FESTIVAL The Longest Day
Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, Sat 20 Jun ****
The crowd parts and there he is, the gurning, sweating embodiment of every festival that ever was. Raggedly reSplendent in watertight, aeon-faded Jeans and a Jerkin emblazoned with grammatically dubious tributes to The Grateful Dead, he’s the very picture of frizzy-haired, antiquated rock 'n' rolldom. But here, in the dry-roasted heat of Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park, surrounded by restless swarms of picnic-munching families and pie-eyed football fans, this catacomb-faced enigma is a gloriously fitting spectacle.
The Longest Day, you see, is not your everyday festival. Firstly, it’s free ~— meaning everyone from be-suited business types to our ierkin-encased friend has ambled in. And secondly, it’s a (nearly) Glasgow only affair, resulting in a warm, effusiver welcoming atmosphere that grins storcally throughout the Sporadic showers that attempt to scupper the day.
After a sparkling set from Irish folkster Andy White and The Bathers, it’s time for Astrid, a band who c0uld scribble a 10,000 word thesrs entitled ’Modesty, Politeness and Apologetic Understatement — The Festival Way’. They display an effortless blend of Byrds-based harmonising and soft, summery garage rock. The crowds respond, naturally, by whooping and wavrng like baboons .at an Easter parade.
But it's not until the arrival of Nimbus that the atmosphere vaults permanently from balmy restlessness to that of genuine, abandoned festivality. Spearheading a freeform prog, beard- tugging jazz TGVlval, Nimbus possess an
Teenage Fanclub: ‘the truth, man!’
almost supernatural ability to have everyone dancing along like acid- ravaged whirly-gigs.
By 8pm, the rain has graCiously admitted defeat and the sweating masses are beginning to resemble extras frorn Sodom and Gommorah - The Musical. Cue, therefore, the appropriately dissolute Toaster. Being unceremoniously Jettisoned from Creation’s hermetically sealed talent tank must’ve been about as much fun as a Wycliffe omnibus, but the fervently eclectic youngsters nevertheless kick out a set that rocks like the Rolling Stones in a landslide. Gawd bless ’em.
Despite suffering the slings and arrows of a murderous sound system, the headliners the Fannies carry on regardless, strolling through the rustic bliss of 'Neil Jung', 'Ain't That Enough' and the rose-tinted glow of 'Sparky's Dream’. All of which are, of c0urse, utterly wonderful. The last word, however, must go to our chemical- enhanced Grateful Dead fan. Staggering through the heavrng masses, he raises his fist and bellows in a Donnington-sized roar, ’Teenage Fanclub are the truth, man!’ Amen. (Sarah Dempster)
ROCK Del Amitri
Glasgow: Tartan Tent, Fri 12 Jun week
Word is there‘s a bit of a kickabout happening on the Continent and, taking into account the fact that size does matter, half of Glasgow seems to have descended on this tent in Glasgow Green to watch the nations slog it out on their wide-screen humungotelevrsion. Tonight however, in a rare break from the football, Del Amitri, the band behind Scotland’s 'Don’t Come Home Too Soon' single, are here to rally the troops.
Barring a handful of new songs, it’s a two hour greatest hits package which everybody can girn along to with the notable exception of Justin Currie who forgets the words to ’Nothing Ever Happens' — the shame! Banter is a bit thin on the ground but they’re having fun, the audience is jolly and Justin’s ill- advrsed suedehead is growing out (I’m a girl and these things matter). ' Jimmy Blue' hasn’t lost its electricity although the crowd’s synchronised semaphore hand actions detract from the poignancy; ’The Ones That You Love' and 'Stone Cold Sober' remind us how under-rated Del Amitri really are and, inexplicably, the rather weak
Del Amitri: Scotland's secret weapon
’Driving With The Breaks On’ goes down a storm.
