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Revenge of ’90s Alternative

One debate I don’t think music fans will ever be able to resolve amicably is which decade produced the best songs/albums or artists.

Before any blood is shed over whether the 1960s, ’70s or even ’80s were more revolutionary in terms of pushing always-evolving genres like rock forward, allow this obviously biased Gen-Xer to quickly argue that nothing compares 2 to the ten-year period between 1990 and 1999 where Friends ruled Must See TV, President Clinton was actually impeached and the appeal of bands wielding guitars as weapons of mass consumption was literally off the charts. One thing’s for sure, it wasn’t the 2010s with Imagine Dragons having the top three spots on Billboard’s list.

I know ALL-TIME ALT. may be ancient history to some, but If I were to take the lists from CFNY-FM / KNDD / Q101 and separate the artists who released material in the ’90s, it’s fascinating to see how many of them in the Top 50 are still playing live shows in 2020 and contributing back to the alternative industry they essentially built. Almost 60% to be exact, and that’s counting Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode, who will undoubtedly perform at the May 2nd ceremony despite not having other events scheduled for this year yet. Dave Matthews Band will have to wait for another time along with Soundgarden (don’t get me started about how they deserve to be in), although it isn’t stopping them from going on their regular summertime outing of North American outdoor amphitheatres. Hopefully with no further fecal-related incidents.

DMB aren’t the only acronym who made their name in the ’90s still on tour; anyone who had a modicum of success seems to be crawling out of the woodwork to line up non-casino dates like the good ol’ travelling days of Lollapalooza. Don’t believe me? Just listen to this playlist of classic alt-rockers who refuse to go quietly into the night, and the songs you’ll probably hear live in 2020.

STP went acoustic for new album Perdida, though they’re bound to revert back to their wannabe grunge Core and Purple eras when they open for Nickelback. It’s the 25th anniversary for FF as a band, not like that’s all that special of an occasion considering this group. Heck, even RHCP’s underappreciated One Hot Minute is turning 25! TSP are joining GN’F’R for select shows, and RATM will almost assuredly have a few things to say about the upcoming US election. No offense to GGD or TEB if you can figure out who they are on the playlist, but how excited can you really be to see these ’90s also-rans of sorts when BNL are throwing a what’s sure to be a “this is me in grade nine” hullabaloo with TTWS (Toad the Wet Sprocket)? I think I’ve officially reached the end of my short form joke, so enjoy the retro rewind and don’t be afraid to embrace the nostalgia by getting tickets to one or more of these concerts. Even the Hella Mega thingy with Green Day and Weezer, not that I can ever remember using that expression.

Gilles LeBlanc

Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” wayyy back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. It took him awhile, but Gilles now writes feverishly about all things that rock (and or roll) through his ROCKthusiast alter ego.

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