MUSIC LIVE REVIEWS
THE ranges I“: “1!: .
Stones, Edinburgh, [9 June The Flyers are refreshing. Guitar-pop's seemingly relentless pilfering of the 60s lineage these days can have a frustratingly narrow tunnel vision. Sometimesa’t feels that bands are deliberately trying to ape The Beatles and The Small Faces more than anyone else. ignoring the worth both of their contemporaries and their immediate musical descendants. Both are fantastic bands. obviously. but both offer a wealth of substandard imitators that The Flyers. for one. are loath to follow.
lfThe Flyers have any obvious influences. it seems they revel in the saturninc musical ﬂip-side of that tumultuous decade. These inﬂuences tend to be lost in the exertions of the live setting and more attention can be paid to The Flyers’ own invention. Tonight. they certainly pulse along on a jubilant nervous energy that renders their songs an odd. jerky. but sometimes effortless effective spirit. They can certainly play and such songs as the feverish Gambling Woman are‘ succinct and punchy. However. it seems at times that their instinct to be different leads th m into blind alleys full of multiple time changes. obtuse chord changes and unnecessary codas. ;'
Occasionally they sound like a bizarre combination of The Doors and Blur: jumpy rhythms allied to sonorous melodies. Their spirit is lost in such complicated muso- manoeuvrings. On the other hand, when relaxing in their own accOntplishment. they producerthe haunting 'Mexic Friend', which is as _dly affecting live as it is] on record. beautifully adorned with a trilling trumpet.
'l‘hroughout, Leon King‘s propulsive vocalising is often half Morrison croon. half Arthur: Lee's frenetic babble. Indeed, it is his conth .vocai urging that gives'The Flyers their sense of vitality even when they are led astray in their own musical complexities. (Phil Miller)
Royal Highland Centre, lngllston, 12 June.
You know it’s an M People gig when Heather Small’s hair arrives on stage. The house lights go down, the spotlight hits the stage and out oi the shadows steps a beehive, with a woman in tow. And yes, it’s just as big, it not bigger than it looks on telly. There isn’t much in tact that’s small about Heather Small. M People’s lead singer and trout woman has big big hair, a big personality and most of all a big big voice.
Which is just as well. The musicians basking in Small’s glammed-up Amazonian presence are competent (and numerous) enough but without the crowning glory of her commanding tones they’re background music. Belting out a power into the lngliston night, she carries the band from the lull-bodied glossy dance highs of One Illght In Heaven to the arm-waving stadium soul-ballad strains of Search For The Hero (needless to say an encore number). No doubt about it Heather Small is M People. Two sets of drummers keep the measured disco- beat rolling, backing singers do their smoochy linger clickin’ best and several well-timed housey piano crescendos provide those essential uplifting breaks - but at the end of the day it’s the beautifully-beehived singer who looms large.
Chartopping hairdos aside, the other reason you know it’s M People is the crowd. From twentysomething party crowds on a big night out to middle- aged couples and parents with pre- teen kids all bopping as one. But then that’s the beauty of this Mercury award-winning, twice platinum band. There are loads of tar superior dance acts but none with such broad-based appeal. And all because the chart- buying public love perfectly- packaged, palatable soul-poppy tunes that sound equally smooth in living room, car and pub iuke-box. luckily for tonight’s stadiumtul oi very satisfied tans, the world’s safest dance act sound just as good live as they do from the comfort oi your sole. (Ellie Carr)
The Bathouse, Glasgow, 2.2Jun. Taken at random, ‘Wraaaaaaagh di di wraaaaaaaaagh, yaaarzzz awahhh raaaazha,’ is a lair enough example oi the typical Hew Kingdom lyric. At least, that’s how it sounds on this particular Saturday night showing at the Oathouse. It could be the acres and acres oi denim that went into the making oi the many de rigour hip-hop hipster’s hardly hip hugging sagging bagqu on show, but something, at any rate, is definitely blunting down the sound. (‘Bluntlng down the sound’ - see? Ohhh, yes. That’s entertainment.)
