’ ROCK Mansun Edinburgh: The Venue, Sun 2 Mar.
Mansun formed a mere eighteen months ago in Chester. Since then, they have notched up over 300 gigs, including a Japanese tour, and released four well- received EPs, two of which (’Wide Open Space’ and 'Stripper Vicar') found their way into the Top Twenty. Armed with genuinely good pop songs and a useful punky live edge, they combine basic riffs and catchy choruses with strong vocals and bizarre song titles like ’Egg Shaped Fred' and ’Take It Easy Chicken'.
Despite receiving acres of press coverage in the indie broadsheets, Mansun remain refreshingly untarnished by the hype that currently surrounds them. Frontman Paul Draper isn't interested in all the nonsense that surrounds the music industry. 'It’s nothing to do with music,’ he says, the weariness audible in his voice. 'I think everyone in the music industry knows that music is the least important thing in the music industry. As ' long as everyone knows that then it's just a game
Mansun: Egg shaped easy chickens unstripped and no vicars
Is it really that bad? ’Oh God, yeah' he sighs. ’If you go on and become successful in a band it gets down to how well you can cope with all the buffoonery that goes on around you. You actually spend relatively little of your time playing music. The times we do get to do it we try and keep it pure —- the same as we were before we got a record deal - just doing it for the enthusiasm.’
Their debut album, the snappily-titled Attack Of The Grey Lantern (Parlophone) reveals plenty of such enthusiasm. Sitting somewhere between the Manics, Radiohead and Suede and containing their four hit songs from last year and the current single ’She Makes My Nose Bleed', it looks set to win them even more coverage. Not that Draper shows any signs of slipping into the hype that so often consumes bands on their rise to the top. So no plans to take over the world then? ‘
'We just try and record and tour and play for the fans and that's all,’ says Draper. ’I dunno how you can justify anything else really. When you’re first in a band you think that you just play music but actually it's nothing like that, you have to get involved in all kinds of stuff. I just tend to switch me brain off really. I just smile and
shake people’s hands.’ (Jim Byers)
' CLASS CAL Scottish Chamber
Orchestra Glasgow: City Hall, Fri 21 Feb Edinburgh: Queen's Hall, Sat 22 Feb.
Just as soon as Vanessa-Mae has left town, in rolls the next Child prodigy Violinist. But to take such a cynical attitude towards the SCO's fourteen- l year-old guest, Japanese born Karen lGomyo, is perhaps itself a little ‘ premature. One of the youngest international stars ever to have appeared With the SC O, Karen Gomyo’s credentials are impeccable.
With a string of scholarships and awards to her name, all gained in Canada, the country her family adopted as home when Karen was two, she has gone on to give reCitals throughout Canada and America. Forthcoming engagements include a date with the London Symphony Orchestra for the 97/98 season, If that’s not enough, a ‘ final report dated November of last year from New York’s JUilliard School, where 'j she was taught by the renowned ;" DOrothy DeLay, gives a rare four A+’s
Karen Gomyo: violin virtuoso
and 2 As.
According to Karen’s early teacher, Vera Djerkic, at the age of six, 'Karen grasped at once what I showed her, remembered readily and never played wrong notes. Whatever I asked her to do, she did perfectly.’ Interestingly, the
concerto Karen has chosen to play is that of American composer Samuel Barber, who himself was only fourteen when he enrolled as a student at the Curtis Institute Of Music in Philadelphia. With a final movement presto In moto perpeto ('to be played fast enough for your fingers to smoke’ in colloqmal terms), which was originally labelled unplayable and almost lost Barber his commission fee, there Will be ample Opportunity to Witness a diSplay of technical brilliance.
Gomg by Barber’s own description of his music 'I write What I feel' — there Will also be the chance too to hear Karen’s interpretation of the emotive force of the piece. And just to prove that the Violin is not the only thing in Karen's life, she's also very good at origami.
As if that wasn't enough eXCItement for one night, the SCO's programme features the world premiere of James MacMiIIan’s A Meditation On Iona, the fourth in the Glasgow CommisSions series of cross-media collaborations, for which Maclvlillan has worked With sculptor Sue Jane Taylor. (Carol Main)
Ben Folds Five Glasgow: Arches, Sun 23 Feb.
Don't worry if you haven't yet caught up with America’s Ben Folds Five - their insistently catchy piano rock songs are of the variety which encourage singalongs. Their self-titled debut album and raucous live shows conquered many, and the forthcoming long player, Whatever And Ever Amen, has another twelve cracking tunes with bitter, sarcastic lyrics sung in sweet harmony.
The Fives’ leader, Ben Folds (hence the name), is softly spoken, seriously calm and seems genuiner overwhelmed by their success. ’We made the first record on a very small record label and they said we might sell about 6000 copies and tour our home state. The critical response we got was so amazing because we really didn't expect people to get the kind of music which we make.
'American music tends to be about power and loud gunars and they take all their lyrics absolutely literally. Over here you appreciate the irony in our songs, although sometimes people see it when it’s not even there.’
Irony is certainly present in their current single, ’Battle Of Who Could Care Less’, which, despite its savage send-up of style obsessed music fans, Will probably make the misnamed three-piece flavour of the month.
’There are monologues and soliloqmes on this album and darker, more personal songs like ’Brick’, But sometimes it’s more palatable to disguise things to draw people in, so we added a couple of songs with little implied stories which hark back to the first album,’ explains Folds.
The recent divorces of Folds and drummer Darren Jesse may have prowded inspiration for the hilariously nasty 'Song For The Dumped’. It's raucous chorus of 'Give me my money back you bitchl' positively invites audience participation — which shouldn’t be a problem at their forthcoming Glasgow gig. ’Scottish
crowds are so musical,’ says Folds. ’l was really impressed last time'
He's also threatening a piano
3 interpretation of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's ’Relax’, so those planning to attend might want to start practising now, (Andrea Mullaney)
21 Feb-6 Mar 1997 THE "8743