live review

VARIOUS The Longest Day

Glasgow: Queen Margaret Student Union, Sat 21 Jun ***

As it turned out, it wasn’t the longest day after all. The planned al fresco extravaganza in Kelvingrove Park was rained off and contingency plans put into effect before you could say ’dismantle that portaloo‘. So, rather than an all-day festival-come-mudslide, we get a clammy marathon gig, which does at times feel like the longest night. Still, hats off to the promoters for setting up an alternative that sticks to the original bill.

Things start hesitantly, melodically and gently with Astrid, a quartet who wear Urge Overkill suits but can’t disguise the fact that they still have a distance to go when it comes to scaling the rock 'n' roll ladder. Polar Bear have the confidence and a couple of songs to do it, but debut single 'Starfighter Pilot' is their best, ballsy effort so far, and no one wants to entertain the prospect that, after an auspicious start, the only way is down.

The Starlets can do the suit thing too, but their tailoring says 'ooh, post-modern pop irony is us' as they mince perkin around the

stage, offering songs as substantial as sherbert (could

be a compliment, that).

V Twin hit the stage at just the right time - the well- oiled audience has got into its (flared denim) stride(s) and parties to their dumb but entertaining retro rocking (Faces, Dolls, Who, blah, blah) before general fatigue and dull—wittedness set in but is that the crowd or The Bathers' contribution we're talking about?

After this, the neat groove hit by The Pastels keeps proceedings coasting along as things get hazier and lazier (hey, it is summer after alll). Wits are dutifully pulled together for Belle And Sebastian, a band who are greeted with an imaginary group hug from their

Could be the cover to Belle and Seb's ‘If You‘re Feeling Sinister"!

attentive fans and who respond with a shy smile, a

modest grace, characteristic whimsy and all the hits

from both albums (hurrah!) 'Judy And The Dream Of Horses', ‘Dylan At The Movies' and (addresses listeners over shoulder like Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element) my personal favourite ’I Don't Love Anyone’.

As usual, it’s hard to go wrong with material as swoonworthy as this, but as the soundtrack to a blissed- out sunny evening, it could have been incredible. As it stands, it was just a gig.

So we had to imagine that we all fell asleep under the stars beside the dying embers of our campfires, as you do at the end of any good festival. (Fiona Shepherd)

POP Peter Andre

1 Edinburgh: Usher Hall, 3 Mar.

Peter Andre and his famous pecs in an unusually coy shot

44 THE “ST 2/ Jun ll) Jul lfl’l/

In the interests of fairness, we asked a tourteen-year-o/d fan to revrew Peter the Pecs, figuring she’d .‘ippreciate him more than our usual curmudgeon/y twentysomething rewewers

Before Peter came on there was three groups. They were good and included LiVing Joy who sang some songs and their new single 'Where Can I Find Love', to get the crowd in the mood. We had a break for about ten minutes before Peter came on

The lights were flashing and the crowd was going Wild, streaming and shouting and all of a sudden a spotlight went on and Peter Andre and the curtains were pulled up and everybody was going bad. | Just stood there, I Just couldn’t believe he was standing there and l was crying my eyes out at him. His first song was 'Turn It Up', his first ever song and the crowd were going absolutely mad He went off to change for his next song and kept speaking into the microphone while he changed

When he came back, he sang one

song and then sang 'lvlysterious (3irl'. He asked someone from the crowd to come up and he sang 'I Feel You' to her and the crowd was screaming as he took her hand and touched her face, He asked the crowd to sing With him and the crowd was geing bad. He split his backing group into three and got his dancers Sly and Zeus to help and we sang the chorus Then he went off to change and a spotlight went on him and he didn’t have a too on, by this time the crowd was going raVing bad. He sang his new Single 'Au Naturel' Two girls ian on stage and grabbed Peter, the bodyguarder took them off and later on some other girls done the same and Peter rust laughed at them and said, 'You Edinburgh people are Wild'

He said goodnight and went off. Everyone was shouting 'We love you Peter’ and screaming and crying, The crowd was shouting 'We want more Peter' so he came on and sang 'Flava’ for his last song. (Caroline RenWick)

I Peter Andre plays the SECC, Glasgow on Mon 7 Jul


Gretschen Hofner/Unsophisticates Edinburgh: Attic, Tue 17 Jun. * i **

'That last song was called "Pervert". This one is called "Straitjacket",’ says The Unsophisticates' menacing-looking frontman. And they all sound like the soundtrack to the nightmare you hope you will never have.

Drums rattle at the wrong time, guitars are scraped with bits of metal, the singer growls about death, betrayal and suicide into a vocoder while the double bass either refuses to work at all or feeds back violently. Behind it all there’s an expertly hidden tune.

Twenty years ago, it would have been called experimental. Today, it suggests that The Unsophisticates spent their formative years in either a crackhouse or art school. It's not so much low life as no life and it's strangely compelling. Even if you do feel a bit para walking home afterwards.

Gretschen Hofner cut their sound from a Similar sackcloth. They look like Vegas cabaret singers who have gone off the tracks, brought low by a love affair with a bottle which went wrong. The suits are in place, the quiffs combed but the shirts are crumpled. The violinist and pianist’s dress is ripped ~ glamour has gone to seed.

Likewise, Gretschen Hofner’s songs sound like they used to be played on a larger stage before falling from grace, switching from the grandiose to the twitchy. One moment, we're dealing With the big issues: right and wrong, the existence of a benevolent god and the next, it's time for a song about the unfriendliest pub in London and how an encounter with Bloody Mary, one of its regulars, leads to bloodshed between the sheets. Upmarket or what?

Needless to say the music matches the lyrical moods: sonorous piano for the melodrama contrasted With splenetic surf-tinged guitars for those Ioucher moments. When things get really hectic the Violin starts screaming desperately enough to make the shower scene in Psycho sound like the contented purr of a satisfied moggy.

The most enioyably sordid evening for quite some time. (Jonathan Trew)

9. ‘r-‘W

Gretschen Hofner: bad apples.

good band STAR RATINGS it it it * * Outstanding it it * ii Recommended * t it Worth a try it it 80-50 * Poor