live reviews


The Flaming Lips

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Wheat air tr *

Glasgow: The Garage, Wed 10 May. Spare a thought for the warm-up to The Flaming Lips. Because in their current full-on MGM Technicolor incarnation, it can be difficult to match Wayne Coyne's psychadelic baroque’n'roll survivalists for sheer spectacle and invention. But Wheat, good ol' boys from Taunton, Mass., have made it their art to be understated, and as they wind and wend through the highlights of two albums-worth of beautifully-lathed melancholia, it’s easy to fall for their crinkled-brow charm.

Okay, so there’s nothing visually arresting about the sight of singer/guitarist Scott Levesque leading his troupe through the emotional rough diamonds of 'Don't I Hold You‘ and ’Raised Ranch Evolution’ - and for God’s sake, the drummer needs a decent haircut - but it's about the music; angular shards of skeining vocal and sparse guitar that somehow become wonderfully rounded, familiar and warm after the first minute of, say, 'Death Car’. And though there would have been no harm in investing in fireworks or some kind of laser lightshow, Wheat can still hold their heads high in the increasingly competitive world of angsty Americana alt-rock.

Now The Flaming Lips have picked up a fair few gongs for their ninth album The Soft Bulletin, but the most impressive one so far has to be the massive Zildjian- tastic bronze beast that Coyne himself wheels on to the stage to the strains of Godspeed You Black Emperor. And the mighty disc is put to immediate ker-ashing use as they launch into 'Race For The Prize', with additional DAT drums synching perfectly with the session drummer footage displayed on the astonishing giant TV screen behind the keyboard stacks of Michael lvins and Steve Drozd. And this huge digital display shows a bizarre range of images throughout the set: open-heart surgery

The ’Lips overtake Mercury Rev when it comes to creating something beautifully organic out of synthetic sound. And it's not just because they have a gong, either.

pulsing in time with 'What Is The Light?’, snippets of 2001 and Time Bandits alongside Sleeping On The Roof and liberal cross-cutting between Leonard Bernstein conducting an orchestra and devastating nuclear test footage.

But this snappy cinematic feast might be distracting if it wasn't for the colossal soundtrack. Orchestral, towering and intensely moving, The ’Lips overtake even the mighty Mercury Rev when it comes to creating something beautifully organic out of synthetic sound. And it’s not just because they have a gong, either. But the theremin probably helps.

Crossover hit ’She Don’t Use Jelly' turns into a raucous celebration, complete with falling balloons and fistfuls of confetti, there's an elegiac cover of 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' and when they are dragged back for the encore - a juddering run-through 'The Spark That Bled’ - Coyne returns with a fake head wound, swathes of his mock blood mingling with the sweat and tears of the front row. Now that’s entertainment. (Graeme Virtue)


Alluding to Wilde’s original, Herod is costumed as a Victorian gentleman who, like the Roman emperor, clung to the vestiges of an empire in decline Often consequently Salom} dances for Herod but here, Francoise Cir‘es' choreography aptly captures Salonxe's adolescent longing for Jokanaan At the same time, Salome a gym-toned l-ielcl conveys her need for a fathe' figure as the dance develops from an uninhibitec." solo piece into a ciecoiotis

A brilliant production steeped in its biblical, Freudian and Wildean roots W‘lll/ “Vb-"10"” “I‘m”? “ml “WU”


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Scottish Opera: Salome

Glasgow: Theatre Royal, Sat 13 May

at! it: “fit fir fir Banned in Vienna, London and New York, Richard Strauss’ 1905 operatic interpretation of Oscar Wilde's fin-de- siecle play, Salome, captivated audiences and repelled censors with its depiction of murder and teenage necrophilia

Nic'lc Rieti's stunningly Cjothic set for Scottish Opera prepares the audience for the moon-bathed action based on the eponymous biblical figure With an added psychological (lllllC’llSlOlt.

