MUSIC LIVE REVIEWS
Black Bull. Edinburgh. 17 July.
‘They're kinda like EMF meets The Dukes Of Hazzmd.‘ reckons one particularly colourful report. 'They've had major label A & R interest.’ said mysterious sources close to the band. ‘This is a song from our forthcoming album.‘ intones Neil. the hands lead singer. EMF? Major label A & R interest? Forthcoming album? ‘Gallus are very good at self promotion.’ says The List.
Despite having a name that would seem to point to west coast origins. Gallus are an Edinburgh band that have created a name for themselves in a remarkably short space of time. The buzz has been lively. most of it coming front the band itself. Now that‘s not a bad thing. Every local band has to struggle to make themselves stand out. and ifthey don't do it then no one else will. The danger. as always. is that the music won't match the hype.
Gallus certainly have their moments. Between the five of them. they manage to work their way through two acoustic guitars. one electric guitar. drums. digeridoo. a mandolin and an electric violin; a hotch-potch of instruments which produce some cracking footstompers with a Cajun-cum-bluegrass flavour. The sawing violin gives everything a honky tonk feel and there's the occasional swinging bassline which points in the vague direction of the EMF tag. lfyour hillbilly country cousins liked rock. this is what they would sound like — good- time moonshine music. songs that make your mouth involuntarily scream ‘Yeehaaa!’ and rhythms that cause even your teeth to start jigging.
But there are one or two problems which they will have to iron out before the alleged major label interest develops into anything that even vaguely resembles a deal. The lead singer's relentless patter. for instance. Every song is followed by an equally long rambling monologue which kills any build-up of atmosphere. Whether this is to disguise technical difficulties or to pad out the set is a moot point. His singing is ominously monotone as well. Still. when they hit the spot. Gallus are genuinely. well. gallus; they just need to hit the spot more often. (Jonathan Trew)
; Bar Miro, Glasgow, 20 July. Max and Jill’s Corduroy Hostess. Max
and Jill’s Corduroy bastard Hostess. Max and Jill’s Corduroy Hostess is, no, really, a comedy club, occasionally capable of inspiring levels of hilarity just a few notches shy of those experienced by a lame puppy left in the rush-hour traffic. Or maybe it was just a bad night. The Hostess, however, must be endured before Hardbody take to the floor.
When the group’s first demo arrived in early May, their name initially conjured up the image of some hardcore trio ranting away, led by a straining, probably bald, singing drummer, In fact, Hardbody are a four - occasionally live - piece whose main weapon lies with the secret back-alley trumpet of Mick Cooke. On that demo, ‘Colours’, a song in the same postal area as some Portishead, was the standout, ushered in by Cooke’s wandering horn and carried by a rippling, meanderingly ominous bass pattern. Tonight, Hardbody have been playing for around half a minute before you realise they’ve started. Merging seemlessly with the music which filled the bar beforehand is a bass-heavy, slightly Biiirkish thing, the brass meshing wonderfully across the tight drum figures punctuating Louise Duinn’s vocal.
Described in these very pages as ‘an
impressive mix of Portishead and PJ Harvey’, the first twenty minutes of the set largely - the odd reference to blood and deserts excepted - ditches Polly and throws some late Specials into the mixture. Things are generally sweet. From here, though, a shade too many blandly guitar-driven songs start to appear, and the dark sweaty night sounds dissolve into something a bit too close to Taggart background music for comfort.
For those first twenty minutes, however, Hardbody emerge as something potentially special, and, if they concentrate on some things here, dump some stuff there and continue to develop - it’ll be, like, nice. Could be I’m just a sucker for horns, though. (Damien Love)
THE BATHERS La Belle Angele, Edinburgh, 21 July.
There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, 51 if you count Daniel Day-Lewis bidding Isabelle Adlani au revolr by tax, but you can be certain that Chris Thomson has a song for every occasion. The Bathers’ thlrtysomethlng crooner and arch mlserabillst knows every shade of blue there ls, each tearful vignette a recollection of love lost or dlscarded. Sugartown know a thing or two about the blues, but theirs is the coffee table variety, polite and ultlmately unmovlng. Gwen Stewart has a fine voice and ls 'ably accompanied by Douglas McIntyre’s strumming, yet
they don’t ambush your affections in the manner of, say, Cowboy Junkies. Fine choice for the last number, though, a stab at the heart of The Velvet Underground’s ‘l’m Set Free’.
Tonight’s incarnation of The Bathers is a seven-piece ensemble including two violinists, but however many arms and legs the band sprouts it’s Chris Thomson’s baby. Thomson originally flirted with Glasgow’s Postcard scene before fonnlng the short-lived Friends Again. How, eight years, three record labels and four albums later, The Bathers remain scandalously underrated.
Mellow and inevitably melancholy, ‘Send Me Your Halo’ is the best song Van Morrison never wrote, a highlight of the recent Sunpowder album. Thomson’s is a curious voice, on the doleful ‘Pissoir’ a Vegas-era Elvis mumble, for the suitably libidinous ‘Lolita’ a Tom Waits gravel-gargling ululation. Either way, an eloquent expression of emotion, sadder even than a wedding ring in a pawnshop window.
Although Cocteau Twin Liz Fraser’s ephemeral tones lend an air of grace to Sunpowder, there is, alas, no appearance from la belle angele herself (she was to be at the Garage gig in Glasgow). Ho matter, the largish crowd supports Thomson with near- evangelical fervour, even bawling out for songs just played. From the funeral procession of ‘The Night Is Young’ to the relatively frenzied ‘An Angel Dn Huskln’, The Bathers’ medley of sorrow is perfectly captivating and , somewhat perversely, uplifting.
