% ’~ " . ' if
‘lt should be a long experience.’ laughs Verve vocalist Richard Ashcroft, when pressed to describe his band’s forthcoming LP A Storm In Heaven. ‘But we’ve learned to use our seconds a lot better than we did before. There’s nothing over ten minutes on there.’ Oh good. For a moment there, I thought it was going to be one of those records that you had to pay attention to, to make an effort to grasp. But a mere ten minutes per track, any lame- brained Segakid can handle that.
Verve have no place in the three-minute culture, where instant gratification is the currency everyone understands, where music is a means to an end, not the glorious end itself. Their music requires patience that few are willing to accord, even though the beneﬁts of staying with tracks like last year’s somnabulant ‘Gravity Grave’ or current single ‘Blue' are often more tangible than the records themselves. With their Floydian concept record sleeves. eternal rolling basslines and the mercurial hand of producer John Leckie. they, like The Orb, are mining a vein from the 705 that’s been vetoed by the fashion police in favour of wing collars and sideburns.
On stage and in their element, Verve exude a comparable sense of performance and occasion, albeit a more temperate one than those 70s forebears. ‘ ‘I don’t mean it should be 3 ridiculously theatrical.’ says Richard of his rampant starlust. ’I don’t want to be like Peter Gabriel in his Genesis period. [just believe that it can have elemean of theatre in it. just purely as an escapist form. i don’t want to shove back in everyone's faces what they already know. They already know that Britain’s a shithole. but what about forgetting it for an hour? I think a lot of bands abuse their right to be on stage. the way they don’t use that hour, they don't use the minutes to try to do different things. to experiment and explore.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Verve play The Venue, Edinburgh on Fri 21 and
Secondsqout , ‘
mm 213t anniversary
Celebrating its 21st birthday this month is the highly acclaimed Meadows Chamber Orchestra. Taking its name from the open Meadows area nearby its original base of Edinburgh University, the Meadows has earned a deserved reputation for the quality of its performances as well as the diversity oi its programming. It was founded by pianist and conductor Peter Evans while he was a student in the early 703 and, since then, Evans has remained musical director and will conduct the special birthday concert at the Queen’s Ilall on Saturday 29. Explaining the reasoning behind its formation he says, ‘There seemed to be, even in those days, quite a lot of orchestras but they all worked In rather an ad hoc way. Our idea was to get together a bunch of keen good players who wanted to work together and to have time to rehearse properly. Our aim is not so much to come closer to professional standards, but to be able to be freer and more spontaneous in performance.’
Ile ls proud to acknowledge that over the years the Meadows has introduced to Scottish audiences some outstanding young students as soloists, such as Edinburgh born viola player Paul Colettl as well as those
from further afield, including Ida Levin, the American violinist and cellist Steven lsserlis.
The orchestra has also commissioned several new works and has done so again for the birthday concert, when ‘Cverture’ by Edward Harper will receive its premiere. ‘Vle’ve enjoyed playing a number of his pieces,’ says Evans, ‘and he recently made his debut as conductor with the orchestra, so he seemed a very appropriate choice.’
In keeping with the celebratory mood of the concert, “Overture’ is a fairly light-hearted piece and incorporates the tune ‘llappy Birthday’. All proceeds from the evening will go to Amnesty, a charity for which Evans and pianist Stephen Ilovacevich, soloist for the concert, have a great deal of respect. (Carol Main)
The Meadows Chamber Orchestra play the Queen’s Ilall, Edinburgh on Sat 29.
.' King Tut 's Wah Wah Hut, | Glasgow on Sat 22.
:- Blues dues
Buddy Guy is the modern bluesman incarnate, and his re-emergence on the European touring circuit a couple of years back was indicative of the resurgent interest in his playing, sparked in part by his “Damn Right, I Got the Blues’ album. Recorded in England in 1991, it was his first record in a dozen years, and lined up some big rock names - Clapton, Beck, Knopfler - to pay their dues to a guitarist who gave them many of their favourite licks.
‘When people like Clapton and Beck and Jimi Hendrix made it big in the 603 playing blues licks, they would keep mentioning our names in interviews, and they’re still doing it. Eventually, people would start to say, well, they keep mentioning these guys, maybe we should check them out. I was pleased to have them on the record — I hadn’t done one in a long time, but record companies weren’t real interested in recording blues. i never had a big record before, and I guess they had reason enough not to record me, but I’m not going to get bitter about it, or start complaining about it, neither. I’m just gonna keep playing, same as I always did.’
The son of a poor sharecropper in Baton Rouge, louisiana, Cuy moved to Chicago in 1957, and quickly found himself playing alongside his mentors B. B. King, Muddy Waters and IIowling Wolf. lle made his mark with a flashy,
self-taught guitar style which is high on excitement but technically flawed (even by his own admission), an emotional but mannered vocal approach, and flamboyant showrnanship (at the Concert Ilall last time, he went walkabout from exit to exit with a radio mike, firing off sledgeharnmer licks all the while). ‘There were about a million pieces to play in Chicago back then, and everybody was there. In Baton Rouge, all I wanted to do was to learn to play guitar so that I could please myself, and I went to Chicago hoping to be able to hear guys like Muddy and the Wolf, but after a while I found myself up there with them. We didn’t make much money, but we sure had fun. low I got my own club, Buddy Cuy’s legends in downtown Chicago, and we try to keep the music going. I believe that the blues is now getting more exposure than at any time in my lifetime.’ (Joe Alexander) Buddy Guy plays at The llsher Ilall in Edinburgh on 23 May.
‘lfl wasn’t a musician, I’d probably be a ﬁreman, or lying on a beach somewhere running a hot dog stand. Or maybe just a bum working in a gas station.’
Once upon a time in Canada, Pete Friesen selected Plan A and to his good fortune, now ﬁnds himself playing guitar for The Almighty. Glasgow’s relentlessly developing icons of metal.
The band are currently touring major venues with Iron Maiden, and supplement their SECC show with an appearance at Tower Records at lpm the same day — a chance for the rest of the band to meet their old Glasgow friends and for Pete to introduce himself to the hometown crew. ‘We’re all looking forward to Glasgow, and we’re hoping for a pretty mental reaction!‘ he says.
The Almighty’s third and latest album, Powerrrippin ', the first to feature Friesen, has certainly been received
well, although Pete suspects it may not appeal to all the band‘s early fans.
‘We‘re just trying to test and explore different ways of doing things. Just trying to grow. You can’t stand still all your life. The result is that there’s been a gradual progression, and I guess you can’t please everyone when you move in a particular direction.’
Friesen pleased himself first and foremost last year when he walked out of Alice Cooper’s band and straight on to the Donington stage with The Almighty. It’s called a career move, and it's taken him out of the snake charmer‘s shadow and into the glare that has followed The Almighty’s emergence as great hopes of the helpless UK rock scene.
It’s impossible to guess how huge The Almighty might get, or how long it might take, but Pete Friesen aims high.
‘We want to go to the absolute limit. Sell 50 million albums.’
And then get that job in the gas station . . . (Richard Heggie)
The Almighty support Iron Maiden at the SECC. Glasgow on Fri 2].
261115551 21 May—3 June 1993