MUSIC LIVE REVIEWS
Cafe Royal, Edinburgh. 23 July.
Two exercises in virtuoso vacuity. Balance are as tidy and steady-state as their name blandly suggests. Even this early into their shelf-life. they have memorised the neo-retro-funky blueprint. Graduated bass runs. Starsky & Hutch wah-wah. epileptic tom-toms. Lisa Stansﬁeld divaesque pronouncements on. well. nothing much really. Feel-good. good-time music. all technical dexterity and superficial innovation. Authentic and ﬂawless. sure. but we‘ve already had The James Taylor Quartet and Brand New Heavies. Do we now need Glaswegian regurgitation?
Most deﬁnitely. say Nightcrawlers. Nightcrawlers boil down to A Voice, the lowest common denominator in songs that are but vulgar fractions of great ideas (other people‘s). Robert Palmer wearing underpants that are too tight. Michael Jackson with his whitification process taken to its logical extreme. Wee Stevie Wonder fae Glasgow. Deﬁnitive influences and constituent elements buried in the roots ofJon Reed’s convincing passion and given wings by the anti-gravitational soar of his vocals.
So he renders smoothly Nightcrawlcrs’ forays into the soul and the cool and the groove. ‘Do It Together‘ takes it easy. a mild stroll coasting on the coat-tails of the flawless voice. ‘Living Inside A Dream‘, their cult club hit from last year. ups the ante. a shufﬂing funk whose message is. I gather, ‘get down’.
It all has suave, ﬁnger-clicking surety, convinced of its mechanical excellence and soulful CV. But this is an empty vessel. gilded on the outside, barren on the inside. Nightcrawlers are too sophisticated, too (up)tight, too aware of their own eerily canny doppelganging of Stateside 705 soul/funk industry. So smug and scientiﬁcally precise are their moves that any personality that may weave through the soulboy knit is ultimately squeezed out.
Jon Reed‘s voice. irrefutably. is sweet and silky. But as for the rest? Well, speaking of silk. what’s that old saying about a sow‘s ear? (Craig McLean)
Barrowland, Glasgow. 22 July.
A depressed Dzric Tentacles vibe threatens to consign Dr Phibes And The House Of Wax Equations to oblivion as they open this least of rhythm, but it proves to be merely an extended atmospheric build-up, preceding a full noise attack. Cue ragged vocals. wigging bassist in torn bed-sheet, extensive array of guitar effects pedals and there you have Dr Pbibes; Eddy Grant meets Steve Hillage at a Hawkwind rehearsal.
Closely followed by Pop’s Cool Love; Infectious Grooves (Suicidal Tendencies offshoot) meet a singing Mexican bandit and a guitar-playing Carlos Valderama (Colombian footballer) at 3 ‘Fame’ rehearsal. Pop’s Cool Love invite ridicule, as they prance and sway like funky-metal Keystone Cops. It’s unfortunate, since some of their music would hit hard without the distraction oi geekoid facial expressions and forced humour.
Alarmingly, Flshbone are not immune to such ghastly afflictions. For four or five songs, they rage around the stage like heifers in a blazing barn,
with trombones flying overhead, as an overwhelming pace of bass-heavy funk. ska and jazz is unleashed. It’s fast, furious and, frankly, disappointing. Is this really the best live band in the entire world?
Mercilully, the pace slows and Fishbone begin to delight. Main man Angelo Moore emerges as a truly remarkable performer, jacking like a bendy toy and flapping his substantial limbs like a crippled albatross. but never letting his vocals or his sax-playing suffer.
Gradually, bass succumbs to guitar, the pace slows further, the night rolls on and ‘Everyday Sunshine’ begins. You had to be there. In the extended, ecstatic throes of this one song, Fishbone save the night and exceed their unfairly hyped reputation. The Mexican bandit and Carlos Valderama join in and the crazed antics reach a climax of pure musical celebration and I human brotherhood.
It seems a laborious struggle to reach this majestic peak, but that is, after all, what Fishbone specialise in. (Richard Reggie)
V LIVE DEL AMITRI
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Playhouse, Edinburgh, 17 July. If rock’n’roll is a cavorting Walt Disney carnival, Del Amitri are Goofy. Feckless and reckless, they sing of the weak-kneed foibles of love and drinkin the keen-edged excesses of stagey showmanship. Much striding purposefully from stage left to stage right and back. Much rifting resolutely. Much shoulder leaning guitar-hero comradeshlp. Del Amitri do most things mucth and goofily, colourising the monochrome mlserabilism of their lyrics, gunning the engine on a rock machine whose battery is supposedly flat.
Reports of Del Amitri’s boredom are exaggerated. With theirtongues in their cheeks and their guitars at their groin, they assume the role of hoary, time-warped rockers. And while Justin Currie may be an emotional malingerer, his songs telling of a hypochondriac’s heartbreak, boy does he enjoy it. As preparatory pep-talk the MC5’s ‘kick out the jams, motherfucker’ primal scream blasts
; from the speakers. Kerrangl ‘The Ones
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That You Love Lead You Howhere‘ leaps out. Twang! ‘Just Like A Man’ has I a low-slung blues grind. Drizzle! ‘Hatful Of Rain’ and ‘Spit In The Rain’ find Del'Amltri trudging through puddles. but their dude’s cowboy boots don’t care.
