MUSIC LIVE REVIEWS
Alastair Mabbott rounds up the current tapes.
In like Flynn we go. Solomon Flynn. to be precise. who seem to have been around for yonks. and have learnt how to fuse their influences together with their own individual touches so that they don't sound quite like anybody else. There are shades of Weller. Beatles and ()asis on their new tape. but a whole lot more besides. It also shows an admirable consistency in quality across its four tracks.
A three-track 'live‘ tape finds Glasgow trio Force Ten BOD pushing the needles into the red. Energy. urgency. fuzzy riffs — this one has it all. with no extraneous frills. Roaring Silence. meanwhile. make frenetic. panic-stricken little songs like 'Civilization' and ‘Ceilidh'. neither of which will take tip more than two-and-a-half minutes of your time. Fittingly. an ex-member of Pure Blind Panic is involved.
Remember those heady days when roadies were employed to squeeze the saliva out of microphone hoods every few songs'.’ Buzzbomb‘s- Frazer Fowler spits out his lyrics with such ferocity as to bring them back all by himself. There's more than a little Stooges in Bti/zbomb's sound. but the Shatn 69- style backing vocals on track two are just painful.
Crazy Wisdom. from Edinburgh. bttild a big wall of keyboards. guitars and programmed drtnns in epic rock style. and ‘Angel Of Mercy" would be unmissable ev en if you went to another continent to avoid it. Very grand. well-produced and reminiscent in places of Roxy Music and the Velvets. particularly in the intensity of the ‘Sister Ray-like jam at the end of ‘lnside ()ut'.
Also from Fdinburgh. Tthift kick off the Invusimz ER with an infectious piece of Housemartinsy pop. but the greatest commercial potential of all belongs to Huebislah. whose leading track. ‘Greed'. has the most obviously chart- bound feel of the three here. Even those who don‘t warm to their 90s synth-pop would have to admit that there's ambition and professionalism here '- albeit not in the handwritten packaging -~ that marks it otit from the rest.
Contact all hum/s l'ftl The List.
Elli- RDN SEXSMITH
King Tut’s, Glasgow, Sat 18 May.
‘This is one of my lonely shirts. I buy the shirts that no one else wants.’ It’s a nice image, the baby-faced singer- songwriter wandering around a convenience store and suddenly finding himself taking pity on unsold items of clothing. Sexsmith engenders a similar empathy in his audience, a lot of the songs he sings sounding strangely fragile and forlorn, sitting with an awkward kind of beauty that’s only enhanced by the comparatively low turnout of tonight’s audience.
Sexsmith’s are deceptively simple pieces of songwriting. A number like the lazy, sunny, riverbank strum and croon ‘Wastin’ Time’ (‘Where’s the crime in wastin’ time with you . . . ?’) could have conceivably emerged at any point over the last 70 years. You can imagine Croucho serenading a bombshell with it. Similarly, ‘Secret Heart’, the slow burn to a blue fade that ends the show, could easily sound like a clichéd relic were it held in a less delicate grip.
Sexsmith’s balancing act, though, is a good one. Vocally, he sounds like a strange cross between Ray Davies and, er, well Paul Young actually. Don’t ask me. It works. Lyrically too, he straddles the line between pared down poetic singer-songwriter and
schooled tinpan tunesmith. Imagine fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen and Dan Penn looking over each other’s
work and saying, ‘llah, you don’t really need that bit.’
Cohen’s ‘Heart With llo Companion’ is dusted off briefly, but if it’s covers you’re after, Sexsmith’s take on ‘I Was Made To Love Her’ is particularly revelatory, the fragility to be found elsewhere in the evening forgotten, as he and the band drop down suprisingly loose. Even funkier is a sheet-soiling rub down of ‘Hew Pony’ - Ron Sexsmith is obviously a man who realises the golden rule of Dylan covering - don’t mess with the 605 stuff, go straight to the late 705. The fact that his keyboard player is called Howard Hughes, then, only comes as a bonus. (Damien Love)
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Venue, Edinburgh, 19 Ma .
From Leeds, but already lined up for a spot at The Restaurant At The End Of Rock, Black Star Liner came to bury rock ’n’ roll, not to praise it. ‘Put your dad on stage!’ shrieks their hyperactive, leopardskin-clad frontman, in reference to the Sex Pistols reunion, before stamping all over Dueen, Oasis and, finally, Elvis. ‘Well, it’s ah-one for the money, two for the money, three for the
money. . .’All the while, he’s hopping about the stage like a demented Thumper over a dubby soundscape echoing with fractured guitar and multiple samples. They’re a riot; a manic burst of energy that raises interesting questions about the kind of drugs doing the rounds in Leeds at the moment.
Compared to their support, TCU take a little while to warm up, partly due to a glowering Hatacha Atlas, whose apparent bad mood has followed her on to the stage and initially threatens to put a damper on the proceedings. Given time, though, she’s grinning and
joking with percussionist and co- vocalist Coleridge and generally sharing in the good old time everyone else has been having since the word go.
The new album, Psychic Karaoke, ill prepares one for the groovalicious- ness of the group live. Away from the studio, they can exert less control over detail - unbalanced volume levels in the mix mean that samples which should have been mere sonic garnishing all but overwhelm Hatacha’s voice in places — but that’s more than made up for by a much firmer grasp of the groove.
