Bradley’s Almanac

[30 Years Ago Today] 4AD’s 13 Year Itch Festival

Posted on July 19, 2023 at 2:48 pm | No Comments

A quick post to mark a noteworthy anniversary…

4AD - The 13 Year Itch

Thirty years ago today I was in England for the first time ever, and for a very, very special reason: A week-long celebration of the venerable 4AD record label called “The 13 Year Itch” at the ICA London. Monday, July 19th through Saturday, July 24th, 1993. Six nights of music, two scheduled bands each night, with unannounced ‘special guests’ each evening. Plus unique video presentations and a gallery of the unmistakable artwork of Vaughan Oliver (RIP), Chris Bigg, and their collaborators at v23. The announced lineup? Undeniable. Kristin Hersh, Pale Saints, Unrest, His Name Is Alive, Bettie Serveert, Underground Lovers, Red House Painters, Insides, The Breeders, The Wolfgang Press, Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance, and Heidi Berry. Some of the surprise bands? Throwing Muses, Lush, Ether (more on them below), and bonus second sets from the Breeders & Unrest. Unreal.

This trip started my unending love-affair with label-centric festivals. As much as I say I’m not a ‘festival kinda guy’, if a label I love is throwing one, I’m probably there. Merge, Teen-Beat, Matador, Touch & Go, Slumberland, Numero (earlier this year), Dromedary (later this year), I’ve been to a lot of ’em, and they’ve been some of the musical/travel highlights of my life.

Interview clips & live footage from the UK version of MTV’s 120 minutes

Some random personal (and mostly fuzzy) recollections from that week to accompany some photos I snapped below…

  • Whew, those surprise guests. I was a massive Throwing Muses fan who was already excited enough to see Kristin Hersh solo, and certainly didn’t expect the whole band to play that week. And having the Breeders walk on stage a day after their scheduled slot for a bonus set? Hearing songs from the not-yet-released “Last Splash”? Thrilling. And Lush?! Premiering songs that would eventually appear on their 1994’s “Split” LP (and even one from 1996’s “Lovelife”). Amazing. And then there’s Ether… a supergroup if ever there was one. When they took their places in front of us, I couldn’t believe my eyes and then my ears: The band included the much-missed Caroline Crawley of Shelleyan Orphan along with guitarist Pearl Thompson and drummer Boris Williams of the Cure. Having two members of your favorite band suddenly appear in front of you is a shocking, unforgettable thing. And that meant that I’d get to see two of my top five fave drummers play that week (guess the other). Ridiculous.

  • I was very glad to randomly meet Andrea Feldman & Susan Curran early in the week, who had also traveled from New England, Providence to be exact. Fellow music (and 4AD) nuts who were starting up a great ‘zine called Warped Reality, they made my first-ever overseas solo trip that much more comfortable, and it hit hard when Susan passed away a decade ago (can’t believe it’s been that long). I also got to hang with Brant Nelson, who would found Dewdrops Records that year, and would eventually put out music from the first band I was ever in.

  • Another chance encounter and bit-of-bonding I treasure is with Red House Painters guitarist Gordon Mack. We got talking shortly after I arrived when I recognized him in the crowd and hit it off… he was incredibly kind, open, and affable, and we spent a bunch of time together that week. I was in awe of his band, but he was so genuine that he instantly squashed any of my potential fanboy behavior. When he’d had enough of the crowd at one point, he said “Let’s get outta here and hit a pub.” We lost touch, and I was bummed when he eventually left the band… they never sounded better than when he was creating his soundscapes inside of their songs.

  • There’s a mystery photo below, and maybe someone reading this can help with my faulty memory. One of the pictures is of Ian Masters, who was at the festival but who, as I was recently reminded, had left the Pale Saints by that point. Was his new band Spoonfed Hybrid one of the surprise guests? Did he jump on stage with His Name Is Alive? I don’t remember! Do you? Let me know. Update! HNIA drummer Trey was kind enough to confirm that Ian did, in fact, play bass with them during their set. Which I was surely very excited about at the time, but the knowledge disappeared with the passing years. Mystery solved!

  • You can find some of the setlists from that week at, and listen to a few live recordings on youtube.

    Here’s my set of point-and-shoot photos from the week. Wish I’d taken more, but the pre-digital-camera era and varied crowd spots kept it limited (though I certainly think I got enough shots of Kim Deal :-))…

    Kim Deal of the Breeders during their surprise set

    Kelley Deal of the Breeders

    Kim again

    The Breeders’ Josephine Wiggs

    more Kim

    Kelley Deal wearing my favorite Unrest t-shirt

    Look, it’s Kim again

    Kim Deal, back when you could smoke on stage

    Josephine Wiggs of the Breeders

    another Kim Deal shot

    … and a last one for good measure

    Caroline Crawley of Ether

    Ether’s Pearl Thompson

    Ether’s Caroline Crawley

    Karin Oliver of His Name Is Alive

    Guest Jason Farrell helps introduce Red House Painters

    Former Pale Saint Ian Masters on stage with His Name Is Alive

    Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses

    Throwing Muses’ Kristin Hersh & David Narcizo

    Gordon Mack of Red House Painters

    Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters

    Red House Painters’ Gordon Mack

    Mark Robinson of Unrest

    Bridget Cross of Unrest

    Unrest’s Mark Robinson

    Unrest’s Mark Robinson

    Unrest’s Mark Robinson & Bridget Cross

    Mark Robinson sporting a spiffy Tsunami t-shirt

    Michael Allen of The Wolfgang Press

    Bless you, Ivo-Watts Russell, and everyone involved in putting that week together, for giving this Vermont kid a reason to take his first-ever cross-Atlantic flight. And memories I’ll never forget. Mostly.


