live reviews

ROCK Primal Scream

Glasgow: Barrowland, Sun 8 Feb * * a:

First the good news. There’s no talk of anyone getting spiked by a festering hypodermic. Now the bad. That might have offered a welcome distraction.

Primal Scream aren't bad, but, for a band of extremes, they Offer a disappointing mediocrity. The Scream team are infamous for intoxicated lurching between genius and awfulness; kissing the sky one moment, pissing it away the next. Their dub-blues-trance- boogie is usually a majestic, satanic eulogy to rock 'n' roll hedonism that seems certain to cast them into the Seventh Circle of Hell come closing time, but tonight they praise rock with only the faintest whiff of damnation and the Glasgow crowd find themselves in purgatory.

There are highlights. 'If They Move, Kill ’Em' is slinkier than a greased otter, all spy theme moodiness, pimp-rolling bass, and the filthiest sax-blowing since Bill Clinton first pursed lips. Where

there’s brass there’s muck as the saying should go. ‘Kowalski' is much harder than on record. Strobes drench the Barrowland, Vanishing Point plays on the backdrop and the Scream unleash a thunderous, paranoid version that seems more in keeping with its pedal-flooring, bennied-up inspiration.

These are exceptions though. For the most part the set is a plodding, incoherent mess, with The Primals consistently substituting maximum heaviosity for passion and style. There’s something to be said for playing louder and more intensely than anyone else - it worked for The Verve - but this is simply bludgeoning your audience with graceless noise. A sun-kissed ’Come Together’ and a beatified ‘Higher Than The Sun' drag themselves above the morass, but there are moments

Primal Scream: more of a whimper than a bang

when this genuinely sounds like a dub 'Tiger Feet’ underpinned by the riff from 'Smoke On The Water’. 'You’ll have to excuse me, I'm fuckin’ bladdered,’ slurs Mani. Don't worry mate, I blame Ritchie Blackmore.

The band close with a raging, out-and-out punk take

on MCS’s 'Kick Out The Jams’ which is literally a primal

scream. All the iconic images of 605 and 705 Americana - Che Guevara, Travis Bickle, student riots, Vietnam, civil rights marches, Brian.Wilson, nuclear warheads, Las Vegas flash on the backdrop like a magic lantern show of hepcat rebellion. It's a perfect Primal Scream moment, extracting the essence of rock from four decades of youth culture. But it can't shake the memory of the rest of the set, and more than one person leaves feeling needled. (Peter Ross)

ROCK Dawn Of The

Replicants Glasgow: King Tut's, 13 Feb hue

Although it's Friday 13, nothing but good fortune is attending a close-to- capacity King Tut's audience here to view the overwrought majesty of Ultrasound, a band whose belief in their epic guitar onslaughts manifests itself not as school of Radiohead self-flagellating demon exorcism, more as the journey to the centre of the ego stuff that characterises

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The Verve at their peak.

Equally lost in their own netherworld are Dawn Of The Replicants, the cinematically-monikered reason for The List’s attendance, but then, the Creation of an alternative reality to retreat into is probably par for the course when you live in Galashiels. A rural rugby-obsessed towri isn't yer usual breeding ground for the latest trendy combo. Consequently the Replicants are the motliest crew to grace a stage since, um, Ultrasound. And anyway, they're not actually the latest trendy combo. But they are sporadically

brilliant and totally hatstand, although this latter idiosyncracy could be the creeping influence of their collective former occupation as music journalists. Is this why the Replicants sound like a chaotic cocktail of Nick Cave, The Psychedelic Furs, The Fall, Super Furry Animals, The Beach Boys, Smashing Pumpkins and Captain Beefheart? is this why there seems to be some effort made wrth regards to stagecraft (more of this later)? A little knowledge can be a bad thing but livrng free from a stylish urban culture, which would normally never allow such a haircut disaster zone to congregate on one stage, the five-piece have forged their own thrillineg undisciplined sound. However, too much imagination can be a bad thing when the nuances of the songs are lost in the mix. Singer Paul Vickers compensates with some performance art. Clad in 3 Babylon Zoo bacofoil jacket he sprinkles glitter on the stage using a plastic fan and for his finale he shoots toy rockets into the crowd like one of those pointless Shooting Stars challenges. Well, it beats throwing drumsticks into the crowd. And we, like Bjork at the Brits, are grateful grapefruits. (Fiona Shepherd)

ROCK Julian Cope

Edinburgh: Assembly Rooms, Sun 9 Feb *****

It’s the lunchbox that attracts gasps of admiration at first but it quickly becomes apparent that there's more to Julian Cope than a back catalogue of great songs and a pair of well-filled leggings. Honestly, if you haven't seen the Archdrude playing solo and acoustic, you’ve missed out on one of the country's funniest performers.

The names lzzard and Bailey flit across a hundred minds simultaneously as Cope rambles through one of his free-associating stream-of- consciousness raps: about his forthcoming book on standing stones, which archeologists will violently disagree with, but will be forced to shell out a horrendous sum for in order to get the full-colour pictures; about his theory of language (a complicated one); about his ambition to bypass writing altogether and disseminate wisdom intuitively; and about how the youth of 2020 will be persecuting the old farts who listened to rock music in the 905 . . . unless, of course, they were listening to Julian Cope.

Oh, and there are songs, too. Delivered with varying degrees of success, from forgiveable ropiness to almost accidental triumph, each one capped with a delighted grin from its creator. New versions of 'Passionate Friend' and 'The Great Dominions', ‘You Disappear From View' played the way the Teardrops should have recorded it on the mighty and majestic Mellotron, of course and a cherry-picked sample of his solo works. But, really, a highly unscientific straw poll afterwards concludes that a large proportion of the audience would have been happy if he'd put down his guitar and bantered for the rest of the night.

For all the whimsy of his between- song raps, Cope extracts tongue from cheek and sings of being abducted by UFOs or generally coming over all paranormal with shocking conviction. This isn't Bill Bailey singing about being a human slave in an insect nation. Cope believes in what he sings, and believes he's making the world a better place by passing the message on, lubricated with laughter. In the Millennium, all gigs will be like this. (Alastair Mabbott)

Julian Cope: gab for it


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