The central ingredient of the "BBC's flagship music show" Later...With Jools Holland is the diverse blend of musicians the programme entices, everyone from Willie Nelson to Queens Of The Stone Age being guests of honour. The past few years have seen cynical DVD cash-ins on the success of the show, as if the BBC want to compile every performance and place it into a specific envelope. This latest collection is a mixed bag of exclusively British talent stretching back from 1993 to 2003.
Later first aired in 1992 on the back on the American Grunge era, but just around the corner a street of wildly different yet ass-kicking British musicians such as Oasis, Pulp, and Blur were ready to not only tear your house down, but completely rebuild it as well. The scene was named Britpop and it was a successful amalgamation of high and low-brow art with middle and working-class culture that included many facets of society, primarily art, fashion, music and even politics.
Every major British band from the aforementioned Oasis, to the Manic Street Preachers, Radiohead, Suede and The Libertines are plugged in and solo artists such as Paul Weller and Morrissey also crop up. Oasis play a competent take of I Am The Walrus from way back in 1994, Coldplay go typically OTT with In My Place, and The Darkness jam on a cocky version of I Believe In A Thing Called Love.
The impossibly lanky Jarvis Cocker of Pulp and his bandmates strut a brilliantly wild performance of Disco 2000, and the bizarrely dressed British Sea Power give a memorable performance of Remember Me, whereas Blur offer a delicate but stunning rendition of Tender. If you'd forgotten about The Verve, Supergrass and Cornershop, they're here too. As for the extras - which consist entirely of slapdash interviews with Travis and Doves - only two words can sum them up - short and pointless.
This compilation tries to combine the bands that help to start Britpop and the ones who arrived after the scene/sub-culture had died of overkill, such as Ash, Coldplay, and Travis. The fundamental problem with this collection is the order in which it has been complied. Rather than placing the bands in a chronological arrangement thus placing the music in a social context, it chooses to cut and paste them in alphabetical order which loses a feel of the time and a lack of understanding about the genesis of the mid-'90s British music scene. It is an honest and admirable collection but flawed in many ways.