it sounded like more of the same. I did pick up on other genres, including trip-hop, grunge (another child of heavy metal and punk), dance metal like Senser, progressive house like Leftfield, metal crossovers including the excellent Judgement Night album and some metal/techno and folk crossover like The Levellers and Dreadzone. Many of these had dub influences. My tastes were still varied. There was some strong rap coming out from bands like Cypress Hill. The indie scene was flourishing, with bands like James, Pulp, Blur, the Lightning Seeds and Catatonia getting bigger. I got back into folk and Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival was one I started to go to regularly. Electronic music was doing well including The Orb and Future Sound of London.
A new IT business took me to just outside Leicester, which was handy for gigs in Leicester and Nottingham – I managed to see Hawkwind, The Orb, Heather Nova, Queensryche, Chumbawumba, Oysterband and others. During that time I went to Phoenix Festival and managed to see a great number of exciting acts including David Bowie, Bjork, Alanis Morisette, Dub War, Senser, Lush, Cypress Hill, Skunk Anansie, Massive Attack and the Sex Pistols. I moved back to Colchester again after the business didn’t work out and then to Ilford after becoming a regular soldier. After that finished I joined my partner in Hastings and we bought a house there. We had got together at Reading Festival 1996, after I had taken her and another friend there. The following year there were five weekends in August: I managed to go to a festival every weekend, four with her (V, Guilfest, Bucks Blues and Folk and Reading) and Cropredy with another friend. We also got involved with the goth/alt scene in Colchester, often going to a converted church, Colchester Arts Centre, for events. She got me into Ani diFranco, Type O Negative and Suicidal Tendencies. I got her into older bands, folk and punk and we discovered new music together.
There were three bands that I had been going to regularly up until the beginning of the decade – Status Quo, Motorhead and Hawkwind. I stopped seeing Quo as my tastes and their music diverged but I kept going to the other two, going to Motorhead with a mate every year up until 2009 and generally on my own to Hawkwind, although I do remember turning around to the girlfriend at one of their gigs in Colchester commenting that the song that they were playing was older than her.
My music buying changed from vinyl to mostly CD at the beginning of the decade – more music on a smaller format and less easy to damage. I joined a record club for a while, ordering CDs every month and getting the odd “bonus” when I forgot to stop the “Album of the Month.” I also started to pick up second hand CDs when in Brighton, getting some interesting industrial ones amongst others. Brighton also housed the Hungry Years, a heavy metal haunt of mine since I was 18 and somewhere regular to go when I was in the area, either living in Sussex or visiting for the weekend. For my 40th birthday, my partner organised a trip there with some of my friends.
At the end of the century I was listening to a wide range of music, mainly industrial, older heavy metal, folk and indie, although that still didn’t include much extreme metal apart from the odd thing like Celtic Frost, Metallica and Megadeth. All that was about to change as my life changed again when I split up with my partner.