King Til/Ir. (r'lasgmr. 7 Not:

A break dance crew would have an excellent time watching Edinburgh‘s Coco and the Bean tonight. Not because the superlatively mellow tnttsie they weave leaves you wanting to spin about on your head. rather because those members of the crowd who have turned up in time to witness the five- piece‘s support slot. though head noddineg curious. seem also strangely frightened of the large empty piece of flooring in front of the stage. pressing themselves against the venue‘s walls. leaving ample space for a bit ofelectro- gymnastics. and the band playing to a void.

Despite this t‘eticence. Coco and the Bean play an exceptional set. Their blend of slow burning beats and inventive stop-start turntable dynamics. blended with occasional organ embellishment has in the past. somewhat predictably. been compared to the l’ortishead sound. bttt is closer to the pure hip-hop vein than that explored by those Bristol jazz- melancholics. C&TB‘s secret weapon lies in a three-piece vocal section. each part of which contrasts with and complements the other perfectly. reading from left to right: Barry White born in [SW via Muirhouse: laidback lonely kingpin chanteuse. and Prince falsettoing with Smokey in a G-Funk back alley. Superb.

This haunted dancehall fills up for the appearence of Bim Sherman. to resemble a warmly small-scale roots reggae party. Sherman brings to the stage a couple of decades‘ worth of experience. some modest footwork and a natty pair of grey slacks. as well as an evening of slow motion skanking courtesy of a smoothly tight live-piece backing band. Slightly disappointingly. the strangely acoustic direction and eastern nuance of his most recent Miracle LP is largely left aside fora more traditionally dense bass and drumshot reggae melange. somewhat obscuring the smoothly plaintive qualities of the Jamaican's exquisite voice. Nonetheless. an evening of the West Indian blues par are/lance. head spinning or no. (Damien Love)

IEHE_ sanAMtnc mes

The Garage, Glasgow, Fri 1 Ilov.

There was every reason to suppose the Screaming Trees might pack up and go home to Seattle. Kurt Cobain’s death spelled the end oi the whole grunge project, and the surviving bands like Soundgarden proceeded on the basis that there would always be enough metal kids in cut-oft shorts to support their brand oi noise.

Though raised in a gro-bag oi mulched down Black Sabbath albums, the Screaming Trees always hinted at a more melodic, lyrical quality. Singer Mark lanegan’s 40-a-day voice had a surprisingly emotional quality which made his two acoustic-y solo albums at least as interesting as the band output. Then the whole thing snapped into iocus with their last album, Dust, which introduced psychedelic keyboard riiis and religious overtones in the lyrics which were almost certainly iniluenced by Kurt, a close iriend oi lanegan.

All at which makes the overblown rock oi their Glasgow gig all the more disappointing. Seen around the release oi their previous album in london, they were a tight, tast and exciting grunge band. Now with the opportunity to play iar more interesting songs, they have regressed into nee-metal. Instead of the keyboard swirls oi Dust, another guitarist - a callow youth by the name

oi Joshua - has been added to beei up the sound. This leaves bulky lead guitarist Gary lee Connor iree to indulge in all sorts oi axe-hero nonsense, including playing the damn thing with his teeth. Not a pretty sight.

When Lanegan, unhappy throughout, iinally stalks oii stage, the image oi Gary lee and his equally enormous brother Van riiiing along on bass coniures a disturbing vision - and sound - at 22 Top minus the beards. The moshers love it, at course, but anyone else would do well to stick to the records until this attitude problem gets iixed. (Eddie Gibb)


Barrowland, Sat 2

‘It’s a bit oi a pop set’ says the Pit woman a tad sheepishly beiore the gig, but it Erasure can’t do a pop set then who on earth can?

litter the support band, the acceptable Dubstar, the iirst big cheer oi the night is in appreciation oi the introduction oi thick scarlet curtains swept across the stage, hiding the set

change beiore Erasure. The sell out audience know that this is what they’re here tor, high canp, theatrical shenanigans and a bit oi glam. The mere appearance oi a pair oi curtains signiiies this. its periect electropop ilowery bleeps bounce out, the curtains pull into tasteiul drapes and any tear that this concert isn’t going to be a belter are drowned out by the super-sonic whoops. Vince Clarke peers out irom his keyboard cot, seemingly rooted to the stage by a tangle oi wires and strobe ropes, two backing singers do their backing singing thing to the Ieit and then Andy Bell bounds on, practically scissor kicking onto the stage. Seconds into the set, he holds his mic teasineg between his legs, rips ott his ‘hairy chest’ print top and hurls himseli irom one shimmering pearl at a number into another.

All the big hits are banged out iamously, and to give us a breather irom singing along like demented divas they intersperse the set with their ballad numbers. Clarke climbs down irom his electro cell wielding a guitar tor some strummy action with Bell and the crowd sway patiently, lit by a million pin points oi light irom the unieasibly large glitter ball hanging above the stage. A quick change later and Bell emerges wearing a tight mint green evening gown to give us a little reminder oi the more burlesque shows they’ve treated us to in the past. More pop than a porcupine making balloon sculptures, Erasure prove that keyboard bands can party as well as anyone can. (Rory Weller)

' Im- THE MCDLUSKEY enoruens

.1 kg . V "i ‘2 :3; i}. (Ilusgmv Selim)! (If/i rt, 7 lVUl' - ()n a cold. frosty night. sinking in a warm enveloping duvet of sound is a perfect remedy. Indeed. the biting wintry elements outside couldn't be further away from the soft-focus musings ofThe McCluskey Brothers. The intimate surrounding fuzz of red-lit warmth here is the perfect place for these purveyors of tuneful bttt innocuous musical pleasantries. A diversion from the norm of pub gigs would be something to get excited about but. alas. the McCluskeys' music is neither unpleasant nor note-worthy.

Which is a shame considering Ken‘s lovely. iloatirrg. llutey voice. and the obvious abilities of the band. But. as most people know. ability and talent count for naught when there‘s no life in the muse that drives them: just look at Ocean (‘olour Scene. The band seem to think that merely carrying a nice tune is enough which it isn't.

This is not to say tonight's display isn't pleasant etrough. but" shaking your ltand with an imaginary ntaraca does"'t inject much real energy. and the litany of telling cover-versions tells its own story of stunted ambition. Their embroidered version of ‘Stop‘ was punchy enough to raise hopes that this sleepy concert would ignite - misplaced optimism. unfortunately. Bands are not meant to be safe or harmless. There should be more than this competettt song smithery.

No. it scented with their blend ofcozy harmonies and gentle atmospheric guitar chimings the brothers were content enough to be merely Adult ()rientated Rock. perfect for avoiding a long. cold night in Glasgow. but unimaginable in many other settings. This territory that The McCluskey Brothers’ music lies within is fine in its own way. but it doesn't promise to go anywhere else in the near future. or even sound like it wants to. (Phil Miller)

50 The List l5-28 Nov I996