live reviews

POP Pulp Glasgow: SECC, Sun 29 Dec

The problem with Jarvis Cocker impersonators is that you can never be sure that the one who's dancing like a manacled cormorant is actually the fake. By the end of the opening song, 'The Fear', most of Pulp‘s audience were fairly convinced that they knew which of the two gangly vocalists cavorting before them was the real Cocker, but even then there remained the suspicion that the wily old chap may have a further double-bluff up his sleeve. Behind them was a three-walled set which could have represented a mattress (not stained enough, however), a sofa (not tacky or worn enough) or a padded cell (now we're getting somewhere). Different coloured lights played over it, sometimes vaguely reminiscent of kitsch old wallpaper patterns. Nice touch.

The set was drawn entirely from Pulp's last three albums, a trilogy which contains some of the finest songs of the 905 (and in the case of 'Common People', arguably the finest), but the feeling settled quite early on that some of these songs may have been on the road for a little too long. The band bashed their way through them noticeably more heavy-handedly than on previous


Pantomime season began early in

Pulp's hardcore may be going a little limp

Scottish visits, which contributed to the fragile vocals getting swamped in the cavernous space, and Cocker’s dancing seems to grow more involved and Byzantine the older the song. Perhaps every one of his gestures, like ancient ethnic dancing, is a coded symbol, and only by unlocking them will we truly understand the accretion of meaning the songs have gathered over time. More likely, he’s just getting bored with the old material.

It took more recent songs like the Bowiesque new single ’Party Hard' and a triumphant rendition of the seven-minute sleaze-fest ‘This Is Hardcore' to make the air crackle around the singer the way it used to. The latter is clearly still an important song for Cocker to put across, and he did it without clowning or skewed choreography to maximum impact. For much of the rest of the time, though, Pulp's collective mind seemed already to be on leaving all this behind and moving on to the next phase, whatever it might be. An extended blur of impressionistic noises, dragging beats and vocal effects underneath which probably lurked ‘Seductive Barry’ proved that they do have a mind to make their audience work hard for their entertainment occasionally. (Alastair Mabbott)

together as though in conference in the toilets, and then stand coyly

Tom Jones Glasgow: Clyde i'\, Sun 22


Tom Jones: knows how to do one for the ladies


'3 l


Glasgow this year with a slick show from the Welsh wonder which obeyed all the conventions of audience participation and then some You may have heard the wittiest heckles at a club gig, observed the fervent banner- wavmg at teenybOp and stadium concerts, and ioined in with the headbanging at a metal gig but all this is nothing compared ‘.'i./llll audience behaViour in the presence of Tom Jones

After five minutes of barely-contained restraint, the onslaught begins The first undergarment projectile is a pair of red Silky knickers The owner is treated to louder applause than her guarry onstage, and she iesponcls to the approbation as if she’s scored iii the World Cup final or, indeed, scored with Mr Jones himself

Followmg this vanguard action, there's no holding them back but mindful of the stringent security and prim surroundings of the vast cyber- auditorium, there’s a certain etiquette to proffering your panties Some women sidle up in pairs, hucldling

waiting for Mr Loverman to notice them Others march up purposefully and lay down their underwear at the edge of the stage as if it were the payment for the weekly grocery bill Only the boldest go for broke and invade the stage, Fascinating, as David Attenborough might say

Despite the undoubted entertainment value of these rituals, it doesn't detract from the showbi/ clout of Tom Surrounded by a heavmg mass of oestrogen testifying to his appeal, you JUSl have to accept that women obViously go for the iiiicldle-aged chest-rug-and-breasts type

Apart from a cover of the tedious 'Walkiiig In i‘vlemphis' which even he can't sex up, Jones's set is top darts throughout, auld favourites like ’lt's Not Unusual' and 'Green Green Grass Of Home' to modern covers like Space's‘ 'Female Of The Species' and Lenny KraVit/s 'Are YOU Gonna Go My Way7' The answer would appear to be ’yes, please' (Whitney Plains,I

ranging from

ROCK Eagle-Eye Cherry

Glasgow: Barrowland, Wed 25 Nov e as as

I can’t have been the only one to have doubts about Eagle-Eye Cherry that if music didn't work out for him he'd just sod off back to acting and never give it another thought But he proves tonight that he has real natural ability and grace, and his songs stay firmly on the side of soulful. Some said it was madly optimistic to book him into the Barrowland and, right enough, the hall is far from full to capacrty, but Cherry has no difficulty in projecting all the way to the back,

HaVing a Jazz musiCian for a dad (a maverick Jan musician at that) really seems to have made him appreCiative of players, even if his own talents are somewhat limited lvlidway through the show, support act Preacher Boy comes on with a National steel goitar to play slide on 'Rainbow Wings'. Eagle-Eye studies his fingers up close as he plays the opening licks, his eyes light up and he mouths 'That's all rightl' to the goateed guitarist. Which is all very healthy, as letting his musiCians shine and encouraging organic interplay between them does wonders for his music Heck, this is the first band I've seen at the Barrowland in God knows how long who didn't come on stage to an intro tape ‘— how muso is that?

But Cherry gives them too loose a rein at times, which unwrttingly contributes to the evening's flat ending For an encore, Cherry gives space to both his axemen to demonstrate their slide gtiitar skills. As it turns out, neither is destined to give Leo Kottke any sleepless nights, and the comparatively stodgy blues number that ensues ends the show in a miserable anti-climax Far better to rewind back a few minutes to the end of the main set, and freeze the image of Cherry casually picking up his Jacket and guitting the stage, while the far snappier 'Save Tonight' syncopated away behind him, a Vision of effortless panache (Paula Drummond)

Eagle-Eye Cherry: not the pick of the bunch


- Unmissable i

i < s Very good ; ~ Worth a shot

Below average

You've been warned