Making Music Happen
The battlements of Stirling Castle were last shaken by ampliﬁed music on a beautifully sunny day in 1990. when the festival A Day For Scotland took place in a ﬁeld below the rock. This time. the music. provided by UB4O and Runrig. has moved on to the esplanade of the castle itself.
Runrig were the ﬁrst rock band to play on Edinburgh Castle's Esplanade. and obviously they've developed a taste for concourses. At Stirling. they'll be playing for around 7000 people for each of the two nights. rather less than the 50,000 who turned out to see them on the banks of Loch Lomond. but a tidy crowd nonetheless. The gig comes less than two months after they and Wet Wet Wet co-headlined the Tarlair Festival in Macduff, where they played in a natural amphitheatre (‘the best in Britain') surrounded by cliffs on three sides. The lengths this band will go to avoid playing indoor theatres nowadays . . .
The support acts are nothing if not contrasting. U840 are bringing with them the Stevie Wonderisms of lamiroquai, with Runrig plumping for Scottish singer—songwriter par excellence. Dougie MacLean.
Barring disasters. alive Runrig album will appear later in the year. featuring tracks recorded at both Tarlair and Stirling. Before they get down to sorting through the tapes though. the band will be cheering on Karen Macleod. the Skye-bom 10.000 metres champion whom they‘ve sponsored to go to the Commonwealth games in Canada.
Should you want to escape the metropolis for one of these concerts. get your tickets quickly. At press-time. Runrig‘s Friday show was completely sold out. with Saturday looking like it would follow suit. Only about 200 UB4O tickets remained. (Alastair Mabbott)
U840 and Jamiroquai play Stirling Castle on Thurs 18, followed by
Runrig on Fri [9 (sold our) and Sat 20.
Entertainment USA/Scratches Oi Spain/The Shakedown Club/Blue Moon In A Function Room (Babel)
These four discs showcase several facets of this most multl-faceted of musicians. The two under the guitarist’s own name — one new, one re-issue - are accompanied by ‘The Shakedown Club’ (an improvising trio featuring Jenkins, Steve Noble and Roberto Ballatalla) and Steve Arguelles’s re-issued ‘Blue Moon In A Function Room’. If we accept the caveat that there is no substitute for a the full live Jenkins experience, the
discs nonetheless have plenty to offer. The newest, ‘Entertainment USA,’ is the most accessible and sane oi the four, despite the craziness of its subject matter, American ‘heroes’ from Reagan and Oliver iilo to Charles Manson and Elvis. Jenkins’s quartet of saxman Martin Speake, Steve Watts on bass, and drummer Boy Oodds are augmented by musicians and sampled sound effects as required. For the newcomer, it is a great introduction to his music before moving on to the arguably more representative weirdness of ‘Scratches of Spain’ - happily, the : Miles pastiche sleeve is retained - or l the manic energy of ‘The Shakedown Club’. (Kenny Mathieson) i
“1 L -r'
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN
Stoned & Oethroned (blanco y negro) Who would ever have thought that a day would come when it took someone as dour and undemonstrative as Hope Sandoval, or a flakey waster like Shane MacCowan, to save The Jesus And Mary Chain’s skin? Who would have ever thought we’d wait two years while Jim and William Reid built themselves a bolt-hole recording studio and buried themselves in an on- oif ‘acoustic’ album that promised intriguing avenues and alleyways? Who would have thought ‘Stoned And Oethroned’ would be the makeweight,
It’s not a bad record, merely competent. For a band as trailblazingly irreverent as the Mary Chain, the conventionality and imagination-vacuum at work on this fifth album-proper is a crushing anti- climax. There are flashes of life (the Mary Chain’s past-life), as on the speed-strum of ‘Cirlfriend’ and ‘Oirty Water’s ‘fuck with me and I’ll fuck with you’ spikiness. Plus there’s the spectral majesty of the Many Star vocalist on the boy-cheats-girl ‘Sometimes Always’, plus the crushed desolation MacCowan brings to ‘Cod ‘ Help Me’. The rest of this seventeen- track album is ioin-the-dots sullen blues, and an insult to the rest of Jim and William’s canon. (Craig McLean)
Can’t knock ambient these days: kids love it, Floyd fans adore it and normal
5 punters seek it out. Sacred. He touche
pas. Kitsch. The name Orbital
A precedes them as meisters of the
; ambient and gives them the ideal
chance to say something positive.
What ‘Snivilisation’ wanted to say was
1 that throughout history the ruling classes have taken decisions to ensure their survival before that of the populace. Why doesn’t it? Because
Orbital are boring. They’re named after
the M25 and ‘Snivilisation’ certainly
gives the impression that you’re on a
road that you can’t get off (on). ‘I Wish I Had Ouck Feet’ and ‘Philosophy By Numbers’ are professional, methodical, dull. ‘Kein Trink Wasser’ hints at engineered conformity as amorphous blobs colliquate into electro blink think. Again.
What would have been better was a 43-minute version featuring the four decent tracks: ‘Sad But True’ and ‘Are i. We Here’ with the Biorkish, senseless, j ioyous vocals of Alison Coldfripp; ' ‘Attached’ and ‘Forever’ which are genuinely pleasing space age melancholy. Barring that the numbers don’t add up, communication’s let them down, the transcendental is in danger of becoming incidental. Is it any wonder Pink Floyd are in vogue? (Philip Oorward)
HOUSE OF LIMBO VOL 2 (Limbo)
This album packs in those slick progressive house mantras that have moved feet on Scottish danceiloors over the past year and a half. Many of these tracks stir vague recollections oi nights of hedonism, the speeding rushes and tightly honed four-four beats throw up memories of weekends .lost chasing the crack down the M8. Limbo house does tend to stretch into endless tracts of mix-friendly beats and crisp drum sequences, however, and the high production masks some rather ionnulaic arrangements. Cuts such as Winc’s ‘Thoughts On A Tranced Love’ don’t really stand up
beyond the context of two decks and a danceﬂoon
Exceptions include Havanna’s classic ‘Ethnic Prayer’ with the infamous Tears For Fears marimba riff and a Shannon ‘Let The Music Play’ sample. Cipsy’s ‘Skinnybumblebee’ asserts itself as a relative anthem. Deep Piece’s ‘Torwart’ amuses with snatches of Knopiler-esque guitar. Harri’s ‘Phuxache’ was always disappointingly tame when compared to his pumping housed-up sets and it’s a shame the track wasn’t inflected with more of this sort of expressionism. At a time when burbllng 303s and four to the floor fascism are fast losing their appeal, this charge could be levelled at the whole album. (Bethan Cole)
Tennents Live! Making Music Happen
, 88 The List 12—18 August 1994