It may be 9.30pm on a Monday night but the Borderline is rammed with exiled-Glaswegians and suitably ‘indiefied’ Japanese fashion students, assembled to jolly along Jackie McKeown and his band, the 1990s, for the launch of their debut album ‘Cookies’. Spreading the rumour that CSS will be DJing afterwards probably hasn’t hurt attendance figures.
Now, this isn’t just any album launch. Hotly tipped, well-connected (McKeown spent much of the 90’s – the actual decade that is – sparring guitars with Alex Kapranos in Yummy Fur) and signed to Rough Trade, the 1990s could be forgiven for feeling pretty pleased with themselves. They even have Edwyn Collins on the guest list! It’s refreshing, then, to hear bass player Jamie McMorrow warn us he’s ‘so nervous’, and for McKeown to thank the crowd profusely for their support before launching into opener ‘You’re Supposed to Be My Friend’.
From the word go girls are dancing, men are smiling, photographers are snap-snap-snapping; just one song and the crowd is eating out of the palm of McKeown’s Status-Quo-chord-thieving hand. There are songs about girls, songs about weed, songs about not being able to make up your mind about something of little consequence in the first place, all punctuated with lashings of ooh-la ooh-las. . . ok, so perhaps the 1990’s don’t have much to say for themselves, but their platitudes are delivered with humour and swagger, and the perfect pop melodies make these shortcomings (if that’s what they are) more than forgivable.
We’re treated to a hearty set and a double encore that couldn’t have been denied to such an eager, enthusiastic crowd. The good vibrations even encourage McKeown, who can’t be the youngest man in the room, to perform a scissor-kick guitar flourish while drummer Michael McGaughin takes on his share of the singing, and when it’s all over both band and fans are left sweaty but smiling. The adulation even threatens to pin McMorrow, furthest from the exit, to his corner of the stage!
‘Cookies’ is an appropriate name for this set of songs, instantly gratifying, sugar-sweet and very moreish, if a little lacking in nutrients. The 1990s prove themselves to be a band with musical mass-appeal and the charm to carry it off. The summer airwaves are theirs for the taking!
Words and Photo by Alex Edouard