r ‘ ROCK
Nick Lowe Glasgow: King Tut’s, Sat 7 Feb.
‘Apart from my fan base, which is quite small but very loyal,’ considers Nick Lowe, ’I don’t think anyone knows who I am anymore.’
Can it be true? That the Now People of the late nineties ain’t hip to the original Jesus of Cool? If so, then Lowe must surely rank as one of the UK’s most valuable hidden resources. Since his time with those Band-worshipping stalwarts of the proto-punk pub-rock scene, Brinsley Schwarz, through his extended tenure as in-house producer during the halcyon days of Stiff Records, to the moment when, in 1994, he penned "The Beast in Me' — a song which suited Johnny Cash like the air he breathes and became the soul of the Man in Black’s American Recordings album - Nick Lowe has been turning out exquisitely crafted work while having the sense to leave the edges rough enough to pierce a listener’s skin. Hell, even if he’d only written '(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?', Lowe deserves at least a little plaque in every village in the land.
Now, three years on from his last album The Impossible Bird, Lowe has graced us with a new collection, Dig My Mood. But what, exactly, is the mood of the man they call Basher and — perhaps more crucially — just why should we dig it? ’Eh,
well,‘ he offers, ‘I’m in a very good mood, and, well, I hope that that’s a catching thing. So there we have it.’
A supremely modest album, Dig My Mood’s, eh, mood ranges effortlessly through the spartan noir- swoon of ’Faithless Lover’ to the cap-doffing Cash- alike 'The Man That I’ve Become'. In between there lies plenty of soul and a whole rockpile of country, with a couple of jazz-inflected ballads, notably the gorgeous ’You Inspire Me', a song written to be hummed by a contented Chet Baker in heaven.
’I used to hate singing in the studio,’ Lowe says
Nick Lowe: not a spotty Herbert
when asked about the confidence of his crooning, ’because I could hear my fake little vocal mannerisms, especially when l was trying to do something "moody". It's one of the good things about getting older: you can sing the blues and sound a bit more convincing than when you were a spotty herbert who hasn’t done anything or been kicked in the bollocks by love and life and all of that stuff that comes along, y'know.’ Moody young rockers, please take note.
Glasgow: Cathouse, Wed 18; Edinburgh2Venue, Sun 15.
Feline: claws four rebels .
46 THE UST 6—19 Feb 1998
’l’m really into cats,’ states Grog, lead singer with appropriately named, four-piece rock band Feline and proud displayer of a cat tattoo on her right arm. ’I like the nature of cats, their independence and the witchy relationship which they have with women.’
If this conjures up images of black nail polish, back-combed hair and nights spent drowning in Cider and black down the local sticky disco then fear not, for Grog and her pals are not goths. Grog admits to a penchant for the Cure and Sioume Sioux but stops short of being a full- scale Sister of mercy.
Feline’s debut album Save Your Face sounds not so much goth-like as swashbuckling in a hearty, balls- to-the-wall way. It clenches rollicking tunes betweens its teeth and swings overboard the good ship Rockout with gusto. Which, in a twisted and contrived way, brings us to the startling revelation that Grog believes that she was a pirate in a former life. Not to be outdone.
gmtarist Drew Richards has, according to Grog, pirate ancestry, a relic from former generations on the Jamaican side of his parents. He also sports an uncle or great-uncle (Grog is unsure of this point) who was the priest of a Cult, while a further unspeCified relative apparently ran a brothel. Dull as dish water,
suburban, indie boy backgrounds ! 1
don’t get a look in
Eye-patch and parrot jokes aside, if it’s pOSSible to discern what a band sound like from the music they like, then make what you wrll of Grog’s fantasy superband. ’Iggy Pop and Shirley Bassey would share the vocals,’ reckons Grog. ’Keith Moon from The Who would take care of the drums. We’d have SiOUXie Sioux doing spooky backing vocals; Jean Jaques Burnel on bass and the Spanish guy from The PiXies on gUitar because you have to have a Spanish contingent.’ (Jonathan Trew)
l Feline tour wrth Radiator and Catherine Wheel.
Edinburgh: Queen's Hall, Thu 19 Feb; Glasgow: City Hall, Fri 20 Feb.
In a world where success seems to depend on starting young, it is immensely reassuring that there is at least one exception to the rule. Swedish trombone Virtuoso Christian Lindberg, the first trombone sol0ist in history, only started to play trombone at seventeen, an age when most musicians are frantically worrying about which conservatoire will help them reach even diZZier heights.
Preparing now for two important events a the premiere of Lyell Cresswell’s KAEA (Trombone Concerto) With the SCO and his 40th birthday on 15 Feb — he explains his rise to the top in straightforward terms. ’Basically, I started playing jazz, but I had a classical teacher. By nineteen, I was playing in the opera orchestra and the trombone made me really interested in ClaSSlCal mu5ic.’
Whereas most trombonists were happy with their lot somewhere at the back of the orchestra, counting lots of bars rest and contemplating which pub to go to afterwards, he decided that enough was enough, ’After a year in the orchestra, I thought, this isn’t right. The trombone is hardly used,’ explains Lindberg. ’So, I left, deCided to make the trombone a solo instrument and travelled the world finding teachers and repertOire. From the age of 25, I’ve been a soloist.’
Explaining why he is the first trombone soloist, Lindberg says, ’In one respect, this century is the right one for the instrument. Its dynamic can be very varied, going from very loud to very soft and in this century we’re used to loud noises. I’m just lucky that no one did it before me.‘
KAEA — the name is taken from the Maori wooden war trumpet ~ is the latest in a catalogue of over 60 concertos written speCially for Christian Lindberg. ’It is a very good piece,' he says. ’Technically, it’s really virtuosic but cleverly written, so not impossible' One somehow feels that even if it was, Lindberg would find a way round it. (Carol Main)
Christian Lindberg: the stand-alone trombone