Playing their first, and only, Scottish gig at The Mayfair on Sunday 13th are The Colorblind James Experience, whose eponymous debut album on Fundamental Records has won them many converts in this country following heavy exposure on the John Peel and Andy Kershaw radio programmes.
The album deserves its status as one of the most commented on of1987/8, as it is easily one of the most unusual and engaging listens ofthe last few . years. Drawing on a huge array of influences, pinning any label on the band is difficult, but the press portfolio includes quotes like:
‘A freewheeling low tech 80s collage of happy music and reflective poetry.‘
‘A ridiculously understated and loosely knitted musical joke.‘
‘US wacko REM folk types‘
‘A cross between Bonzo Dog and a country Talking Heads...‘
Colourblind James himself, merely chuckles at the attempts to describe:‘There is no one word or label that can be put on us,‘ he says, ‘but if anyone at home ever asks me what kind of band I‘m in, I alwaysjust say that I‘m in a rock and roll band. That may be misleading to some people, butthe term means a million different things to a million different people.‘
The potent mixture of music and cultures that is the Colorblind James Experience has been evolving forsome time. The name was first used in 1980 when James stayed in San Francisco, and the earliest form of the band was based there for four years, before
James and lead guitarist, Philip Marshall moved back to Rochester, New York. It was here that the core of the current band formed, going on to record the album lastyear.
THURSDAY 17 Glasgow
I The Indian Givers Sub (Tub. 22Jamaica Street. 248 4600. 10.30pm. Another (ilasgow gig for the 'band' version ofthe Indian ( il\ us. which should be more eons incing than their last outing. where there seemed to be a few teething troubles. They have also beett recording their debut single. which will be out in the New Year. and should be wonderful.
I Rose of Avalanche and Pink Rat Cult’I‘he Rey ue. 244 (iallow gate. 552 4601. 10pm. Rose of .»\\ alanche are highly rated in the SistersofMercy Missioncircles.though (iodonly knowswhy. Pink Rat (‘ultdon‘t sound too promising either. but thenl could nes er claim to be a fan of the whole idea anyway.
I Chocolate Morning Bar Luxembourg. If)" Pitt Street. 332 l l 11. 10pm. Free. ().k..iangly band with potentially interesting songs.
I The Collectors La Taniere. 15 Fox Street. 221 4844. 9pm Free.
I Dave Lee Roth Playhouse Theatre. (ireenside Place. 557 2590. 7.30pm. £10, U) first of two nights forthe mountain-chmbing. flamboyant former Van llalen singer. now seeminglydoing better than his old group Despiteany signs to the contrary. Roth does have a very keen. sell-depiecatory sense of humour. and his songwritingand perfornnng alliance with guitar genius
‘Obviously we‘re really happy with what the album achieved’, James explained, ‘but looking back, I suppose lam not altogether thrilled with it in terms of performance. Having said that you listen to the album so many times at the mixing stage, that it‘s good to be able to listen to it now from a distance and still hearthe songs stand up as songs!
‘We only saw the album as a first step‘, he continued. ‘I thought we would start to get noticed with our second independent album, but as it turned out this one has achieved more than we would have hoped for from the second.’
0n the touring side of things, the band have established a reputation for unpredictable live shows, and this is something that the frontman readily acknowledges.
‘The main difference between the record and the gigs are that the gigs are much rawer, but I think that is the same with most bands— records are usually tamer. We never have a set list for
Stevie Vai hasn‘t harmed one bit.
I Loop Venue. (‘alton Road. 5573073. The sales of their recent package ofearly material confirm their place in the indie scene. and their way of constructing entire songs out of one bludgeoning repetitive riff (their name's more than appropriate) is compelling stuff for a while. but the impression last time they played here was that they'd said all they were going to in the first 15 minutes.
I The Dan Blocker Experience Negoeiants. Lothian Street. 2256313. 9pm. Free. Superior country band. Ask for their version of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart‘.
I Touch (to be confirmed) M usie Box. Victoria Street. 220 1708. 9.30pm. Free. I The Brothers Preservation Hall. Victoria Street. 226 3816. 9.30pm. Free. Residency.
FRIDAY 18 Glasgow
I Loop Queen Margaret linion. University Gardens. 33‘) 9784. 9pm. Another good indie night. and Loop seem to have progressed rapidly in the last year or so from supporting Primal Scream (whatever happened to'.’). to headliningat the Rooftops and now the 0.31.1}.
I McCarthy and The Batchelor Pad The Revue. 244 (iatlowgate. 552 4601. 10pm. Rearranged Glasgow show for Mc('arthy. who are only just better than the (‘eltic defender of the same name.
