live reviews

Rock, yes; but not as precious a solid as one might have hoped for

ROCK Pearl Jam Glasgow: SECC, Sat 3 Jun 1* t *

It's been five long years since Pearl Jam, one of the few combatants in the grunge wars to maintain their dignity, honoured Scotland with their presence. In the interim, we settled for second best (think Soundgarden’s dullsville set at Barrowland), warmed to the increasingly barking mysticism of Live, and loved Foo Fighters.

It should have been a big one, but something just wasn‘t right. The reason came halfway through, when a bouncy, floppy-haired pup turned and asked: ‘could you do this every week?‘ It’s a good question and the answer is ‘yes', but then I can happily go down the boozer every week. I love going down the boozer, but it‘s hardly a big event. And that‘s the crux of the matter. This should have been a nirvana (and indeed Nirvana- esque) gig. A once in a lifetime chance. Instead, it felt like nothing much happened.

Perhaps blame could be attributed to the venue. Hall three of the SECC is a barn offering little sense of occasion, but the sound was OK and let‘s admit it, it's that same emotional attachment to the flea-bitten teddy bear you've had since you were five that makes Barrowland so special.

Lack of a stage set, then? Go to the theatre. A bit of banter maybe? God, no. Vedder on his soapbox would

leave no time for music. What was missing was that indefinable air of power and a lack of innovation and deviation from studio to stage. Tracks from Ten were faultless and provided some guts and humour (having forgotten the words early into the set, Vedder gamely admits the error of his ways and randomly renames ‘Even Flow'), but more from the edgier Vs would have added that much needed atmosphere.

Perhaps most disappointing was the glorious ‘Rear View Mirror', a total soul-wrencher which live inspired an impromptu Steps-style dance routine. It should have taken the breath away.

Conversely, the good stuff from the current album, the definitely patchy Binaural (‘Nothing As It Seems‘, ‘Grievance’) stood out a mile, bringing back memories of former glories.

Come last encore and everybody expected the big one. We‘ve all heard ‘Alive‘ a million times before but it stands the test of time. The classic rock ballad. Instead, Vedder appears in the spotlight with a banjo, tells us that last time he was in Glasgow he met a toilet attendant who claimed to be called Mrs Mop, and drones through the appalling ‘Soon Forget‘, Binaural’s tribute to George Formby. By now, there's a backlash at the back. Rock may be hip again, but to many it never went away. For a million bands, this would have been a storming set but it was Pearl Jam. They can do better. (Susan Mackenzie)

ageing crooner but that his impressive husky, verging on gnarly vocal, lends a sinister and dramatic edge to material old and new Starting off With one of their new songs, 'Black Heart’ is solid Indication that a 60s inspired bluesy rock is now favoured by the band, With influences from the likes of The Who and The Small Faces coming to the fore. Their old hit, ’In A Room', benefits enormously from this new sound, With Bassey's Daltrey-esgue vocal only furthering the song’s resemblance to 'Pinball Wi/ard’ Two

Never has a moniker seemed so appropriate

songs in though and it's clear that

we're on a magical mystery tour of 60s

and 70s rock Only Without the magic. The Janis Joplin sound, followed by

ROCK/POP Dodgy Edinburgh2Venue, Wed 24 May * 1r

Bearing in mind the unusually clement weather we’ve been enjoying recently, it’s not surprising that Edinburgh's young indie contingent decided to spend an evening soaking up the warmth of Dodgy's summer hits 'Good Enough' and ’Staying Out For The

54 THE “ST 8—22 Jun 2000

Summer'. Just like the seasons though, Dodgy are equally prone to change A new line-up and new material have shifted the outlook altogether, Signalling a dark cloud on the horizon of their summer pop

Now boosted to a five piece, the band’s preVious vocalist, Nigel Clarke, has been replaced by the more mature vocal talent of DaVid Bassey By mature, this is not to say that he's an

The Small Faces ditty, followed by the Pink Floyd noodle is a format poorly received by the initially healthy crowd The final songs are played to a handful of disinterested onlookers and when the singer asks 'Shall we play 'Stand Out For The Summer" there's only a muted response They do play it though badly and suffice it to say there was no hanging around for an encore (Catherine Bromley)

ROCK/POP Hobotalk Edinburgh:Venue, Thu 25 May


Picture rangy men in LeVi's, Sitting round a campfire, cheWing tobacco, drinking coffee out of tin cups and staring out onto the high plains With piercing blue eyes. They've known more pain than a man can bear, but goddamn it, they can take it. Unfortunately, Hobotalk don’t look like this, although vocalist Marc Pilley did make an effort by donning a dashing cowboy hat, but they are the soundtrack to this scene.

With a mice as rich as treacle, With years of desert dust adding a touch of huskiness, Pilley takes you out of your surroundings and into some mythical America Where men are men, and not ashamed to express their angUish. Havmg said that, Hobotalk are (thankfully) not one of those tedious, whiny, angst-ridden bands, no, their hurt and pain are pure, strong emotions, which make y0u feel good inside This is country as it oughta be. Of coorse, the c0untry in question is not the good ole U S of A, it’s Scotland, for Hobotalk are a local band, but their sound belongs to the Wild west. The band work extremely well together, With Pilley's vocals being the central focus, complemented perfectly by the impressive talents of the other musiCians.

This was a perfectly constructed set, consisting of the majority of their debut album Beauty In Madness, With ballads and more upbeat, powerful numbers carefully balanced to show each to their best advantage. The charisma and personality of all the band members permeated the set and enhanced their performance, and they obViously enjoy What they do. it's refreshing to see a band dispense With rock star posturings and attitude, and simply get up on stage, play superb music and have a damn good time while doing it. In a perfect

world, all gigs wouch be like this.

(Kirsty Knaggs)

More than just good ole' country folk