FEATURE IRVINE BEACH
Bjork is back with more loony tunes and meaty beats. John Richardson’s mind was forced to loop-the-loop when he saw her at Phoenix.
good friend of mine once returned from a long stay in London claiming, among other things, to have cut a rug with Bjork to the strains of Bert Kaempfert in some easy listening club.
Of course I didn’t believe a word of it. It wasn’t the idea of Dan and the world’s most famous Icelander going cheek-to-cheek to Kaempfert’s velveteen version of ‘Twist And Shout’ I found hard to swallow. Rather, it was the notion of Bjork being cool enough to hang with London’s in-crowd that gave me cause to doubt
Surely Bjork was a lifetime member of the NME pretend alternative set and spent evenings in the company of meek people who sip dry cider and smoke bingo cigarettes? Could she possibly tolerate assiduous fashion victims like Danny?
The problem 'was, my doubts about Dan’s story were founded in a perception of the truculent Nordic chanteuse formed long before she abandoned indie and discovered dance music. I had lost touch with Bj6rk when she was on a fast track to oblivion, turning out mediocre quirk-pop with the Sugarcubes.
But after the ’Cubes split in 1992, Bjork underwent a miraculous makeover as she teamed up with Nelle Hooper to make music thread-through with the sort of sinuous rhythms, fat beats and funky bass-lines that make folk ﬂing their hands in the air and whoop embarrassingly.
Debut, her first solo album, marked the start of a change that took Bjork from zero to hero in the street-cred stakes. And with her equally groovy follow-up, Post, she forged ahead with a glorious transition that seemed to reach a zenith at this year’s Phoenix Festival.
Five years ago, the pen-swallowing love of Goldie’s life might have secured a slot on one of
the lesser stages at such an event. But in 1996 she closed out the third day as headliner, taking her place alongside David Bowie, Neil Young and the Sex Pistols.
Such are the vicissitudes of life in the wacky world of pop. everyone agreed as we debated whether to venture out to hear her play.
Recalling Dan's story and my cynicism I decided to find a spot close to the sprawling main stage where I could seek atonement and see the ‘new‘ Bjork for myself.
And was she good -— bleached blonde, pretend petulant, she larged it through stadium-sized versions of songs that used to seem more made- for-MTV.
‘Isobel’, ‘Army Of Me,’ but most of all. ‘Violently Happy’ left the crowd disorientated after a day of hard(on)-festival crap-rock. As
Blﬁrtt: pass the bucket and spade she stomped back and forth across the stage. apparently revelling in her new-found status. sunburnt festival freaks at first stood up to see
more clearly and then found themselves dancing!
Thousands upom thousands jigglcd preposterously to Bjt'irk’s fearsome. gut-
wrenching drum ‘n’ bass. And at the end. as the massive PA burped out bass beats that made it difficult to breathe, the world seemed to explode as an arsenal of fireworks burst across the night sky. Blues and silvers and golds and reds flamed over our heads as Bjork looked on. probably glorying in the hilarious absurdity of it all.
So what next? More irony as Bjt'irk headlines again. Watch out for the finale. BjO'rk plays Irvine Beach, Sun 1 Sept.
Irvine Beach music festival is on Sat 31 Aug/Sun 1 Sept. Tickets will be available on the gates, or in advance from Just The Ticket, Union Street, Glasgow; Virgin Megastore, Princes Street; Ripping Records, Bridges, Edinburgh and all TOCT‘A outlets. Credit card bookings can be made with TOCT‘A on 0131 557 6969 and the Ticket Centre on 0141 227 5511. Tickets cost £18 plus booking fee for Sat 31 and £18.50 plus booking fee for Sun I. SETTING THERE
Trains run from Central Station to Irvine every half hour on the hour and the half hour. The last train returns from Irvine at 11.19pm. Returns cost £4.80.
The Irvine Express leaves every half hour from
72 The List 23 Aug-5 Sept 1996
Buchanan Street, Glasgow. Return tickets are available from Just The Ticket at £5.50.
I Doors open 2pm.
I Geneva 3-3.30pm. Interstellar success is promised for Suede’s new stablemates.
I Pushonnan 3.45—4. 15pm.
I Kula Shaker 4.45—5. 15pm. Psychedelic retro rock.
I Robyn Hitchcock 5.30—6pm. Wacko singer songwriter who should be a national treasure. I Shed Seven 6.15—7pm. Rick Witter and gang are revitalised and going for gold.
I Jullan cope 7.30—8.30pm. Awwooooh! Britain’s most gifted acid casualty is coming to howl at the moon.
I Supergrass 9-10.30pm. They are young, they are free, they have teeth and more
importantly they have a new album coming out which you’ll get to hear.
I Doors open 2pm.
I N8 2—4pm. The day’s DJs include Stuart MacMilIan from Slam and Scott Gibson.
I Alabama 3 4—4.45pm.
I N8 4.45—5.30pm.
I 808 State 5.30—6.15pm. Mancunian acid house pioneers back with a stunning new style. I We 6.15—7pm.
I Underworld 7—8.30pm. ‘Born Slippy’ will no doubt prove itself to be a highlight with its chorus about the amber nectar. Lager, lager, lager ad inﬁnitum.
I N8 8.30—9pm.
I Bliirlt 9-10pm. No more elﬁn pixie jokes. All hail Bj'ork, queen of the beat and mistress of the 21st century.