Described as the Cockney Happy Mondays, Flowered Up never quite made it – except for Weekender, which could well be the greatest 12″ single ever…..
Flowered Up – Weekender (Part 1)
At the height of the baggy scene there were many attempts to find a Southern response to the Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets and other great Northern bands who were ruling the indie world. The only ones who came anywhere near were Flowered Up.
Signed to Heavenly (later to be the original home of the Manic Street Preachers) these boys had, it seemed, everything. A lairy front man called Liam (years before Oasis could say the same thing), some dirty great singles (Phobia in particular boded well), nonsenical lyrics and, perhaps most importantly, a bloke dressed up as a giant flower when they appeared on stage (beat that Bez!)
But, after being signed to a major, their debut album A Life With Brian was a resounding disappointment. Back with Heavenly they released Weekender, a 13 minute epic of a record following the life of a young man in early 90s Britain – living for the weekend, with nothing else to live for. As a depiction of the ecstasy culture of the time you’ll be hard pushed to find better.
For a bunch of young Cockney scallies this was a record of incredible ambition – moving from guitar led rock, to dub, to house, to incredible white-boy funk at the end. Liam’s vocals had never sounded better – spitting scorn and loathing at anything & everything – building up to the killer line of the entire song (Weekender f*ck off, f*ck off and die!). And just in case that wasn’t ambitious enough, the video was an actual short film documenting a young man’s working week, and partying weekend.
Needless to say it all went wrong – after a week-long launch party for Weekender in a Surrey mansion (they didn’t own it, they took it over) attended by everyone from Kylie to Hanif Kureshi, the band imploded under the weight of their drug consumption. Not long after I saw Liam, back on Camden Market selling dodgy tapes. They may not have lasted long, but in one song they accomplished more than most bands do in several albums. If you don’t have it already – get Flowered Up’s Weekender as soon as you can!