One of the greatest post punk bands in fact one of the best British bands of all time! The Chameleons and Mark Burgess has been a huge influence on so many bands. At an Indie All Dayer in Manchester a couple of years back, David Gedge of the Wedding Present said if it wasn’t for the Chameleons “I wouldn’t be here today and I’m guessing most the audience wouldn’t be either.” Completely true. ‘Script of the Bridge’ is a thing of utter beauty and in most post punks Top 10 albums but all the albums and Peel sessions are ace and ‘In Shreds’ one of the all-time classic singles that has packed alternative dance floors for decades.
Massive in their home town of Middleton but also in Manchester where their special Christmas gigs sell out every year and are testimony to the band’s enduring popularity. Layers of Reg Smithies’s atmospheric and shimmering guitars help Burgess build the Chameleons songs up and up until you think they can’t go any higher and then Burgess will break into a cover version of one of his favourites and it all works perfectly. They were formed in a northern industrial town blighted by Thatcherism and high unemployment but even today the Chameleons bring a sense of belonging and innocence indeed ‘nostalgia’ to a world full of unease and turmoil. The highest tribute you can pay the Chameleons is that you never want the songs to finish and when Burgess sings “Is this the stuff dreams of made of? No wonder I feel like I’m floating on air”… it’s the Chameleons at the very best. Totally mesmeric and magic and you do wish it would last forever.
The Chameleons played Futurama 5 at Queens Hall, Leeds in 1983