The last time I saw Spacehog was in 2001. I was 16-years-old. The Leeds, England-by-way-of-Manhattan neo-glam rock outfit was serving as the opening act for The Black Crowes and Oasis’ Tour of Brotherly Love (Each of the three bands included brothers). The gig, which took place at Columbia, Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, was a star-studded affair. At the time Crowes’ frontman, Chris Robinson, was married to Kate Hudson, who was in attendance. Spacehog frontman, Royston Langdon, was currently courting Liv Tyler; she was also in attendance. During Spacehog’s 30-minute set at the nearly-20,000 capacity amphitheatre I was one of four standing… and, by far, the most enthusiastic. I remember looking to the side of the stage, in the middle of the band’s set, as they attacked a track from their brilliant 2001 release, The Hogyssey, and I saw Liam Gallagher tapping Dave Grohl on the shoulder and “enthusiastically” pointing out my “enthusiasm” for what should be one of the most critically and popularly renowned bands of my generation.
Sure, Spacehog were far less abrasive and offensive than fellow neo-glamers like Placebo (And, yes, they were slightly less interesting than Brian Molko and crew), but their appropriation of the sound was far more prolific. Spacehog harkened back to Bowie’s greatest and most elegantly glittered sounds. There was nothing campy about it, and even the “nostalgia” card was downplayed. The stateside blokes more closely resembled Britpoppers (aside from, you know, the douche-ness) than characters from Velvet Goldmine (However, Spacehog rhythm guitarist and vocalist, Antony Langdon, did appear in Velvet Goldmine, playing a member of The Flaming Creatures, alongside Placebo’s Brian Molko and Steve Hewitt.)
Members of Spacehog have found themselves at the likes of the North Star Bar under the moniker of Arckid (also previously known as The Quick and The Tender Trio) in the past decade, but it’s been a while since the City of Brotherly Love has welcomed Spacehog themselves. The band reunited back in 2008, but their only area appearance since has been at The Note in West Chester (Which is not the same as Philadelphia.) Since then, they have become a five-piece (up from a quartet), adding multi-instrumentalist Timo Ellis to the fold, and they’ve recorded a fourth album, As It Is On Earth, which will be available in the near future.
The three studio LPs that Spacehog released between 1995 and 2001 displayed not only arena-ready anthems, but songs that were pub-ready to the nth degree. The fact that Spacehog are not stars of Behind the Music that are currently touring in separate tour busses (because they all hate each other, as all mega rock acts do) en route to the Wells Fargo Center is baffling to me. However, while this is far from a blessing for the band, it is quite a blessing for their fans. This Friday, May 11th, the band will find themselves onstage at the 300-capacity Milkboy, on the corner of 11th and Chestnut, for, what-I-am-just-going-to-come-out-and-say, THE SHOW OF THE YEAR.