Samson's big on faith while Sebron simmers seductively
OPERA Samson and Delilah
Glasgow: Theatre Royal, 7,10 May, 4 Jun; Edinburgh: Festival Theatre, 3 May, l9, 2l Jun fir *ir
Scottish Opera's first production of Saint-Saens’ Samson and Delilah, designed and directed by Antony McDonald, boasts some exquisite music. The shimmering colours of the orchestral writing and strong, impassioned choruses stand out, as does Delilah's famous aria as she seduces Samson. The French conductor Frederic Chaslin draws sweet and fulsome playing from the orchestra, benefiting from the sharp visual contrast of the timeless starkness of McDonald's angular sets.
In Americans Mark Lundberg and Carolyn Sebron, Scottish Opera has found two towering, magnetic stars. He, with his big, muscley, rugby-
player physique, portrays Samson as a figure strong in faith but not terribly bright up top, while Sebron is voluptuous and simmering, seduction made flesh.
The action progresses from the tableaux-like, ritualistic choruses of the first act to the intimate second, which features just the three main characters (the title roles with the addition of the High Priest, played with brilliant sleaze by Robert Hayward). It is another leap into the colourfully bacchanalian world of Act Three, where not only does the tone change but so does the atmosphere as the opera moves towards its well-known biblical climax.
McDonald’s updating of the piece out of loin-cloths is a move which, although not absolutely successful in dramatic terms, works marvellously for the music. (Carol Main)
ROCK The Seahorses
Glasgow: The Garage, Sat 26 Apr * + +
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The Seahorses: possible Picasso-in- progress
is there a standartl height regurrement
for a Seahorses gig or is it Just very tall
people who gravrtate towards John Squire's latest band of troubadours,
then crane their necks that bit more to
see a group wrth a power of
52 THE LIST 2-15 May 1997
expectations on their shoulders?
The Big Question is — do they sound like The Stone Roses? Well, John Squrre is still the kind of charmed guitarist who practically owns every riff he produces, no matter what the derivation, so you can't quibble With the odd 'Made Of Stone’ throwback. However, Chris Helme has a different Singing style than Ian Brown — one that can hold a tune. And it sounds like the shuffling dance grooves could be a thing of the past. But so what? New dawn and all that.
However, it W0u|d be stupid to squander your greatest asset, so the prevailing attitude seems to be we've- got-a-guitar-hero—and-We're-gonna-use- him. The gr0up Will be breezmg through an OaSrs-Iike power-popper or a Cast- like groover, when Squrre wrll rust let up With the kind of solos that make you forget he's playing something as USUally tedious as a gurtar solo, instead of painting high art.
On the Whole, think of it as a possible Picasso-in-progress. (Fiona Shepherd)
Edinburgh: Jaffa Cake, Sun 20 May *****
I believe. I have seen the light burning at the end of the dark tunnel of dadrock and salvation’s name is Gold Blade. Give yourselves up to their soulpunk power or smother in turgid, R Br B regurgitations for eternity. Nah, really, I mean it. They are awesome.
From the moment the brothel creepers first hit the stage to the penultimate moment of the concert Where leadman John Robb ceremonially strips to the waist and sets fire to his gold lame shirt, Gold Blade are total, full-on rock 'n' roll. Apparently, all six members of the band are teetotal, non-smoking vegetarians. Just as well really, since no lard-arsed, gutbucket, snout fiend could possibly keep up with them as they ricochet off the walls, jump off the speakers and perfect those tricky scissor jumps.
All the While, they're howling and crooning in equal measure, syncopated soul harmonies followed by the screaming of every devrl in hell being flayed Guitars lurk menacineg in the background, burlding up a swelling chant before launching into the most glorious chaos. Think The Clash. Think James Brown Think Nick Cave. Think The Cramps. Think Jesus Christ, that's the best gig in years. (Jonathan Trew)
Gold Blade full-on rock 'n' roll
Glasgow: Royal Concert Hall, Fri 25 Apr it it it She may ultimately have been cheered as loudly as ever by a sell-out first night crowd, but this Will not go down as a classic Nanci Griffith concert. It took a long time to burld any real momentum, and the singer's usually pristine voite was showing distinct signs of overuse.
The current year-long tour is a celebration of ten years of her Blue Moon Orchestra, and the band was in fine fettle. Nonetheless, it was only when her tour guests, The Crickets, iorned her for a couple of songs midway through the first set that the musm‘al temperature of an oddly subdued occasion finally began to rise.
The band brought out the latent rock and roller in the folksy Ms Griffith, notably on a down and dirty version of Sonny Curtis's 'l Fought The Law', but the Cllt kets subsequent reprise of Buddy Holly's greatest hits was a little too nostalgic for comfort.
Griffith was stronger in the second set, which began wrtli iter emotive dedication to a friend who committed SUICIde, Saint Teresa of AVila, and murky-d in versions of classic songs by John Prrne, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt High pOInts included an effective re-arrangement of 'lt’s A Hard ere' and the recent ’Not My Way Home’. (Kenny Mathieson)
STAR RATINGS a: i: i it * Outstanding it i t * Recommended * t * Worth a try * * So-so if Poor
POP ’, f Edinburgtha Belle Angele, Thurs l7 ' l " Ma *ti
Ju ging by the number of posters plastered round town, Hub are already causmg a commotion, and going by their sheer profrCIency tonight, the hype’s worth watching. The opening wah wah workout sets the tone for a short set of classic boys' stuff of the type that's ten a penny at the top of every chart Just now. The difference With Hub though, is for all their big- collared porse and ambition, their songs are chock-full of sly humour, while cocky frontman Tony King’s between-song banter has a healthy poke at professional northerners.
Let's Just hope Hub don't inadvertently become everybody‘s fav0urite locks, for if they do manage to make the great leap forward, tl‘rey should bear in mind how many have fallen before them Someone rather barmin suggested Hub sounded like awful pomp-conceptualists Rush A ghastly proposmon for sure, but mercifully unfounded on this showrng File under most likely to. (Neil Cooper)
Hubrchock-full of sly humour