Picture the scene – the sun is shining (fingers crossed), the drinks are flowing, and an iconic act is about to take us on a trip down musical memory lane. It’s fair to say the Saturday afternoon special guest slot at Victorious has become a real crowd pleaser, and in recent years I think that’s at least partly due to a definite theme. From Craig David’s garage classics last year to All Saints’ 90s anthems back in 2019, it’s been all about the pop nostalgia.
And this year’s slot will be no exception, as the Common Stage is set to welcome the original Sugababes – Keisha Buchanan, Siobhan Donaghy and Mutya Buena – and my little millennial heart couldn’t be more excited. With three multi-platinum albums and hits including About You Now, Push the Button and Ugly, Sugababes have been bringing life-affirming girl group realness since 2000.
Sugababes became the most successful British girlbands of the 21st century with six Number One singles, millions of global sales and multiple multi-platinum albums. Along the way they told one of the most spectacular stories of the modern pop era, but it all started in the summer of 2000 with one song, three voices and a mysterious white label 7”. “The first time Overload was played on the radio they announced it as Sugababes, but they didn’t know anything else about us,” remembers Siobhan Donaghy. “They had no idea who was in the band, what we looked like, how old we were. Nothing. It was a mystery: who are these girls?”
Those girls were north-Londoners Siobhan Donaghy (then 16), Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan (both 15) and for the last year and a half they’d been working on One Touch, an album whose nonchalant magnetism dragged pop music into the 21st century.
The group has been fronted by three different line ups since then (not that it ever hurt their success), but it’s been 20 years since the original Sugababes toured together as teenagers themselves. If their recent set at Glastonbury is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat. So many fans turned up to see the girl group trio, festival organisers had to shut the Avalon field, and many named the set as one of their top moments. The girls themselves have spoken about how much more relaxed and enjoyable they’ve found performing this time around, so I’m really looking forward to a fun-filled show.
I can’t wait to dance to my personal favourites, Freak Like Me (with its epic sampling of Gary Numan’s Are ‘Friends’ Electric?), debut single Overload and Hole in the Head. And something tells me the girls’ slower songs like Stronger and Too Lost in You (of Love Actually soundtrack fame) will be perfect hands-in-the-air crowd singalongs. I think this year’s Saturday afternoon guest slot is going to be sweet.
See Sugababes on the Common Stage of Victorious Festival on Saturday 27th August at 1.15pm.