BRASS IN POCKET
to a strong start last month. contemporary tnusic fans can now look forward to the November concert which is given by The Wallace Collection. Founded in 1986 by Fife- born trumpeter John Wallace ()BE. the ensemble's tnain aim is to ‘explore and perform the repertory for brass and wind instruments'. They are now regarded as Britain's premier brass ensemble and for their Queen's Hall concert play music for brass and percussion by lannis Xenakis. James MacMillan. Time Ewers and Petr Eben. as well as the first performance of the specially commissioned Hammered Bruss by Edinburgh composer Robert
C raw ford.
Although this is the first time Crawford has written for brass instruments. it is brass. the ntetal. which has provided the main inspiration for the piece. with Other metals becoming involved as the work unfolds. As its title page states. Hammered Brass is ‘A Collection of Studies for Brass Quintet and Percussion linked as in a chain. celebrating the age-old skills of craftsmen \vorkinp‘with various metals '
‘Brass is the metal which starts and ﬁnishes.‘ explains Crawford. ‘The idea is that of hammered metal. where you start off with a lump which then spreads, it‘s to do with the manipulation of metals. the way that they can be malleable — and it‘s only metals that do behave in this way. Also. brass and percussion instruments. such as triangle and vibraphone. are peculiar in that they are metal.‘
Following a varied career in music which has included the BBC. reviewing and copying. it is only now. age 70 and in retiretnent. that Crawford is able to devote the time he needs to composition. ‘Since retirement. l‘ve done more composition then ever before in my life. It’s a rebirth.‘ (Carol Main)
The Wallace Collection pluvx u! the Queen 's' Hall on Thurs 9.
ma:— lt’s vim up
Northern Uproar: attitude is their lite-blood
All around in Camden Underworld, the hubbub of soundcheck rages on. Echobelly are playing tonight and ! London’s rock ’n’ roll liggerati will be l out in force — the stakes are high and there’s some serious technical gubbins to be sorted out. Cutting a * loose-limbed swathe through the midst of it all is a chubby-faced, cherub-faced youth with trademark ' monkey-Mano haircut. He isn’t old enough to drink but he has a beer anyway, lifted from his rider. He talks it like he walks it: swaggeringly. Looks ; like nothing would phase him, even ' the notion that much of the night’s i fever might be down to him and his , band. i Leon Mayer is seventeen and the
lead singer with Northern Uproar. He is, in fact, cock 0’ the north. Random quote: ‘We’ve worked. We started five years ago when we was twelve and we’ve just worked and progressed. That’s the most important thing about Northern Uproar. The attitude is all there, has been from day one.’
Course it has. You are from Manchester and you are post-Oasis. Attitude is your life-blood. Even, uniquely, your name has attitude, conjuring images of barbarian hordes sweeping down from the barren hinterland to sack noncey London. Apparently. Before you come tales of meeting your manager whilst playing football down the park and being ejected from a party thrown in your honour by your record company (Heavenly). Even if it’s nonsense — good bet, that - it’s funny nonsense. The ones about glue-sniffing and being mega in Japan will surely come next.
A good thing, then, that Northern Uproar’s first single rocks it like he talks it. ‘Hollercoaster’ is fast and mouthy, a big shout-out from hormonally-charged, supersonic teenagers whom nothing and no-one can touch.
Are they mad for it? You betcha! ‘Absolutely mad for it mate!’ shouts Leon. ‘The album we’re gonna have is
I gonna be a kick-arse album. Album of
the fuckin’ decade! Why not?’ (Craig McLean) Northern Uproar support The
l Charlatans on Tue 7 and Paul Weller
on Wed 8 and Thurs 9, all at The Barrowland, Glasgow.
_ A trash tale
There were these five hungry joes with their own way of doing things. They were hungry for songs, and the
spreading of those songs, and the conversion of people to the cause. But ~ they were just that, joes, ordinary blokes who just happened to write songs of poetic depth and narcotic
I appeal, but joes nonetheless, and so ? they couldn’t understand the need for ; fuss and fireworks, just buued off the ! playing of those songs and drank too i much because that’s what you do i when you’re a bunch of mates having a good time together.
They had a place, a womb-with-a- view, called Shabby Road on the ocean coast. They wrote there, played there, invented pop there. Three times, at the behest of others, they ventured south to meet with men with the Midas touch. Men who could touch a knob and in so doing sprinkle fairy dust on a song. Or so those others said. Each time, the joes had a laugh. They would : ask the Midas men for stories about which famous people they had worked with, then get pissed with them. Instead of asking them: what can you do for us? What do you think of these songs and their potential?
Each time, they returned home, dispirited but not beaten. They did what they knew best and fixed up their own songs. Gradually, they got better and more people became enamoured of their light touch with a tune and fine way with a tale. They still got
The Trash Can Slnatras: pretty starving by now, we expect
pissed on stage, though.
Then they went to Americky and found tnat to be shambolic was not the only way to be exciting. The five hungry joes Got A Grip.
They came home, wrote more songs and, via a small detour for that third trip down south, created their best body of work yet. They were chuffed.
) They would call it A Happy Pocket.
Emboldened and energised they bashed out another mini-set of songs and called it, uh-huh, Five Hungry Joes.
Then they waited. You can’t rush these things. You have to let the world get ready. Early next year sounds about right.
In the meantime, catch the got-a-grip Trash Can Sinatras on stage. Everybody’s happy - and hungry - nowadays. (Craig McLean)
The Trash Can Sinatras play La Belle
Angele, Edinburgh on Wed 8, The Cathouse, Glasgow on Fri 10 and Harley ’5, Hamilton on Tue 14.
Keeping the legend alive
Kenny Mathieson follows the tracks of Little Feat.
Back in l‘)7(). an unusually eclectic California hand issued their debut album. to critical approval but little commercial effect. They followed it with two rock classics. Sui/in' Shoes and Dixie ('ltieken. htit while the cliot‘tis ofcritical acclaim swelled to massive proportions. sales remained modest.
The band were on the verge of quitting when their record company sent them back into the studio for another crack. The result. I’euls Don 'I I’tti/ Me Now. not only produced another classic. but finally broke through on the commercial front as well. and confirmed Little Feat as a major force in the land.
it was a peak they never quite achieved again. Two albums (and a live set) later. their singer and principal creative force Lowell George left the hand. Shortly after. he died of a heart attack while on a solo tour. at the age of 34. Guitarist Fred Tackett was a member of George's group on that tour. and had been an associate of the Little Feat clan frotn very early on.
‘I met Lowell George back in 1967. l was living in this huge old house that belonged to Jimmy Webb. the song . writer. and I came downstairs one day and there was Lowell. dressed all in
white. sitting on the floor playing sitar
34 The List 3-16 Nov 1995