Glasgow: Barrowland, Fri ll Apr *1» There are some folks out there who claim the best way to hear Tricky is live, inside a dark, atmospheric venue, an environment where his recorded, menacing mutterings can really come alive and scare the living bollocks off you. Usually, this advice is offered after seeing him lost on a vast stage in a muddy field with the swirl from his puff flying cloudwards instead of being frozen in the darkness. If you’re feeling sinister, join him in an enclosed space, let the claustrophobia intensify and his stately genius will be self-evident. Or at least that’s the theory.
The choice of Barrowland was probably more to do with crowd- pulling capabilities than capturing a performer at his best. After five minutes in a less than packed arena, it suddenly dawns that the fella on stage isn’t the soundman growling inaudibly in the shadows but is, in fact, the Trickster, alias Adrian Thaws, singing his vast array of easy listening pop standards. For those who thought Maxinquaye was a challenge - which, as well as being a fine album, it most certainly was - the live reworking of his
second album Pre-Millennium Tension is nothing short of a trial at night. Only 'Christiansands' makes much of a lasting impression due to the implausible fact that it has the gall to possess a riff, a concept largely alien to the Tricky repertoire. At one point, there is even the semblance of a tune to snap your digits to. But that
could have been imagined.
As if to heighten the sense of enigma (his major selling point no matter how often he insists he is a wag at heart) his back spends large portions of the show facing the audience and the biggest whoop is reserved for a
Tricky: enigma or dull as dishwater?
fleeting glimpse of him in the stage light. After a set in which he mumbled a bit, swapped inaudibilities with Martina and required his band to perform well within the call of duty, Tricky wandered off with a mild 'thank you.’ Heralded by a ‘thank you, very much,’ his reappearance on stage was not so much an encore as a
resumption of hostilities.
Perhaps Tricky can only really be enjoyed or understood when lying on your back pumped full of chemicals. And that is the truly tragic thing.
Edinburgh: Meadowbank Stadium, Sat 12 Apr *‘k Audioweb prove to be a particularly ineffectual support band. They'd like to be the Happy Mondays but end up sounding like three blokes building a shed while their tough mate With Tourette's Syndrome does a free form karaoke of his favourite bands over the top of it.
Fortunately, Cast manage to revrve the atmosphere. At best, Cast are lads
Cast: pie in the sky
whose old time anthems by numbers come blessed With the sort of easy Singalonga choruses that encourage massed arms in the air male-bonding experiences. Unfortunately, it’s hard to spot the difference between this and Cast at their worst, for the two are remarkably similar: both expound mawkish sentiments to whip their ever- expanding followrng into fren2ies of false hope. Some songs are better than others, that's all,
By the time they've delivered a trio of stodgy non entities from the new album
and a couple off the first, it's hard not to start agreeing with John Power when he sings the line 'Will I ever get out of here.’
The bulk of the newer songs simply can’t cut it, while even the singles of old sound knackered. Things are slowed down after a fashion for the abysmal Kop choir-athon of 'Walk Away', which sees Power setting himself up as a Gerry Marsden for the next millennium, but before long we’re bouncing along to the soft option shuffle once more.
To be reasonable, it's all delivered With such proficiently breathless zeal, with slab after slab of head in the clouds optimism laid onto the next, that it’s easy to remember why Cast were once breathtaking. Now, it Just sounds like so much hot air.
Cast are perfect soundalikes of the bands that played in the obligatory party scene at the end of every cheeky, Chirpy 1960s British film. Only the extended effects pedal workout of ‘History’ stands out as any way different from the preceding hour's worth of pie in the sky. Repeating to fade is never enough, but Cast look set to do Just that for a long time to come. (Neil Coopeo
live reviews MUSIC
Long Fin KillielGanger
Glasgow: King Tut'sWah Wah Hut, Sat lZApr *it*
It was an interesting weekend for gigs at King Tut’s, writes our avant-garde music correspondent. There were three distinct victories for experimentation/ inventiveness over conventional songwriting. Welsh wizards of twiddly Gorky’s Zygotic lvlynCi, who played on Friday, are starting to be recognised as the wonderfully askew band they are, but on Saturday, two Scottish bands, still largely unsung, equalled their performance, playing with a groovmess and power which marked their strongest sets yet.
Ganger have a fairly muso reputation, as do many instrumental hands. This is, in fact, because they will never sing an embarrassing lyric, the stumbling block by which most groups demonstrate how fragile their grasp on the English language is. However indulgent their freeform, percussive, improv round- the-houses excursions may sound when you describe them, Ganger are in fact a very instinctive-sounding band. Try the Ganger workout plan and your foundations Will surely be shaken.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Long Fin Killie with their angular eclectic, folk-punk ditties, and a noticeable change has been wrought. To put it technically, they’re not as fiddly-diddly as they used to be, but every bit as stoppy-starty, meaning that Luke Sutherland gets to tease the audience with false endings (most of which they are wrse to) and pull some faces in the pregnant interludes.
The other change is that Long Fin Killie have gone from being a band you feel you should make an effort to like, owmg to their exploratory spirit and intrigUing (amuse of an airay of , traditional instruments, to one that yOu ‘ can't help but love owrng to the stronger direction of the songs, the hypnotically-charged guitar playing and the less cluttered arrangements (they mostly stick to guitar/bass/druins now and are none the worse for it).
Neither band is particularly in step with the times, but they complement each other perfectly -- both taking a somewhat cerebral approach to their music but still hitting the gut and the feet of the listener. (Fiona Shepherd)
Long Fin Killie: causing a gut reaction
STAR RATINGS ; is * i: * * Outstanding it it a: * Recommended t * it Worth a try i f * 50-50 T * Poor 1
l8Apr—l May 1997 THE lIST 41