Coming ten years after going public with their debut album, 'Tigermilk,' Belle and Sebastian's sold out show with the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl offered both a fitting way to mark the...
Coming ten years after going public with their debut album, 'Tigermilk,' Belle and Sebastian's sold out show with the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl offered both a fitting way to mark the anniversary but also served as a reminder of the group's longevity and decade of quiet achievement.
They also embarked on their first batch of international touring, with a few dates in Europe and the USA, before a period of reflection and stepping back from the growing feeding frenzy surrounding them.
Yet if 1999 and 2000 were quiet years by the standards of those preceding them, it was only relative. The Bowlie Festival, curated by the band at Camber Sands featured Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips, Teenage Fanclub, Godspeed You Black Emperor and a cast of hundreds. It sold out. John Peel and Jarvis Cocker Dj-ed.
Although it was a lengthy process and the results at the time perceived as something of a disappointment, time has served the record well. It was their first top ten album in the U.K. and its preceding single, 'Legal Man,' (not on the album) made the top twenty and it remains the band's biggest seller in the U.S.A..
With the new label came another collaborator with a history - Trevor Horn, best known for his work with Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Seal and the Pet Shop Boys, and as a member of Yes, The Buggles and Art of Noise. The album, 'Dear Catastrophe Waitress' was a critical and commercial success, and was backed by a concentrated touring regime, with the highlights being outdoor shows at the Greek Theatres in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, and a free hometown show in Glasgow's Botanic Gardens, watched by over 10 000 people.
In addition, there were nearly one hundred shows spanning Europe, Japan, Australia, U.S.A. and Canada ranging in size from a show in the Icelandic fishing village of Borgarfjordur to appearances on the main stages at the Reading and Leeds festivals as well as at Pukkelpop, Lowlands and a number of leading European festivals.
If these shows, the Hollywood Bowl and outdoor shows in New York and D.C. showed Belle and Sebastian at a new peak of performance and popularity, then summer 2006 also marked the end of another chapter in the band's life.
Since then the band members have been taking a break and working on individual projects. For example, Mick curated the children's album, 'Colours Are Brighter'; Richard is DJing around Europe and Stevie is collaborating with a number of artists and musicians on different projects.
The Belle and Sebastian story will continue when everyone is ready, but in the meantime an album of songs recorded for the Mark Radcliffe and John Peel programmes on Radio 1 between 1996 and 2002 is scheduled for release later this year on Jeepster.