LIVE REVIEW Travis
Edinburgh: Corn Exchange, Mon 20 Dec * ﬁr are
Last year was Travis's year, no two ways about it. Just one look at the end-of-year polls gives you some idea of the monstrous success 1999 was for them and their second album, The Man Who. So tonight's gig at the Corn Exchange takes on the air of one big celebration party as a result. And a spanking party it is too.
The Travis lads come on stage all cheeky smiles and affable ‘hiyas', and promptly dispense their call to rock ’n’ roll arms, ’All I Wanna Do Is Rock'. Such confidence in the strength of their own material is shown throughout the show, and although the pace of tonight's set inevitably dips occasionally, the attention of the crowd never does.
The secret to Travis's success. certainly in a live situation, is down to two words: ‘Fran' and ’Healy'. Yer man is so effortlessly charismatic that there surely isn't a person in the land who wouldn’t like to meet him for a pint and chat. He's that nice. Tonight’s show is peppered with ’thanks to everyone' chat and ’jings, isn't this great' sort of stuff. He really is the pop star
you could take home to meet your parents. Which sounds scary, but it’s not really.
Tonight, as the band bounce and strum their way through the best songs from their two albums, you realise that they have the same kind of ordinary-bloke appeal as Oasis, but with brains instead of brawn and, of course, better tunes. And unlike Oasis, they actually look like they’re having a great time on stage. This is not restricted to earlier romps ’Good Feeling' and 'Good Day To Die', but is also evident on more recent low-key tunes like ’As You Are’ and ’Driftwood’.
They finish tonight's main set with ‘Slide Show’ (complete with apt, erm, slide show in front of the band) and ’Blue Flashing Light', the hidden track on The Man Who which hints at a more diverse sound in the future. After an encore of that Brittany Spears cover, they play new song, ’Coming Around’, again hinting at the future with a third guitarist adding to the jangly stroll of the song. Ending with another five minutes of ‘thank you' and ’gawd bless’ and crowd- pleaser 'Happy', Travis leave the stage the way they came, arms aloft after a fitting celebration of a fantastic year. (Doug Johnstone)
LIVE REVIEW Macy Gray
Iuhhhve?’ Glasgow has.
Glasgow: Barrowland, Tue 14 Dec
’Lemme ask you something, Glas- gaaaw: have you ever been in
’Have you ever loved the wrong
Glasgow most definitely has.
her charisma is all her own, but the cheesy calls and responses and the tooth-grittingly tedious, Macyless funk jams are straight out of the Soul Diva Handbook. The final costume change and a cappella carol seem tacked on and ill-fitting; Macy's appeal is too raw and intimate for tired, tacky stadium gimmicks.
’Sex-o-matic Venus Freak’ sees her getting to firm grips with both her mike stand and her bosom; elsewhere,
Macy Gray is hosting a very noisy party. She can’t fail: she has a feather boa, a loud mouth, a traffic-stopping smile and lots of friends. Twelve of them are on stage with her, doing daft formation dance moves at her behest. A thousand more below are hanging on her every word.
The album On How Life Is has established Gray as the newest coffee table diva, sharper by far than Lauryn Hill but milder on the mainstream palate than Missy Elliot. She’s got a high kook quota — check the afro, the ' feathered get-up, the gravel and ’0 helium voice — but she's also playing the game to perfection. Hence the slightly formulaic character of this gig;
Too many kooksi Macy Gray
she falls to her knees, climbs the monitors, throws back her head and howls, or snuggles up to the front row. Her lead-in to the bruised, gorgeous torch song ’Still’ is a glorious tragi- comic speech about the occasional necessity of throwing things at one's lover. She introduces the final big-hit encore, ’I Try', by leading the audience in a hollered list of her favourite things, which include God, sex and good drugs.
She’s already outrun the ranks of colourless Whitney clones; in order to take flight above them once and for all, Macy Gray only needs to shed the elements of her set that still smack of corporate cloning. (Hannah McGill)
REVIEWS Singles Round-up
With a dearth of decent albums in the post-festive season comedown period, it is up to the humble Single, that bastion for those with the short attention span, to keep us warm during the long winter evenings.
Ayrshire label Mouthmoth give us four fine examples of arrythmical, organic techno on their 7in Mothballs EP (Mouthmoth, t t a it). Asterisk in particular show promise With their spidery guitar lines and scuttling beats on the oddly titled ’13/8b, Versron 2’.
Don’t be afraid to embrace Addvibe and their back to '76 feel With a cut of deep, deep disco called ’Groove With You' (Disfunction, vk'irrki‘k). Family Values do big hair disco house too, on ’Diff’rent Sound’ (Regal, 9‘ x :v‘c), replete with soaring vocals and jingling beats. Khaya on ’My God Is Real’ on the other hand, melt a strong vocal workout into some top class Erick Morillo house beats. (Subliminal, at: six 3%).
Low down, dirty hip hop anyone? K- Otix push out a duo of rigid funk- pumped rap tracks entitled ’Mind Over Matter’ and ’FrequenCies’ (Bronx Science, w. e e 9.). Worth a hunt through the specialist record shop crates for. Unlike Nas, who's ’Nastradamus—Single For The Millennium' (Sony, 2 at) is so weak it may need help getting out of the CD player. If only his apocalyptic prophecies came true, we wouldn't have to suffer this tosh.
Super Furry Animals do Jonathan Richman's ‘Roadrunner’ except with Therapy? doing the chorus on ’00 Or Die’ (Creation, k t). This and a shovelful of Graham Coxon cast-offs hardly make a band, so stop all this nonsense now. Talking as we were of old has-beens, DGV1D BOW13 on ’Survive' (Virgin, w k a), sounds like that old jessie from the 70s, David Bowie, except grumpier. Check out the cover for those marvellous shots of Dave looking like he’s just got out of bed as he’s abandoned the eyeliner. Dark Star, with ’Graceadelica’ (Harvest, * it a), single-handedly prove that nice drums a tuneth do not make — meandering along like a drunk old woman on a Vespa, it takes a Black Star Liner remix to turn this greasy spoon of a tune into a tasty Indian Pasty. (Mark Robertson)
*kir wk Unmissable
1k *4: a: Very ood
in k * Wort a shot
it a Below average
4: You’ve been warned
7—20 Jan 2000 THE “ST 41