I was flipping through a newspaper and came across an article about an upcoming show featuring four tribute bands that impersonate, respectively, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Rage Against the Machine. The same paper carried a full-page ad for a reunion concert by Creed. Yes, it seems the long-expected ’90s revival is finally upon us. The Spice Girls have already reunited, and Sugar Ray is back on tour. Any day now, some Brooklyn hipsters will quit playing gentle indie-folk and start holding retro-raves where they break out into semi-ironic renditions of the Macarena.
In the meantime, we can enjoy, without guilt, the reunion of No Doubt. Because Gwen Stefani has been so inescapable for most of the past decade, you might have forgotten that her band had gone on hiatus. When you see her on the cover of a magazine, single-handedly bringing Hammer pants back into style, you might forget that she was ever anything other than a major solo pop star and fashion leader. But No Doubt was the Orange County ska band that made Stefani famous, and she couldn’t have done it without them. She cofounded the band with her brother Eric in 1987 (he left the band just before they made it big), and for a time she dated bassist Tony Kanal. (It was their breakup that inspired many of the songs on the band’s 1996 breakthrough album Tragic Kingdom.)
But beyond those connections, No Doubt was, and remains, a hardworking and musically solid band. When I get nostalgic about the ’90s, it’s partly because in that decade a good little ska band like No Doubt still had a chance to take over the world.
NO DOUBT: Cricket Amphitheatre, Saturday, August 8, 7:30 p.m. 619-671-3600. $59.50 to $80.