Coming Straight, as us chappies like to put it, Outta Brooklyn, New Kingdom are rappers Hose) and Sebastian, trontlng a twin-drum, twin-deck and bass set up, and have been described as ‘the Hip Hop Oheech and Chong’, which must have sent (2pr Hill straight on the phone to their lawyers.
However, all but the least subtle oi nuances are smothered beneath the murk ol the night’s mix. Occasional interestineg spliiied phrases lift from the turntable, brielly appearing clear trom the swamp, but it’s treacherous trying to follow them anywhere, soon sinking back into the morass.
A solid rhythm foundation is all there’s lett to hold onto, then; and, it you give yoursell over to it, it’s line for throwing your hands in the air, jumping around and all the rest. Ask the people at the trout. However, beyond this, it’s hard to tell what exactly is going on. The vocals tall rough and hard, but lost in the bulk ot noise - they might be angry about something, though it’s hard to say what, exactly. So, when the question ﬂoats, suprlsingly clearly, irom oil the stage, ‘Are y’all leellng what we’re teellng? That’s what it’s all about,’ it’s hard to answer. There’s a way around this, though. Just mumble ‘Wraaaaaaagh di di wraaaaaaaaagh, yaaarzzz awahhh raaaazha.’ (Damien love)
. a‘e.‘\“ ._ “3,... o 5|":
Im- sex PISTOLS
F inshury Park. Lam/mi. 23 Jim.
'What are you looking at? It‘s only Uncle Johnny and the boys.‘ Nearly twenty years since they last ﬂoated in a sea of gob. the Sex Pistols are back on British soil. playing to an outdoor crowd that‘s probably bigger than all their prevrous UK audiences rolled into one.
The sun‘s beginning to set in North London and the stage is covered in what looks like a huge sheet of newspaper. six foot high headlines screaming tales front the past about naughty words
on Bill Grundy's TV show
and other dirty deeds by punk's baddest boys. And then there they are — Rotten. Cook. Jones and Matlock — bursting through the paper curtain. older but certainly not wiser.
As an opening image. it‘s a bit of a silly spectacle. but it has a point: two decades of journalistic mythology followed. more recently. by a cynical slagging in the press over the reunion — none of it‘s worth the paper it's printed on now they‘ve decided that the music has to speak for itself.
The intro riff to
* 1‘; lager-oar ,
‘) r. J
‘Bodies' thuds out. there‘s that little pause. the crowd takes a breath. then . . . “She was a girl from Birmingham . . .' We're under starters orders. and we‘re off. Into the mélée come ‘God Save The Queen'. ‘Stepping Stone'. ‘No Feelings'. ‘Holiday In The Sun'. ‘Pretty Vacant‘ — all those old goodies from the Never Mind The HUI/Helm days.
Age has not withered them. Rotten makes ajoke about being ‘fat and forty’ and the crowd respond with a chorus of ‘you fat bastard'. but the Pistols are in better shape — musically at least - than before. Cook. Jones and Matlock now have enough experience as session musicians to form a tighter backing unit for Rotten's strutting ego. polished by the Lydon/PH. years. Bleached hair spiked up like points 0" a crown. he knows he's king for a day. preening and posing. leer-mg and sneering.
It could have been panto. It could have been nostalgia seen through rose-tinted wraparounds. But on the day. the Pistols threw a party and knew exactly how to keep their hyperactive children amused. Uncle Johnny's still got a couple oftricks up his sleeve.
Ever felt like we’ve been cheated? Not this time. mate. not this time. (Alan Morrison)
Summer in Scotland isn’t really renowned for Holidays In The Sun, but that might change when the Sex Pistols. bring their ‘Filthy Lucre Tour’ north of the border in July. For the ﬁrst time in almost twenty years, Messrs Rotten, Jones, Cook and Matlock are together again, ' crashing their way through a set of punk classics.
The List is offering two pairs of tickets for the
Sex Pistols gig at the SBCC in Glasgow on Tue 16 July. All you have to do is answer this simple
Who replaced Glen Matlock as bass player in 1977?
Answers on a postcard by Tue 9 July to: PWWFM’: scrub-til: * "W1!!- .
42 The List 28 Jun-ll Jul 1996