T IN THE PARK FEATURE
asymmetric swing of a techno
breakbeat under the crusty political rap. ’
‘There's also a lot more heavy guitar on the last album.‘ admits Boakes. ‘That comes down to the fact that both Mark and Simon had new guitars which they enjoyed using a lot. They just wanted to use them more and do some tnore powerful songs.‘
While this guitar inﬂuence gave The Levs‘ Glastonbury set — at least on the telly — the appearance of Jethro Tull with a decent light show. they continue to please on the festival circuit. Ever busy. they‘ve spent the last six weeks doing the North European festivals. slipping in small tours of Spain and The States before returning to play T in the Park.
’We enjoy doing festivals a lot.‘ says Boakes. ‘lt‘s always more relaxed and you can wander round.‘ He also admits the band always relish the idea of a Scottish date. Not just because the audience are more up for it than in England. but there‘s always the chance ofa decent drinking session aftenvards. ’We always end up in weird scenarios. talking to strange people. The last time we were in Scotland. the singer ended up talking to these two blokes who said they were undercover drug squad. after he'd opened his heart up about all the various drugs he likes to take. He got very paranoid and didn't know whether they were winding him up or not.‘
The Levs might have got politics and that is no bad thing. but some things don‘t change: it‘s the politics of hedonism. As they say in ‘The Garden’: ‘Blood. Sith and tears really don't matter. just the things you do in
this garden. '
Bangers and bombshells
Tiny Monroe aren’t even a year old and already this precocious baby has learnt how to walk and is now swaggering jauntily into the limelight. The four of them got together after Alex the bassist put an ad in the inkies for a female Joe Strummer. NJ turned up, the chemistry fined, the record collections matched and before you know what’s hit you, Bob’s your sassy uncle with a drop dead cool attitude and an interesting wardrobe.
Their first single, ‘VHF 855V’, contains the sad history of flJ’s battered and now deceased Ford Escort. This decrepit old banger had much in common with the band members’ previous experience of being in nefarious, small-time indie bands - no matter how much money or time was lavished on it, it kept breaking down and got nowhere fast.
Extending that metaphor long beyond its shelf-life, they now seem to have acquired a lovely little runner —
they’ve toured the country, appeared at Glastonbury, and their recent ‘Cream Bun EP’ did well in the independent charts. Just to put the icing on the bun they’re set to do a support tour with one of their idols: The Pretenders. ‘To us they’re a model of just how credible a mainstream band can be,’ explains Alex. Certainly a lot more credible in the long run than the fate of one of their other main influences: Debbie (now Deborah) Harry. «
Despite having had the misfortune to be undeservedly tarred with the NWDNW bog brush, they’re going places. But they remember where they’ve come from and are working towards what Alex calls the Clash Ethic. ‘You knew that the people that you were seeing on stage were really good at what they were doing, but that one day you could do it too.’ And they have. (Jonathan Trew)
‘lt’ll be strange playing during the day, we’ve only ever done it once or twice before, and there’ll be . . . however many people there. But it doesn’t bother us whether we’re playing to 25,000 people or twenty, we react the same way. There’s a certain level, a kind of ecstatic feeling you get when you’re playing sometimes, and it doesn’t matter how many people are there to feed off it or whatever.’ Chris Gordon is mulling over the
} prospect facing him and the rest of
Baby Chaos of opening main stage proceedings on Day Two of T In The Park, a festival which, on paper, has the potential to gain them, and a few of the other younger, lesser-known Scottish bands playing the event, a much wider audience.
‘The potential’s there, I suppose, though I don’t know how much attention people will pay. There’re always people that are interested in support bands, but there are others that just turn a blind eye to it unless it really attracts their attention.’
Baby Chaos, though, have a proven track record in turning heads as a support band, garnering favourable reviews when touring with Terrorvision and then making enough noise to drown out the pre-concert hype surrounding Elastica’s appearance in King Tut’s earlier this year. That they are capable of appealing to both the ‘Kerrang’ and ‘NME’ crowds should
indicate that this is a band worth investigating.
‘lt’s not something we’d considered until the beginning of the year. We’d been offered some support with Terrorvision, and we thought “Aw, fuck, it’s a bit Rock, innit?”; but we did it anyway and it went over all right. Because of that, we did a tour with The Wildhearts, who’re even more rock than Terrorvision - that was more difficult, because their audience is a bit more Spandex. But we’d also been offered the stuff with Elastica and figured there’s no point in pigeonholing ourselves, there are enough people gonna do that anyway.’
So, come Sunday morning, prise open your eyes and your mind and brave the daylight to see a band capable of blowing your hangover away. (Damien Love)
cnownen HOUSE I“Sldlous
That's right. you read right: insidious. It's the only word. The pop confections of Crowded House are so naggineg persuasive that even the hard-bitten indie/alternative collector who spins The Stooges“ Fun/louse three times before breakfast is being forced to admit — perhaps after catching them accidentally on later ll’it/i Jon/s Holland - that the disgracefully tuneful New Zealand combo whose ‘\\'catlier With You' saturated the airway cs for months on end. can maybe cut ll after all.
Crowded House are in the blessed position money and marketing just can't buy: swooned over by both musos and teenies. Songwriter Neil Finn is already on the verge of canonisation 7 even if he does own tip to the occasional use of recreational cigarettes to aid the writing process — and even the cynic will. when pushed. admit that Split linz's wonderful Neil Finn-penned 1980 single ‘1 Got You' showed us a writer already bearing down on genius at a rate of knots.
Disaster nearly struck the band on their last American tour when drummer I and founding member Paul llester. w ho i encouraged their latent streak of anarchic humour. decided he‘d had enough and quit two hours before a show. All the same. they haven't lost their taste for stopping mid-song for whatever ludicrous reason occurs to them (like swapping footwear with a roadie or stealing car keys from audience members). In keeping with the spirit Hester embodied. they ey en took to auditioning replacements on stage. This is a band who saw eight of their last nine singles in the UK Top Forty? No surprise. then. to hear that Neil Finn is currently of the opinion i that their records are altogether too pohshed. i
Their most recent album. 'loget/tcr Alone — produced by trance guru Youth. with whom they enjoyed long talks about hypnosis. spirituality and tribalism ~ features Maori singers and drummers. Despite that acknowledgement of their homeland's indigenous culture. Finn is on record as
saying. ‘The Celtic tradition is the j
closest we can feel to native cultures.‘ This might seem like tenuous
justification for headlining the Headh
in London this year. But. so all—
embracing is their appeal. that no one seemed to mind. even there. (Alastair l Mabbott)
The List 15—28 July I‘M-1 9