Salome falls in love With Jokanaan, the John the Baptist character, who is imprisoned by her lasc;ivious stepfather, Herod, for foretelling Christ's coming Helen Field playing Salome, displays sufficient adolescent petulance which gradually turns to mental iiieaicioc'.'n when the object of her advances taunts her mercilessly. Jokanaan, dressed like an itinerant Dickensian figure, is klt()\.\’llt(}l\,’ sung bi, fs’citteli Hayward as the sanc timonious butioon whom, even as he wrote his music, Strauss cletestecl. lnevrtably, religzoiis /ea|oti‘y and human passion iizale for

an outcome of biblically tragic

anachronistic touches thioughout the production, not least when Herod suggestiver lights up a cigarette .i‘tei Saloi'te's ciaiic e

ln exchange for this favour, Herod grants Salome her heart's desire, and the taial secitience .'."iic? possesses Jol:anaan -. red tuna-2' deliciously decadent

lhis is a brilliant l)l()(ltlttl()’t steeiieal .'. (i l‘-l:<tl!, lit-of .i'tcl \Uxtir-a‘ roots iiic- excellent cast, cluectc-u Andre l‘ngel, balance Victorian inelociiai'ia and kitsch \.'~.'itt‘. :i'bl:c

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live reviews MUSIC

LOCAL LlVE Macrocosmica

Glasgow: Nice 'n’ Sleazy, Fri 5 May. Mac r‘ocosmic‘a are pure tvvisted evil rolled into a hall and flung at the audience to see what happens. Their iacic ous voc als scream for your attention and they demand you watch their live show, filled With intense energy. But as soon as they have grabbed your attention, the three piece introduce Cerys’ quret vocals and the haunting bass lines. As this progresses through the show, metallic samples become more apparent adding another dimensron to their craft. llie whole room is bobbing up and clown to the heavy beats as they begin their last song of the evening - a ten minute epic that begins With Brendan playing the drums With an aimost tribal beat and samples ec hoing around the dark dingy venue that suits them so well. Mac i'ocosmica ioc k. (Keren McKean)

Empire Windrush, De rassi, Reluctant Bu falo.

Edinburgh: Venue, Wed 17 May.

Reluctant Jxii'falo whipped the audience air) into a frean With a set of loud, \‘pih-wah—fue|led rocik, c oi‘nplete w;th melodic. riffs and super—strong voc als from Welsh frontinan l-luw Martin, the band even ll‘i(lcl( ing Torn Jones—style knicker— tnr‘omng mid-set Making chicken- feed of a broken string and threatening feedbac k, they finished up ciei'giiting fans \Vltlt their latest single ‘l ali Otit', the kind of song that \.‘.’!ll bouiice around your head for days after

Now, Degiassi are a whole different kettle o‘ t'tsli t’s easy to get lost in Degiassi almost as soon as they take to the stage. Pretty soon the burlding ‘.'.as shaking and the floor Vibrating :inder the weight of their punchy iost-punlc groove Keen ()l‘. metal, trieii Paveineitt/l ;ic:a.{'-esgue pick- me-tips leave the crowd transfixed. lhe vrbe is addictive and sexy, producing the most interesting sound to come out of Ldinburgh in years,

lopsy-tui‘vy billing left Empire Windrush with the top spot, a local six-piec e who try their best to out-do Oasis managing to get the crowd moshing clesp.te being wrldly out of Julie ( tarts?

Sharon King

Edinburgh: The Bongo Club, Sun 21 lvl a y.

Dorie up in long velvet coat, mini- sleit and knee-high boots, Sharon King cuts a glamorous dash through the Bongo Club and was accompanied by a group of suitably talented inusic ians. With Lindsay Black on backing vocals and Al James on guitar, they produced some sometimes sombre, folky— bluesy sounds. Of particular interest was the c lever skiirle oeic ussion, ct)ll‘l)lt": entng, ratnei than t)\c’ll)(t‘.'.c’" fit} the overall sound and l)lc)‘.'l(lil‘.(l bac icing for one of the ’i.(]l‘tS best songs, a punchy, upbeat iniiiibei t"‘7.'‘(l 'loi Stire'.

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