ROCK Symposrum Glasgow: King Tut’s, Thurs 29 May.
Rock ’n’ roll is a potent force. The kids danced in the street with Martha And The Vandellas. They ripped out cinema seats to the strains of ’Rock Around The Clock’ when it was used as the theme to The Blackboard Jungle. They stopped the Vietnam War by chanting at Woodstock (well, best not to spoil their acid-fuelled illusion . . .). And now they are RAMPAGING up and down the country in modestly-proportioned VENUES incited by the insurrectionary SOUNDS of ten- Iegged TEEN REBELLION machine SYMPOSIUM (capitals mine).
Okay, I exaggerate. The fans occasionally rip posters off walls. But the band . . .
’We were banned from a few venues,’ admits bassist and main songwriter Wojtek Godsisz, ’but that was in the early days when we had no money to pay the owners for the damage.’ Like what? ’Ross [Cummins, their spacehopper singer] doesn’t mind ripping off a fixture or two, so fair play to him.
’The notorious one was in the Bull And Gate in London when Ross got
I». A- :1... a»
ﬂaws ‘~ ~'“ ‘ ‘ I-
Will King Tut's survive the wrecking terror of Symposium?
really drunk before the gig. He pulled out a whole sink and flooded backstage, then destroyed the sink and threw little pieces of ceramic at the support band. And then onstage he was so drunk that he just lay down for the whole set moaning into the microphone and it was a shit gig. But afterwards there was a silver lining to the cloud because it taught us a lesson never to drink before gigs again. It was our first gig with our manager, who still encourages us to destruction, and our tour manager has to sort it all out afterwards.’
However, this rabble-rousing reputation coupled with their superconfident melodic punk pop has earned Symposium the title Best Live Band In Britain (In A
Supporting Role). With new single, the allegedly heavy metal-inspired ’The Answer To Why I Hate You’, they look set for promotion into the chart league.
But what does Wojtek make of their formidable standing as a bunch of real livewires?
'It’s horses for courses,’ he says modestly. ’Symposium might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone might be in the mood to see us. Like if you’ve just had a bereavement or something then it might not be a very good thing to to come to — you might want to go to a Tindersticks gig. There’s places for all different kinds of live experiences. I don’t think we make anyone redundant.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
The Make-Up: soul soldiers for monkey power
ROCK The Make-Up Glasgow: King Tut's, Fri 16.
Something important is coming, people. Arisen from the ashes of Ulysses. Following two partially hidden shows of monumental proportions in the city last year, Washington DC’s Gospel-wielding razor gang of Soul revolutionaries The Make-Up are returning to Glasgow. G0 along and have your life changed, friends. You will witness three men and a woman on fire. You will believe once more in music. You will see Ian Svenonius, a
42 THE LIST 16-29 May I997
man consumed by THE TRUTH, possessed, blurting out in tounges at a frenzied rate, a man who cannot stop the messages tumbling from his mouth.
Except, uh, today. Ian’s feeling a little wasted. Followmg a week or two of combining his day JOb as mild mannered assistant in a second-hand stereo store by day with Old Testament evensong recording seSSions stretching through to five in the morning, there seems to be trouble focusing here, something lacking in brain-to-mouth coordination. I suggest that the handsomely coiffeured singer might
grab a coffee before embarking on the rest of his day. Through his fatigue he mutters something about havmg given up the black nectar,
Givmg up the 90-90 iuice? ’Yeah, I’m drinking tea right now,’ he admits. ’lt's no big deal. I woudn't want to centre in on that. Maybe I should supress that. Maybe that’s bad press.’
True enough I offer, there are all those economies in South America partially dependent upon the production and export of coffee beans. If too many people got the ungodly notion to stop drinking the stuff, it could spell catastrophe.
’Hmm, Yeah,’ the singer considers. ’But think of all the rainforests that are razed for the production of coffee beans, and all the monkeys that . . .’ He pauses for breath. ’You know, coffee production is the number one killer of monkeys in the world,’ he asserts. ’Y’know, coffee beans grow best in a really wet, tropical climate and they're always haying to . . Y’know. Whatever What I mean is monkeys and coffee beans thrive in the same climate,’ he concludes. ’They’re often in struggle With one another.’
Simian life or a steaming cup of Joe. People, the chOice is yours. (Damien Love)
CLASSICAL Gordon McPherson
Edinburgh: St Mark’s Unitarian Church, Thurs 29 May. Glasgow: Adelaide's, Tue 3 Jun.
Dundee united arrives in Edinburgh and Glasgow in May/June in the form of a new piece by Dundonian composer Gordon McPherson whose S/owbaby has been commissioned by fellow Dundee musician, guitarist Allan Neave. Written for guitar duo ~ Neave’s other half being Simon Dinnigan — the piece is a spin-off (along with another called Fastbaby) from a larger commission he is currently working on for London’s Icebreaker contemporary music ensemble called The Baby Bear’s Bed. 'I've been told they’re rather suggestive titles’ says McPherson, ’but they’re not deliberate.’
Neave and Dinnigan have scheduled four performances as part of a short tour which also takes in Perth and Dundee, the latter concert being unusual in that it will be broadcast live on the Internet, a possible first on the European music scene. 'It will, however, work as a straight piece’ explains McPherson. ’lt’s not about the Internet, but about information transferral and how fast information can transfer across different media.’
Until a £5000 Gulliver Award for the Arts enabled McPherson to become fully computerised last year, he was not at all technically minded. Well known for the beautiful calligraphy of his own handwritten scores, he never envisaged how much new technology would influence his work, with all his scores now on computer. Also well known for the imaginative titling of his music,
S/owbaby is so called simply because it '
uses the slow material from The Baby Bear’s Bed, which is written fora somewhat eclectic ensemble of instruments. ’That title came quite unwittingly from my girlfriend’ says McPherson. ’Obviously, it’s a reference to Goldilocks And The Three Bears. Goldilocks felt that baby bear’s bed was absolutely perfect, but the important thing is that it wasn't hers. lt suddenly hit me that that is how I feel about myself and the classical music world. I'm very comfortable in it, but it’s not quite mine.’ (Carol Main)
Neave and Dinnigan getting inside the baby bear's bed