live reviews


Natalie lmbruglia

Glasgow: Baircwlanrl, 15.": 23 :‘Eov

Blame Stefan Dennis. The explosively blouson-ed ex- Neighbours bluffer, fearing a future in the arid tundra of FormerSoapStarLand, dealt with his unceremonious dismissal by scurrying towards the welcoming arms of Pop. The result the chart-menacing ’Don’t lt Make Ya Feel Good' while prolonging his questionable fame by approximately a fortnight, would, tragically, also annihilate any shred of credibility that soapy opportunists may have possessed.

Dennis' dismal failure nevertheless provided ample feeding ground for such nascent losers as Craig McLachlan, Jason Donovan and Those Twins. With only Kylie Minogue's suspicious volte-face into indie’s hallowed turf giving any credence to the soap star cause, Natalie lmbruglia’s path to pop stardom would, thus, seem distinctly rocky. But, remarkably, she’s done it, with both excitable kiddies' mags and clever-clever style tomes awarding her reverent page space. And, opening with a blustering ‘Wishing I Was There’, it's not impossible to understand why.

Propelled by chugging guitars and a driving, twelve- wheeler chorus it, along with fellow nodding-donkey rockers ’Addiction’ and 'Intuition', nestle comfortably


Air/Sean Lennon Glasgow: Old ri'..iti':tark»<=t, ‘v’V-TETi --1 Nov

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ll Sean Lenviun (iris-sh: yet seem '.‘.li’llll‘t the (le‘xotl'izi, that cheeky rnonlzeyi .1llii“y’t".i 'Si-xv tam," ‘.z lei), french duo have eftcrtlesslf.’ seduced the starry-eyed iniisi< Lovers ‘.'/lift their space age bachelor iiazl inusic later i—{ol/arid confirmed that they

Natalie lmbruglia: not great

into the same Melodic Power Pop couch as Texas and even, crikey, The Levellers. Each is delivered with a near- geometric professionalism, with Natalie ignoring her defiantly anti-pop ’Left Of The Middle' stance, and bouncing around like an over-sprung possum. But it’s during the ponderous psycho-babble that clouds ’Smoke’ that the warning bells begin to chime. Populated by lyrics culled from the dusty annals of ’My Guy' (take 'Where are you Dad/Mum's looking sad' for sobering proof) it's one among a sorry clutch of baby- Alanis embarrassments not exactly helped by the backing band's perpetual insistence on Rocking Out at the most inopportune moments.

Even Soft Rock's sorry cadaver is exhumed for one last inglorious jaunt during 'City', a Mogadon snooze destined to yawn it's way to perpetuity through being sandwiched between Bonnie Tyler and Cher on one of those, 'He done her wrong' style compilations. In fact 'Torn' is perhaps the only occasion during which it all works, where the lumbering self-analysis and plodding, pedestrian guitars finally get it on swapping their awkward courtship ritual for a hardcore hoe-down. Elsewhere, it's all a bit of a mess, a contrivance of clashing genres that desperately requires an injection of pop to blast it from the AOR doldrums. After all, pop’s nothing to be afraid of. Just ask Stefan Dennis. (Sarah Dempster)

as adept in performance as in the studio, reinventing their album tracks far the live s-f‘t

For this tour, they and their four extra rnus'tian helpers have fun ~.vith a uuitar-heavy, high-speed rendition of “Kelly ‘v\"atch The Stars' Then, what starts teasingly as The Beatles' 'Tornoirov.’ Never Knows' morphs into 'Sexy Boy', ‘.vith a bit of 'Funky Town’ thrown in for cheesy effect The scamps This disjointed version is salvaged by a (losing flourish of stadium synth roc k not mtnessed since the heyday of Tubeway Army Spirited disco-tastic moments like these are outweighed by cairninii astral interludes, the best which is former single "..e Soleil Est Pres De hut there's no All l Need' its a rare band

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.iie Ever write They save the hes! for 'ast a etc» the toniiiie-in-iheek synthesizer \‘-.'orkout with prog overtones, and then an encore of the sublime 'la Femme D'Aigent' isadly no relation. to Davrd Soul's 'Silver' Lady'i Like their album i‘.loori Safari, Air are alien and exotic tunesmiths (Whitney Piarnsi


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Glasgow: Old Fruitmarket, Fri 13 Nov eeaa

They call him Dr John, the Night Tripper. He may no longer look like James Bond‘s scary voodoo adversary in Live And Let Die but the good Doctor doesn’t need a feather headdress anymore to drive home his persona. Since the 605 this New Orleans singer and pianist has created a sonic gumbo that is all his own. A white man plundering the black musical traditions of the Deep South, he combines, blues, Jazz and Latin grooves deep fried in his off-kilter perspective.

The age range of the audience, from twentysomething to, uh, quite old, underlines the Doctor's fascinating appeal. This year he released an album which had ’young' guns like Paul Weller, Supergrass and Spiritualised queueing up for the honour of playing wrth Mr Mac. Rebennack (he's a man of many names as well as many styles). Dr John is One of the great musical eccentrics, like Captain Beefheart. Fear not though; he is far more accessible than the totally hatstand Frank Zappa.

He has become slightly more conservative. in his old age (well, late 50s) The psychedelic flights of fancy and wailing backing singers of old have been replaced by good times rolling in the manner of your average Southern Comfort advert or Mardi Gras parade. His funky band, iinintell:gibly introduced several times, provrde a solid backbone over which the Doctor rattles his ivories and rasps his lvlissiSSippi wrsdom like a more approachable Van Morrison. Remember this is the man who urged us to walk on gilded splinters and his sentiments range from bizarre to universal l'don't wanna know about ewl, I only wanna know about love') and back again

Despite the superstitious date, his or. c asional wrtch doctor shuffle and his s;)()(>ky voodoo staff, the Vibes are anything but nefarious Dr John casts a spell sure enough, but it's a kind of \‘Jlllif? magic You can't help but be drawn into his swarnptastic realm ~Fiona Shepherd)

Dr John: swamptastic



~ ~ Very good

x+ Worth a shot

: Below average

i You've been warned