I Ghost Dance and The Ides of March'l‘he Mayfair. 4‘)0Sauchiehall Street. 3323872. 7.30pm. Tonight‘s early evening
gigs, and we throw in quite a lot of old rock and roll covers. . . it is just a case of playing what we feel like at the time. Sometimes it is great, other times it is not as great, but I think there is an excitment in that kind of reckless approach.‘
The immediate plans forthe band are to complete work on their second LP, and have it released in the early part of 1989 - although a label has still to be found. And beyond that: ‘We hope for a good reception forthe new album, and it would be good to be able to get to the stage where we can give up our day jobs and do nothing else — at the moment we only practice three nights a week.‘
Smash Hits readers may be interested to know that the day jobs include working as a ‘Crisis lnterventionist‘ at a school for juvenile delinquents (James), managing a classical record shop and working in a book shop. Others may preferto see the gig . . . (John Williamson)
I Barky Barky l.a Taniere. 15 Fox Street. 221 4844. 9pm Free. From (‘umbernauld the hard working Brady Brothers are good musicians. Whose full potential may be harnessed with some more work on the songwriting side ofthings.
I Dave Lee Roth Playhouse Theatre. (ireens‘ide Place. 557 2590. 7.30pm. £10. £9. See Thurs 17.
I Rose of Avalanche Ventte. (‘alton Road. 5573073. Still hanging in there. one ofthe earliest post-Sisters of Mercy offshoots, comprising a splinter of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry as well.
I Tam White Preservation Hall. Victoria Street. 226 3816. £3. £3.50 on door. lidinburgh's renowned blues singer returns after a short hiatus.
I Live band Music Box. Victoria Street. 220 1708. £1 after 9pm. Unconfirmed.
I The Pastels Strathclyde L'niversity Union. 90John Street. 552 1895. Still doing it for the kids after all these years. Whatever else should (or shouldn't ) be said about the Pastels. they have outlasted all their (‘86 impersonators. and gradually built their following in (ilasgow overthe years. Me. I’m saving my money forthe silver jubilee show at the Pavilion. which feels like it should be fast approaching.
I Deaf Heights Cajun Aces and Critterhill
Varmits The Revue. 244 (iallowgate. 552
4601. 10pm. Certainly a lively evening. if
I Big George and the Business La Tanierc. 15 Fox Street. 221 4844. 9pm Free. Tobe
I Cinderella Playhouse Theatre. (ireenside Place. 557 2590. 7.30pm. £6. Heavy metal.
I Jonah Mayo and his Devera Ngwena Mambo (‘lub. (‘alton Studios. 5567066. £4. (ireat Zimbabwean pop music doesn't begin and end with the Bhundu Boys. Jonah and his band have released 14 LPs in the last five years. and have been hailed as the country‘s most consistently top-selling group. beating even Thomas Mapfurno. Devera Ngwena (it means ‘l‘ollow the crocodile'. and refers to the long line of fans that followed them from gig to gig) was founded by Jonah Moyoat a mining compound in 197‘). and play in a style inspired by Zairean rumba. They can even count Robert Mugabe amongtheir followers.
I Tam While Preservation Hall. Victoria Street. 226 3816. £3. £3.50 on door. See Fri 18.
I Ice Age 1 lard Rock (‘afe. Venue. (‘alton Road. 5573073. All-female heavy metal combo.
I Big Sur and Farewell Parade ('l‘BC) Music Box. Victoria Street. 220 1708. £1 after 9pm. l-‘arewell Parade are an unknown quantity round here. but (ilasgow's Big Sur released a worthy. sometimes poignant. partly Latin-tinged 45 last year.
I NSU Negociants. Lothian Street. 225 6313. 9pm. Free. As for Friday 1 l . still awaiting confirmation of the name.
SUNDAY 20 Glasgow
I Billy Bragg and Michelle Shocked and The Beatnigs Pavilion Theatre. 121 Renfield Street. 332 1846. Originally a Billy Bragg show. 1 would not be surprised ifMichelle Shocked is now the bigger draw. following the exposure of Short Sharp Shocked and its single of the year contender. Anchorage.
I Happy Mondays and The Stretcheads'l‘he Venue, 470 Sauchiehall Street. 322 3872. 10pm. (‘hance for Happy Mondaysto headline in Glasgow having supported James last month. The Stretcheads are supposedly releasing an liP called Bros Are Shite in the very near future.
I The Almighty The Revue. 244 Gallowgate. 552 4601. lllprn. ‘Rock' band featuring ex members of New Model Army and Zero Zero.
I The Burden Blues Breakers l.a Taniere. 15 Fox Street. 221 4844. 9pm l’ree. Residency.
I Iron Maiden Playhouse Theatre. (ireenside Place. 557 2590. 7.30pm. £10. £9. Not content with making Iron Maiden one of the biggest live attractions in metal. the fans are snapping up the old albums now re-released on the Fame label. giving 1M no less than seven entries in the heavy rock Top Forty. All with such tasteful sleeves as well. . . First ofthreenights.
I Holocaust Soundcheek Rock (‘lub. Venue. ('alton Road. 557 3073. 7.30pm. £1 .50. Unless you're an Iron Maiden fan it probably isn't worth going here to chill out after 11pm.
I Bluefinger (TBC) Music Box. Victoria Street. 220 1708. £1 after‘)pm. See Sun 13. I King BiscuitTime Blues Negociants. Lothian Street. 2256313. 9pm. Free. See Sun 13. .
I Bo‘Weevil Preservation Hall. Victoria Street. 226 3816. £1 after 9pm.
38 The List 11- 24 November 1988