Cast in the net wider
Power to the people! Seouse wit John Powers talks to fellow Liverpudlian Neil Cooper, like, la.
it only seems like yesterday that Cast were playing bottom on the bill of the mid-scale toilet circuit, surprising many a receptive ear with their orthodox and unmistakably Seouse wall of brashly anthemie guitar pop. Their unashamedly positive attitude was personiﬁed in the messianically zealous ﬁgure of frontman and one-time La John Power, which suggested they were on some kind of mission. Sure enough. the converts the band picked up on their seemingly never-ending tour were enough to ensure that paying their dues paid off. and each time they turned up on the circuit. it was in a bigger venue than before.
Their ever-visible spiral upwards began on record with the singles ‘Fine Time' and ‘Alright’. and by the time the debut album. the occasionally pedestrian All Change hit the racks. a solid fanbase was intact to ensure it went platinum in no time. This summer saw them on the bill of every festival under the sun. including T in the Park, a particular favourite of Power’s: ‘l always enjoy it for some reason. i think it's cos the Scottish are up for it. You couldn‘t see the end ofthe crowd, though. it just went on forever and ever. They looked like beans on toast, like playing to a massive ﬁeld of baked beans.‘
With a new single, ‘Flying'. and their biggest tour to date about to hit the road. Power sees this as a brand new stage in the band‘s development. ‘Basically
ﬁnishing the end ofA/l Change. letting it come to its end and do whatever it‘s got to do. This is a transitional period for the band. though I'm sure that if “Flying” does what it might do. the album will stick around. and that people who buy the single but
don‘t have the album may be inspired to go and get it.
What I mean by “the end" and “letting go" is releasing new material. ()ur audience and the people that are accustomed to our songs. know them and can sing along. then we give them a bunch of new songs that they‘re gonna have to learn and get used to — but that’s alright. la!‘
Rather than all change though. ‘Flying‘ is basically more of the same. albeit the most ﬁnely honed example of it yet; a cathedral of guitars wrapped around Power‘s yeamingly plaintive vocal which, when framed by cosmic. twin cylinder harmonies as it is here. suggest he’s just a hop. skip and struggle away from the end of the celestial rainbow. Which is how it should be from a man whose earliest musical
Cast: flying over a sea of baked beans. iio, really
memory is of being bought Ken Dodd's ‘Happiness' and The Banana Splits theme. ‘ “Flying” is a symbol. We can‘t physically leave the ﬂoor like, but it‘s about ﬂying in another sense. We get pulled down and we limit our thinking to our own little world and our own little worries, which is fair enough ’cos that's natural. What l‘m saying is that once you break out of that bubble there's a massive ocean of wherever you can go. i'm not in it yet like. but we're all looking for it.‘
Once he’s found his personal nirvana. how would Power like posterity to treat him. ‘As someone who just followed his own fuckin’ feelings like. i don't want to trample anyone underfoot, apart from the fuckin’ weeds and that and plants that strangle other plants. but they still have a right to be here i suppose, la.’ Quite. ‘Happiness is the main thing. It‘s fulﬁlment that we’re all chasing. so if l'm feeling good inside, that would be nice.‘
Cast play Livingston Forum, Tue 15 Oct.
Im— Taking chances
Events llke iiunoon and the more mainstream-inclined fiairn [an festivals will never have the drawing power of their big brothers in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but they have shown that they can more than hold their own when it comes to imaginative programming.
The future of the Gunoon festival was touch and go this year, but a modest amount of funding eventually fell into place, leaving the festival’s director, Olive May Mlllen, limited time and precious little cash to pull it all together. ilelther of those
Alex Magulre: free improvisation
‘ \II I
‘ last year.
limitations is evident in the line-up.
She has done it, too, without simply resorting to the usual suspects. Favourites like Flonna Duncan, George Penman, Fraser Speirs, and local-boy- made-good Russell Gowieson are all featured in the programme, but they stand alongside a range of exciting artists from further afield.
Pianist ilikki Yeoh’s infinitum make their overdue Scottish debut with their explosive progressive Ian this year, while pianist Alex Magulre, a familiar figure on the London free improvisation scene, will team up with saxophonist Lee Goodall. Goodall is heard again in The 3 Amoebas, with guitarist Dylan Fowler and percussionist Paul Glervls, in a band which first played together at iiunoon
ilone of this can be described as
play-safe programming, which must have seemed the easier option in the circumstances. Other major highlights include the excellent i’im Garland Quartet and an exciting Big Boat Club flight, with live music from Gary Crosby’s vibrant jazz-reggae fusion outfit, Jan Jamaica, featuring Bigga Morrison, Bammie iiose, Tan Tan Thornton and Rice Rodriguez (the band replace Barungwa from the published leaflet).
As ever, the festival takes place in several venues, with the main events in The Queen's iiall, and iiover tickets are available for the weekend, or by the day. Buy your ticket, grab a leaflet, and enjoy. (Kenny Afathieson) The Duncan Jen Festival runs from Fri 11-Sun 13. Phone the Festival llotline on 01369 703785 or 0131 220 4349 for more details.
The List 4-17 Oct 1996 35