MUSIC LIVE REVIEWS
Subway. Edinburgh. 2 Feb A rehearsal. a warm-up. a run-through. ‘a bag of shite‘. Baby are keen to get over these pointers. stressing in their can't-be- arsed demeanour that this. their ﬁrst Edinburgh gig. is not the stuff that great memories - or indeed any memories — are made of. Me. I‘m a-swither. Nine songs whose base material is metal. Metal that is buckled and ﬁssured and liable to collapse in on itself at any moment. For Baby. man and band. technique and histrionics appear. at this cursory listen. to be lord and master here. All else — song structure. heavy adrenalin. rock surety — arc subservient. Then again. Baby himself is a fearsome guitarist (so they tell us) who left Gun after their canny ﬁrst album and before the bluff and balderdash of their second. What‘s more. the guy who signed Baby to EMl just before Christmas also signed Radiohead. Radiohead are Really Good. So. by proxy. by chance. Baby might just have something . . . What the threesome have is the look of rock 'n' roll dandies. 1n the recent UK context. think Quireboys with a fatter. beeﬁer sound; think Little Angels with hidden hooks as opposed to open-cast anthem-pop hooks. Baby himself has the lean live-wire gait of Chris Robinson. the feline vocal prowl of. if not quite Jagger. then a close relative thereof. ‘Under Stone‘ has an R&B skip to it. high-minded backing vocals offsetting the guttural rumble of the lead vocals. ‘Day Star‘ is a messy rough ‘n' tumble. although crippling sound shenanigans seem partly culpable. ‘Then‘. though. is clearer. less cluttered. By this stage. halfway through the set. Baby have pitched their somewhat precarious stall - not as ﬁst- clenchingly dramatic as Gun. less testosterone- brawny than those other Scots metallers. The Almighty. Baby. instead. are cacophonous and knotty. This noisy take on neo- metal‘s mores works best on ‘Paper‘. where tautness underpins the melee of sound. This works least on ‘Sister Freeze‘. unhinged verging on the unfathomable. and a display of that Very Impressive lightning-ﬁngered riff virtuosity. ‘Look mum. no hands.‘ it seems to say. ‘Look mum. no song.‘ would be closer to the truth. and your mum always knows when you‘re lying. (Craig McLean)
THE STRANGERS/MATERIAL ISSUE
Barrowland, Glasgow, 5 Feb.
There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. Barrowiand is hvlng, not with kindergarten ravers, not with parka-d pop kids, but with a more, shall we say, mature breed ot punter - been there, done that, walked it, talked 1t types, casually cynical about today’s pop pups. Yet, they’re as excited as a hyperactive toddler in a sandpit, primed tor the singalong and tlst-to- the-sky gestural accompaniment. So much so, that when it takes The Stranglers a good tlve minutes to pitch a vocal into their stompaholic set, their disciples na-na, do-do and da-da along to the blatant rlttola, lmbuing this instrumental karaoke with a tervency verging on the comical. They’re a great crowd. Croat in the sense that it’s nice to be entertained at a gig and it the band won’t
oblige. . .
Boy, these people are seriously into this gig. Serious enough to let support band Material issue get away with their thorougth reprehensible brand ot anachronistic rock, an early 80s Rockschool vision ot What Punk Will Be like in The Future. Stick ’em next to hiudhoney and know, rock students, that they’re )ust not In the same league. Or even playing the same sport.
But then a Stranglers gig is all about anachronisrn and the sorry sustenance thereot. This band are in the unique position at being the only tribute group who pay tribute to themselves, who trade on past talr-to-middling report cards. Singer Paul Roberts, in a Joe Longthornesque display ot varied vocal impersonation, drops into llugh Cornweil mode when the sheer emotional weight at his muse dictates, because that’s what the tans want, right? All ot a sudden our Shug is the most sadly missed man in rock - but then, he’s paid ott his mortgage and has no recourse to exploit the superannuated cabaret circuit. Believe me, Showaddywaddy do this 1 with more grace. Something better i change. (Fiona Shepherd)
Cathouse, Glasgow, 28 Jan. ﬂood the Trees - the ettects-Iaden cowpoke psychedella sitting souled under a spruce on the edge ot a one- horse town branch ot the American underground. The )uggemaut REM with the ample Conner siblings, Van and Gary Lee, tlanking Mark lanegan's sandpaper-throated rendering ot the blues with their blubberbeat ballast. (in record that is. Current single, the gin-soaked, sepia-tinted, autumnal lament ‘llearly Lost You’ bears this out, its grutt emotive countenance the
most immediately attecting slice ot
grungey pie since that there Atghan Whigs cover version bash and the tlrst reminder in a long while that US guitar bands occasionally glance beyond mid-70s Britrock to spur their muse. But live? liay, nay and thrice nay. All the intricacies, the innate ﬂourishes are biudgeoned out on the decibie altar. Are this band loud? is Ambrosia Devon Custard yummy? Let’s lust say ,the Cape Canaveral launch pad is a monastic haven next to this ill-detlned cacophony. Under such duress, their
I set gives way to a straight dichotomy i - it it ain’t Sabbath anthem it’s 1 Zeppelin boogie. Amazingly, it works. i All their tine edges sanded off and substituted with throbbing gristle and yet the dumb surge ot testosterone- tuelled air-punching euphoria they generate can’t be matched this side at ‘lieservolr Dogs” supercool opening titles sequence.
