THE STORY SO FAR
Alastair Mabbott checks out the Festival Rock on offer.
Among the delights of the Festival‘s first week was the concert by Gil Scott-Heron at the Queen‘s Hall. An enthusiastic audience greeted the man (not a protest singer. we are told. but a ‘bluesologist’) with an ecstatic reception. A brave move. then. to open with an unaccompanied. and quite lengthy. spoken rap. incorporating his two explicitly anti-Reagan numbers ‘B-Movie' and ‘Re-Ron'. However. the rap was lapped up by an adoring crowd. even more overjoyed to see the excellent seven-piece backing band take to the stage. Genial. relaxed. and very funky. Gil led the group through a full set ofhis best
FESTIVAL MUSIC .
foot-tapping numbers (which. ifl remember correctly. has altered but little since his last gig . here). hush only settling for a moving rendition of i ’ ‘Winter In America‘. surely an international i anthem for the eighties. And as for Robbie Gordon‘s bass solo during ‘The Bottle‘. well. if a sub-machine gun could shoot jazz riffs. it would probably sound something like that. A similarly appreciative audience would have been welcome for Somo Somo (Mosese 2000) gig on Friday night. Although their sparkling African pop was the best I‘d heard since the Bundhu Boys — no. I enjoyed Somo Somo more — the self-conscious audience just seemed to embarassed to get up and strut their stuff. despite 5 many exhortations from the stage. The two British musicians were annoyed enough. but the Zaire-born players just couldn‘t understand why nobody was dancing — they were playing a
brilliant set. after all.
Took a trip down to Elders on Rose Street. in the hands of the Zap Club during the Festival‘ in the hope ofseeing New York cult personality
j Lydia Lunch‘s ‘The Right Side of My Brain‘ (infamous in certain circles as the ‘Lydia goes down on Jim Foetus‘ video). but ‘twas not to be. At the time. nobody at Elders knew what videos were on before they received them on the night. though the situation may be rectified by now. Compensation ofsorts came in the shape ofthe Cabaret Voltaire video. the one with the mind-boggling camera angles. Never been sure of the music. but i love the videos. Upcoming showings at Elders include New Order and Durutti Column live in Japan. definitely worth a
Also a must to visit is Club Sandino. rapidly showing itself to be the nightspot of the Festival. The first night was livelier than we dared expect. DJ Wendy May filling the floor with everything from old James Brown to the latest hip hop. The club is in aid of the Nicaraguan Solidarity Campaign. but the organisers don‘t let the politics get in the way of a good time.
And that lots just in the first week. Have fun.
Poke around a bit overthe Festival and you’re sure to uncoverSwamp Trash somewhere along the line. The ‘itinerant hillbillies' will be busking 'mostevery lunchtime inside The Venue (as well as doing a headlining date there). trying as usual to work up their airfare backto Promise City. Missouri, which they left the better part of a year ago to cometo Edinburgh. Since then the brothers (Billy Joe. Dexter. Elmore James. Cal. Coolhand Luke and Doc—all sons of the legendary bluegrass banjo player Papa Scritton) have become one of the city's best-loved bands. able to turn atthe drop of a hat from bluegrass to caiun to creole and back again. and have recorded an LP, which they hopeto bring out soon.
The frequent gigs are usually all-dancin‘. all-hollerin‘. all-drinkin' celebrations. and should be sampled only afterfirst consulting a GP. (Mab)
Check out the Lobster Club, upstairs at the Cafe Royal in West Register Street. on Fri 21. Sat 22. Thurs 27. Frt28 and Sat 29 Aug and you'll catch the very strange Nyah Fearties. Ayrshire's most
i ’ celebrated residents. or ' biggest embarrassment.
depending on your view of their decidedly individual
. style of Eighties' folk. Following close on the I heels oftheindependent
chart success of theirlirst
i LP ‘A Tasty Heidtu".
1 recorded in a barn in Lygton .one weekend. the brothers
‘- David and Stephen present
their new show. THE LIFE
AND TIMES OF RANTING 3 BOBBIE. inspired by Burns,
and played in the way only they know how. Also along
lorthe ride are the 3 all-female London group . Coming Up Roses. a
six-piece sporting a couple of well-known faces. and
: Amoco Cadiz, the country
‘ and western singer who
broughtthe world the
3 Dead'. Forthe tirsttwo
dates Belfast comic Frankie ‘ Valium joins inthefun.
before departing back over
the water to present his own show on BTEB. (Mab)
THE REAL SOUNDS OF AFRICA
Zimbabwean band provided
joyous. flowing rhythms with an irresistible mix of drums. horns and guitars.
- The Assembly Rooms'
Music Hall is not theirbest
venue-the audience found
itself not so much dancing
; intheaislesasgroovingin 5 thegaps.Butthisisnot
5 enjoyment. How‘real'the
o The Real Sounds of
Africa. Assembly Rooms.
‘ 54 George St. (Venue 3) 226
2427. Run finished.
The world's most sincere singing gynaecologist is back in Edinburgh. fora
fourth year. but this time
Hank Wangford is only playing one night in the city;
at the Playhouse Theatre on g
29 Aug for his Alternative Festival of Country Music. The emphasis is on the word ‘Alternative'. for Hank’s guests would not
immediately spring to mind
as Country artists. “The connection is it's people who like Country-quite genuinely.‘ explains Hank patiently. ‘ratherthan people who are known as Country singers.'lt's the same philosophy as he used when putting togetherhis band. only one of whom was a Country fan when they formed. ‘lfyou getsix
the danger—which may not happen— is that they gettoo comfortable.‘ Hank may offend the purists. but there's no doubt that he's a lot of fun.
Although flank himself modestly voices doubts that people will be able to stand the course. the Playhouse show sounds like quite a spectacular. with lots of surprises. Apart from the Wangfords' normal set. singers like Michelle-Shocked will be on hand to ensure good music in abundance. artists from the rock world like Hue
; and Cry will be shaking up
Country players together. 5 While bils by Ronnie
Coltrane (who's writing a song forthe occasion. which nobody's heard yet). comedy duo Hale and Pace (whose extremer silly song Hank has only heard described). and ourown Merry Macs should keep the fun level high. What Hank himself. in his sincere way, is most excited about isthe visit to the show of The Topp Twins. voted Entertainers of the Year in their native New Zealand. and all set to yodel their way into Scotland's hearts as well. Just before saddling up. flank warns me, ‘I thinkthere‘s a big Alternative Yodelling scene that’s bubbling just under the surface. I'll tell you. take a tip.‘
Any Wangford fans who would like tickets lorthe extravaganza but can't afford them may like to try our easy-to-enter competition. The question is: In the history of Country music, whatwere Bill and Earl. the Bolick Brothers. betterknown as? lfyou knowthe answer. go to the Playhouse Box Office on 28 Aug (doors open 10am), where the first person with the right answer will be rewarded with a pair of free tickets for the following night. Good luck, pardner! (Mab)
32 The List 21 Aug— 3 Sept