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    Tuesday, June 4th
    The Flying Luttenbachers
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, June 4th
    Joe Jackson
    @ the Wilbur

    Wednesday, June 5th
    Andy Summers (The Police)
    @ Cary Hall, Lexington

    Thursday, June 6th
    Jason Narducy & Alison Chesley
    duo/reunion show
    @ Q Division Studios, Cambridge

    Thursday, June 6th
    Reverend Horton Heat
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Friday, June 7th
    Swansea Sound
    @ O'Brien's

    Saturday, June 8th
    (a band called) E
    Medical Maps
    @ the Midway

    Saturday, June 8th
    Joe Pera
    @ the Wilbur

    Saturday, June 8th
    John Cleese
    Q&A, plus a screening of
    "Monty Python & the Holy Grail"
    @ the Chevalier Theatre, Medford

    Monday, June 10th
    Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade)
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Monday, June 10th
    Yasmin Nur
    @ the Rockwell

    Monday, June 10th
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Tuesday, June 11th
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Wednesday, June 12th
    The Trans-Canada Highwaymen
    (mems. of Sloan, Odds, BNL,
    & The Pursuit of Happiness)
    @ City Winery Boston

    Thursday, June 13th
    Jon Langford &
    the Bright Shiners
    with Jesse Ahern
    @ the Cut, Gloucester

    Thursday, June 13th
    Quasi playing 'Featuring "Birds"'
    Jeffrey Lewis
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Thursday, June 13th
    Aaron West & the Roaring Twenties
    Future Teens
    Maura Weaver
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, June 13th
    Comedy Bang! Bang!
    with Scott Aukerman &
    Paul F Tompkins
    @ The Wilbur

    Friday, June 14th
    The Gentlemen
    (featuring Mike Gent of the Figgs)
    first show in a decade!
    @ the Burren Back Room

    Friday, June 14th
    Sidewalk Driver
    @ Canal District Kendall

    Friday, June 14th
    Silver Screams
    Wire Lines
    Fear is the Mindkiller
    @ Koto in Salem

    Friday, June 14th
    Dylan Earl
    Tiger Saw
    Dan Blakeslee
    Audrey, Karina, & Justin
    @ the Loft, Somerville

    Saturday, June 15th
    @ Deep Cuts

    Saturday, June 15th
    The Umbrellas
    @ 4th Wall
    @ the Capital Theatre, Arlington

    Sunday, June 16th
    Modest Mouse
    Cat Power
    @ Xfinity Center

    Monday, June 17th
    White Reaper
    Spiritual Cramp
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday, June 19th
    Future Islands
    @ Roadrunner

    Thursday, June 20th
    Roger Daltrey
    KT Tunstall
    @ the Pavilion

    Friday, June 21st
    The Church
    The Afghan Whigs
    Ed Harcourt
    @ the Royale

    Friday, June 21st
    @ Deep Cuts

    Saturday, June 22nd
    Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
    playing "Shake The Sheets"
    with guests
    Ekko Astral
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, June 22nd
    Guided By Voices
    The Moles
    @ the Royale

    Sunday, June 23rd
    Silversun Pickups
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, June 25th
    Jon Anderson (of Yes)
    playing “Yes Epics, Classics, and More”
    @ the Shubert Theatre

    Tuesday, June 25th
    Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
    Courtney Marie Andrews
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, June 26th
    Blue Oyster Cult
    @ the Lynn Auditorium

    Thursday, June 27th
    Lady Pills
    @ Faces Brewing

    Thursday, June 27th
    Bikini Whale
    Tsunami of Sound
    @ the Cut

    Friday, June 28th
    Dry Cleaning
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, June 28th
    A Day To Remember
    The Story So Far
    Four Year Strong
    Pain of Truth
    @ Suffolk Downs

    Friday, June 28th
    @ Rockwood Music Hall

    Friday, June 28th
    Janet Jackson
    @ TD Garden

    Saturday, June 29th
    Buffalo Tom
    @ Boarding House Park, Lowell

    Sunday, June 30th
    Les Savy Fav
    @ Somerville Armory

    Sunday, June 30th
    Pedro the Lion
    Squirrel Flower (solo)
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Wednesday, July 3rd
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Friday, July 5th
    Mark Sandman Memorial Concert:
    Gone 25 Years But Not Forgotten
    featuring Dana Colley, Jerome Deupree, Mike Rivard, Laurie Sargent, Russ
    Gershon, Christian McNeill, Tom Halter
    Evan Harriman, Jimmy Ryan,
    Sabine Hrechdakian, & more
    @ the Cut in Gloucester

