I began going to music festivals my senior year of high school, beginning with the now-dead local LouFest. Since then, I have gone to Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta for other festivals, such as Shaky Knees, in Atlanta. After my first experience, I could not wait to go again.
The line-up for this year’s Shaky Knees festival was the most anticipated because of its top headliner: The Strokes. It had been years since The Strokes released their last album and performed live, going on a hiatus in 2016. In 2019, they started playing shows again and on April 10 of this year, they released their latest record, “The New Abnormal.” If the COVID-19 pandemic was not happening, they would be playing songs off this album in Atlanta this upcoming weekend and I would have been there in the front row to listen to it.
The Strokes are not the most recent band to reunite and gain a massive craze over the idea. My Chemical Romance came back and played shows last year after their 2013 break-up, selling out arenas. Famed British-Irish boyband One Direction is having a reunion in the works, with their 10 year anniversary around the corner, sending fans from over the decade into a frenzy.
Most of the bands reuniting today were formative for people of the most current generations. According to Grazia, millennials are “the most nostalgic generation ever” because they were the first generation to grow up online and have their whole life practically on the Internet; millennials are able to retrace their childhood and adolescence. Discovering foundational bands online is definitely a clear memory for me and many others.
Usually, when a band goes on hiatus or breaks up, it’s because of strain between band members or simply moving on to other projects. Ari Herstand of Digital Music News said that the top reasons why bands break up is because of “money, clashing personalities and allocation of business duties” among other factors. However, with reuniting bands selling out concert venues and arenas because of a strong fanbase, money could also be a factor that brings them together.
In the mid 2000s, there was a VH1 show dedicated to bringing broken up bands back together called “Bands Reunited.” For two seasons, host Aamer Haleem and a crew hunted down members of defunct bands and attempted to convince them to come together for a special reunion show in either London or Los Angeles. However, the show has been criticized for sensationalizing bands’ break-ups, focusing on the drama of that rather than the band reunion. I agree with the criticism. Reality shows are already known for sensationalizing the negative and possible drama, which takes away the true reason for the show.
Perhaps time heals all wounds and ex-band members can build new bridges after a break-up. However, one thing is for certain: Britpop band Oasis will never get back together, no matter how much money is offered to Liam Gallagher or how many fans plead for a reunion. His feud with brother and Oasis co-founder Noel Gallagher is a sensation on Twitter, with Liam explosively rejecting any possibility of the band reuniting.
If a band wants to get back together, of course there should be a healthy friendship between its bandmates. Reuniting for the sake of nostalgia and fans is probably not the best idea when the members are obligated to perform. I would like to think that bands reunite without any bad blood between them and an obligation to play for fans or money. We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes of bands we listen to.