live reviews


Tortoise Glasgow School of Art, Mon 30 Mar *****

Hailed by the music press as pioneers of post-rock, Tortoise, the Chicago-based collective has only grown in stature since forming in 93. Their line-up, like their style, seems to be constantly evolving. The most recent change has seen Dave Pajo leaving to concentrate on solo project Aerial M, while in his .f place comes guitarist Jeff Parker 1' (from Chicago Underground . ff; Orchestra). '

Tortoise are on tour to promote their third album, TNT. Recorded over the course of a year, employing nonlinear digital editing techniques (naturally), the new album is longer and more thickly layered than previous projects.

While kicking off with a track from the new album, Tortoise are canny enough to sprinkle their set with older material such as ’Glass Museum’ from Millions Now Living Will Never Die, as well as surprises like the mystery track they play before leaving the stage. Their material, whether new, old or previously unheard, is played with a precision and luminosity that really is breathtaking.

Post-rock comes to seem a paltry term to describe musicians with such an expansive range of musical styles and influences. If any term could hang together the different textures of this music, it’s jazz: feel the easy rapport between the players and the inventive twists and turns of the sound. The main axis of drum/bass/guitars/keyboards/mallets/percussion remains, but the newer material is more densely textured, full of evocative layers of sound.

Some critics have described Tortoise's music as inaccessible. Granted, there are no easy lyrics or hooks to drag the listener in: their appeal is something more

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acw’ “N‘W Tortoise: mesmerising

subtle. They paint aural pictures of sunlight glinting on water, of train journeys, of falling in love. And once you begin to listen them, you really don’t want to stop. Then, when the set seems to have only just begun, Dan Bitney leans into the mike and says, 'thanks for coming down’.

Tortoise come back smiling for the encores and play two more songs, both as fresh as air. The last track of the evening is 'Gamera', the limited edition 12in put out in 96 on Stereolab's Duophonic label. There are murmurs of pleased recognition from some of the audience, but whether you're a muso or just a music lover you can only stand amazed at the beautiful sound Tortoise create. And no one mentioned ‘boffins'. (Sarah Lowndes)

The Corrs: hard to dislike

Andrea and Sharon, are extremely attractive. No. Exceptionally good looking in your average supermodel way. Brother Jim’s alright too, but he keeps his head down and behaves like a muso on guitar and keyboards, leading the tight rhythm section.

In terms of traditional music, one set of basic jigs on the ClaSSlC line-up of fiddle, bodhran, whistle and acoustic gunar delighted their fans, and there was even a solo fiddle rendition, wrth huge digital reverb, of 'Moran's Return’, the old Scots tune that the Irish have borrowed. On her interpretation they can keep it we’ll keep the original.

Platinum album Forgiven Not Forgotten was the source of most of

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FOLK The Corrs

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Fri 20 Am****

When The Corr’s St Patrick’s Night gig in London was broadcast on TV, it showed how incredibly popular this Dublin band has become in a couple of years, pulling an audience that looks like a cross-section of any High Street. It’s been called pop folk, but there are no folkies here. Chemical modification

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is restricted to lager and stout and no-one danced. Well, a couple did jig a bit in the aisles, but things didn’t get out of hand, although the lead singer excitedly admitted she ’must have taken too much ginseng’.

The thing about the Corrs is that they don't sound at all dangerous, coming across more like the Carpenters on Guinness than any of the current crop of Hibernian rootsy bands. They don’t hurt the eyes IhOugh. At the heart of the band, the three sisters Caroline,

their three minute feel good songs. All very well sung, played and staged. Their new single, 'What Can I Do To Make You Love Me’, has an appealing groove. They ran through 'I Can’t Breath’ and and ’Queen Of Hollywood’. Mick Fleetwood, we were told, joined them on stage at the Albert Hall, and isn’t that wonderful and maybe they’ll release a single. Blah Blah. They’re hard to dislike, and the music's hard to remember but they do what they do well. (Norman Chalmers)


Jimmy Webb

Edinburgh: Queen's Hall, 20 Mar * at it

Maybe the songwriter will just never be as sexy a proposition as the performer. You’d never get Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand, Brian Wilson, Robert Flack or anyone else who has ever recorded 3 Jimmy Webb song playing to 3 quarter-empty Queen’s Hall. James Taylor, not a million miles from Webb in songwriting style and inspiration, has sold out the Playhouse, but Jimmy Webb gets to hold court to the faithful few(er) in a more modest venue. Not that he’s resentful he seems genurnely delighted that anyone should care enough to come out and see him, let alone travel some distance to make it.

A songwriting catalogue which includes McArthur Park, Ga/veston and By The Time / Get To Phoenix has got to be worth the journey, even if the Richard Harris and Glen Campbell versions are so entrenched in the consciousness that Webb’s renditions can only disappoint. You know that note at the end of the chorus of McArthur Park which no one can ever reach in karaoke? Well, neither can Jimmy.

His vocal range is limited and more than once you're Wincrng as he strains for the notes or breaks his stride with a husky cough. Occasionally, he strikes the appropriate emotional chord. Wichita Lineman is a spine-tingler.

Just as involving are his anecdotes, which ’An Evening With . . .’ demands. With just the man and a piano in front of a black curtain, this is no glitzy showbiz presentation with ’gee, it’s so wunnerful to be here in England' pronouncements, but more of an intimate recital round at Jimmy’s pad where he reminisces while playing a few teasing idle bars and then eventually launches into a crystal clear performance.

Inevitably, the audience are just waiting for the hits with everything else as soothing filler. Those looking for a crvrlised, relaxing night were not disappomted. Those hoping for Up, Up And Away (me) were, ever so slightly. (Fiona Shepherd)

Jimmy Webb: occasional spine-tingler

STAR RATINGS * t at t it Unmissable * w it a: Very ood * air it We a shot at k . Below average * You‘ve been warned