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|Stylistic origins||Madchester, neo-psychedelia, acid house|
|Cultural origins||Late 1980s and early 1990s in Manchester, United Kingdom|
|Typical instruments||Electric guitar, bass, drums, keyboards|
|Manchester - London|
The scene was heavily influenced by Madchester, although it was not geographically confined to the city of Manchester. Many Madchester bands could also be described as baggy, and vice versa. Baggy was characterised by psychedelia and acid house-influenced guitar music, often with a "funky drummer" beat, similar to the work of the Happy Mondays, Northside and The Stone Roses. The scene was named after the loose-fitting clothing worn by the bands and fans.
Some bands, such as The Mock Turtles and The Soup Dragons, reinvented their sound and image to fit in with the new scene. This led some critics[who?] to accuse baggy bands of bandwagon-jumping and derivative songwriting. There was also a crossover between dance and indie, and vice versa.
Bands in the alternative dance era of pop music can be divided into two camps; the acts who could be described as baggy (usually the Madchester acts and a few others such as Flowered Up from London), and those who can be described as alternative dance (i.e. Jesus Jones and The Shamen, who were more techno inspired). The Shamen would begin as a psychedelic indie rock band, sharing some of the characteristics of early shoegaze bands, but their style would morph between psychedelic indie rock and acid house, before absorbing more elements of techno.
Alongside the music, a way of dressing emerged that gave baggy its name. Baggy jeans (often flared) alongside brightly coloured or tie-dye casual tops and general '60s style became fashionable first in Manchester and then across the country – frequently topped off with a fishing hat in the style sported by the Stone Roses' drummer Reni. The overall look was part rave, part retro or part hippie, part football casual. Many Madchester bands had football casual fans and a number of bands even wore football shirts. Shami Ahmed's Manchester-based Joe Bloggs fashion label specialised in catering for the scene, making him a multi-millionaire.
Some baggy bands disappeared after the scene was no longer popular, and others evolved into indie rock or Britpop bands who remained popular throughout the 1990s. The Charlatans are a good example of an ex-baggy band who retained their popularity, although little trace of the baggy sound and look remained.
The baggy style became eclipsed by the grunge and Britpop genres, with many of the lesser known bands forgotten. Apart from tribute acts, the style has been absent from the indie arena, with acts like the 2001 Manchester band Waterfall failing to interest record companies with their revival sound.
Another wave of bands in the style of the past baggy Madchester sound is currently in process. Bands such as Kasabian, Reverend and the Makers, The Ruling Class, Sulk, The Bavarian Druglords, and Working For A Nuclear Free City have brought back aspects of the style in various forms and have garnered comparisons to The Stone Roses and the Madchester sound.
Baggy and Madchester acts
- Candy Flip
- The Candyskins
- The Charlatans
- The Farm
- Flowered Up
- Happy Mondays
- The High
- Inspiral Carpets
- The Mock Turtles
- My Jealous God
- New Fast Automatic Daffodils
- Paris Angels
- The Real People
- The Soup Dragons
- The Stone Roses
- World of Twist
21st century baggy-inspired acts
Prolific London-based rock band Blur also experimented with baggy and Madchester in their debut album Leisure and later in the song Girls & Boys, the lead single of their third album Parklife from 1994. Many indie rock bands from the late 2000s and early 2010s take inspiration from this genre.