LOCAL LIVE The Nectarine No. 9 Edinburgh: Bongo Club, Thu 9 Sep.

Too young for the 70s, too cool for the 805, too much for the 905. If a decade

live reviews


Geneva Edinburgh: The Attic, Sat 18 Sep *‘k‘k

After an absence of some two years, Geneva's somewhat low-key return to the stage seems nonetheless to have been awaited by some with a certain expectancy. The soaring vocals of Aberdonian frontman Andy Montgomery, delivered very much in a higher key, from previous singles like ‘No One Speaks’ and 'lnto The Blue' had obviously stuck with enough people to ensure a pretty busy soirée at The Attic.

From the beginning Montgomery seems intent on presenting himself and his band as a delicate flower to be treated gently lest it wither and wilt. After a shaky start as the sound gradually gels. the suspicion grows that this tender image is a bit of a ruse. The band can play and the singer can sing. As a whole they are more than capable of belting it out, and this they do, interspersing old material with new. ‘lnto The Blue' appears three songs in and is strong enough to guide us through the

very poor 'Guidance System' (an audience member offers worry beads to placate a professed apprehension over performing this for the first time). Then comes forthcoming single, 'Dollars In The Heavens', to be released in November. Although sounding the most immediate of the new batch, again it fails to match the

best of the old.

It is perhaps ominous that the stand out track in the set - and it is good - is 'No One Speaks’, their first single from back in September '96. Things move on, and while labelmates Suede have progressed to harder, more outward looking soundscapes, Geneva seem to be very much still stuck in bedsit land. By the time 'If You Want To Know' is introduced as ‘another song about a girl', the shrinking violet charade has worn thin. Montgomery's affected facial contortions and grimacing resemble less a convincing display of raw emotional soul searching than an entry in a gurning tournament.


.’ ~ 33' - 't.

Shrinking violets: Geneva

To describe Geneva as a poor man's Radiohead is perhaps unfair, but comparisons are inevitable. A similar stage persona is backed up with subdued, melodic verses and screaming, pounding, guitar-fuelled choruses. Song titles like 'Darker Stars' (formerly Hale Bop) conjure up an image of othervvorldliness that the

band often fail to match (despite the blow-up astronaut

on stage).


Their new album, recorded in London with Howie B and Tommy D, doesn't come out until next year and is as yet untitled. The former features on a limited 12in around at the moment. as does a collaboration with The Flaming Lips which certainly sounds interesting; and there are perhaps better things to come. On this early showing, however, much more is needed if Geneva are to break from the confines of their current space and enter the stratOSphere they so like to ponder. (Fin

ELECTRONIC/POP REVIEW Les Rythmes Digitales Glasgow: 92, Sat 18 Sep *****

Generational synthesist Jacques Lu Cont 50 TIIE U81 23 Sep-7 Oct 1999

From the moment Les Rythmes Digitales take to the stage, it is immediately clear that tonight’s performance will be fun. Not a serious avant-garde reinterpretation of genre; not life-changing or beautiful; just fun. This is largely because Jaques Lu Cont and his fellows are dressed as low- camp parodies of Blade Runner Replicants and insist on throwing peculiar robo-dancing moves at every available opportunity, like a pretentious eleven-year-old in the audience of Top of the Pops circa 1984. Not satisfied with simply looking like 805 throwbacks, Les Rythmes Digitales go so far as to have two Yamaha DX7s on the stage and one of those synthesisers with a shoulder strap that seems to lend an air'of chilling modernity to Howard Jones-type ‘keyboard wizards’.

This would all add up to tedious nostalgia for one of the naffer decades, were it not for the group's ability to carry off a rather clever bit of what you might just want to call generational synthesis. In other words, the faux-Frenchman and his friends

have taken the best bits of the music a certain age group read about obsessively in Smash Hits, and wedded it with the house music that soundtracked that same set’s first forays into clubbing. At times, this can be hysterically unsubtle - as when the riff from Ray Parker Jnr’s ‘Ghostbusters’ pops up like a startled rabbit in the midst of a thumping Lu Cont original - but for the most part, each and every song tonight is like simultaneously eyeing up Madonna on the cover of Look-In and stepping past the bouncers and on to the dancefloor for the very first time. Not that Les Rythmes Digitales are cynically eliciting a Pavlovian response from their audience by reminding them of rose- tinted and fluorescent-socked halcyon days. Far from it, it's just that the band genuinely love their compressed beats and overly simple synth runs. What is more, judging by tonight's performance, they rather enjoy the opportunity to share this enthusiasm for wilfully daft retro-modern pop music. (Jack Mottram)

belongs to Davey Henderson, it's the first of the next millennium. For where the Fire Engines produced scabrous art

rock and Win made avant funk, The Nectarine No. 9 are the sound of Oscar

Wilde behind bars swigging absinthe

and reciting epigrams with his hair on fire.

Mr Henderson may have lost the zeitgeist down the back of the sofa and forsaken the chance of being Zoe Ball's record of the week, but what does he care? Gigging on 'Port Of Mars', wearing 'Adidas Francis Bacon‘ and doing his anti-pop utmost to make a seen-it-all 30-something audience 'Sick’, the man is older but thankfully none the wiser. (Rodger Evans)

Hernandez Glasgow: 13th Note Club, Fri 17 Sep.

Hernandez, for the most part, churn out the sort of high octane punkish music made the world over by boys with guitars. Fortunately, the group haven’t limited themselves to a narrow canon of revered American guitar bands in terms of influence and, as a result, manage to produce uneasy, Iurching songs that shift styles in a pleasantly jarring manner. These attention-grabbing transitions take the form of sudden wind-downs from three-chord thrashing to fractured drum breaks matched with menacineg repetitive vintage synth riffs. And, in fact, it is when Hernandez dispense with the barrage of distortion and rather unimaginative rhythms, concentrating instead on the diseased synthesiser hooks, that they really shine. If, then, you like a spot of good old-fashioned guitar bashing and have a liking for the threatening fairground electronica of Add N To X, Hernandez are well worth a listen. (lack Mottram)

Safe Edinburgh: The Venue, Mon 20 Sep.

Mixing equal parts Cast and Pink Floyd, while still being vaguely reminiscent of those C86 jangly guitar bands (like the June Brides and - strangely enough - Half Man Half Biscuit), Safe really do live up to their name. No, they don't carry huge wodges of cash about their persons, but their music is to say the least unadventurous. They have little grasp of dynamics, and the only variety is in the tempo - one up-beat janeg tune, one slow Pink Floyd-y one.

A notable change from the standard rock band format is the drummer taking on lead vocal duties. This is a trick very infrequently pulled off, and unfortunately, it doesn‘t work here either; his staccato, barked vocals begin to grate on the nerves after a while. (Mark Robertson)

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