live reviews



The Gentle Waves

Glasgow: :‘tlitchell Theatre, 8a It) Apr

To promote her solo album, The Green Fields Of Forever/and, Belle And Sebastian's celloist Isobel Campbell is playing four dates Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff and London. One girl is travelling to each gig . . . on foot. Now, there is such a thing as fervent fandom, but this starstruck trek strays into the territory of religious worship.

Continuing the religious feel, every member of the seated crowd (congregation?) receives a programme designed to look like a hymn sheet with the words 'Easter time’ embossed in gold on the cover. It’s a nice touch in an evening of nice touches, such as the two short films which serve for support acts. Francois Truffaut’s Les Mistons and Albert Lamorrise’s The Red Balloon both deal with the innocence of childhood, but acknowledge the dark side of youth.

This is a big theme for Isobel Campbell. Green Fields imagines an idealised world in songs so simple they are almost nursery rhymes, but the sinister, melancholy tone is at odds with the medium. Fittingly, tonight is only rarely what you could call fun. Helped out by most of Belle And Sebastian, Campbell plays tracks like ’Hangman In The Shadow’, ’Renew And Restore’, ’To

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Salt A Scar’ and the fantastic ’Dirty Snow For The Broken Ground’ which are moving, beautiful, fragile and sad. This mood is only occasionally punctured by the sublime (the gallic retro-pop of ’Evensong’ complete with Campbell’s convincing French vocal and Northern Soul handclaps) and the enjoyably ridiculous (the Mick Cooke-penned instrumental ’Grazing In The Grass' with Campbell on cowbell). The Velvets-like single, ’Weathershow’ is a notable absentee.

As a frontwoman, Isobel Campbell has a kind of star quality in a nervous, apologetic, Woody Allen sort of way. In long black skirt and ballerina top she takes a minimalist approach to crowd interaction. Even her discussions with the band are limited to head movements, half-smiles and murmurs. Her singing voice has attracted some criticism in the past, prompting accusations of tweeness, but it is lovely tonight. Fragile, childlike and delicate, it almost breaks once or twice, recalling people like Leonard Cohen or Neil Young who use their precarious instruments to emotional effect.

Ultimately, the material isn’t strong enough to get too worked up about, but tonight proved that the rules of live performance need not be observed too religiously. Isobel Campbell didn’t rock this Easter, but she certainly rolled away a few cliched stones. (Peter Ross)

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. 2 :== You’ve been warned

LOCAL LIVE Snow Patrol Glasgow: King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut

'We are angry youths,’ deadpans Gary Lightbody. Lurching over his guitar, Lightbody is a schizoid stand-up comedian with a maniacal stage presence, leading his band through Io- fi histOry from the Pixies to Fugazi via Pavement, Sebadoh and Bob Mould. Snow Patrol know the formula well: screaming vocals, heavy basslines and big drums create an enjoyable but methodic pastiche of indie Americana. Recent acquisition DJ Tom updates and innovates their general sound, but the best moments are their least contrived. The pure pop mayhem of ‘Holy Cow' or accompanying A-side ‘Starfighter Pilot’ shine, proving that the Snow Patrol have talent beyond bum-fluff and white norse. (Nicky Agate)


Edinburgh: The Jazz Joint.

It's what pokey little basements were made for chilling out, a few drinks and some quality, live music. This is delivered in spades by Elemental. This six-piece outfit take the jazz-funk blueprint, photocopy the bits they like, scribble on them With big crayons and throw other bits away. Pretension, facial hair and black polo necks have been discarded in favour of an upbeat, vocal-led sound, flexrng its funk muscles without resorting to cliche or parody.

While not the most innovative of puppies in the sack, Elemental have a phenomenally tight sound, an ear for a soulful tune and stunning, powerful vocals from Kathleen Fairgrieve. These Virtues surely deserve the attention of the public in general (Mark Robertson)

Ganger Glasgow: Nice 'n’ Sleazy Post-rock always seems like an inadequate term for what Ganger and their peers do, because a lot of these bands are so rock the word Blackpool runs right through them. But, let's face it, largely instrumental atmospheric gurtar odysseys wrth strange titles just isn’t a catchy term Anyhow, post-rock \Nlll do as a phrase describing those bands who are more interested in texture, mood or emotion than glamour, attitude or making a statement This is Obvrously what people are looking for. Sleazy’s is packed to the rafters With punters who enjoy nothing more of a Saturday evening that watching an exceptionally skilled Glaswegian four-piece produce stirring sounds worth a million wasted words. (Peter Ross)

Snow Patrol

RATINGS Unmissable Very good Worth a shot Below average


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