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The Smashing Pumpkins were once one of the biggest alt-rock groups in the world, but they near enough imploded with band squabbles, experimental records and, some might say, Billy Corgan’s ego.

They burst into the mainstream with their sophomore LP Siamese Dream, in 1993, as Cherub Rock became an alt-rock radio mainstay and Today a chart-smashing mega-hit. Follow-up Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness went multi-platinum, spawned hit singles, but they never quite managed to match this two-album success. 

In 1998 came Adore, an ambitious, electronic-influenced LP that ditched the rock out epics of before but failed to find the audience who had taken the Pumpkins to their heart. As Corgan said at the time, if it had been a hit they would have been hailed as geniuses. As it was, they looked a little foolish. 

Band members departed over the ensuing years, and Corgan is the only original one left now under the Pumpkins banner. However, bassist Nicole Fiorentino amply fills the boots of D’arcy Wretzky and Melissa Auf der Maur, while young drummer Mike Byrne, at 23, more than matches powerhouse Jimmy Chamberlain. They helped make last year’s Oceania a towering beast of a rock record. 

If their Nineties referencing isn’t enough, get there early to check out Ash, the Irish oiks whose alt-pop-rock regularly crashed the top 10 with hits like Burn Baby Burn and Girl From Mars. Their pure-pop with distortion chords is a euphoric burst live. A night of rock fans’ heaven. 

Wembley Arena, HA9 0PA
Mon, July 22 | Doors at 7pm |  £38.50   
Tube | Wembley Park

Photo: Getty


London gig: The Smashing Pumpkins play Wembley Arena on July 22
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