Dundee: Caird Hall, Sat 29 Jan it it it *
Curious johnnies, ldlewild. Young, noisy, but with little to do with the vapid, bratnik likes of Symposium et al, they remain something of an enigma. Initially pitched by a hyperbolic music press as 21st century stars-in-the-making, they’ve stubbornly refused to play the pop star game.
The suspicion remains, however, that ldlewild like this situation just fine. For despite the ability to pen pop-toons as wantonly contagious as ‘I Am A Message', the Edinburgh band seem content to remain - or at least. appear to remain - a defiantly obtuse, Iimited-edition-seven-inch- in-a-plastic-bag indie band. Naturally. being signed to the same record label as Blur, they're nothing of the sort; but then that's never stopped Albarn and co masquerading in similarly lo-fi trousers. Add a continuing obsession with IRS-era R.E.M. and it's clear that ldlewild's image of themselves as uncompromising, wayward mavericks isn't set to vanish. no matter how many NME covers they collate.
Tonight, as headliners at Soundbase, Dundee's youth- targeted one day music event, Idlewild attempt - in typically uninhibited fashion - to remind us what all the fuss was about in the first place. And. dammit, if they don't succeed. With the addition of a second guitarist (Peeps Into Fairyland's Jeremy Mills) the band sound noticeably heavier: 'Film For The Future’, for one, sounds even more like a lost nugget from Nirvana's Bleach than ever before.
Clearly having lost none of their love for early 80$ post-punk pop, front-bod Roddy Woomble initially appears to have morphed into Joy Division martyr Ian
Five go wild in Dundee: Idlewild
Curtis on opener 'Listen To What'. a chundering goth- palloured rocker that sends the wildly partisan throng into paroxysms of crowd-surfing delirium from which they barely return.
Come 'Little Discourage’ however, and a slew of new material from forthcoming LP 100 Broken Windows, and it's clear that their R.E.M. obsession still reigns supreme. Indeed, this occasional over-reliance on the nascent sound of Athen's finest proves to be both blessing and curse, for while tracks like 'I Am A Message' are undeniably accomplished, they seem more like exercises in pastiche. with ‘Little Discourage' in particular proving one whiny Stipe-ism too far.
Of course, they're more than mere mimics, and new tracks like forthcoming single 'Roseability' refine their motorik-punk template to an emphatically diffident degree. Still ldlewild, then. Still lighting up the underground while the mainstream cowers in gloom. (Paul Whitelaw)
Space cadets: Man Or Astro-Man?
guitarist Rich Millman in spasms on the floor, his guitar feeding back for all it's worth. Managing to capture and combine the Detroit Motor City sound of bands like the MCS and the Louisiana swamp blues of Creedence Clearwater Revival in just three little tunes, noise terrorists Zen Guerrilla make a devastating impression.
But what about those space cadets Man Or Astro-Man?? And what of their burden, shared by every successful surf band, namely that of inventing a gimmick strong enough to overcome the monotonous Jan & Dean surf-ride? Well, the good news is that the gimmick is bearing up well, all things considered, and they’ve decided to call it the 'eeviac’ which, as if you didn't know, stands for: 'Embedded r Electronic Variably Integrated Consul’.
Resembling a techno jumble sale of monitors, keyboards, tubes and
Zen Guerrilla & Man Or Astra-Man?
Edinburghzlhe Liquid Room, Wed 26 Jan *‘kﬁti/‘k‘kt
The punters that piled down in their droves to The Liquid Room for a night of instrumental surf-punk garage mayhem courtesy of American fruitcakes, Man Or Astro-Man? thankfully got more than they bargained for with little known support band, Zen Guerrilla.
‘0 THEN 3-17 Feb 2000
Kicking off with an epic progressive rock, psych-injected guitar instrumental, epic and hardcore in proportions and capable of at least loosening bowels and at worst causing minor coronaries, Zen Guerrilla immediately demand attention. This is helplessly sustained while frontman Marcus Durant delivers the vocal range of Joe Cocker sieved through a fuzzbox to Led Zeppelin guitar performance and the band build into a strobe-lit frenzy of blues hellfire testimonial, with Durant howling into the reverb and
guitars, the band urge the audience to worship the superior capabilities of their mainframe computer which issues 505 radio announcements and techno blips at regular intervals in between their waves of frenzied surf guitar. Armed with this technology, flaming American football helmets, a drummer that looks like Keith Moon and the obligatory theramin, there is a wave of relief when the computer announces: 'There is no data left to process.’ Sadly, there wasn't much there to begin with. (Catherine Bromley)
LOCAL LIVE Hennisi Glasgow: King Tut's, Sat 22 Jan.
’And now for something completely different,’ growls the singer. While this is a barefaced lie, the band do help you over it by the sheer volume of effort that they put into their performance. They have a dark New Wave intensity and are not afraid to entertain; obvious comparisons are The Clash and Iggy Pop. Some husky Marianne Faithfull backing singing adds welcome colour, but if these songs were paint, Henry Ford would have happily coated his cars in them. An immediate improvement would be to half the amount of widdly bits and lose the 80s gUitar sound. Eventually, rock posturing takes precedence over any sort of meaningful dynamic, and it’s an unfortunate victory for form over content. (Benjamin Ellis)
Edinburgh: Queen's Hall, Sun 23 Jan.
Three things which come naturally on a Sunday afternoon: sleeping, eating and reading the papers. But those feeling in need of a culture injection after Saturday night excess could consider replacing the 'sleeping' option with a spot of aural stimulation.
The Paragon Ensemble Sunday Series takes place monthly at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and is a tasty little package offering Sunday brunch, papers and 60 minutes of chamber music. Renowned for their polished professionalism and eclectic programming, Paragon draw on a number of guest artists to complement their ensemble (in this instance the vocal talents of soprano Irene Drummond) and weave together a blend of past and present day composers, from Beethoven to Philip Glass. Worth dragging yourself out of bed for. (Kelly Apter)
Glasgow: King Tut’s, Fri 28 Jan.
The cynics in the audience can be heard muttering ’If you've heard one Glasgow band, then you've heard them all.’ And they do have a point. But if you are gOing to hear one Glasgow band, you might as well opt for Eugene Kelly's; after all, this is a man who has skipped from raw, buzzbomb pop with The Vaselines to measured rifferama with Captain America and Eugenius.
Now settled and looking more like Neil Young than a man in his 305 ought to, it’s obvious that the past few years have seen more than a few changes. The guitars soar like they always did and the harmonies follow their lead like dutiful dogs, but there's a worry that Kelly has abandoned his maverick approach in favour of measured craft. However, with a pop sensibility as sharp as this, it doesn‘t matter: the way to the good man's melodies is still through his fuzz pedals. (Leon McDermott)