DANCE Daft Punk
Glasgow: Barrowlands, 31 Oct *** 'Zees is a very special night for us,’ drawls Thomas Bangalter as he and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo return to the Barrowland stage for their encore. 'Eet is 31 Octoberrr you know?’
The bloke dressed as an Indian chief, Minnie Mouse and a scattering of angels know. For it is Hallowe'en and the Punks are in the house and this is quite definitely a party night, not just a concert. It's the atmosphere, the queuing in the cold for an hour dressed as an elf, Roger Sanchez (top class New York DJ star) playing the tunes before the gig and another party organised when the Barrowland is over. Which is just as well, as dance acts are, in the main, exceptionally dull to watch. The debate will carry on forever that two shadowy blokes on a stage pressing buttons is, essentially just two shadowy blokes on a stage pressing buttons. Tonight, though, we’re all in the mood, and with two guys famous for wearing Hallowe'en masks in photo shoots and twisting dance music expectations, expectations are high.
A slow heartbeat starts the set, matched by a vibrating ECG display beneath the duo’s nest of equipment, speeding up as the strains of ’Musique' cut through the
cheering. Elements of their debut album Homework are mixed up with new, harder material. Huge projection screens sync with the tracks, break dancers freezing in time with the beat and deep tunnels of trippy matter shooting towards us. When 'Da Funk' rumbles in, the gent beside me holds his head in his hands and cries 'Oh my god’ as the visuals flicker up the neon Barrowland sign. 'Alive', ’Burnin’ and ’Around The World' are all recieved with a furious E-cstatic reaction. When they carry out the roll call of ‘Teachers’ which starts with scary Hallowe’en music, Boris Karlov and Frankenstein
Daft Punk: not so daft
(guesting specially for the night) don’t get nearly as big a cheer as the pictures of Slam up on the back
Maybe it's the confines of the Barrowland, but the atmosphere just isn't as electric as the tent at T in the Park. Some of their party tricks, like slowing down 'French Kiss' style or blazing into a Giorgio Moroda bass line is stuff we've seen before. Party night it is though and the number of people being told to get off shoulders by security is a record. Beats dooking for apples by a long way. (Rory Weller)
ELECTRO Gary Numan/Bis Glasgow: Pavilion, Fri 31 Oct **
Gary Numan: pants
On the stairs a lop-eared bunny girl is talking to a bored looking robot about matters one can but speculate. The devrl woman on the door grabs the tickets Without a word. It becomes clear that the consumption of int0xicating liquor is not only desirable: it is of immediate necessity. In the bar a man wearing a Wee Willy Winkle hat darts about as if harbouring ants in his Calvin Kleins. lt’s Hallowe'en alright, but little can prepare you for the curiosity that is a Gary Numan gig.
On stage Bis are already airing their incongruous hoppity poppity punk-ska- cutie manifesto in front of what could have been an ill-disposed, partisan crowd. As it IS, the trick or treater kids win over all bar one vociferously incoherent heckler who Stephen mimics wrth hilarious precision. 'You can kick our heads in after if you like,’ he offers. lmpeccable manners, bless them.
It goes dark. A single laser first slices through the nothingness until it becomes apparent that we are in the realm of Spinal Tap. The drummer and keyboardists reside atop one of those Stairways you descend from
aeroplanes. The light show is positively Pink Floyd, but such is the size of the venue it's rather like watching a stadium show in a tin can.
And there is The Man. Or is he an automaton? Black leather imperious, motorcycle boot stomping, Gestapo chic sporting, Numan throws Christ poses and lays down his love to the believers. And boy, do they believe! Charisma? He's Sid Vicious morphed into Liza Minnelli circa Cabaret. Nice nail varnish too.
The songs vary little from monotonous metal to synth drone. Every other one could be 'Cars' except 'Cars' which sounds perverser like something off the last Suede or Blur LP. Well, Damon and Bis and Indie Tom Cobley can resurrect Gary after all these years, but he remains a poor man’s David Bowie/a rich man's Pete Murphy. Oh dear. Truly a clothes peg requiring experience. (Rodger Evans)
STAR RATINGS mm H Unmissable * t t it Very good it t it Worth a shot it * Below average it You’ve been warned
live reviews MUSIC
Manu Dibango/London Community Gospel Choir
Glasgow, Old Fruitmarket, Sat 25 Oct 1% a: at
What promised to be a highlight of Glasgow’s Scotland Africa weekend turned out to be something of a damp squib, with the guest act, rather than the headliner, providing most of what sparks there were. The fifteen-strong London Community Gospel Choir warmed things up with a typically roof- raising opening set, though much of it would be better described as choral pop than your actual gospel. Some numbers displayed an unfortunate saccharine tinge — cheesy organ accompaniment complementing the singers' earnest, choreographed swaying. Where they hit a harder soul- funk groove, however, it was power and passion all the way, building through successive extravagant crescendos to the requisite all-out finish, with several stunning solo performances topping the massed voices' huge, exhilarating clamour. A touch repetitive, perhaps — when they started on ’Bridge Over Troubled Water' you could just see exactly where it was going to go — and of course, for us heathens, the evangelical content makes for somewhat uneasy listening, though that’s hardly their fault.
After half an hour or so the main attraction joined the singers on stage, but where the Cameroon-born vocalist/saxophonist once scaled the heights of searing Afro-jazz fusion, it seems he's recently revived an interest in the church music of his youth, and sure enough his first number, a slow and uneventful sax/organ duet, sounded exactly like a hymn tune. More in this vein followed, the choir falling in behind Dibango’s extraordinary basso profundo voice, one song eerily resembling a cross between ’Amazing Grace' and 'Silent Night': strange stuff to find yourself listening to of a Saturday night.
That big bluesy vibe came to the rescue again at points, the largely underworked band getting dug into some meaty, aggressively jagged workouts; elsewhere, a gentle reggae kick or bright layers of African-style guitar enlivened the picture, while Dibango himself provided the odd lyrical sax interlude. In the main, though, it was the choir doing the rocking and supplying the power; without them Dibango's lacklustre showing would have been even more starkly exposed. (Sue Wilson)
London Community Gospel Choir saving the show as well as souls
7—20 Nov 1997 THE [BT45