Then, as if by magic, Del Amitri are The Curries. They cover winsome folky nihilism on ‘flothing Ever Happens’, and “Whisky Remorse’ is dolorous loveache. Funny that- a song about a girl. Then, from The Corries to The Stones. ‘Move Away Jimmy Blue' melds into ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, and Justin metamorphoses into Jagger. His hair may hang like stuffing out of a sofa, and his sideburns sprawl like two clapped-out caterpillars, but he sure knows how to climb aboard a PA stack and wiggle his hips and pout his lips. Simultaneously. It’s all a sham, he’s such a shyster, but they do it so sturdily. so rompingly, that we grin and wear it. ‘Heyl We care. . .’ mocks Furry Currie.
And here’s me thinking I’m above all
this. (Craig McLean)
V BOOK NOW
Concerts listed are those at major venues, for which tickets are on public sale at time of going at press.
I GLASGOW BARROWLAND (226 4679) Pop Will Eat Itself. 2 Oct: The Saw Doctors. 12 Oct; Shamen.15—16 Oct: lnspiral Carpets. 4 Nov; Faith No More. 3 Dec.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL(227 551 1) Four Tops. 14 Sep.
I GLASGOW GREEN (031 5561212)Michac1 Jackson. 14 Aug.
I GLASGOW SECC (031 557 6969) Chris De Burgh. 12 Sep; Scottish Music Show. 19—20 Sep; Metallica. 27 Oct: Cliff Richard. 29—31 Oct; George Benson. 1 Nov; Tom Jones. 2 Nov; Jason
Donovan. 6 Dec: Gary Glitter. 23—24 Dec.
I LIVINGSTON FORUM (0506419191)The Wonder Stuff. 24 Aug.
I EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADEI) (557 6969) Mike Oldfield. 4 Sep; Wet Wet Wet. 5 Sep. | I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE I (557 2590) Hue and Cry. ’ 30 Aug; Van Morrison. 31 Aug; Carl Perkins. 1 Sep; Black Sabbath. 2 Sep: Four Tops, 12 Sep: Rocky Horror Show. 24—26 Sep: Temptations/Three Degrees. 27 Oct.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (668 2019) Jools Holland. 22—30 Aug: Inspiral Carpets. 3 Nov.
JAZZ & FOLK
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL(227 5511) BBC Big Band with Georgie Fame. 19 Sep.
I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE (557 2590)Capercai11ic. 29 Au .
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (668 2019) Andy Sheppard. 14 Aug; Summit Reunion. 15 Aug; Altan. 17 Aug; Clan Alba. 20 Aug: Battlefield Band. 21—23 Aug; That Swing Thang. 24—26 Aug; Boys ofthe Lough. 28—30 Aug; Berg/Stern Band. 31 Aug—l Scp; Debut. 31 Aug-1 Sep; Carol Kidd/Georgie Fame. 1 Sep; Carol Kidd. 3 Sep; George Shearing/Carol Kidd, 3 Sep; Nana VaSconcelos. 4 Sep: Courtney Pine. 4 Sep.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Engelbert Humperdinck. 24 Sep.
I GLASGOW PAVILION (332 1846) Joe Longthorne. 21—24 Oct. I GLASGOW SECC (031 557 6969) Shirley Bassey. 2 Dec.
I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE (557 2590) James Last.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511)Labeque Sisters. 28 Aug: Peter Nero. 29 Aug; James Galway. 4 Sep; Joshua Rifkin. 5 Sep: Evelyn Glennie and Friends. 8—10 Scp: Skitch Henderson Conducts. 11-12 Sep; Last Night of GIGS. 13 Sep; Pinchas Zuckerman. 29 Sep; Moscow Radio SO. 30$ep; Osaka Phil. 20 Oct; ECCO. 11 Nov: Oslo Phil. 1?. Novaokyo Ouartet. 29 Nov: Rostal and Schaefer. 1 Dec: Shura Cherkassky. 2 Dec: Polish CO. 1 Feb;John Williams, 10 Feb; Vienna SO. 4 Mar; Philharmonia. 22 Mar; Itzhak Perlman. 20 Apr; St Petersburg Phil. 11 May.
I GLASGOW RSAMD (332 5057) Glasgow Festival of British Youth Orchestras.
i 15 Aug—5 Scp; Scottish
International Piano Competition. 14—20 Sep; The Musical Seminar (Music Theatre). 19Sep:
I (‘hce Yun & Akira I Eguchi. 20$ep; BBC I 880. 25 Sep; SCO Brass.
9 Oct. 6 Dec. 12 Mar.
I EDINBURGH CASTLE ESPLANADE (557 6969) Nigel Kennedy. 2 Sep.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (668 2019) EIF Chamber Recitals. 17 Aug—5 Sep; Scottish Ensemble. 27 Aug: SCO Brass. 10 Oct. 5 Dec. 13 Mar.
I EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL All ticket applications to Box Office. EIF. 21 Market Street. Edinburgh EHl IBW(031225 5756). I EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE All ticket applications to The Fringe Office. 180 High Street. Edinburgh E111 108 (Info: (131 226 5257/5259; Tickets (credit card only): 0312265138).
I SUBSCRIPTION SEASONS Programme details and tickets for Royal Scottish Orchestra. Scottish Chamber Orchestra. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. and City ofGlasgow Philharmonic Orchestra are available from Tickctcentre. Glasgow (227 551 1); Usher Hall. Edinburgh (228 1155); Queen‘s Hall. Edinburgh (668 2019). Tickets for Scottish Opera from Theatre Royal. Glasgow (3329000); King‘s Theatre. Edinburgh (229 1201 ).
34The List 31 July— 13 August 1992