Mighty Hoopla – Brockwell Park – 03.06.18
From a Butlins weekender to one of London’s glitziest/trashiest days out, Mighty Hoopla once again took over the capital providing an all-day pop party for only the most outrageous festival-goers. (And a few boyfriend’s dragged along by girlfriends to see their favourite 90s acts, bless their hearts.)
We were there, naturally, basking in the sunshine – feeling overdressed, under glammed but quickly fixed with a visit to the (eco-friendly) glitter bar – and here are our highlights:
Those lucky enough to have travelled to Brockwell Park on the Vengabus (it was actually possible, from Dalston Superstar with the bands’ hits playing, presumably on a loop, for the journey) would have had a quick reminder of their anthems: Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom and We’re Going To Ibiza. However, a refresher clearly wasn’t necessary, with a packed out tent out-singing along with the group. Some of the deeper cuts (Shalala Lala, Uncle John From Jamaica) gave the members a chance to take centre stage, however the highlights came when Kim Sasabone punk’d the crowd by saying they’d be welcoming Steps onto the stage, and later recalling how it had been over 20 years that they’d been doing “this shit”.
The first of three former iconic girl group members, Nadine’s spot came following the cancellation of a solo tour that would have seen her focussing on Girls Aloud’s back catalogue, and for anyone disappointed by that decision (not enough to sell out any venue, but some nonetheless) this was an opportunity to see what it may have looked like. Although purists may have missed Cheryl singing the lines she took before becoming mononymous, or Sarah Harding flatlining her parts, to be able to dance to Something Kinda Ooh and Call The Shots in the London sunshine, surrounded by queens even oranger than Girls Aloud’s first photo shoot (jokes, even oranges aren’t that orange) was a real hoot.
Sink The Pink Soundystem, feat. Louisa Johnson, Melanie C & Louise
3 pop princesses, and more drag queens than you could shake a disco stick at, the Sink The Pink Soundystem was the peak of the day. Louisa (Johnson, have we 100% dropped the surname?) opened, and while apparently there was some sort of no-dancing protest following the revelation of tweets bearing homophobic language from her youth, the vast majority of the crowd seemed to be willing to forgive her adolescent mistake – just as Team Sink The Pink clearly did – especially when she closed the set with her Clean Bandit collab, Tears. Sporty Spice herself offered words of tribute to the L in TLC, before breaking into her Left Eye featuring #1, Never Be The Same Again. Melanie C was also joined by 4 of Sink The Pink in Scary, Baby, Ginger and Posh (The Lady Is A Vamp order, true fans may note) regalia for Say You’ll Be There, before giving the biggest cock-tease possible to the crowd: “Cheers girls, see you at rehearsals for the tour”. Louise closed the soundsystem, focussing on some of her jazzier numbers (Beautiful Inside, 2 Faced), pleasing Eternal fans with Just A Step From Heaven – joined by 3 strong and sassy backing vocalists, but also offering an impressively powerful show herself – before closing with disco classic cover, Let’s Go Round Again.
Playing to a tent spilling out onto the main site – and quite possibly their biggest crowd for some time – the four Irish denimisters (still rocking it) opened with Jesse Hold On (the lead single from their second and final album, and first not to hit number one – 90s pop was a cruel mistress), before quickly switching to first album favourites Rollercoaster, and the second best girl group ballad of 1998 (after Spice Girls’ Goodbye, which knocked it from the top spot), To You I Belong. After a quick showcase of a newish track (Champage or Guinness), they closed with C’est La Vie, although the Ed Sheeran Galway Girl sample wasn’t needed – all this crowd wanted was pure B*Witched. What are they loike?
Over to superfan, and TRASH writer, Callum Millan for this one:
It’s kind of crazy to think that TLC have been around since 1992, when they first released their debut album, Ooooooohhh.. On the TLC Tip. They came onto the music industry in the early nineties when everyone was promoting sex: Janet, Madonna, Salt ’N’ Pepa… However, TLC did it in a more obvious way rather than Madonna, who released her Erotica album in the same year. T-Boz, Left-Eye & Chilli were using their music videos to share their message, including Ain’t Too Proud Too Beg, with them wearing condoms as eye patches and dungarees with dummies. TLC were overshadowed by the heavy density of UK/Irish girl groups, including All Saints, Eternal, Spice Girls, Bananarama and B*witched, but still managed to gain a huge following throughout the years they were active. Waterfalls is possibly the greatest female fronted group record of all time, that dealt with many issues that are still relevant today.
Fast-forward 25 years later and TLC are back, but unlike most other girl groups they’ve had to deal with the sad tragedy of a group member dying. Lisa ‘Left-Eye’ Lopez (one of the greatest female rappers to grace the earth) died back in 2002 after a car crash, whilst recording for her future solo album. I remember watching the VMA’s back in 2002, and during a segment for the loss of Left Eye clearly hearing the words when Chilli said, ’It’s such a reality check because now, um, its just two of us.’ It didn’t have much of an impact on me at 9 years old, as I wasn’t old enough to understand death, but a few years after I’ve seen monumental stars pass away, such as MJ, Whitney, Amy and Dolores O’Riordan, all of which shook me.
In 2017 I was lucky enough to grab last minute tickets to see TLC’s first UK concert ever. A year later they came back for their first ever UK festival. I had been planning for this festival for months and if there’s one thing TLC taught me it’s not to have a scrub, however still meeting with scrubs on a day to day basis, it will be the fucking apocalypse till I find someone that ain’t one! When they first came onstage my inner 8 year old came out to relive one of the greatest female groups of all time; my wig was snatched and I was yodelling more than that kid who sung Lovesick blues in Walmart.
T-Boz and Chilli sung and danced to a tightly choreographed 14 song set – and you wouldn’t even think that they’re in their late forties – including all the hits from five studio albums: Ooooooohhh… On The TLC Tip, CrazySexyCool, Fanmail, 3D and TLC. I always found it extremely poignant that they never replaced Left Eye with another member, unlike other girl groups (Sugababes, Destiny’s Child…) they kept their identity and personalities and showed that none of them are replaceable, and TLC will be remembered for each of their unique talents. They saved their two best known songs, Waterfalls and No Scrubs, to the end, with Left Eye’s rap during Waterfalls making myself, and seemingly a lot of the audience, pretty emotional.
On a downside, they didn’t play Dear Lie which is a personal favourite, as well as Girl Talk, Damaged and Hands Up from their 3D album, which is extremely underrated album and possibly better than Fanmail. If they do another stop in the UK, I wouldn’t miss it; without girl groups where would the girls and gays be?! It’s safe to say that TLC are CrazySexy and still relevant 26 years on and counting…
Image: Luke Dyson