LIVE REVIEWS MUSIC
Ooh, those Dcsperadoes. The farewell gig! Six years on the circuit epitomising all that ‘indie‘ kids hold dear. Looking like waifs. out-of-tune guitars and in-tune lyrics, badges, Doc Martens, forever in the tour-van, fans who would die for them, shambling, shambling, shambling. . .
Some people puke at the Desperadoes‘ (seemingly) hastily arranged post-Pastels guitar-pop naivety; the cover of ‘Presence Dear' was always a giveaway — J G were surely no more than an anaemic Blondie fan-club outing. Others (like me) grin at the way the Edinburgh collective — along with the Shop Assistants, the vodka to the Desperado tonic — made pop music sound easy again to a generation jaded with a punk idealism that had turned sour with the invention of the evil drum machine.
Fiddly basslines, girly vocals and multi-tracked guitar-jangle were J G‘s trademarks, and all sound right tonight. But, zounds, everything is suddenly electriﬁed and harder than of yore. Fuzzed-up axeman Jeremy Natural plays mean lead licks that are more Chameleons than Talulah Gosh, and Margarita is now a ‘drummer‘ rather than someone who hits drums. Never mind if they seem a tad ‘well refreshed' — it‘s their party, after all. Fran is as fragile and gorgeous as ever, and Tully still talks football between songs, his laconic asides punctuating Fran‘s musings like a Goth requesting records at a teenies disco. When they play ‘Splashing Along’, a beautiful ‘Rain Fell Down‘, the charging ‘Adam Faith Experience‘ and the superb ‘Grand Hotel’, there‘s not a dry eye in the house, and rightly so. Indie pop like this has a sell-by date, so all power to these stars for bowing out while the going’s still good. And thanks for the memories.
(Paul W. Hullah)
Venue, Edinburgh, 28 Oct.
Last time they were here, Firehose committed the considerable gaiie oi declaring ittheir tavourite gig ‘in England'. Tonight, Mike Wait’s busting a got to make amends, lambasting the ‘English strings’ that break and the ‘English’ bass amp that dies on him. The concerned American's gesture is appreciated by a crowd ior whom Firehose can do no wrong. Their proiile in this country is scanty at best, and their last LP, ‘Flyin’ The Flannel', wasn’t even released here, but their reputation as a top-notch live band pulls crowds that can dwari many an ‘HME’ cover star in size and enthusiasm.
Ediromohio still looks like the painting in Michael J. Fox's attic, George Hurley's still got a hank oi Mick Hucknall’s hair glued down the middle oi his head and Watt is still clinging to his checked shirt and neatly-trimmed beard. He looks ripe tor a role in ‘Doonesbury’: the last radical; the underdog in the war against intelligence.
From the stage-diving and slamming that greets oldies like ‘Chemical Wire', you could mistake this tor a hardcore show, and you’d be hall right. Even
when the jazz iniluence extends beyond
Watt’s basslines and Hurley’s busy drumming-when they’re experimenting with ethnic rhythms or oblique little instrumentals-the energy level is breathtakingly high. It’s like watching the periect crossover group. Jazzers don’t lash out like this. And hardcore bands rarely have the vision to make a set breathe like this one does.
‘Wish l’d never put the hose down,’ Neil Young was lamenting on the stereo beiore I leit ior the gig — and would I do that? There's something reireshingly human and involved about Firehose. And they're still ragin’. Full on. (Alastair Mabbott)
King Tut’s, Glasgow, 1 Nov.
Crowded House? Yes, it was, very. Here we have one oi those bands with a couple oi minor hits under their belt and the (pseudo) echo oi ‘Split Enz' reverberating irom all corners. They could have been a group in search oi a iollowing, but this gig — a sell-out weeks in advance and a guest list comprising Deacon Blue and all their known relatives— coniirms that Crowded House pull like a tug-oi-war team on steroids.
But things are not looking up. The temperature's wavering just on the wrong side oi bearable and the view, which makes sitting cross-legged and claustrophobic in the middle oi the lloor a desirable alternative, conspires to dissipate the curiosity oi seeing a band in whom you have no vested interest, about whom you have no preconceptions. As it should, the music has to do the talking. Except it doesn't, not to me anyway. Their luxuriant pop
- i, es .
wash does just that-wash right over my head, out oi the venue and onwards to the (out)back oi beyond. Apart irom the odd bite-sized chunk oi beauty (‘Don’t Dream lt’s Dver’, oi course) or humour (their Dylanesque reading oi ‘Anarchy in The UK’), it's Hell Finn’s chatty interludes that keep me standing to attention. Cage a partisan crowd and appeal to their dormant patriotism with some anti-Sassenach jlbing. Works every time, and the England/Australia Rugby World Cup iinal takes place tomorrow. How iortuitous.