The drumkit, floor-mounted and hand-held percussion hammer away, what seems like a dozen ethnomusical strains pass through each other at once and Hatacha’s awesome vocals trade places with Coleridge’s raps of universal brotherhood. When TCU hit their peak, they can be forgiven the long, limp stretches of Psychic Karaoke and even bassist Count Dubulah’s silly and quickly-jettisoned bonnet. (Alastair Mabbott)
Concerts listed are those at major venues, for which tickets are on public sale at time of going to press.
I GLASGOW ARCHES (556 5555) Grant Lee Buffalo. Io Jul.
I GLASGOW BARROWLAND (226 4679) Elvis Costello. 2] Jul: Prodigy. 2—3 Oct.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 55H) Everything But The Girl. 23 Jun: What A Feeling. 30 .lun; Jackson Browne. l3—-14Jul; Patti Smith. 5 Aug; The Hollies. 9 Nov. I GLASGOW IBROX STADIUM (339 8383) Bon Jovi. ll Jul; Bryan Adams. 20 Jul.
I GLASGOW SECC (248 9999) Sex Pistols. lb Jttl; Neil Young. 20 Jul:
East 17. 20 Sept: Mary Chapin Carpenter and Lyle Lovett. 24 Sept: Celine Dion. 19—20 Nov; Gloria Estefan. 28 Nov: Cranberries. 4 Dec; The Cure. 6 Dec; Status Quo. 7 Dec; Gary Glitter. 8 Dec; Eternal. 10 Dec.
I STRATHCLYDE COUNTRY PARK (0| 3! 557 6969) T in the Park with Radiohead. Alanis Morissette. The Prodigy. Pulp. Black Grape. and more. l3—14Jul.
I EDINBURGH FESTIVAL THEATRE (529 6000) The Hollies. l0 Nov.
I EDINBURGH INGLISTON (557 (i969) Ministry of Sound. 29 Jun.
I EDINBURGH MURRAYEIELD STADIUM (557 (3969) Tina Turner. 30 Jun; The Eagles. 4 Aug.
I EDINBURGH PLAYHDUSE (557 2590) Jools Holland. 24-25 Aug.
I IRVINE BEACH (0l3l 557 6969) ()n The Beach with Bjork. Supergrass. Julian Cope and more. 3| Aug—l Sept.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 55l l ) Billie Joe Spears. 2l Nov.
I GLASGOW SECC (248 9999) Mary Chapin Carpenter and Lyle Lovett. 24 Sept.
I GLASGOW CITY HALL (227 55 l l ) Ronnie Scott. 28 Jun: Theo Travis. 29 Jun; Steve Hamilton. 30 Jun; Bill Wells ()ctet. l Jul; Alan Barnes Sextet. 2 Jul; The Hungry Ants. 3 Jul; Ella Fitzgerald Songbook. 4 Jul; Ulf Wakenius. 4 Jul; Dave ()‘Higgins. 5 Jill; Jean Toussaint. 6 Jul.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 551 l) Lalo Schifrin. 28 Jun; George Benson. 2 Jul.
I GLASGOW OLD FRUITMARKET (227 5511) Martin Taylor and Claire Martin. 28 Jun; McCoy Tyner and Michael Brecker. 29 J on; Jatnes Morrison. 29 Jun; Ray Brown Trio. 30 Jun; Nat Adderley Quintet. | Jul; Ron Carter Quintet. l Jul: Auld Alliance Jazz. 3 Jul: Tommy Smith. 4 Jul; Mike Stern. 5 Jul: Yellowjackets. 5 Jul: Gonzalo Rubalcaba. 6 Jul; Fourth World. 6 Jul; Empire State Sextet. 7 Jul: Mingus Big Band. 7 Jul. I GLASGOW THEATRE ROYAL (332 9000) BBC Big Band. 1 Jul; Chris Barber. 3 Jul; Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong. 7 Jul.
I EDINBURGH FESTIVAL THEATRE (529 6000) Hot Foot In Harlem. l0 Jul; Thank You. Mr Gershwin. 13 Jul.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (228 1155) Syd Lawrence Orchestra. 7 Nov.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (228 l 155) Joan Baez. 4 Jul.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511) Val l)oonican. 2 Nov.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 55l l) RSNO Scottish Power Proms. 14—29 Jun.
I GLASGOW RSAMD (332 5057) Glasgow Sinfonia. 15 Jun; St Mary's Concert. lo Jun; Junior Academy ()rchestra. 22 Jun; La Boheme. 24-25. 27-28 Jun.
I EDINBURGH FESTIVAL THEATRE (5296000) Safri Duo. 8 Jul; The Cardinall‘s Musick. 12 Jul.
I EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL (225 5756) Various venues. 11—31 Aug. Tickets for all concerts in the l‘Idinburgh International Festival programme are available from the Box Office. 2! Market Street. Edinburgh EH1 lBW. by personal application. telephone (225 5756) or fax (220 7669). See brochure for order fortn.
I SUBSCRIPTION SEASONS Programme details and tickets for RSNG. SCt). BBC SS() and CGPO concerts are available from Ticketcentre. Glasgow (227 55 l l ); Usher Hall. Edinburgh (228 1155); Queen's Hall. Edinburgh (668 20W). Tickets for Scottish ()pera from Theatre Royal. Glasgow (332 9000); Festival Theatre. Edinburgh (529 6000).
44 The List 3+ May-l3 Jun 1996