live reviews


Space Classics Scottish Concert Orchestra with Patrick


Glasgow: Royal Concert Hall, Sun 16 Am****

Classical is the oldest surviving form of music. Its decline in popularity with the younger generation looks to be on the turn with a more than accusatory nod to William Orbit and, more importantly, film scores. So when it comes to bringing classical music to the masses, the Scottish Concert Orchestra could not have chosen a better pairing than the sci-fi theme-tune and Patrick Moore. It was no surprise then, to see the large numbers of ‘culture virgins‘ taking in the experience on a first-time basis and even greater surprise that nobody arrived as a Kflngon.

Blasting off in true interstellar style, the concert could only have begun with Sunrise from ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra' (the dramatic introduction to 2001: A Space Odyssey) which was skilfully merged into John Williams' 'Main Theme From Star Wars’, accompanied by more than a few giggles from the string section. Williams continued to feature heavily throughout the remaining programme with tribute paid to ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind', 'Superman’ and ‘E.T.', and further emphasis on the Star Wars themes from the sequels lovingly aired. The tongue-in-cheek tone of the evening was epitomised in Patrick Moore‘s gusto introduction to the piece entitled ‘Jabba The Hutt', speculation now abounding as to whether they are indeed one and the same. As ludicrous as it may sound to pay credit to this particular piece, a perfectly executed and very difficult tuba solo ensued, and yet more chortles from the strings as Dr Moore‘s interspersed explanations continued, with more than a few references to his latest composition CD and an interesting sounding telephone conversation with his good friend Arthur C Clarke.

Patrick Moore or Jabba The Butt? Either way space Is the place

Proceedings following the interval were more refined. Accurate and beautiful renditions of ‘Mars‘, ‘Mercury' and ‘Jupiter' from Holst's 'Planets Suite' and Debussy's divine ‘Claire de Lune‘, proved the international merit deservedly accredited to the SCO. The treat of the night arrived appropriately after the 'Suite From Superman‘ where the multi-talented MC joined in on xylophone with a frantic performance of one of his 70 compositions - ’T he Hurricane'. Not bad for a 77-year- old with an asteroid named in his honour.

Proving that classical music can, in fact, strike a chord with everyone, the concert was an obvious success with both the connoisseurs and the uninitiated. Although the evening was one not to be taken too seriously, the musical content was quality enough to help build a bridge between classical music and its lost popularity. Sent on their way then with a respectful glance to the sky, the audience were left with one final thought in their mind: just what was said in that enigmatic telephone conversation? (Iona Shepherd)

.j'v‘" I ‘4’- 3,“ J \

They have a wealth of good ideas, but the execution never quite matches their

their conception.

This band is post-rock, you see, but instead of tearing the guts out of their genre and spewing out works of genuine novelty, they sample rock tropes and weld them together. In practice, this means a song might start with a burst of thoroughbred 1977 punkisms, before timeshifting back to the mid-70$ blues riffage, only to startle you with a solo straight from the Bon Jovi songbook; seamless, but also pointless.

Another blot on Six By Seven’s copybook is their tendency to sound almost like their forebears. They are,


SIX By Seven

Glasgow: King Tut's, Thu 13 Apr


Six By Seven have something of a reputation for shining in the live arena and, judging by tonight's outing, this is well deserved. It is not that the group are virtuoso players in particular, nor do they go in for any crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics; rather, the band have their cool rock gig schtick down pat. Guitarist Sam Hempton, for example,


strikes the traditional head bowed in creative concentration pose, but he manages to look like he really means it, rather than someone aping emotive axemen of the past.

Looking groovy is rarely enough to build up the kind of devoted following enjoyed by Six By Seven, however, and the rapturous response granted them seems based on their commanding stage presence rather than the lacklustre music. The group have a wealth of good ideas, to be sure, but the execution never quite matches

admittedly, more ‘almost‘ than most, but this doesn't make up for the fact that the group are essentially stylistic jackdaws neatly feathering a rock nest, and coming close to greats like The Pistols, Led Zep or The MCS does little more than remind the audience of discs they have at home, instead of provoking a desire to hear more from the group themselves.

In the end, Six By Seven are a handy list of further listening who manage to be slightly more than the sum of their parts by bringing a high level of intensity to the stage. (Jack Mottram)

live reviews MUSIC


Edinburgh: The Star Club @ The Attic, Mon 10 Apr.

If you've not been to the Star Club yet get down there right away, and find the Attic transformed into a mellow musical haven with a wide range of acts, including resident band The Felsons under the subtle guise of Marble Star.

Pollen appeared as part of an acoustic night where the atmosphere was perfectly laidback. This 'stripped-down' version of the band actually saw their numbers swell to eight, including trumpeter Alex Weir and three vocalists led by the honey-voiced Lindsey Black. Listening to Pollen is a bit like lying flat out on the grass on a sunny day. Close your eyes and enjoy the warmth of hypnotic beats, funky melodies and mellow vocals. Their mix of well-crafted songs and soulful vibes reach out and make you feel like part of the extended family. (Louisa Pearson)


Glasgow: King Tut's, Mon 10 Apr. Adopting the quiet intensity reminiscent of Mogwai and God Speed You Black Emperor!, Aereogramme introduce bursts of perfectly controlled rock into their set. With a voice as sweet as frontman Craig's, they know how to make use of vocals and yet still have the feel of orchestral ambient instrumentals before they soar into mind-blowing songs such as ‘Outside’. Typically, the crowd initially talks over the vocals but the clever use of samples and drum pads, some particularly athletic drumming and the band's genuine enthusiasm for their music soon captivate the audience. lf Satan formed a band with some angels this would surely be the outcome. Prepare to be blown away as Aereogramme quietly sneak up on you and steal your soul. (Keren McKean)

The Needles Glasgow: 13th Note, Sun 23 Apr.

In the strange parallel universe that Aberdeen's The Needles inhabit, it is forever 1977. Despite the fact that most of the band were probably distant twinkles in their parent’s eyes during those halcyon days, The Clash's ‘Garageland' could well be their manifesto, while their songs recall everyone from The New York Dolls and The Flaming Groovies to the bubblegum punk of The Ramones. After a while, however, it becomes apparent that any originality has been swallowed up by every retro-pub rock cliche imaginable and while they might see themselves as worthy successors to the likes of The Jam and The Small Faces, they actually come across as a tribute band to the long forgotten likes of The Knack and Generation X.

To be fair, they possess undeniable energy and commitment, and they do a neat line in power pop pastiche -— trouble is, it's a pastiche of something that was already pretty second rate over twenty years ago. (Neil Ferguson)

STAR RATINGS ***** Unmlssable *tii Very It“ Wort a shot *1 Below average * You've been warned

27 Apr-11 May 2000 THE UST 45