GIG 293: Puressence / Feeder / Blue Max – The Garage, 19th June 1996

I’d previously seen Puressence at The 100 Club back in April (GIG 272) and they’d blown me away. The singles, EP and debut album (the latter of which was released just before the April gig) were stunning and I’ve always been amazed that the band never made a bigger splash on the live scene or assailed the charts higher than they did (they had five Top 50 hits, with the biggest reaching #33, and a bunch more that just managed to brake the Top 100). In short, they were great and deserved a lot more than they received.

One of my sisters, Dominique, joined me for this gig along with a few of my friends. I’d only been to The Garage once before but it’s a really nice venue, even if a little out of the way in Highbury. We made it in time to see all the support bands, which given I’d been working until 6.30 was pretty lucky.

First up was a band called Blue Max. I’ve no idea what they were like musically as I can’t find any information about them online and can’t remember them. I have found three bands that called themselves Blue Max – a Canadian rock band from the 70’s, a blues-rock band in Wisconsin and a German rock band that were around in the 00’s – none of which are the Blue Max we saw at this gig. Whoever we saw were very good though, and certainly set the tone for an evening of great music.

Next up was a small band called Feeder. I’d seen them as the opening band at the Water Rats pub on my birthday the previously month (GIG 286) but couldn;t really recall anything from that night (ahem) so this felt like the first time I saw them. Obviously whilst Puressence never managed to reach the potential and impact they should have, Feeder went on to do better than probably anyone thought they would with millions of albums sold, Ten Top 10 albums (with their 11th stuidio album reaching #5 in the UK charts upon release in 2022), headlining festivals and being generally massive. All that was in Feeder’s future though, at this point their first single was still a couple of months away and their real breakthrough still a few years down the track. You could tell they were good, but so many bands we saw were ‘good’ and showed promise. For instance, all three bands on this evenings line-up were great live – but Blue Max vanished, Pureseence achieved some success and released six albumns between 1996 and 2011 (the highest of which hit #36 in the album charts in 1998 – although they did get three Top 10 albums in Greece), and Feeder eventually became a festival headlining act with a string of best selling albums and hit singles. Why did Feeder do so well whilst the other two bands on the bill had mixed success? Who knows. Lady luck is fickle.

Both the support bands were great, but Puressence ramped it up that extra notch. They were, once again, fantastic live and put on such a good set covering the album and earlier EPs. Seeing Puressence live the times I did will always be among some of my fondest ‘live music’ memories. Great band.

Puressence – India

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