    Tuesday, July 9th
    Alanis Morissette
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    Morgan Wade
    @ the Xfinity Center

    Thursday, July 11th
    Bad Cop/Bad Cop
    @ Deep Cuts

    Thursday, July 11th
    Mates of State
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, July 13th
    Truth Club
    @ Deep Cuts

    Sunday, July 14th
    Daryl Hall & Elvis Costello
    @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway

    Tuesday, July 16th
    Los Campesinos!
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, July 17th
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Wednesday, July 17th
    The Folk Implosion
    @ the Rockwell

    Wednesday, July 17th
    The "Summer Sounds" Series
    With Lost Film &
    Hey I'm Outside
    @ Bellforge Arts Center

    Wednesday, July 17th
    Totally Tubular Festival Tour
    with Thomas Dolby,
    Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins),
    Modern English, The Romantics,
    Men Without Hats, & more
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, July 19th
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Saturday, July 20th
    @ Deep Cuts

    Saturday, July 20th
    Have Heart
    Eye For An Eye
    Wound Man
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, July 20th
    Lana Del Rey
    @ Fenway Park

    Sunday, July 21st
    Foo Fighters
    The Hives
    Amyl and the Sniffers
    @ Fenway Park

    Thursday, July 25th
    Jah Wobble (PIL)
    "Metal Box: Rebuilt in Dub"
    @ City Winery

    July 25th-28th
    NICE, a fest
    many, many bands
    @ Davis Square in Somerville

    Saturday, July 27th
    Red Kross
    Dale Crover
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, July 27th
    @ the Royale

    Monday, July 29th
    Unwed Sailor
    @ Deep Cuts

    Thursday, August 1st
    The Mountain Goats
    Field Medic
    @ the House of Blues

    Friday, August 2nd
    John Waite
    @ Xfinity Center

    Saturday, August 3rd
    Cheap Trick
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Monday, August 5th
    Horse Jumper of Love
    Full Body 2
    @ the Royale

    Monday, August 5th
    Def Leppard
    @ Fenway Park

    Wednesday, August 7th
    Green Day
    Smashing Pumpkins
    The Linda Lindas
    @ Fenway Park

    Saturday, August 10th
    The Chameleons
    play "Strange Times" in full
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, August 10th
    Missy Elliott
    Busta Rhymes
    @ the Garden

    Sunday, August 11th
    Wild Nothing
    Peel Dream Magazine
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, August 11th
    Iron & Wine
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, August 12th
    The Doobie Brothers
    Steve Winwood
    @ Xfinity Center

    Tuesday, August 13th
    Gin Blossoms
    Toad the Wet Sprocket
    @ the Chevalier Theatre

    Thursday, August 15th
    Andrew Bird
    Amadou & Mariam
    @ Tree House Brewing in Deerfield

    Saturday, August 17th
    Kid Congo & the Pink Monkeybirds
    Lupo Citta
    Red Herrings
    @ Deep Cuts

    Saturday, August 17th
    Daniel Romano's Outfit
    @ Sonia

    Monday, August 19th
    King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
    @ Suffolk Downs

    Wednesday, August 21st
    @ the Cut

    Friday, August 23rd
    Childish Gambino
    @ the Garden

    Friday, August 23rd
    Eric Bachmann
    Jennifer O'Connor
    @ Club Passim

    Sunday, August 25th
    Dweezil Zappa
    The "Rox(Postroh)y" Tour
    Celebrating the music of papa Frank
    @ the Chevalier Theatre

    Sunday, August 25th
    @ the Cut

    Sunday, September 1st
    The Roots
    Arrested Development
    Digable Planets
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Sunday, September 2nd
    The "Set Yourself On Fire"
    20th Anniversary Tour
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, September 3rd
    King Buzzo (Melvins)
    Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle)
    JD Pinkus (Melvins/Butthole Surfers)
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, September 3rd
    Peter Hook & the Light
    doing both the Joy Division
    & New Order "Substance" LPs
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday & Thursday
    September 4th & 5th
    Built to Spill
    play "There's Nothing Wrong With Love"
    in full, with cello
    @ the Paradise

    Thursday, September 5th
    St. Vincent
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, September 6th
    Charley Bliss
    @ the Royale

    Friday, September 6th
    Rob Zombie
    Alice Cooper
    @ the Xfinity Center

    Friday, September 6th
    Lady Lamb
    @ the Somerville Armory

    Saturday, September 7th
    Marika Hackman
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, September 8th
    Paul Weller
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, September 10th
    Weezer (performing the Blue Album)
    with Dinosaur Jr.
    & The Flaming Lips
    @ the Garden

    Wednesday, September 11th
    All That Remains
    @ the Pavilion

    Friday, September 13th
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, September 13th
    Janes Addiction
    Love & Rockets
    @ the Pavilion

    Friday, September 13th
    Boy George
    @ the Wang Theatre

    Friday, September 13th
    Hoodoo Gurus
    @ the Royale

    Sunday, September 15th
    Belly in Lowell, MA
    tix on sale this Friday