Even without the wit, Crowded House have an immense rapport with their audience - mostly subscribers to the CD revolution clad uniiormly in blouson leather jackets. Their love oi, and the bands dedication to, studied pop is noted, but Crowded House are merely reaching tor a narrowly designated audience with songs that exude little more than a workmanlike knowledge oi their art. Sale as houses, in tact. (Fiona Shepherd)
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Concerts listed are those at major venues, lor which tickets are on public sale at time oi going oi press.
I GLASGOW BARROWLAND (226 4679) The Farm, 1 Dec; Squeeze, 2 Dec; Ramones, 4 Dec; Electronic, 9 Dec; My Bloody Valentine, 12 Dec; The Silencers, 22 Dec.
I GLASGOW CONCERT
HALL (227 5511)Buddy
Guy, 24 Nov; Nanci Grifﬁth, 2 Dec; Paul Young, 12 Dec; Lisa Stansﬁeld, 20 Mar.
I GLASGOW SECC (557 6969) Sting, 23 Nov; Chris Rea, 29 Nov; Status Quo, 30 Nov; New Kids On The Block, 8 Dec; Gary Glitter, 23-24 Dec; Simply Red, 27 Jan; Eric Clapton, 3 Mar; Cliff Richard, 29—31 Oct.
I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE (557 2590) Buddy Guy, 23 Nov; The Cult, 24 Nov; Lenny Kravitz, 1 Dec; The Pogues, 2 Dec; Squeeze, 3 Dec; Bonny Raitt, 4 Dec; Paul Young, 8 Dec; Fish, 31 Dec; Erasure, 30Jun—l Jul.
I EDINBURGH QUEEN'S HALL (668 2019) Bootleg Beatles. 2 Dec; Gong Maison, 4 Dec; The Silencers, 19 Dec.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (228 1155) Hue G Cry, 26 Nov.
JAZZ 8: FOLK
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 551 l) Whistle Stop Jazz Tour, 26 Nov; Chick Corea Elektric Band, 26 Mar; Sonny Rollins, 21 Apr.
I GLASGOW THEATRE ROYAL (332 9000) Cami Kidd, 27 Dec.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (668 2019) Sheila Jordan, 22 Nov; Eberhard Weber—Gary Boyle Quartet, 23 Nov; Brian Kellock Boptet, 29; Chick Lyall Norwegian Quartet, 6 Dec; Dick Gaughan, 10 Dec; Andy Sheppard, 13 Dec; Clarsach Concert, 15 Dec; Jazz Ball, 20 Dec.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Phoenix Choir, 2-3 Dec; Asian
Concert, 9 Dee; Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund, 13 Dec. I GLASGOW RSAMD (332 5057) Scottish Ensemble, 22 Nov; Hebrides Ensemble, 24 Nov; SCO Brass, 29 Nov; Glasgow Chamber Orchestra, 1 Dec; Margaret Price & Graham Johnson, 5 Dec; SEMC, 6 Dec; SUMC, 18 Dec; Junior Concert, 21 Dec; Anthony Rolfe Johnson, 23 Jan; Scottish Ensemble, 24 Jan; SCO Brass, 25 Jan; John Williams, 6 Feb; Hebrides Ensemble, 16 Feb; Scottish Ensemble, 28 Feb; John Lill, 12 Mar; Scotish Ensemble, 10 Apr; SCO Brass, 11 Apr. I GLASGOW SECC (557 6969) Jose Carreras, 9 Dec. I EDINBURGH OUEEN’S HALL (668 2019) Scottish Ensemble, 24 Nov; llebrides Ensemble, 25 Nov; SCO Brass, 28 Nov; Scottish Sinfonia, 1 Dec; SEMC, 5 Dec; Meadows CO, 7 Dec; George MacKay Brown Concert. 8 Dec; Cappella Nova, 21 Dec; Hebrides Ensemble, 19Jan; Scottish Ensemble, 26 Jan; ECAT—SSPCA Charity Concert, 2 Feb; Gould Piano Trio, 11 Feb: Songmakers Almanac, 17 Feb; Scottish Ensemble, 1 Mar; Brindisi String Quartet, 16 Mar; Orkest de Volharding. 25 Mar; Alfred Brendel, 11 Apr; Scottish Ensemble, 12 Apr; Evelyn Glennie & Anna Steiger, 29 Apr. I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (228 1 155) Messiah (Sick Kid‘s Appeal), 7 Dec; Messiah (ERCU). 2 Jan; Verdi's Requiem (ERCU), 9 May. I SUBSCRIPTION SEASONS Programme details and tickets for Royal Scottish Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and City of Glasgow Philharmonic Orchestra are available from Ticketcentre, Glasgow (227 5511); Usher Hall. Edinburgh (228 l 155); Queen‘s Hall, Edinburgh (668 2019). Tickets for Scottish Opera from Theatre Royal, Glasgow (332 9000); Playhouse, Edinburgh (557 2590).
The List 8— 21 November 1991 37