The Return of Tanya Donelly And Belly!

The year was 1993.

Nirvana's success had obliterated the landscape. Gone were the hair bands and power ballads, the Bell Biv Devoe-driven New Jack Swing movement, and any remaining vestiges of the day-glo '80s that had managed to creep into the following decade.

Bands like Throwing Muses were already established on the modern rock scene, which had a much lower ceiling prior to Nirvana blowing the roof off the dump. Back then,m the best a band like Throwing Muses could hope for was solid college radio support, a pockets of commercial modern rock airplay and the semi-occasional appearance of a video on MTV's "120 Minutes.

Anybody who caught a Throwing Muses video or concert came away impressed by the band, no doubt, but also mindful of the engagingly attractive Tanya Donelly. Thing was, for all her natural exuberance and charisma, the Muses were first and foremost Kristen Hirsch's band.

Perhaps realizing this, Donelly had started looking for other projects. Instead of busting out on her own, she accepted another role as second fiddle; this time to Kim Deal in her post-Pixies band The Breeders. She stuck around to record Pod with Steve Albini and cut the Safari EP with Kim Deal's sister rounding out the band's "guitar army".

No doubt sensing that she was being elbowed out of the band, Donelly began focusing more and more on the band she'd quietly formed in 1991 with high school chums Fred Abong and Tom & Chris Gorman. The band inked to Sire Records just as the Breeders scored a sizable left-field hit with "Cannonball" from their Last Splash album.

Belly would get their day in the sun, though, as "Feed The Tree" burned up modern rock radio playlists immediately upon release of their debut, Star. Abong would be replaced by Gail Greenwood and the band would find themselves landing on the cover of Rolling Stone and co-headlining a national tour with Radiohead.

1995's King album was an attempt to go mainstream that failed, but did lead to the band opening for R.E.M. before Donelly came to the conclusion the band had run its course.

Her solo debut, Lovesongs For Underdogs, featured phoned-in cover art ("Hey, let's take a woman who is gorgeous enough to stop traffic and COMPLETELY BLUR HER OUT ON HER OWN ALBUM COVER!"

Five years later, she would quietly jump from Sire to 4AD and release her second album Beauty Sleep, wherein she was a little less blurry on the album cover, but still a bit timid and not quite willing to put herself out there the way a solo artist had to in order to grab that mass audience by the throat a la Alanis or Courtney Love.

So it's with a certain amount of excitement that I greet the reformation of Belly because I am hopeful of once again seeing Tanya Donelly in the environment where she was probably the most comfortable and see her pick up where she and the band left off.

And, yes, the band is working on new music. Most importantly, the band will be coming to The Vic on September 17th. Tickets are $29.00 and available NOW!

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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