ELECTRONIC Faze Action Glasgow: The Arches, Thu 24 Feb a
When you think about it, jazz is a lot like mould. Used properly both can work wonders; Miles Davis is a spine-tingling equivalent to penicillin and Charlie Parker equates roughly to the blue veins in a ripe Stilton. More often than not, however, both are a scourge, inexorably spreading unpleasantness over otherwise decent things. In the case of jazz, house music or in the case of mould, shower curtains.
And so to Faze Action who, on vinyl are capable of offering up gems like the string-laden minor smash, ‘In the Trees’, but in a live
setting seem obscured under a furry .WM we???
scurf of jazz fusion. In fact, the
Fazers seem to be on a mission to
harness the four-four thump of disco house to a succession of the worst available jazz-blighted genres.
First, the kids are treated to the trilling flutes commonly heard in elevators, then it’s the turn of saccharine string runs lifted straight from the pages of a jazz-funk textbook, then the non-specific vocalisations of afro-jazz and, finally, excruciating attempts to add a dash of Latin hip-shake to the proceedings.
To be fair, the band put on a good show, neatly side- stepping technical glitches during their opening number and performing with such enthusiasm that it was occasionally possible to tap a foot along to the disco house buried beneath the lamentable excursions into fusion territory. That said, no amount of grinning gusto could make up for the fact that, however much joyous leaping about the group manage on stage, the audience is presented with a hollow, soul-free amalgamation of tired clichés from a grouping of musical backwaters best
LSK frontinan Leigh Stephen Kenny
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Jazz butchers: Faze Action
left to goatee-strokers in Gazelle pumps and daft hats.
Worse still, the injection of disco that underscored most tracks failed to be a saving grace, thanks to the fact that the group's energies were clearly channelled into the horn stabs and jaunty percussion skirmishes in the foreground, reducing the house in the mix to an uninventive and irritating house-by-numbers addition of steady bass drum thumps and lumpen snare stings.
In the end, Faze Action belong to that malignant set of groups whose technical proficiency is matched only by their lack of imagination and dependence on shameless steals from genres that belong firmly in the past. There is nothing of the evolutions and re-interpretations of a still resonant form that keeps jazz at the forefront of drum & bass or hip hop. To return to the tortuous mould analogy, jazz for Faze Action is the nasty bits in a week- old mug of coffee; a blight on something that wasn't that interesting in the first place. (Jack Mottram)
to contrast with Kelll‘iy’lb often grizii :
tales Despite low VOILIIIIC aiicl liiiiit-..‘ [llllzr ‘ and space LSK manage to win the
suitably high for the headliners. These expectations were sadly dashed as Day One were thoroughly disappomting Any atmosphere built up during LSK’s set vanished a few songs into their set, partly due to their unengaging sound, but mostly thanks to their twatty vocalist.
Three disinterested session iiien fill out the lo-fi funk rhythm section while a Fran Healy lookalike wrestles with banks of keyboards and a guitar or two, but this is all offset by Phelim, a silly man who's pouting and bad dancing detracts hugely from his band’s reasonably competent
Off Day: Day One
Day One i. LSK-a a a Edinburgh: The Attic, Wed 23 Feb.
Sometimes effort is everything. When you are playing the store cupboards and potting sheds of rock venues, a surly mob can be converted to the most excitable and enthusiastic of audiences if you are seen to be making an effort. The spectators on this occasion who showed up, mostly on word of mouth, witnessed both ends of the performance spectrum in one night.
once had a band called Bedlam Ago 60 who sounded like Joy Division playing Masswe Attack songs fronted by Al Gieen. They lasted long enough for a few singles then imploded, leaving the trontrnan to form LSK. The two guitarists, two vocalists and two beats/scratching boys are crammed onto two square feet of stage, making way for Day One’s sizeable set up. This failed to dampen their spirits as the six— piece romped through a set of up-beat guitar infused, folky hip hop tunes topped with Kenny's rolling rhymes and co-vocalist Rhianna’s warmer tones
Charisma is all important for any band's frontispiete, but aping lluey from Fun Lovin’ (.iiiiiinals and throwing in some Al PaCino/Tony Montana shapes while wearing a fleece is nothing short of a catastrophe. You're from Bristol mate, not the Bronx, act like it. Stiongei tunes are oversliado‘.'-.ed by the stifled atmosphere and the comatose expressions on the face of th ) session musicians sadly became the pioiiiinent expres5ion within the crowd.
petite crowd over, leat/ing expectations
live reviews MUSIC
The Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ
Edinburgh: Potterrow, Tue IS Feb.
’We are The Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ,’ says the self-effacing lead singer of this quirkily cool collective, ’and all our songs have animals in the title.’ Which is pretty close to the mark, as it happens. The MMMO (as they're undoubtedly not known) play beautiful and uplifting skewed pop songs, often about totally incongruous subjects. Any band that can make a song about a Jim Henson otter puppet sound like a tearful, aching ballad deserves all the attention in the world.
With seven of them all contributing weird and Wonderful sounds to the lovely, simple melodies, the overall effect is highly impressive indeed. They finish tonight with the poptastic forthcoming single ’Ducks Are Coming Soon’— buy it and love them.
Travler Edinburgh: The Attic, Fri ll Feb.
Imagine if Belinda Carlisle got together with Ronan Keating and they had five sons. What would they be like? A musically talented bunch, mixing Mum’s bouncy 80s pop with Dad’s big harmonies. They might have listened to some Reef to learn about rock, and watched Robbie to get that tambourine action just right. They might even have named themselves Travler. like the 90s never happened, Travler bring pure, happy pop to a packed Attic audience raised on Sunny Delight. If their new CD Recovery Of The Fainting Boy were to fall onto Pete Naterinan’s desk, these Edinburgh lads may find themselves doing snappy dance routines on TOTP. Or, to quote the first song they ever wrote, he might just say Stop Wasting My Time. (Louisa Pearson)
Nerve Glasgow: The Cathouse, Fri 18 Feb. Enthusiasm was the name of the game for this band who basically gave it their all on stage to what was a rather subdued crowd. Their cocktail of choice was a tasty mix of rock and punk with the occasional drop of pop thrown in for good measure. The band’s influences were acknowledged with a rocked up version of Billy Joel’s ’Uptown Girl’ and a song whose intro bears an uncanny resemblance to the Clash’s ’White Riot’. Even sing-a-longs were positively encouraged, but it’s kind of difficult when you can't make out the lyrics. No musical breakthroughs but that’s not really what Nerve are all about, and as regards to entertainment and effort, you can’t fault them. (Jane Hamilton)
I s. - Unmissable
! .-‘. )‘X
i :. .t Wort a shot .--. Below average
l You’ve been warned
2—16 Mar 2000 THE LIST 43