CABARET REVIEW Lush Life *****

The lady is a vamp: Caroline Nin

Smoky sophistication is not normally associated with the Fringe, but late at night whilst the city sleeps that's the atmosphere in the normally raucous Pleasance Cabaret Bar.

Enter Caroline Nin. Cutting a dramatic figure in a sexy black cocktail dress, she's a slinky vampish black cat with a matching vocal agility. Born in Paris, this acclaimed jazz singer has been resident in London for eight years, where she has a loyal following. With a magnetic and powerful stage presence, she’s an outstandingly polished performer.

Nin performs an eclectic mixture of songs, from Edith Piaf to her own drum & bass compositions. She mesmerises the audience with her exceptional talent and sultry stage persona. It's easy to see how she won a Herald Angel Award for best cabaret show last Fringe.

A must-see if you're tired of the boozy and loud Fringe crowd. Try a little culture! (Tracy Griffen)

I Lush Life (Fringe) Caroline Nin, P/easance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 27 Aug, 7am, £3.50/£2.50 (£3/£2).

ROCK PREVIEW Planet Pop: Week Three

No one has ever written a song about

70 THE [181' 19—26 Aug 1999


Glenrothes. The nearest this unremarkable Fife new-town (51 years and counting) has ever got to any form of lyrical eulogy is in a poem by Julian Cope called ‘I Have Been to Hell, I Have Been to Glenrothes'. True. Three years ago Elastica played one of their last gigs at the town's celebrated Rothes Halls (sandwiched between ’The Bobby Davro Adult Laughter Show’ and ’Crushed: A Tribute to The Music of Bobby Crush'). This is but one of the seven interesting things that have ever happened in Glenrothes. The other six escape me for the moment. Recently however, a band of Buckfast swillin' ska-punk noiseniks called The Newton Grunts have burst forth from Glenrothes' concrete womb in a valiant attempt to put the town back on the map (it was removed a few years back after complaints from the neighbours). Some facts: there's S7 of them. They jump around and swear a lot. Most of their songs sound like rabid mechanical dogs rutting outside a chip-shop. Grab a bike-chain, dye your hair all sorts of exotic colours and get along to the Attic on Fri 20 where, along with Glasgow's Amphetameanies, they'll be proving that, though musical trends come and go, ’Oi!’ will survive. Oh yes.

If punk ain't your sick-bag, however, then you could always head over to the Spiegeltent in Princes Streeet Gardens where from midnight The Lanterns will be playing their suspiciously hip Dubstar/Arab Strap dance-pop (see main preview). The day before however (Thu 19), sees the lovely Superstar at the Attic, playing deep-blue songs for the broken- hearted. Brassy - featuring Jon Spencer’s sis, Muffin (see Famespotting page 16) will be scaring the children on Mon 23 and, on Tue 24, the ever

CLASSICAL PREVIEW Schumann: The Symphonies

Concerted effort: Sir Charles McKerras

Schumann’s Symphony No 4 appears twice on the EIF programme, which might seem odd at first glance. However, investigate a little further and all is revealed. ‘Schumann actually orchestrated it twice,’ explains Sir Charles Mackerras, who conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in three concerts which cover all Schumann’s symphonic output. ’Some think that the second one is an improvement, others not. Brahms thought that the first version was the best, but Clara Schumann, the composer’s wife, concert pianist and great friend of Brahms, preferred the second. I rather agree with Brahms.’ There are other differences to listen out for in these concerts too. 'T he very fact that we use a much smaller string section that is usual means that the balance, which is often criticised, is different.’ says Sir Charles, who hopes to correct the balance without need for re-orchestration. Also, as the concerts progress, the orchestra will switch from natural horns and trumpets to those with valves, as they became more common during the period Schumann was writing. ’T here was a great transition period for brass instruments in the mid 19th century,’ says Sir Charles. ’T he other players won’t have period instruments, but will play in a period style.’ (Carol Main) I Schumann: The Symphonies (International) Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Usher Hall, 473 2000, 23, 28 Aug, 2 Sep, 8pm, £5-£30.

wonderful Khaya will be showing why one day, they will rule the cosmos. Finally, Pink Kross and perennial Garage-bods The Thanes will be continuing their search for the all- consuming beat on Wed 25. Planet Pop Week Three: more fun than a Tuesday night in Glenrothes. Fact.

(Paul Whitelaw)

I Planet Pop runs until 31 Aug. Tickets are on sale at the door or in advance at E dinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen Fopp stores.

French connection: Philip Jeays


Philip leays

'People say, "God, you're so original”,' muses Philip Jeays. ’But it's not original. It's pure Jacques Brel. The French have a big tradition of songs with stories, songs people can understand.‘ A stint living in the South of France when he was eighteen inspired Jeays to adapt Brel’s style. ‘lt’s my own personal quest,’ he says. 'Britain used to have that same tradition - the wandering troubadour, telling stories but we lost it, maybe because we're so influenced by America. In rock ’n’ roll and dance music, the music is what matters; the lyrics could be saying anything. The fashionable thing is this stream of consciousness, pseudo-profound psychobabble.’ Philip Jeays's unhip devotion to words and narrative in songwriting has garnered impassioned reviews and comparisons with Bowie and Waits; but he admits that ’it's always hard to explain to people who haven't seen it.’ Anyone who likes an elegantly-told tale and a touch of continental class should find out first- hand. (Hannah McGill)

I Philip Jeays: Here lAm (Fringe) Philip Jeays, The Cafe Royal (Venue 4 7) 226

2549, until 29 Aug (not 24) 9.45pm. free.

BLUES REVIEW Garry Middlemist: Pictish Blues


It's a relief to reach the relative calm of the Byzantium Indian restaurant after fighting through the tracksuit-wearing mob queuing to get to the Edinburgh Tattoo.

Unobtrusively seated in the corner of the restaurant is Middlemist, singing the blues as the audience dine. Playing 12-bar blues and including versions of such classics as 'Billy The Kid’, he’s an accomplished musician. As a soloist he tends to blend into the background rather than be the centre of attention. His style is on the safe side of the blues tradition (subject matter ranging from witch burning to a lost shoe), with a bit of slide thrown in for good measure.

This Edinburgh local's music is mellow and provides a welcome escape from the chaos of the Fringe crowd.

(Tracy Griffen)

I Pictish Blues, Gary Middlemist, Byzantium, Victoria Street, until 30 Aug. 8pm, free.