Lanegan is less the poet spumed, * more the abrasive beer-gunllng bully lent a strange articulacy by his rambunctlous condition, but eventually tull-time masculinity tounders and melody steamrollers in like the tenacious bnrte it is. Their choice at token encore cover version says more about their place in the noisecore scheme ot things than tonight’s woolly stage sound concedes. The Small Faces’ ‘Son(g) (it A Baker’ is lyrically bizarre, lnstrumentally convoluted but still one ot the most thumping tine toons in the cosmos - a mlcrocosrn ot Screaming Trees’ stirring, errant philosophy. (Fiona Shepherd)
V BOOK NOW
Concerts listed are those at maior venues, tor which tickets are on public sale at time ot going ot press.
I GLASGOW BARROWLAND (226 4679) lce Cube. 11 Mar; Stiff Little Fingers. 17 Mar; Arrested Development. 19 Mar: Big Country. 22 Mar; Jesus Jones. 26 Mar; Jeff Healey. 1 Apr: James. 2—3 Apr: Lemonheads. 10 Apr: Hothouse Flowers. 3() Apr—l May.
I GLASGOW CELTIC PARK (227 5511) U2. 8 Aug.
I GLASGOW COEERT HALL (227 5511)Gen’y Rafferty. 26 Feb; Solid Silver Sixties. 8 Mar; Frankie Valli. 16 Mar; Don Williams. 18 Mar; Brenda Lee. 19 Mar: The Hollies. 24 Mar; Boney M. 26 Mar; Elkie Brooks. 4 Apr; Everly Brothers. 19 Apr; Neil Sedaka. 28 Apr; Crystal Gayle. 23 May: Nanci Grifﬁth. 8—10 Jun.
I GLASGOW PAVILION (332 1846) Tasmin Archer. 28 Feb; Queen Tribute. 3 Apr. I GLASGOW SECC (()31 557 6969) David Essex. 8 May: Michael Bolton. 9—10 May; Bon Jovi. 19 May; Iron Maiden. 21 May.
I EDINBURGH INGLISTON (557 6969) Deacon Blue. 31
I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE (557 2590) Solid Silver Sixties. 7 Mar; Brenda Lee. 20 Mar: Boney M. 27 Mar; Elkie Brooks. 3 Apr; Everly Brothers. 21 Apr.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (668 2019) Dougie MacLean. 27 Feb; Reader. Gregson. Hewerdinc. 15 Mar: Thea Vidale. 17 Mar. I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (228 1155) Suzanne Vega. 14 Apr.
I GLASGOW CITY HALL (227 551 1) Melanie O'Reilly. 11 Mar; Tom Bancroft Orchestra. 20 Mar“. Rebirth Brass Band. 25
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511)Chris Barber. 23 Mar.
I EDINBURGH QUEEN’S HALL (668 2019) Don Cherry. 26 Feb; Cauld Blast Orchestra. 5 Mar; Tom Bancroft Orchestra. 19 Mar: Moscow Art Trio. 21 Mar; Rebirth Brass Band. 26 Mar.
I GLASGOW CITY HALL (227 551 1) Battlefield Band. 9 Apr.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 551 l) The Dubliners. 17 Mar.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 551 1) Howard Keel. 5 Apr; Pirates of Penzance. 5 Mar; Michael Ball. 1 Apr; Slim Whitman & George Hamilton IV. 8 Apr; Pat Boone. 9 Apr; Sasha Distel.
l 14 Apr.
I GLASGOW PAVlION (332 1846) Lena Manell. 18—19 Mar: Foster & Allen. 27 Mar.
I GLASGOW SECC (031 557 6969) Barry Manilow. 14 Apr; Johnny Mathis. 26 Sep.
I EDINBURGH OSIER HALL (228 1155) Slim Whitman & George Hamilton. 7 Apr.
I GLASGOW CITY HALL
. (227 551 1) City of Glasgow
Chorus. 28 Mar.
I GLASGOW COEERT HALL (227 5511) Vienna SO. 4 Mar; Call That Singing. 25 Mar; Philhannonia. 22 Mar; ltzhak Perlman. 20 Apr; St Petersburg Phil. 1 l—l2 May; Leipzig R50. 17 May. I GLASGOW RSAHD (332 5057) Zelenka Lamentations. 27 Feb; Acad Wind ()rch. 4 Mar; Leda Trio. 5 Mar; Glasgow Wind Band. 6 Mar; Voices. 7 Mar; Peter Michael Hamel. l 1 Mar; SCO Brass. 12 Mar; Glasgow Cham Orch. 13 Mar; Paragon Ensemble. 14 Mar; Paris Collection. 16-20 Mar; Acad Cham Orch. 18 Mar; SEMC. 20 Mar; BBC $50. 17 Apr; Junior Orch. 28 Mar; ECAT. 29 Mar; Kathryn Stott. 21
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (668 2019) Composer's Ensemble. 28 Feb; SCO Brass. 13 Mar. Joanna MacGregor. 16 Mar; SEMC. 18 Mar; Moscow Art Trio. 21 Mar; Nash Ensemble. 22 Mar; Nicola Hall. 23 Mar; Scottish Ensemble. 25 Apr; Florilegium. 28 Apr; King‘s Consort. 13 May; Kathryn Stott. 20 May.
I EDINBURGH USIER HALL (228 1155) ERCU Elijah. 3
I SUBSCRIPTION SEASONS Programme details and tickets for RSNO. SCO. BBC $80. and CGPO concerts are available from Ticketcenlre. Glasgow (227 551]); Usher Hall. Edinburgh (228 1155): Queen's Hall. Edinburgh (668 2019). Tickets for Scottish Opera from Theatre Royal. Glasgow (332 9000); King's Theatre. Edinburgh (229 1201).
34 The List 12—25 February 1993