V BOOK NOW ROCK
I GLASGOW BARROWLAND (041 226 4679) The Primitives, 25 Nov; Marillion. 4 Dec; Faster Pussycat, 9 Dec; Curiosity Killed The Cat, 11 Dec; The Silencers, 16 Dec; David Byme, 17—18 Dec; Run Rig, 19 Dec;Texas, 20-21 Dec; The Waterboys SOLD OUT; Lloyd Cole, 19 Feb.
I GLASGOW SECC (041 248 3000) Hue 8 Cry, 26-27 Nov; Alice Cooper, 5 Dec; Status Duo. 11 Dec; Gary Glitter, 23—24 Dec; Erasure, 18 Jan; Simply Red. 21 Jan; Tanita Tikaram, 10 Feb; Chris Rea, 4 March.
I LIVINGSTON FORUM (0506 419191) Barbara Dickson, 24 Nov; Natalie Cole, 4 Dec; Run Rig, 7 Dec; Brother Beyond, 17 Dec.
I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE (031 557 2590) Stranglers, 5 March; Spandau Ballet, 6 March; Everything ButThe Girl, 10 March; James Last, 9April.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN‘S HALL (031 668 2019) Swing Out Sister, 29 Nov; Melissa Etheridge, 12 Dec.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (031 225 5756) Richard Marx, 3 Dec; Hawkwind, 13 Dec; Lloyd Cole. 17 Feb.
JAZZ & FOLK
I GLASGOW KING’S THEATRE (041 227 5511) Chris Barber Band. 10 Dec. I GLASGOW PAVILION (041 332 1846) The Curries, 24 Nov; Syd Lawrence Orchestra, 25 Nov.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (031 668 2019)John McLaughlin Trio, 1 Dec; Chris Barber Band, 8 Dec; Dick Lee's ChamberJazz, 11 Dec.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (031 225 5756) Syd Lawrence Orchestra. 27 Nov; Pat Metheny Group. 18 Dec.
I Liam O’FIynn Pleasance Theatre 26 November. Tickets now on sale at Virgin Records, Princes Street, and Canongate Music,
I Glasgow Tryst 24 Nov—3 Dec. The Ticket Centre 041 227 5511, Riverside Club 041 248 3144
The 29th Street Saxophone Quartet did not. as myth has it, begin life as a busking band on the streets of New York, although altoist Bobby Watson confesses that they did ‘play in the Park a couple of times. just to try our music out on the people.’ The group. with Ed Jackson and Rich Rothenberg on tenor. and Jim Hartog on baritone. formed in 1983. and have developed their exuberant music to a highly sophisticated degree.
The saxophone quartet remains a specialist business. and the major groups can be counted off on your fingers. with the World Saxophone Quartet. Rova and the 29th Street in the vanguard. All ofthese groups achieve a remarkable degree of variation within a circumscribed instrumental format. and make a virtue of having to play without a rhythm section.
‘When you have no drummer. it means that everyone in the group has to feel the time for themselves.‘ Watson argues. ‘and this band is the epitome of that — we don‘t even miss it. I believe that it should be just the same when you are playing with a rhythm section. A lot of horn players tend to lean on the drummer. but if you have the time inside ofyou. you can do a whole lot more with the music.‘
If Watson is the best known member ofthc band. he is the first to emphasise the collective nature of their enterprise (‘there are no subs in this band — ifwe can’t all make the gig. there is no gig‘). Their eclectic repertoire is increasingly dominated by their own tunes (all four write), although they also feature classics by the likes ofThelonious Monk or Wayne Shorter. while any tune can suddenly develop in unexpected ways— I still have fond memories of Hartog‘s brief rendition of Sam Cooke‘s Wonderful World on their last Edinburgh visit.
‘Some things work and some don‘t.‘ Bobby explains. ‘but the band is getting stronger all the time. We have found our sound. and we know enough about that sound to tell when a tune is really going to work and when it isn‘t. After six years we are harder on ourselves, and we feel we have to do more with the songs we bring in. We have to keep ourselves interested in the music. as well as the people who come to hear it.‘ (Joe Alexander) 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, Queen '5 Hall, Edinburgh, I7Nov, 8.30pm.
' ‘l or
Kick out the James
While the rest of Manchester busies itsell in getting on downto the soundtrack of Happy Mondays or The Stone Roses, the traditional long-mac Mancunian mistit, weaned on Joy Division and The Smiths, has been Iett a little disentranchised.
James’ London gigs last autumn seemed to indicate that they were the ones to till the gap. SingerTim Booth was greeted with an adoration (mostly male) reminiscent of Morrissey circa ’84. The connection seemed to be strengthened with the release at the band’s Iastsingle, ‘Sit Down’, a singalong anthem tor social outcasts. Tim is keen to play down the comparisons, and their music should make them redundant.
The band now has seven members with the addition of liddle, trumpet and
keyboards. Their new music is markedly dilterent lrom the esoteric rhythms at their excellent debut LP ‘Stutter’ and its slightly more contormist loIIow-up ‘Strip Mine’.
‘The songs on the new LP are a lot harder-sounding,‘ says Tim. We produced it ourselves, and it’s much more aggressive.‘ The LP is scheduled lor release in February, and is preceded by a single, ‘Come Home’, h which is something at a departure tor I James, as the song hasn't been I extensiver reworked through live l perlormance. ‘We wrote and recorded l the song in an hour in the studio. Normally, we have this policy at playing songs live tor a year or so i betore we record them, because you can usually tell whether they‘re crap or not by the way the audience reacts.’
Alter eight years as a ‘cult', James are understandably lrustrated at their lack at commercial success. Being without a marketable image and having a quirky, original sound have worked against them. On the other hand, they have developed a stage presence and improvisational gilt that make their live ‘shows an exuberant experience. (Tom Lappin)
James play at Calton Studios, Edinburgh on Fri 17 and Strathclyde University on Sat18.
(remember the atmospheric. wordless vocals recently used in a Scottish Television advertisement?) Nowadays they are better known for their award-winning music for ‘l larry‘s Game'. and the later Robin Hood music. and with a couple ofgold discs and chart show appearances to their credit. they reach a far wider audience. However, music created
We tend to associate Donegal music with a particular brand of fiddle-playing which is a wonderful fusion ofthc Scottish and lrish traditions. Clannad. (‘family‘) from Gweedore in Donegal has always been an entirely lrish. singing band. with nevera fiddle about them. They began in 1976singing traditional songs in their native (iaelic. interspersed with just a few instrumentals on ﬂute. harp. guitars and bass. Their distinctive sound. built around the hauntingly unspoilt and unstrained voice of Maire Brennan. with the texture of the backing male voices and double bass. they say came naturally. There is certainly something elemental. almost primeval about it
to accompany drama does not always carry the same appeal when the visual element is removed. Some of (‘lannad's themes have transcended this problem. and the overall sound remains unique to them. but their understandable trend towards writing backing music. using more electronics and singing in English has detracted from the edge and freshness of their early days.
(.‘lannad are playing in Edinburgh on Sunday 19, sadly their only Scottish date on a short British
32 The List 10— 23 November 1989