Glasgow: The Garage, Fri 2 Jun;
In describing young British guitar bands, the phrase ’hard working’ is often used as a thinly disguised euphemism for ‘crap and boring’. Anyone that's ever read anything about the Stereophonics will know what I'm talking about. Reclaiming the original meaning of the phrase, however, are Muse, the Devon three-piece who are a) actually hard working and b) not at all crap or boring. Although the band share some superficial similarities with the aforementioned Welsh cod- rockers (they tour like buggery. there's three of them, they like guitars), Muse are a much more interesting proposition, and are currently being hailed as the future of intelligent guitar music.
Since the release of their debut album Showbiz last year, the band have been constantly touring around the world, playing on four continents in a host of different countries. It’s this work ethic that bassist, Chris Wolstenholme, believes is the secret of their success. 'We played with a lot of
Anyone who's witnessed one of their incendiary shows in the last year will know that
they’re much more about rocking out than angsty introspection
really good bands last year,’ he says. ‘That got us noticed and it made people aware of who we were. We had a break at Christmas then came out on our own and all that touring had really paid off.’ The fact that, by then, they'd also won the coveted NME Best New Act award probably did them no harm either, and their debut headline UK tour was a sell-out.
On its release, Showbiz showcased three young men with a wealth of ideas and an amazing confidence and self-assurance. The fact that John Leckie produced it brought inevitable Radiohead comparisons, but anyone who's witnessed one of their incendiary shows in the last year will know that they’re much more about rocking out than angsty introspection. Wolstenholme describes their live show as 'pretty raucous, very heavy, and a shock to the system if you’ve only heard the album. The first thing we did when we got signed was
record Showbiz, but since then, because we’ve played so much live, there’s a lot more energy now and the music's a lot heavier.’
It’s no coincidence either that the album's called Showbiz. All three members of Muse — Wolstenholme, singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy and drummer Dominic Howard — clearly love to entertain on stage, with instruments frequently being thrashed, trashed and thrown about with a refreshing lack of self- consciousness. Plenty of rock’n’roll fun to be had then when the band play The Garage at the beginning of June, but don't worry if you miss it, Muse will also be bringing their full metal racket to T in the Park the following month. After that, it’s the obligatory tours of Australia and the Far East before starting work on their second album. Hard working? Too right. (Doug Johnstone)
JJ. Burnel may have mellowed from the Swedish-biker fighting, journalist-
attacking scary anti-PC propagandist of old, but his lust for life remains.
ROC K/ POP JJ. Burnel Glasgow: Cottier Theatre, Thu 1 Jun.
If you’ve been dejected by the sight of misty-eyed punks documenting the death of new wave in The Filth And The Fury prompted retrospectives, take heart. J.J. Burnel, bass guitarist With The Stranglers for nigh on 26 years IS guaranteed to cheer you as he talks With enthuSiasm about himself and the
48 THE lIST ZS May—8 Jun 2000
world. Perhaps, the papers are wrong and punk is alive and well in the breasts of the few faithful.
Granted, lvlr Burnel has mellowed from the Swedish-biker fighting, jOurnalist-attacking scary anti-PC propagandist of old. But the lust for life that made him the mainstay of the most resilient band of the punk era remains. Although he states that he IS 'pacing himself’, he does so by diversifying his creative output rather
than by slowing it down. As he explains, ’One thing I’ve never done is play by myself in front of people, so I decided it was time I gave it a tr‘y'. Burnel has also drawn on his experience of leading a couple of irregular music workshops that turned into a collection of anecdotes from his years in The Stranglers. 'When I was first asked to do it I said, I don’t know if I could talk for half an hour. But get me a couple of bottles of wrne and I’ll do it. Three hours later I hadn't even touched my bottle or played a song. People refused to go . .' He vows that he has now disciplined himself to around twenty songs, wrth some new Stranglers material featured amongst the chat.
Still, what makes a man who is in his own words a 'disr'eptitable geriatric rock mLiSICIan' worth listening to? Firstly, its the energy for which he has always been known, but then, as he breezes through his Views on Shotokan Karate, the BTltlSll rrrotor‘cycle industry and the European Union’s involvement in KOsovo, you realize its also a lively intelligence that bass guitarists in punk bands are JUSI not supposed to have (Tim Abrahamsl
CLASSICAL RSNO Scottish Power Proms
Edinburgh: Festival Theatre (529 6000), Thu l—Sat 3 Jun; Glasgow: Royal Concert Hall (287 551 1), Thu 15 Jun—Sat l Jul. See Classical listings for individual concert details.
One of the best things about the RSNO Proms is the familiarity that Surrounds well-loved classrcs such as Grieg's Piano Concerto, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or Tchaikovsky’s Romeo And lu/iet. But there is, happily, room for the new, too. This year, the less familiar includes sonic- stunning young performing talent. The RSAMD Orchestra makes a welcome return after a number of years, young Scottish Violinist Donnie Deacon plays Sar‘asate’s vrrtuosrc Carmen Fantasre, K'Jlillt.’ another young Scottish artist, Steven Osborne, is soloist in Beethoven‘s Emperor Concerto.
Perhaps the biggest r;s:rig star, however, is l:clinburgh-born conductor Garry Walker, who, at only 25, is making his RSNO debut tit/rover of the 1999 Leeds Conductors Competition, he has conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at tne opening of their highly prt‘STlfllﬂLlS Barbican season, English Northern lezlhar'monia and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland He already kilos'ss some of the RSNO's principals ‘ron‘ working With them i'i Paragon Ensemble ‘lt helps when you krio'.‘~.' so'rie of the orchestra,’ r'c- says, adding modestly. 'I hope tltev'ii all appreciate that I’m a yoting (().".(lllt to: arai a hit green.’
Although tne public face or rather back of til/tiller ‘.'-.’||l be seen as he conducts tie series' Kids Prom, he l additionally involved "1 a massive Proms lileth Tr'Oiib/emakers teatirrurg musical menaces Billy The Kid and The Sorcerer's Apprentice brings tne sheer t’X(ll(?lTl(?.".l of a live symphony
orchestra to over 18,000 schoolchildren l'l Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee Walker is
passionate about music education, especrally instrumental tuition, being available to children, and worries that there is a danger in the opportunity being only for those \t'llc) can afford to pay 'The most important thing is to get krcis to realise that classical music is not an elitist actrvrty' he says, ‘You can walk into an RSNO concert for a quarter of the price it is to see Rangers and a tenth of what you'd pay to hear Madonna.’ (Carol Marni
'You can walk into an RSNO concert for a quarter of the price it is to see Rangers and a tenth of what you'd pay to hear Madonna’