live reviews


Supergrass & Ultrasound

Glasgow: Barrowland, Wed 12 May

On the face of it, Supergrass and tonight's support act, Ultrasound, couldn’t be more different. The Oxford three-piece are known for being young, cute and jaunty while Wakefield’s new~proggers are more regularly labelled old, fat and heavy. But the two bands have more in common than meets the eye. Both feel so guilty about their 3 innate ability to write tooth- l achingly catchy pop tunes that they bury these gems under layer upon layer of 'serious‘ rock effects.

Ultrasound are not at their phenomenal best tonight. This isn’t their kind of crowd, and their set is sluggish, forced and ill tempered. Still, when they finish with the epic ’Everything Picture' and bassist Vanessa Best launches into the orgasmic, operatic howl of a coda, you don't envy Supergrass having to follow them.

Of course, Supergrass were probably too busy riding choppers, combing their sidies and, erm, pumping on your stereo to even notice they had a support band. They amble amiably on stage and, before anyone has time to notice that Gaz is wearing the kind of tie-dye T- shirt that Jerry Garcia would reject as tasteless, fire into the Stooges-aping ’Richard lll'. From there on in it's a mixture of all the singles and a clutch of new material. The new stuff is resolutely mid-paced, making the most of Gaz’s brother who bolsters their live sound with Hammond riffs. 'Out Of The Blue' has a retro, rootsy, R8iB sound not unlike The Yardbirds, while 'Mary’ owes more to the groovy swirlings of the Spencer Davis Group. The old songs are greeted with predictable

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closing ’Caught By The Fuzz'. The great thing about Supergrass singles is that there’s so much more to them than the catchy choruses; they can always be relied upon to shoehorn in a theremin solo or riff-fest just when you least expect it.

Supergrass should be a great live band, but somehow they’re not. The essential ingredients are there - great songs played perfectly but there’s nothing to really love. They complain about being perceived as a cartoon band, but they never give enough of themselves away to fill out those rough sketches that define them. They are like Blur without the intellectual baggage - empty, soulless, lacking substance. This could have been brilliant, but it was just . . . alright. (Peter Ross)

lflt‘ sell-out last night of their British tour Tie delinit'on-defying trio have attracted an equally hard to characterise crowd, all of whom are here to t'vorship at the altar of the mighty Ben The roar of the trains <1~veiiieau is but a fairy's whisper (inr'iparezl 2-0 the soul-moving sound coming from :ne stage This band .iitn a l;<?‘.el'rlrllenl health the effect of thezi ireifttriiziince Bits-lines turn your -~"Slil(?‘, to pai'y, beats puni'ne! your

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Chickweed Edinburgh: The Attic

An inveterate rock ’n' roll tart, Chickweed's frontman Dunsy has been in more bands than Ozzy Osbourne's had bat suppers. In past musical adventures he’s shared a stage with Kurt Cobain, merited two NME singles of the week as a member of The Joyriders, and received endorsements from a queue of Radio 1 Dls. His latest ensemble play sun-stroked, mid~fi melodies redolent of Teenage Fanclub, Lemonheads and even Cheap Trick. They can really rock, but they’d far rather roll. Plus, they do cool. Especially bassist Velda, exuding Holly Golightly insouciance from behind a fringe and i an outsize instrument which probably reguires a retinue of Munchkins to lift onto her shoulders prior to each gig. Why not take a tumble with the 'weed? (Rodger Evans)

Pilotcan Edinburgh: The Attic

For a band that make Such an almighty racket, Pilotcan are the most bashful group in town, all five members studioust av0id making eye contact wrth anyone throughout the set. Their sound harks back to the early 90s when distorted gurtars were as compulsory for bands as big beat remixes are today. A triple guitar assault gives an intricate layered feel, i With chiming lead wrestling for space against growling fuzz and chunky power chords This is topped off With a high and at times, indistinct voice, a lack which is redressed by strong i backing vocals. Pilotcan’s apparent . influences Dinosaur Jr. and My ' Bloody Valentine are expanded upon by jagged edges and innovative , arrangements. Their recent album, The Boy Who Knew Maps showed their ' potential, but live they fulfil this and more (Mark Robertson)

Edinburgh: The Bongo Club

'lt’d be great if yOu could manage to i describe Our music,’ says J Simon van der Walt, artistic director of Glaswegian ten-piece invention ensemble, 'because we haven’t got a clue ' Hmm, tall order, that. Their's is ; the kind of sound that really does defy ' definition. Suffice to say, they are a group of supremely talented, multi- insuumental musicians, playing original compositions influenced by, among other things, rock, classical, jazz, Tom Waits films, Bulgarian folk dances, computer games and everyday 3 household items SOunds bizarre? Well,

it is, but unlike a lot of new mUSic, it's neither pretentious or tinlistenable. There's a Strong injection of humour which carries their performance above

all that, and when music's this good, who cares about labels7

(Kirstv Knaggsl

invention ensemble l

RATINGS Uninissable j Very good Worth a shot , Below average


i :z: You've been warned j .