The late 70's through early 90's were a wonderful time for alternative rock. Bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth were taking the dark-pop sensibilities of Joy Division, The Smiths, and Depeche Mode and mixing them with hardcore punk rock influences to create the Grunge era. The Pixies were at the top of their alt-pop game, and the next batch of indie songwriters such as Ben Gibbard and Conor Obsert were first picking up guitars.
The UK was responsible for many of the first alternative bands to make it big in the United States. Names like Morrissey, Peter Hook, and Peter Murphy are synonymous with the movement that helped generations of Americans discover minor chords on their Telecasters and synthesizers.
To date, the bands of that era are still beloved and selling out venues all across the country. Bands like Depeche Mode, The Cure, and New Order employ a cult-like fan base throughout the states. Luckily, fans will finally have an opportunity to snatch up Morrissey tickets this spring after his failed US tour last year. The former frontman of the Smiths begins his tour May 7th in San Jose and concludes June 21st at the Barlcays Center. As of March 7th, 10 of the 25 dates are sold out on the primary market.
Peter Hook was the treble-toned bass player of Joy Divison, who's “Love Will Tear Us Apart” has probably been played in more dorm rooms in the 1980's than “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. After the death of singer Ian Curtis, Hook helped form New Order and enjoyed immense mainstream success with hits like “Bizarre Love Triangle” and “Blue Monday”. The November, Peter Hook will be playing the New Order albums “Low-Life” and “Brotherhood” in full, along with select Joy Division songs. Peter Hook tickets go on sale March 7th at 10:00am.
Morrissey and Hook aren't the only ones making some noise in the US this year. The Pet Shop Boys will be performing at the 2014 Moogfest and Coachella while also playing 8 headlining dates across the country. Pet Shop Boys tickets for the tour finale at New York City's Terminal 5 currently average $110 on the secondary market.
Finally, the Psychedelic Furs (best known for the title track to the John Hughes and Molly Ringwald staple “Pretty In Pink”) will yet again travel the US in late March. Festival dates such as The Maverick Music Festival in San Antonio and Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA are sure to entice casual fans. Although there's limited Psychedelic Furs tickets on the secondary market, the band is still a drawing headliner, already selling out the tour finale in Cambridge, MA.
Some music transcends generations and still draw big long after their mainstream success, and the early forefathers of UK alternative certainly prove that.