N THE STREET
I may be traditional,
but most Edinburgh
people agree that
the reality of
gathering at the
Tron for the bells has become a pretty tawdry experience. For anybody involved in the tourist business, it’s an embarrassment that Scotland is regarded worldwide as the place to be at Hogmanay as there’s actually very little to do.
The organisers of this new event are optimistic that by offering a decent night’s entertainment, visitors and locals alike will enjoy a night of high spirits without necessarily needing hard spirits. That’s not to say a hip ﬂask wouldn’t be a handy item to have about your person . . . The best thing about Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is that most of it’s free but if you fancy going to the Revels, book early; our guess is that tickets will be like gold dust on the
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ile under: BEAT!
YOU WANT tribute hands? You don't want The Australian Doors. The Japanese BMX Bandits or The Cuban Heels. You want The 'Sawdust Gene Vincents‘. aka The Edinburgh Silver Beatles. aka The Kaisers. But caution! When we say ‘tribute' we don't tnean shameless rip-off cos er versions. easy money from the soft option. The Kaisers are the real MacCartney.
‘Everything had to be right.‘ says vocalist and guitarist Kaiser George (ex-Styng-Rite‘.’ Could be.) ‘lt‘s not a spoof. we‘re a real group. it's just that that‘s the kind of group that we want to be. We don't do cabaret.‘ Instead they write and record wickedly accurate homages to the glory days of the early 60s. ‘I got sick of people reviving the wrong end of the 60s, the late end. which seems to be really easy to do — hey man. let‘s all get groovy.‘
So The Kaisers‘ debut album. Square/teat! Stump. comes packed to the gunnels with sixteen lean and lithe booty-shakers. Only half of them are covers. All we sweaty. snappy and soulful. ‘File under: beat’ it says on the cover. itself a triumph of kitschy retro- design. There, in assorted likely lad
22 The List l7 December 199,143 January 1994
poses. the four Kaiset's stand resplendant in tight ties. black waistcoats. drainpipe jeans, winkle- pickers and Bt'ylercemed quills. Style’.‘ These boys bay e buckets of the stuff.
‘We all feel that the look has gotta come with it.‘ George nods. ‘lf' you do the whole thing but don't do the look it‘s a wee bit too serious. The look just puts the icing on the cake. and says to people. we are nobolds-barred old fashioned. Although we are serious about getting it right.’
A floor-shaking gig at lottdon's Frat Shack (a ‘60s go-go-isb place'l introduced the band to the Epstein figure in charge of No Hit Records. Hot-footing it to London's Toe Rag Studios, .S't/tutreheud Slump was in the can in a day. ‘lt‘s a pretty straightfom'ard. nasty little noise we make. It‘s like going to the Star (‘lub in Hamburg in 1962. livery/body's totally drunk and throwing bottles. That's the kind of atmosphere. Not that we want people to throw bottles. obviously . . .' (Craig McLean)
'l'he Kutsers appear at the New Year Revel in the Ass‘entblv Rooms mt Hogmanay.
AS A NATION, our football team may not be able to qualify for the World Cup but when it comes to a square go with a Claymore, we can whip anybody. Or at least The Clann can. Last year these modern-day warriors took on twelve other sword and combat groups at a competition in France and emerged undefeated.
Would you mess with a rabble of 30 men and women in the ‘great plaid’ (none of your sashaying around in pleated kilts for The Clann, thank you), all wielding swords made from the same metal alloy as Chieftan tanks? If you don’t fancy it, you can watch them at a safe distance whirling and skirling on Calton Hill as part of the Hogmanay Fire Festival.
Since The Clann first gathered nearly ten years ago, they have specialised in recreating the Jacobite soldier as a slice of ‘living history’ with a show that has travelled throughout Europe. They also do a nice line in ‘rent~a- pict’ for television companies looking for a bit of authentic Celtic action. But why not just stay at home and read about the great battles? ‘What we are trying to do is take the Harry Lauder image away from the Highlander,’ says Clann organiser Jan Murdoch. ‘They were a great race of warriors, totally fearless, and we wanted to recreate this as a positive image of Scotland.’
The Clann prides itself on its sword skills which are developed under the expert eye of their trainer. The realism of combat used to be heightened by : fake blood and lumps of butcher’s i liver but Murdoch says it became just i too real for some of the audiences. 1 flow The Clann aims to combine l accurate sword play and period 1 costume with a sense of humour. , (Eddie Gibb) l
The Clann takes part in the Torchlight Procession and the Fire Festival on 30 December.