quite a lot of sand. Lol is preparing for the imminent second (out-of—the-South- of-England) leg of the already cult Midi Circus. lts raisons d'étre son! deux:
‘Well. ﬁrstly. I had this conversation with Emma Anderson from Lush.‘ informs Hammond in his cheeky Cock- er-nee accent. ‘and she was basically telling me how she was involved in the ﬁrst of the two Lollapoloozas. She said it was a sort of travelling rock circus and I thought. “Wouldn‘t it be great to have a Techno version?" I put the idea to Chaz and Kris Needs [of Secret Knowledge and Sabres club fame] and from there it just went crazy.‘
The other reason is more contro- versial. It appears that the Midi Circus is some sort of reaction to the dismantling of Spiral Tribe, a group of funsters who, for the last two years. hosted unauthorised parties across Europe just for the sheer hell of it. Unfortunately. with the minor fact that the gatherings were becoming
increasingly anarchic. the public order laws which had been used to devastating effect during the Miners‘ Strike were invoked. barring such open-air events from taking place. The rozzers moved in and. in Hammond‘s words. ‘nicked everything'.
‘Oh my gawd. it was terrible. man. I lost 40k‘s worth of sound equipment. 23k ofthat at one party. Basically. the police have confiscated everybody's system and amassed for themselves the biggest rig in the whole world. I've got a vision ofthis massive police convention with all these boys in blue gettin‘ down.‘
Reaction spawned a monster. The ultimate amorphic club night is nigh: lavish drapes. corking lights and the most hellraising sound system courtesy of the Megadog crew. There are no comperes. the action ﬂows from acts (Orbital. System 7 and Drum Club) to the unreﬁned DJs and back. Junctureless.
In the surrounds. there are stilt walkers. jugglers. ﬁre-eaters. sideshows . . . you name it. it‘s there. Pure enjoyment designed to break only the artists‘ bank balances. not ours. The only intention seems to be to have a damned ﬁne time.
‘lts not a money thing. everybody's losing that. The main thing is to get out there. to put our music in another bracket. Rather than just be seen as a band who release white labels. we want to show we can play live.‘
And they mean live. no DATs. but live mixing going beyond the vinyl and predictability; the unexpected is to be fully expected. Last month. they packed 4500 into the Brixton Academy. unprecedented for a dance night. even more so when you consider that the only band with a Top 40 hit are Orbital. There is no Sharnen. no Orb. in fact they were never asked. This is the non- ego tour where everyone gets on with each other and nobody gives a shit; the bill is rotated every night and all perform.
Which leads us nicely to the music. System 7 aka ex-guitar rowker Steve Hillage —- ambience beyond the tour of duty ~ chill factor 6.9. Orbital — actors call it improv —- whatever. it‘s on the spot and in the know. The Drum Club — their debut album Everything Is Now is schtorrnin‘. Certainly one of the best releases of the year so far, it gracefully spills from acid aura to halo holler.
‘We‘re all quite on this trance thing.’ Hammond explains. ‘but it’s so hard to deﬁne. At one point, all three of us were called progressive. but I haven‘t a bloody clue what that was. it was some media invention. I don’t know what they're calling us now. Wankers. I suppose.‘
Oh my gawd no, ifthey are. 'tis undeserved. For this is a club experiment not experienced since the ho-ho-called Second Summer of Love in 1988. Zippin‘ on yer boots and going back to the roots. The designer tags and exclusiveness are obliterated; the hippy is as welcome as the hip. This is one not to be missed. for when us media folk start going on about the Third Summer of Love in I993 (which we will) and were you there. you can truthfully say yes. July. Midi Circus. sweating a la la la all night long.
Midi Circus hits The Arches. Glasgow on Sun ll.
um:- Zut alors!
Zut! la Chute were not the first caiun band in Scotland, that honour goes to the Edinburgh-based Deaf llelghts Cajun Aces, and England’s II. Cajun and the Zydeco Brothers pre-dates them both, but the Glasgow group play the real music of the Louisiana French from the swamplands and bayous of the southern llSA.
Many contemporary bands claim or are described as caiun, and the confusion is partly due to music scribes who can’t identify Texas swing from Bulgarian horo, so I’ve been encouraged by the band to tell it like it is.
Authentic calun is propelled by simple, single row button accordion (the melodeon of old bothy photographs, but beautifully constructed in Louisiana) and fiddle, with guitar and sometimes the washboard-Iike percussion ‘veste frottoir’ worn on the front of the body.
Zydeco music is a closely related form, originated by the blacks in Louisiana, with a bluesier edge and usually played on piano accordion with bass and drums. In both a singer will declaim the lyrics over the top of what is essentially dance music.
The two-step is the main dance, with innumerable subtle shifts of rhythm depending on the song or tunes and, although the music is never too complex, it is a distinct idiom and the melodies have endless twists and turns to trap the unwary musician.
In Corby, members of II. Cajun organise the Swamp Club where hundreds gather to dance the night
2m la Chute away, in either free-expression rock and roll, or highly organised new- caiun stepping. In fact, all over the Midlands, down in London and even up to Carlisle, highly popular caiun dance clubs are packing the punters in.
Zutl’s Sandy Simeonoff works in the BBC’s Gramophone and Iiecord library and has been hooked on the ‘wonderful poetic songs and drive of calun’ since the early 70s, making a few trips to the Louisiana heartland, soaking up the music and learning to sing in the distinctive French hollerin’ style.
Sandy feels that, ‘Scotland has its own ceilidh dance band revival, and that’s, in part, in response to the same demand - for companionable, highly energetic, folk edged un-posey dancing to live musicians, away from the superflciallty of the disco and commercial club scene - so in Scotland we’ve not taken up with calun to the extent they have down south, where to a large extent they have lost touch with their own traditional dances.’ (llorman Chalmers)
Zut! Ia Chute bring their danceable swamp sounds to Edinburgh’s St Bride’s Centre on Fri 2.
mm- Specs appea
When The Proclaimers began making music together, their eyes were fixed on America; now all America is waking up to The Proclaimers, thanks to the new Johnny Depp film ‘Benny And Joon’, which opens this fortnight. Thanks to Depp’s co-star, Mary Stuart Masterson, who brought in tapes of her favourite music to listen to during filming, the song ‘l’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ inveigled its way into the opening and closing credits. A canny re-release, prompted by ‘request- driven’ rotation of the track on radio stations across the US, means that The Proclaimers are now Number 26 in
the US singles charts, and rising. Album sales spurred by the movie are mainly copies of the ‘Benny And Joon’ soundtrack album, but The Proclaimers’ own ‘Sunshine 0n Leith’ is selling around a quarter of the total.
The last time the duo were in the charts, with the one-off single ‘King Of The fioad’, was also a movie project - their cover of the Roger Miller song was for George (‘Mad Max’) Ogilvy’s ‘The Crossing’ - and the B-side track, ‘Lulu Selling Tea’, showed that they hadn’t lost their wit or talent while they’d been away.
The gestation period for their third ! album is giving new meaning to the l term ‘long-awaited’, but reassurance comes from their record company Chrysalis that the twins are just about i ready to begin it in earnest. ‘They ; haven’t started recording yet. They get everything completely ready ‘ beforehand, and then go into the studio and do it really quickly.’
However quick the process is, we won’t be hearing any of the fruits of it before the year’s end. Chrysalis have a release date for the LP pencilled in as February 1994 - ‘we hope’. (Alastair Mabbott)
Benny And Joon (12) is released across Scotland on Fri 9. See Film section.
The List 2, 15 July 7199535