There can be few bands who have attracted so much attention for having done so little as London‘s very own Flowered Up. By the time of their second publicly announced gig (at the [CA in April). they were getting national press coverage. and only now are they getting around to releasing their first single.
Reviews of the few gigs they have done have thrown up comparisons with Happy Mondays and their ilk and constant references to the London club scene. so perhaps the national music papers are latching on to them as a geographical alternative to the Manchester bands. It‘s a view the band recognise without endorsing.
‘We see the need for a London band of that type. But the press would have tried to fill the gap. whether we had come along or not.‘ states guitarist Joe Maher. ‘They‘re trying to aim us in a direction we‘d rather not go. We’re not trying to put across a big image. We don‘t call ourselves London scallies.‘
‘I want people to perceive as as a young band. just doing our own thing,‘ adds big brother Liam. the singer. ‘We‘re just having a laugh. We‘re not in competition with anything.‘
Despite their insistence that they‘re ‘not trying to be anything. the whole set-up smacks of contrivance. Liam letting slip that ‘it‘s just the managers doing good work‘. Certainly there is some shrewd decision-making behind the choice of the debut single. ‘We could have put out a couple of other songs that would have been more in line with what other indie dance bands are doing. but “It‘s ()n" is different. and that‘s why we chose it. Its scope stretches beyond that set pattern. We‘re making a stance with that single.‘
Yet while Flowered Up talk with the swagger of a band who know they‘re the Next Big Thing. they do have a straightforward view of what lies ahead. ‘The audience is ready-made. I suppose. but there‘s a certain quality they expect when
they come to see you. If they don‘t get it, they don’t come to see you again.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Flowered Up play The Venue, Edinburgh on Thurs 19 and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow on Sat 21.
The Trash Can Sinatras await their case of "fl-3m Wm! 8800' aﬂliﬂpalion.
After a shortlived foray into the promotion of young Scottish bands earlier this year, lrn-Bru have come back with a new approach, and believe they’ve got it right this time. lrn-Bru Rex, six nights of music at the Third Eye Centre, comes only a month after a similar event at London’s ICA, and features some of the most promising bands in Scotland.
lrn-Bru's entry into music sponsorship had been widely rumoured and eagerly anticipated, and some people, as we understand it, jumped the gun. The Ruby Suit's manager, Dave Ramsden, recalls being approached for the first Edinburgh show in a proposed series of gigs in six Scottish towns, and agreed to his band playing it. A phone call a few days later turned up the information that lrn-Bru wanted the ventes to pay lorthe shows themselves, and the venue pulled out. Because they had been so sure of the go-ahead, The Ruby Suit had done their own advertising, and decided to play it anyway, out of their own pockets.
That should never have happened, because, according to Mark Ridler of the London-based PR firm Shilland & Co, the sponsorship deal had been aborted even before it was due to begin. Incidents like that, and allegations that the sponsorship budget was split 50/50 between manufacturing promotional T-shlrls and a block of magazine ads (‘Certainly, those figures are wrong,’ disputes Ridler) have tarnished lrn-Bru's reputation in the musical community before a single show has been sponsored.
‘What is being commented on are discussions we were having for
something we never went ahead with because we found something better,’ says Ridler. ‘Altogether, I think we looked at eight different proposals from different people in Scotland, all of whom could quite legitimately have mentioned lrn-Bru's interest in music. This is the proposal that we took furthest of all before going with the Third Eye.
‘We cancelled if, and notified the people we’d been talking to that this wouldn’t be going ahead. Priorto , anything actually happening, lthink you’ll find that people put things on under an lrn Bru banner following our withdrawal.‘
One remark amid the considerable confusion was that the soft drinks company, whose marketing department is in Manchester and whose sponsorship programme is being run by a London PR firm, ‘didn’t have anybody on the ground up here who knew how to run it’.
This has hopefully been rectified with the choice of the Third Eye Centre as the venue for their new venture. The gallery and performance space was chosen mainly because it fills a similar role in Glasgow as the ICA in London, where lrn-Bru have been putting on rock weeks featuring acts like The Farm and Napalm Death while the Scottish operation has been on hold. The company is now planning to held several such events there every year, and want to be judged on those, rather than on a reputation that has not entirely been of their own making.
lrn-Bru Rox takes place at the Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, from Wed 18—M01123. See Listings for details.
Edinburgh District Council working with WOMAD. the arts organisation devoted to world music and dance. is bringing a tremendous line-up ofinternational talent to the Ross Theatre. under a huge stretch of canvas in Princes Street Gardens. And remarkably. these Saturday and Sunday afternoon concerts are free. In the weeks running tip to the International Festival in August there will be concerts and performances by groups from Ecuador. France. Sierra Leone. the Soviet Union and Cambodia.
A living legend in Zimbabwe. where his song lyrics were part ofthe revolutionary struggle. and in his latest 12in single ‘C‘orruption‘. continue to comment on contemporary problems in the fledgling society. Thomas Mapfumo brings the dozen musicians of his Blacks Unlimited tothe gardens on Saturday 14.
As was his friend Bob Marley. Mapfumo is Rastafarian. and the band can delve deep into reggae numbers. Peter Tosh‘s ‘No Nuclear War‘ being a fine example. But the core oftheir music is rooted in the traditional rhythmsof the mhlra or thumb piano. a sound that translates well onto guitar and percussion. They then add a powerful horn section.
Their leader has a taste for wild suits. and the band are wont to turn out in similar attire. sothe whole show should be a tonic for [Edinburgh‘s grey eyes and cars. (Norman ('halmers)
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Thomas .lluplimm and The Blacks l 'nlimuedpluy at the Ross Theatre. Princes Street ( 1' (1rd ens. Edinburgh on Sat 1 4;
( 'umbodian .N’aliona/ Dance on Sun [5; Edward [land The Red Ho! I’olkus on Sat 2 l .' The l’okmvsky Ensemble on 510123; King Maser) (in Sat .38; ‘( TlLS'Slt‘S (if/(altar: ()peru' on Sun .39; Archie [from n and The Young Burks on Sat 4in1}: and Vermenron I’lugeuml Hue/[us on Sun 5 .
t ‘ Thomas Mapfumo
The List 13— ZoJuly 199031