An impromptu rendition of 'Flower Of Scotland’ is the punters’ secret weapon when it comes to getting an encore and the band oblige, dragging Kevin McDermott with them. In his little Scotland shirt he looks like a wee boy in a washing powder ad but his vocal talents are needed for ’Don't Come Home Too Soon'. Currie has said that this is just a Dels’ song, reinterpreted for the occasion. Only in this relatively football-free zone can you appreciate its place in their copybook collection of pop/rock. (Susan Mackenzie)
ROCK Earl Brutus
Tonight You Are The Special One (Fruition) 4: 4r st r
To taste the full majesty of Earl Brutus, you really have to experience their five- headed madhouse in the so-called live arena. For the 99.999% of the population who have never bothered to attend their brilliantly shambolic gigs, this second album is a more disciplined way into these glorious rip- off merchants. Pilfering the riffs from 'Crazy Horses’ and ’Silver Machine’ is hardly a sOphisticated move, but on 'Second Class War' and ’Male Wife' Earl Brutus somehow manage to make it sound inspired andiustified. For the most part Tonight. features dirty great glam rock riffs over momentous rhythms With come-and-have-a-go vocals. It's their total lack of self- consoousness about their glam racket, influences and appearance that make Earl Brutus Just about the only British band on a par with such US high priests of cool as Rocket From The Crypt. (FS)
Rocket From The Crypt RFTC (Elemental) Mrth
And here they are, not goite as bolshy and brilliant as Earl Brutus but nevertheless retaining their crown as the supreme testosterone zone in rock ’n’ roll today. Current delirioust dumb single ’When In Rome Do The lerk’ is a tone-setter, straying perilously close to mainstream cock rock but avording ensnarement owrng to its sense of humour, trumpet embellishments and the liberally Brylcreemed quiffs of all concerned. On RFTC, our heroes keep things direct and sassy, kicking ass Without friIIsWhile Jon Spencer Blues Explosion or Royal Trux can’t resrst their perverse punk impulse to go off the rails, Rocket grab a song by the balls and beat it into submission. It's not big, it's not clever, but it sure is sexy. (FS) Five
Five (RCA) s as
This uninspired debut album from the latest chartbound boy band is enough to make you nostalgic for the days of 'real’ teenyboppers like Take That. The five members of Five (hey, it’s a
concept!) — Sean, Rich, Scott, Abs and l— are interchangeable With the five members of Backstreet Boys — Dave, Dozy, Beaky, Shug and Sneezy — and several other groups, all of whom seem to have five members, the ideal number for a bOy band (less chance of not fancying any of them -» see 91 I). The music, if you must know, is lacklustre swrngbeat from start to finish, although former single 'When The Lights Go Out’ was an insidiously catchy wee number . and Sean's qune cute, and no, be strong! While there’s an Ant & Dec in this world, everyone should resist the false promises of Five. (FS)
Strange (Parlophone) t a: s
Strange indeed. We have fallen on hard post-Britpop times where it is no longer enough to be chirpy and swagger a bit. Instead many new acts are casting around, trying to break the mould and sometimes suceeding, sometimes retreading a well-worn path. Ether fall a little uncomfortably into this loose pigeonhole. By turns, they are cuddly and bouncy, self- analySIng and brash. Throughout, both lyrically and musically, they exhibit an unashamed romantic streak and a touching innocence which shows itself in gentle harmonies, especrally on ’Best Friend’. Good natured and amiable, it's hard not to like and equally as hard to love. (IT)
Breaking God’s Heart (Too Pure)
,* 1f: *
Darren Hayman is one of those non- vocalists whose ’singing' works surprismgly well in context. Like an English Steve Malkmus, he makes excruoating work of the high notes and gets away With it because a) his strained vocals suit the awkwardness of the music and b) he has something to say, even if much of it is of the indie saddo frustration variety. Breaking God's Heart, recorded at Glasgow’s Cava Studios, has two basic types of song — the sparse, whiny one with the gauche charm and the denser, faster angular one that SOUtTdS like Wire or some other post-punk oddballs in plaintive mood. As it stands, a curious debut, wrth a little teasing of their talents, Hefner could be the next bunch of essential musical weirdos. (FS)
Rocket From The Crypt: not big, not clever but hellish sexy.
25 Jun—9 Jul 1998 THE U3T45