MUSIC LIVE REVIEWS
Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. 3 Sept. John Martyn gamer moans, grimaces and jokes through his set to widespread indifference. weaving long. serene workouts which seem to drift on past the lifespans of most of the smaller arthropods. They can't really be said to be meandering. because they don‘t actually meander anywhere. No harm in that. Listening to John Martyn play two endlessly repeated notes can be a lot more rewarding than listening to most people pack middle eights and time changes on top of each other; but perhaps this isn‘t the right moment for such blissful hypnosis. with punters still trooping up the stairs in their cold- weather clothing. One horriﬁc acoustic guitar solo later and it’s all over bar ‘May You Never'. which gets the kind of reception he must have been hoping for all along. The Castle Esplanade is actually smaller than one might think — or is it just Nanci Griffith who makes it seem that way? She could be performing in a small club. ambling on in simple denim. seeming entirely unfazed by the surroundings. By her side is pianist James Hooker. but she could carry it off alone. Hooker is surplus to requirements most of the time (and l mean that in a nice way. possums). but in the moments when he really makes his presence felt. like the rousing chordal accompaniment on ‘Outbound Plane‘ —- the Griffith song Suzy Bogguss took to the top of the US country charts — we're all glad he‘s there. Stripped of all the little rituals peculiar to country singers — except perhaps the anecdotes and the fulsome tributes to those whose songs she covers — Griffith stands revealed as a folk-inclined mainstream singer- songwriter par excellence. She introduces ‘lt's A Hard Life‘ as the best protest song she's ever written. and every left- leaning liberal verse makes it obvious how right she was to follow her own path and not attempt to become a queen of the Nashville scene. (Alastair Mabbott)
Castle Esplanade, Edinburgh, 4 Sept. ‘llr ye cold?’ asks lloddy Frame. Well, um, maybe a wee bit.
The Castle’s a bizarre venue for gigs. For: A majestic backdrop which beats any banner. Against The seats are so cramped that sitting is difficult, never mind dancing. For: Especially in the upper stands, there’s a certain intoxication with being so high above the city watching a band. Against: It’s fair chilly.
Something about having the stage open on all sides renders a performer unusually naked, especially while daylight remains. Every movement front and back stage is easily visible. This suits Mr Frame just fine as he swaggers around, and yes, he certainly does waggle that bum. Aztec Camera’s self-assured pop works well here; the sound is surprisingly crystal- clear and well balanced. As the night gets darker and colder, their set warms up and the Castle goes red. Three fans on one side are energetically swaying and clapping while the other few thousand sit there huddling into their jackets. Nevertheless the applause comes heavy between songs, and predictable closer ‘Somewhere In My Heart’ earns a sustained thunder.
It’s a shivery few minutes before Del Amitri hit the stage. Frontrnan Justin
Del Amitri's Justin Currie
Currie is wearing a kilt - brave lad - and what looks like a brown tank top. Brave lad. After an initial hiccup with a wrongly-tuned bass, their heavier rocky sound settles and they’re away. At one point, they attempt intimacy with a kneel-at-stage-front job; a bit of a loser since the nearest punter is 30 feet away. The ultra-safe stage barriers look increasingly like overkill since everybody’s sitting down. Del Amitri still triumph, though, as the audience animates towards the end and the big anthems.
Both bands perform music conducive to a cosy snuggle with your loved one on the terraces (the temperature helps). As a flagship for Scottish music, it’s a good experience, and a better way to end the Festival than most. (Gavin Inglis)
Barrowland, Glasgow, 3 Sept.
Here we are, the first of three nights at which two established acts prop up the amateur Yamaha Music Quest finalist and attempt to salvage some dignity for the Radio One-sponsored event. Tonight’s entrants The Candyranch are the tipsters’ favourite for the trip to Japan, pots of money, multiple accolades, etc, so who are several hundred Blur/Radiohead fans of monumentally discerning tastes to disagree? But we do anyway. The Candyranch are excruciating.
If lladiohead, against the odds, didn’t write and play with such empowering conviction, singer Thom Yorke would cut a ridiculous figure up on that
stage. Dwarfed by his statuesque
guitarists, his shock of bleached hair, pixie face and exaggerated ‘intense’ posture seem all the more geeky. Say, maybe there is something in this self- loathing trip everyone (himself included) keeps banging on about. He really could be the ‘Creep’ he sings about with such searing, soaring passion. It’s an incredible song and a perverse ago in glorious flight. It’s the number they’ll wish they’d never written when they start doing the working men’s clubs in twenty years’ time. Tonight’s set also includes plaintive gems like ‘Ripcord’, ‘Prove Yourself’ and ‘lurgee’, but next to ‘Creep’ they sound like Just Some Other Songs.
