live reviews

ROCK/POP Beck/Ray Wonder

Glasgow: Clyde Auditorium, Sat 25 Mar 1hr a: at:

As every 605 garage punk band should know, there is a fine line between a shudderingly effective blues rock roar and a teeth-on-edge yowl. Beck's personally selected Swedish support band, Ray Wonder, have recklessly opted to build their church right on that fine line. Consequently, they have moments of pure exhilaration - their raw, towering cover of James Brown's ’lt's A Man’s World’, their forays into rough-edged, piledriving punk pop - but the set is unbalanced by the singer's tendency to descend into self- indulgent, tuneless howling.

Still, if anyone can do self- indulgence with style, it’s little Mr Hansen himself. The stage set looks like a Levi's advert set in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, and the man himself gives a great deal to a venue that offers sod all in return. Impressively armadilloesque though it is (and Lord knows, you can't say that about many things these days), the Clyde Auditorium is one big frigid passionkiller of a

No artist should ever be required to do battle with the Armadillo's abject lack

~. :3 .5


venue. It's so chilly, echoey and sterile that whilst one might happily perform a complex brain operation in it, or carry out minor nuclear tests, no artist should ever be required to do battle with its abject lack of atmosphere.

Beck’s a generous and appealing host, strutting the stage like a kid all dressed up in his big brother's attitude, but even his charisma rarely penetrates the armadillo's steely armour. 'Do I have to come out there and kiss every one of you?’ he wonders as he strives to persuade the audience on to their feet. The classics - ‘Loser’, ‘Where It's At', ‘The New Pollution' - and the joyous falsetto funk anthems of Midnite Vultures sound great, but there’s a distance between stage and audience that proves nigh on impossible to bridge. A well-intentioned but faltering medley of the intimate moments from Mutations suffers by this lack of


In the end, it takes chaos and mayhem to break the ice. The encore takes the rest of the show by the ears, ties it to the back of a rocket and fires it all the way to Planet Beck, where there’s a preternaturally skilled DJ scratching his heart out, a brass section dressed in American football uniforms, someone with the head of an antelope and a quite unforgettable version of 'Devil's Haircut’. Beck and various band members plunge into the audience. The security staff suffer panic-related aneurysms. Beck tries to climb into one of the long plastic tubes that festoon the stage. Only his head fits. He has a lie down. The song descends into screeching pandemonium. The crowd finally relax. In a better venue, this could have been the show of the year; as it was, delayed gratification was the most we could hope for. (Hannah McGill)

ELECTRONIC Laurent Garnier Glasgow: The Arches, Fri 24 Mar ink

Sacrificing spontaneity: Laurent Garnier

48 THE LIST 30 Mar—l3 Apr 2000

Pressure is always oversubscribed, but the round-the-block queue this evening is a testament to Laurent Garnier’s standing as one of dance music’s finest DJ-producers.

On the basis of his ‘live in the mix’ performance tonight, however, he might be well advised to reconsider the uneasy combination of his two trades, which resulted here in a peculiarly unengaging morass. That is not to say that Garnier has lost his touch, and the lengthy set gave him the chance to explore the various avenues found on the critically lauded Unreasonable Behaviour long player. The spine- tingling saxophone excursions of ’The Man With The Red Face’ served as a counterpoint to fractured grooves reminiscent of a milder Aphex Twin and sublime bass-driven floor-fillers.

The Garnier live experience is, however, too close to failure for comfort by dint of the fact that, since cutting his teeth at the Hacienda back in ‘87, the Frenchman's uncanny ability to read a crowd, then tailor his sets accordingly, has been the cornerstone

of his genre-crossing reputation as a world-class manipulator of vinyl. Unfortunately, constrained tonight by pre-programmed elements and a defined set list, the clubbing experience was robbed of its essential interactive qualities, with tracks presented to the audience, rather than guiding their responses. Of course, Garnier managed to overcome these difficulties with greater aplomb than many of his peers could muster, and rose above the awkwardness engendered by his choice of medium for much of the gig/set. However, the audience/crowd were constantly forced to veer between two modes, losing themselves in lengthy periods of dark, powerful techno, only to be brought up short by the more introspective, self-conciously musical material.

In the end, Laurent Garnier is a great DJ and a great producer, but his talents would be better applied to the exploration of one activity or the other, as opposed to a synthesis of the two that results in a pale imitation of both. (Jack Mottram)

LOCAL LIVE The Underground Apes Glasgow: 13th Note, Fri 17 Mar.

In the twilight world of The Underground Apes, subtlety is a dirty word. Their's is a rocket fuelled, amps- cranked-to eleven assault that takes in the combined clout of Blue Cheer, The Stooges and Motorhead and is all the better for it.

Guitarist Stodge Monkey bellows like a sexually frustrated bull in heat, bass player and self-styled ladies' man, Dog Faced Mandrill (crazy names, crazy guys) sports a neat line in leopard skin threads, while drummer Go Go Ape resembles a deranged escapee from a 60s garage band compilation and excels at laying down a primordial caveman beat. They even attempt a Dick Dale surf number, albeit Dick Dale strung out on a sordid cocktail of Buckfast, Temazepam and horse tranquilizers. Good sleazy fun for all the family. (Neil Ferguson)

Obaben Edinburgh: Liquid Room, Mon 20 Apr.

Got three words for ya indie, Spanish and folk. Don’t really sit well together do they? As it happens, once you've witnessed Obaben live, they do. Cos that’s essentially what we've got here, and it works a damn treat. The Liquid Room's less sophisticated punters started off looking somewhat perplexed by Obaben’s Spanish muso antics, but eventually seemed to get the hang of their tricky timings and subtly strange songs.

With their blond, strumming frontman orchestrating proceedings and two violin players adding to the frantic feel of the sound, Obaben's sheer energy and enthusiasm was a pleasure to watch. Add a percussionist and a particularly loose-limbed blur of a drummer and you’ve got a truly original, if somewhat bonkers, band. (Doug Johnstone)

Buddha Crush Edinburgh: The Attic, Sat ll Mar.

From Caithness they come, heads buzzing with amphetamine insurrection, hearts pounding with passion and disgust; Buddha Crush have come to vanquish apathy and kick out the jams (whatever they are), to cast asunder the farting spectre of lad-rock forever and to resurrect the last-gang-in-town spirit of early Manics. Well that’s the plan anyway and, if they don’t quite pull it off, at least they’re trying, dammit.

Vocalist Richie Revlon (they're that kind of band) just manages to transcend the clichés (scissor-jumps, panda-eyes etc) as does their mostly fab selection of Buzzcocks-spattered glam-punk nuggets. A little visual unity wouldn't go amiss the other two are blokes, frankly but Buddha Crush fizz with an energy and self-belief that's hard to resist. Altogether: Wun-Too- Free-Fuhl I! (Paul Whitelaw)

STAR RATINGS st 6: is, 7w. Unmissable at ‘i-‘k w a Very ood es Wort a shot A Below average it You’ve been warned