Club culture and unionism are going hand in hand in Pure Glasgow, a street party celebrating the city's vibrant face. Words: Rory Weller
THE FESTlVlTlES ARE just beginning for Glasgow. even as Edinburgh winds down after a month of high jinx.
Pure Glasgow is a day‘s full-on. feet on the street celebration of the city and its people. which will see a large chunk of Glasgow‘s centre closed off. In true Glasgow style the mascot for the free event on 3] August is the statue of the Duke of Wellington sitting astride his horse outside the Gallery Of Modern Art — complete with his familiar Saturday night traffic cone hat.
The Duke and his headgear set the laisse:
“Mi an 'iil-u‘—‘~"i m.—.-u'..):,~w“~ .
Jilkes and Hatch: match and despatch the dance beats at Knucklehead
fair-e tone for the events mounted by Glasgow City Council to commemorate the Scottish
Trades Unions Council’s centenary. Kicking off
the day. puppets three metres high will lead a procession from George Square to Glasgow Green for theatre. kids‘ events and music. ranging from the RSNO to an extensive world music programme.
The Merchant City is to become a flurry of
club style extravagances. with six stages rocking the block until llpm. There will be a triumph of local DJs and live performers. most from the vibrant underground dance scene.
Ripping up dancefloors from Cambridge to Cape Wrath, the Amoebas have never sounded better. Words: Stella Whitehead
THE TARTAN AMOEBAS have become such an institution that it can be easy to overlook just how radical they sounded when they first hit the scene five years ago. They sent shock-waves around the ceilidh circuit with their now trademark blend of Scottish jigs and reels with snake-hipped Latin grooves and skanking reggae beats.
A forcible reminder, however, was the near delirious reception the eight-piece earned last month at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival. Given that English audiences tend to lag a good few years behind the Scots when it comes to that neovroots fusion thang, the Amoebas‘ powerhouse performances carried the full
impact of the shock of the new.
A fresh and generous measure of that pioneering spirit is splashed all over their newly released third album Evolution, the first of their recordings to consist entirely of original material. Markedly more free-ranging and multi-dimensional than its predecessors, drawing confidently from a broad palette of Celtic, rock, funk, world and dance textures, the album consolidates their development from fast 'n' furious dancefloor stompers to a
fully fledged concert outfit.
'We really tried to think of it from the start as an album, not just a recorded live set, and this time we've had a bit more time in the studio to do that — a whole fortnight rather than about four days,’ explains Fraser McNaughton, the band's frontman, fiddler, piper and composer-in-chief. 'We've gone for a more groove-oriented, dance-oriented sound rather than just the Latin/reggae thing. We've put keyboards in too which frees up the guitar from just doing rhythmic stuff.
While drawing on a hugely diverse range of influences, Evolution still has its roots in folk tradition. 'The main thing is the writing,' says McNaughton. 'There's still a very strong folk element to the tunes, I'd never want to lose that, but by writing your own material you can build in a lot more layers, come up with a type of fusion that really makes sense. It's also a really creative challenge; plus there's the fact that if people aren't writing new traditional music,
there won't be any tradition in the future.’
I Tartan Amoebas play Glasgow Green as part of Pure
Glasgow on Sun 31. Evolution is out now on Iona.
20 THE lIST 29 Aug—ll Sept 1997
l~o' i9 '
Tartan Amoebas: putting the dance into your pants
What. you may ask. does all this have to do with the STUC'.’ Neil Butler is managing director of UZ. coordinators of Pure Glasgow. He explains: ‘lf unionism is about anything these days. it‘s about people getting together to make things happen. With Pure Glasgow. you’ve got groups who are quite often rivals working alongside each other ~ promoters. agents. artists. entertainers and DJs.’
The STUC connection will be obvious during the parade. when l5()() red flags will be carried by union representatives. industrial associations and community groups.
Curiously. for a city council which has not been the most helpful towards club culture in recent years — the lam curfew still stands — Pure Glasgow's feisty clubby mix is definitely the day‘s highlight. On outdoor stages and in bars around the Merchant City, a combination of big name guests and local talent will push the party vibe to the max.
The drum ’n‘ bass stage outside Bargo is headlined by high profile female duo Kemistry and Storm who work closely with Goldie and his Metalheadz projects. Kings of the Glasgow [3&8 circuit Kemal are joined by KMC. Both are fast getting the national recognition they deserve.
A former international DJ of the year. Daz Saund chiefs the techno assault on the dance stage in the Ingram Street car park. There. hard dance fans can enjoy some of the faces that have been responsible for making Glasgow a leading force in the underground. DJs from Pure. Knucklehead. (‘ool Lemon. The Ark and Test are all included in the line-up.
As well as highlighting local DJs and artists from the city‘s gay scene. the Pure Pink Party in Virginia Street will feature a personal appearance by surprise. last minute addition to the bill. Jimmy Somerville. There‘s also a hot salsa latino stage. jazz and fashion at the Italian Centre and yet more techno action down at Bar 91.
Hopefully the city fathers‘ commitment to this event is a recognition that the club scene goes a long way to making Glasgow ‘pure. dead brilliant'.
Pure Glasgow is on Sun 31 Aug, 3-11pm, various venues. See listings, right, for details.