Blur are arch-manipulators, perhaps too arch for their own good. They could probably, if the whim took them, bulldoze this ‘quintessentially English’ (I say, quasi-xenophobic) bored-out-of-
our-skulls bovver boy image they’ve so clevercleverly constructed and successfully replace it with acoustic prairie rock and checked shirts. They are whatever they want to be, yet musically, for all their blatant rip-offs, they sound so instinctive. They’ve always put me in mind of The Who - their petulant kiddie performances, narcissistic choruses and deft guitar hooks - now they’ve roped in The Kinks, Syd Barrett and The Small Faces to their pantheon of influences, with a bit of Buzzcocks and Magazine to the rougher live incarnations. low, if they could just tone down their rentaquote blunders, these boys could be as deep as they are wide. (Fiona Shepherd)
Concerts listed are those at major venues, for which tickets are on public sale at time of going of press.
I GLASGOW BARROWLAND (226 4679) Spin Doctors. 26 Sept; Breeders. 28 Sept; Levellers. 6—7 Oct; Carter USM. 9 Oct; Fishbone. 13 Oct; The Almighty. 14 Oct: Australian Doors. 15 Oct; Lemonheads. 26 Oct; Terence Trent D‘Arby. 14 Nov; Paul Weller. 18 Nov; Teenage Fanclub. 26 Nov; The Saw Doctors. 17 Dec: The Wonder Stuff. 24 Mar.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Squeeze. 26 Sept; Jethro Tull. 11 Oct; Gene Pitney. 13 Oct; Mary-Chapin Carpenter. 21 Oct; World Party. 26 Oct; Don McLean. 31 ()ct; Bobby Vee. 11 Nov; Sylvian and Fripp. 2 Dec; Moody Blues. 10 Dec; Gary Glitter. 23. 24 Dec. I GLASGOW PAVILION (332 1846) Ennio Marchetto. 17 Oct; Liberty Mountain Elvis Show. 14 Nov; Nazareth and Uriah Heep. 21 Nov. I GLASGOW PLAZA (031 557 6969) M People. 10
I GLASGOW SECC (227 5511) Aerosmith. 290ct; Lenny Kravitz. 30 Nov; Take That. 1—2 Dec; OMD. 4 Dec; Status Quo. 5 Dec; Meatloaf. 6 Dec; Wet Wet Wet. 8 Dec; Gary Glitter. 23-24 Dec.
I EDINBURGH PLAYNOUSE (557 2590) Bootleg Beatles. 21 Nov. I EDINBURGH OUEEN’S HALL (668 2019) Everly Brothers Tribute. 28 Sept; Jim Diamond. 8 Oct; Texas. 17 Oct.
I EDINBURGH USHER
HALL (228 1155) Squeeze. 24 Sept; Luke Goss. 3 ()ct; Return to the 60s. 23 Oct; Mary-Chapin Carpenter. 24 Oct; World Party. 25 Oct.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Bilk and Ball, 12 Oct; Syd Lawrence Orchestra. 30 Oct; Glenn Miller Orchestra. 18 Nov.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN’S HALL (668 2019) Jazz Directions (tbc). 15, 22. 29 Oct.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Maddy Prior. 26 Sept; Tom Paxton. 3 Oct.
I GLASGOW PAVILION (332 1846) Dougie MacLean. 10 Oct; Ronnie Browne. 16 Oct.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN’S HALL (668 2019)
W01 fstone. 26 Sept; Reel Party. 2 Oct; Siberian Folk Dance Ens. 12—13 Oct.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Rebecca Storm. 17 Oct: Dominic Kirwan. 4 Nov; Tammy Wynette. 7 Nov; Patsy Cline Tribute. 28—29 Nov. I GLASGOW PAVILION (332 1846) Lena Martell, 10—11 Nov; Sydney Devine. 18—20 Nov.
I GLASGOW SECC (031 557 6969) Johnny Mathis. 26 Se 1.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN’S HALL (668 2019) Sean Wilson and Sally O'Brien. 24 Sept.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL(228 1155)Tammy Wynette. 6 Nov.
I GLASGOW RSAMD (332 5057) Paragon Ens. 3 ()ct; 21 Nov; 23 Jan; 27 Feb; 20 Mar; BTSE. 22 Oct; 10 Dec; 11 Feb; 15 Apr.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (668 2019) Paragon Ens. 5 Oct. 23 Nov; 25 Jan; 1 Mar; 22 Mar; Csardas. 6 Oct; Tam
' O’Shanter. 9 Oct; ECB.
10 Oct; Hebrides Ens, 11 : Oct; BTSE. 24 Oct. 12 Dec; 6 Feb; 17 Apr; Barbican Virtuosi. 24 Sept; Calton Piano Trio. 27 Oct; Elizabeth
i McKeon. 27 Oct; Chilingirian Qt. 15 Nov;
: lmai and Vignoles. 6 Dec; Emperor Qt. 17 Jan;
' Schubert Ens. 7 Feb;
' Endellion Qt. 21 Mar.
E SEASONS Programme
; details and tickets for
' RSNO. SCO. and BBC
850 concerts are
1 available from
i Ticketcentre. Glasgow
i (227 5511); 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 10-23 September 1993