But, hey, we can still be friends, can’t we? (Rodger Evans)
Concerts listed are those at major venues, for which tickets are on public sale at time of going to press.
I GLASGOW BARROWLAND (226 4679) Levellers. 18-19 Sept; Marillion. 23 Sept; Julian Cope. 30 Sept: Pulp. 1 Oct; Big Country. 7 Oct; Australian Doors. 20 Oct; lron Maiden. 5 Nov; Human League. 10 Nov: The Stone Roses. 19—20 Dec; Deep Purple. 2 Mar. I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 551 1) Joan Armatrading. 2 Sept; Simple Minds. 11—13 Sept; Jethro Tull. 18 Sept; Elkie Brooks. 10 Oct; Art Garfunkel. 11 Oct; Alison Moyet. 18 Oct; Bootleg Beatles. 18—19 Dec.
I GLASGOW SECC (248 9999) Boyzone. 29 Sept; Celine Dion. 27 Oct; Status Quo. 2 Dec; Wet Wet Wet. 9 Dec; Gary Glitter. 10 Dec.
I EDINBURGH FESTIVAL THEATRE (529 6000) Joan Armatrading. 3 Sept; Elkie Brooks. 8 Oct; Louden Wainwright Ill. 12 Nov.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL(228 1155) Simple Minds. 2—5 Sept; Boyzone. 1 Oct: Big Country. 7 Oct; Squeeze. 12 Oct; Human League. 10 Nov; Bootleg Beatles. 16 Dec.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Kenny Rogers. 9 Sept; Don Williams. 27 Sept; Dominic Kirwan. 20 Oct; Charlie Landsborough. 23 Nov.
I GLASGOW SECC (248 9999) Everly Bros. 24 Oct.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (228 1155) Kenny Rogers. 10 Sept; Don Williams. 28 Sep; Nanci Griffith. 17—18 Oct: Everly Brothers. 25 Oct; Charlie Landsborough. 18 Nov.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Pasadena Roof Orchestra. 7 Sept; Syd Lawrence Orchestra. 20 Sept; Carol Kidd and CGPO, 1 Oct.
I EDINBURGH FESTIVAL THEATRE (529 6000) Lyttelton. Melly and Ball. 18 Sept; Tuck and Patti. 5
I EDINBURGH OUEEN’S HALL (668 2019) Carol Kidd and Annie Ross. 29—30 Aug; Craig McMurdo's Jive Cafe. 31 Aug—1 Sept; Gonzalo Rubalcaba. 2 Sept; Jack Bruce, 2 Sept.
I EDINBURGH ST GILES (668 2019) Five Blind Boys of Alabama. 11 Aug.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. 16 Sept; Christy Moore. 12 Oct; Mary Black. 31 Oct.
I EDINBURGH FESTIVAL THEATRE (529 6000) Incantation. 7 Sept; Christy Moore. 15 Oct; Battleﬁeld Band. 22 Oct; Capercaillie. 23 Oct; Mary Black. 29 Oct; Boys of the Lough. 26 Nov.
I EDINBURGH DUEEN’S HALL (668 2019) Coeibeg. 17 Aug; Boys of the Lough. 18—20 Aug; Wolfstone. 21—22 Aug; Mac-Talia. 24 Aug; Dougie Macl-ean. 25 Aug; Lindisfarne. 26—27 Aug.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (228 1155) Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. 28 Oct.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 551 1) Joe Longthorne. 15—16 Oct; Howard Keel. 21 Oct; West End Gala. 3 Dec. I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (228 1155) Joe Longthorne. 21 Oct.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 551 1) Scottish International Piano Competition. 17 Sept; Wadaiko lchiro Drummers. 2 Oct; Opera Gala. 5 Oct; Montserrat Caballe. 6 Oct; St Petersburgh Phil. 3—4 Oct; Opera Gala. 5 Oct; Montserrat Caballe. 6 Oct: RAF Bands. 27 Oct; Children’s Classics. 28 Oct; Vienna Boys Choir. 22 Nov; Messiah for All, 28 Nov. I GLASGOW KING’S THEATRE (227 5511) Amnesty international Freedom Gala. 10 Sept. I GLASGOW RSAMD (332 5057) Christ Church Singers. 11 Aug; NAYO Festival. 12 Aug—4 Sept; Scottish international Piano Competition. 10—15 Sept; RSNO Gala. 19—21 Sept; Leda Trio. 29 Sept. I EDINBURGH FESTIVAL THEATRE (529 6000) Crystal Clear Opera. 22—23 Sept; Lesley Garrett. 1 Oct; Music Theatre London. 25—28 Oct. I EDINBURGH OUEEN’S HALL (668 2019) One Voice Ensemble. 23 Aug; Zanfonia Trio. 13 Nov; Prazak Quartet. 4 Dec: Juliane Banse. 22 Jan; Quator Ysaye. 19 Feb; Grieg Trio. 11 Mar. I EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 1995 (225 5756) 13 Aug-2 Sept. Tickets for all concerts cart be booked from the Festival Box Office. 21 Market Street. Edinburgh EH1 lBW. by postal application (see brochure for request form). telephone (0131 225 5756). fax (0131 226 7669). textphone (0131 226 5668). or personal apphcauon.
'42 The List 28 Jul-10 Aug 1995