Glasgow: SECC, Fri 28 Nov «a
$0, Texas. Credible or not? Are they the band of choice for ageing dinner parties that try too hard to be cool, or are they the sound of the street, defining the cutting edge as exemplified by recent collaborations with hip hop kings the Wu Tang Clan and given the seal of approval by trendier than thou style mags, such as i0 and The Face, which have put singer Sharleen Spiteri on their covers? Twice in the space of a year in the case of The Face.
The answer, inevitably, lies somewhere between the two extremes. Some would say that the answer, and indeed Texas themselves, lie slap bang in the middle of the road. All but the most snobby of indie purists must have found themselves humming along to at least one of the Top Ten singles from their two million selling album, White On Blonde. On the other hand, Texas have a mannered sophistication that is likely to turn off anyone who likes their music unshaven and with a big, dirty dangerous streak. The fact of the matter is that Texas have such a large
bag of tricks hidden in their up-to-the-minute fashionable combat breeches that they can attract a huge swathe of the population. At least two million of them to be exact. There are a good few thousand of these fans at the SECC tonight, and it's perfectly plain that they couldn't give a monkey’s what any self-styled arbiters of taste have to say. It’s easy to understand why: Texas put on a slick show that contains nothing too threatening nor anything too
From the exuberant pop surge of 'Halo’ to the low key emotion stated gently in ‘Breathless', Spiteri caters for the diverse needs of all the audience. You want soft tear
ROCK The Montrose Avenue Glasgow: King Tut's, Wed l9 Nov
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’We'll be back here again on Friday nrght,’ offers a hopeful Rob Lindsey- Clark, hyphenated guitarist and co- vocalist with the Montrose Avenue 'lt'll he a more rocktastici set ' The London—based five-piece were supposed to be. playing beneath the bright lights of Hamilton tonight, until somebody noticed that the Celtic v
52‘TIIE llS‘I’ 8-48 Dec 1997
Rangers :natc h on the telly Hence, here they are at Tut's, hastily crammed onto the hill in support t-.: the honky- tonkin' Dale Watson ln deference to the general theme of the night, l.iiidse‘,'-Ciaik informs us, he’s chosen to don his 'most country‘ shzrt, a modestly chet ked number which, working in concert with his hair conspires to remind us ~ in the purely Visual sense, you understand of the young Neil, eh, Young
AltltOLigh tindsay-Clark has literally staked out the centre-stage area, it
Sharleen Spiteri: broader appeal than most
jerkers for couples to sway to? Here's ’Put Your Arms Around Me', a ballad defined by swelling tenderness and the stark vulnerability of Spiteri's voice. Fancy a bit of rough? Then chew on ’Postcard' with its tick-tock beat, sleazy guitars and Spiteri turning up the knob on her vocal chords marked ‘extra sexy huskiness'. How about some strident rootsiness? Get ready to sing along to ‘I Don't Want A Lover’ and its distinctive guitar
It's impossible to be all things to all people all of the time but Texas have a good stab at it tonight.
soon becomes clear that the heart of the group is c!’:\.‘.’(led in behind the keyboards nudgrng the wings, in the sh; pe of Scott James ‘t/ocals are shared eguallv between these two and another guitarist, Paul Williams but it seems apparent that it's James who .hole opeig‘itron, arzled by a truce straight from the big pine box marked gravelly' The Montrose Avenue offer a bundle of three-part harmonies served up with a keg of guitar and organ, calling to mind hits -';‘ Green On Red, echoes of the Jay/haunts, sp’rnters of Teenage Fanclub and spatterincis of all the bands who ever ~.'xent into influencing those three
9-, trad, clad Which is not always a turf '..".il‘if} and certainly not in this case The Avenue, while never threatening to induce the glazed, head shaking dripping wonder that comes with only the truly special - are a nifty little curriho, all tight and sparky Their most rotktastic’ moment comes with 'Ehe's Looking For h‘ie' title tune of their clehut EP, rock lovers - a whirling thing complete with that descending Sweeney-theme bassline on the chorus They'll he on Chris Evans guiciker than you can stick a dog in a basket lDam-en Lovel
Glasgow: The Garage, Mon 24 Nov at 1%
Given the reports of the advance party - Embrace are the next stadium band in waiting, all Virility and inspiration, a band to adore unequivocally — you couldn't have hoped for a more explosive opening to this gig,
A dense, up-for-it and unapologet- ically loud onslaught blasts forth from the stage, a bit indistinct maybe, but power over subtlety can easily be forgiven live It’s a salvo reminiscent of those early Oasis gigs - the ear- bleedingly loud ones where you could still see the whites of the band's eyes and c0uldn't escape gorng away With ringing ears -~ and it does the trick for about five minutes Then the lack of clarity starts to irl; and Foghorn Leghorn on vocals doesn't help.
Appearing early in the set, current single 'All You Good Good People' has the potential to be affecting ~- nice little melody on the verse, that sort of thing In another group's hands it could flower into a layered epic, but Embrace clomp all over it With their elephantine tread
The Embrace modus Operaric/i seems to be make it bigger, keep it louder, overstate vociferously and don't underplay when you can burst a few earclrurns instead Throw in a bit of metaphorical chest—heating for that emotional effect and you'll get everyone caught up in your passionate
Then they start playing the ballads, and you Wish they’d stuck to that formula it might have lacked dynamism, but at least it managed to cover a multitude of weaknesses -- lack of discernible tune, inability to sing whatever said pedestrian tune was, thereby rendering the entire performance excruCIating It's bad enough that their balladeering should he so mundane, without adding a calamitous performance to their sonic
And yet, and yet the crowd love 'em, and they occasionally pull it off, and it's not their fault that a few cloth- eared self-styled arbiters of taste have got in a tiny because they've found a group who do a passable OaSis/Verve hybrid Just think tWice before you get touchy-feely with Embrace.
(Fiona Shepherd) Embrace: don’t hug yet
STAR RATINGS a a a a it Unmissable «v s. 1» it Very 00d 1: i 9: won 8 ShOt * * Below average 9: You've been warned