Glasgow: Barrowland, Sat 2 Oct ****
Back in the Britpop Summer of 95, when Supergrass burst fizzbomb-like into the nation's collective consciousness, they were seen as a grinning, day-glo, cartoon collective — cheeky, chirpy and above all, good clean fun. If Oasis were the new Beatles and Blur had transformed into the new Kinks, then Supergrass were this generation's Monkees. Nothing wrong with that at all; and quite frankly, their pop-fuelled hi-jinks were (and are) infinitely preferable to the serious ’muso- authenticity’ characterised by dadrock dullards such as Cast and the execrable Ocean Colour Scene.
However, while the latter outfits have continued to inexplicably prosper, Supergrass never really took off to hit the commercial heights expected of them. Sure, they’ve had hits, but they've become regarded as perennial underachievers. This is unfair, but - perverser — can be seen as working in the band's favour. Once the initial hype died down, they were free to continue quietly knocking out superlative slices of skewiff pop, which they deliver in spades to a sauna-like Barrowland.
The roar with which the crowd greet Ga: and his pesky pop chimps is unbelievable. What follows is 30 years of British rock and pop - The Who, Madness, The
Pants on fire: Supergrass
Buzzcocks, Pink Floyd - condensed into 90 adrenaline charged minutes and stamped with the band’s patented brand of amiable cool. The crowd love each and every minute of it. They love Danny the drummer for being the spiritual heir of Keith Moon-schtick - all thrashing limbs and bug-eyed goldfish faces. They love family man Mickey and his muscular yet melodic bass lines. But most of all, they adore Gaz, for his guitar heroics, his unfailing grasp of quintessentially English whimsy and his devastating line in facial hair. At one point, an over- excited female fan hurls her knickers onstage, much to Mickey's amusement. He carefully hangs them from his mike stand; but Gaz seems oblivious, as he rips into a closing, turbo-charged double whammy of ‘Going Out' (their finest moment yet, no contest) and 'Pumping On Your Stereo’. What more could you possibly ask for?
It's been mentioned in the press over the last few years that Supergrass have grown weary of their lightweight image, that they want to be regarded as 'serious musicians'. The spectre of ’Alright' in particular hovers over them like Caspar the friendly ghost. But on the basis of tonight’s show, all you can really say is, ‘Fine, whatever; you keep listening to your JJ Cale albums, boys. As long as you continue to entertain us with your effortlessly upbeat, psychedelic pop, we'll love you regardless.’ (Neil Ferguson)
Monk And Canatella] Pocket Size
Glasgow: Fitter and Firkin, Sat 25 Sep ‘A' * its/1k A
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Monastic fantastic: Monk And Canatella
You’ve got to sympathise. These people are trawling every sawdusty
Fuckwit & Firkin in the entire country with barely a break, trying to get famous with only the blessing of that serious-music-paper-turned-trashy- pop-comic Melody Maker to aid them. It’s the modern music industry equivalent of a lengthy regime of Herculean labours. Glasgow doesn’t reward their efforts with a baying crowd, either; the sparse crowd includes people who play pool throughout both sets, which is Never A Good Sign.
Not that Pocket Size provide much of a distraction. Their Texas-tinged swayalong pop is so determinedly mainstream, so stringently purged of any character that it's positively frightening. They come off like Dubstar, without the dub - or the star, come to that. Singer Liz Overs has the kind of effortlessly competent, bland voice that has you yearning for a duff note or a B&H rasp, while her fellow musicians all resemble over-practised, under-enthusiastic session musicians. The result is soft rock dressed with rattly percussion just loud enough to wake the gory spectres of Deacon Blue
and Fairground Attraction.
Then Monk And Canatella come on, rip off Pocket Size’s heads and wear them as shoes. Figuratively speaking. The six-piece are fronted by a creature who somehow combines the most frightening characteristics of Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai, Martin Rossiter from Gene and a dancing robot; he fixes the audience with a vicious gaze and punctuates his distinctive growl-meets-croon vocals with a startling, spasmodic dance. Meanwhile his guitar and bass chums strive to outdo one another on the ludicrous rock posturing front, the keyboard player leaps up and down like EMF never quit, and the DI pulls off seemingly effortless miracles of
'steel wheel dexterity. Basically this is
daft, comedy big beat metal that shares a smelly tent with Apollo Four Forty and Bentley Rhythm Ace on a rained-out campsite run by Pop Will Eat Itself and Spinal Tap. But it’s executed with tremendous panache and energy; if you can put your cool to one side and access your inner idiot, it’s kind of fun. (Hannah McGill)
live reveiws MUSIC
LOCAL LIVE Shriek/Anakin Glasgow: 13th Note Cafe, Thu 25 Sep.
Anakin are exceptionally good at being defiantly outdated screaming grunge brats, and will hit a nerve in anyone who spent long teenage nights sharpening razorblades to the strained strains of Babes In Toyland. No such raw pubescent stroppery attends Shriek, despite their name. They're all jerky riffs and close- cropped, breathy vocals; Elastica with a little more heart, or Throwing Muses with a little less. Sometimes the influence of Elastica (who Shriek supported in an earlier incarnation) is a little too evident in the brittle, punkish melodies and R05 Cairney's yelpy vocals; and the effort to rein in every stray emotion in the pursuit of maximum New Wave nonchalance sometimes seems laboured. But these are clean, catchy, sophisticated rock songs with style to spare. (Annabel Slater)
The Situates Glasgow: Strawberry Fields, Wed 29 Sep. In these days of noodling, cerebral post- rock and plodding dadrock, it's nice to see a band that plays what the kids back in the mists of time used to call ’rock ’n' roll’. The Situates dispense with all pretence and just rock their way through tonight's short and snappy set. They tend towards the riff-heavy blues
variety of rock, sounding at times like Reef with less testosterone (a good thing) and even occasionally like rock ’n’ roll behemoths Led Zeppelin with, erm, less testosterone (another good thing). While the band tends to play it straight and simple, the tousle-haired singer exudes plenty of little-boy-lost charm, and knows exactly when to exercise his tonsils to maximum effect. (Doug Johnstone)
Mystery Juice Edinburgh: The Bongo Club, Fri 1 Oct.
A flamboyant on-stage presence that seems at odds with the sounds emanating from the pounding speakers confuses in the first instance, leaving the audience wondering what exactly we have come to see. Mystery Iuice’s eclectic style contradictorin borrows heavily from hip hop, funk and folk. Tim Matthew’s violin plays lead guitar lines and provides ambient accompaniment to the heavy funk rhythms. The foursome’s polished performance creates a pulsating atmosphere and presents the listener with a wide variety of styles. While it’s a very enjoyable performance, you can't help but feel that in their attempt to open themselves up to such a wide frame of reference, they are avoiding specialisation. Hopefully, they will find their own voice, and not become Jacks of all and masters of none.
(Jennifer Alford) STAR RATINGS ***** Unmissable iii: a: Very in“: Wort a shot ink Below average * You've been warned
7—21 Oct 1999 THE U81 39