ELECTRONIC/ROCK The Beta Band Glasgow: Garage, Fri 23 Jun.
Steve Mason IS being taken over. Not in an X-File alien pod-like manner. Nor is he the lone subject of a hostile bid from ruthless marketeers. It's just, well, his alter ego, a being by the name of Duck Hairback, is getting the better of him and Mason can only see one escape route: 'If I give him a writing credit then he might leave me alone for a bit.’
So, what exactly is his problem with this Hairback fellow? 'He’s my negative alter ego, he's wrestled the leadership from my mind and over the past year he's ruled the roost. He sees the bad things about every situation; when he looks out of the window, it frightens him and when he looks in the mirror, he gets scared. I'm a bit sick of him, to be honest.’
So, his way out and back into full clarity is to give Duck some say in the world of King Biscuit Time, Mason's solo recording artist self. ’King Biscuit Time were a blues band from the early 20th century and I just stole the name.’ Mason recently released ‘No Style', his second EP under the KBT moniker and is a tighter, shorter, more compact collection of tunes than The Beta Band have ever dared to create.
'To have no style is to have every style, meaning that you have no specific style that anyone can put a name to; so you have every style,’ he states by some way of explanation. 'Bruce Lee said that the fighting technique he worked out had no form and so it had all forms of martial arts; no form, no style. It's the ultimate eclecticism.’ Right.
Whatever fears Mason genuinely has, they may be nothing compared to the terror which appeared to sap
Is Steve Mason a genuine fruitcake or do his ideas take the biscuit?
the spirit of the Scots quartet during and after the recording of their eponymous debut album. The making of it was a strain but they didn’t even have the comfort- zone of it all working out perfectly in the end. Mason, in particular, hated the album; ’fucking awful' he said it was. And it's difficult to disagree with him.
The Beta Band is as ramblingly unfocused and unsatisfyingly scatty as The Three EPs is magnificently and fulfillingly wide, high, and long. The ideas and their manifestation actually get better with another listen. Yet, why would anyone ever wish to return to The Beta Band?
The post~album single ‘To You Alone’ succeeded in restoring Mason's faith in the band and happier days may yet be ahead. 'Making the next album is going to be fun from beginning to end. We’ll be surrounded by balloons and clowns and things.’ (Brian Donaldson)
folky With his Wife Beverley, With whom he made a remarkable album, The Road To Ruin, which included some pretty unusual African beats courtesy of Doo Doo Putwana and Spear. But he ended up more of a late- night smokey Jazz man, With a doubie dose of echoplex.
Solid Air was one helluva record to
get stoned to.
John Martyn was very pally With Nl(k
Drake. Solid Air was Martyn’s elegy to him after he killed himself.
Any other names to drop while you're at it?
Well, Phil Collins has produced him, you know. BaSically, he’s very well respected in the biz.
‘ Surface noise
All the shouting, pouting and grouting from the world of music RADIOHEAD HAVE CONFIRMED their Scottish dates in support of their as yet untitled follow-up to 1997's OK Computer. They play Glasgow Green on 28 and 29 Sep where they will erect their own custom-built tent which they have been touring around Europe in over the summer. EDINBURGH JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL have announced their programme of events running from 28 Jul—6 Aug. Highlights include performances from Courtney Pine, Georgie Fame and Dr John. For more information call 0131 467 5200.
THE MUSIC FESTIVAL based at the Attic, Planet Pop, is said to be returning for another year during the Edinburgh Festival. Last year saw the likes of Eliza Carthy, Sparklehorse, Suckle and Roots Manuva appear but only dub vendor the Mad Professor has been confirmed so far for this year.
T IN THE FRINGE is a new venture launched by DF Concerts, the promoters of T in the Park. They have booked a series of shows in Edinburgh during the fringe including Semisonic on 21 Aug, Pulp on 24 Aug and Ian Brown on 25 Aug, all of which will be at the Corn Exchange. Other acts appearing include Rae and Christian, Toploader, IdleWild, Babybird, Grandaddy, Doves and ex-Sgueeze man Glen Tilbrook all of whom Will play at the Liquid Room. More names will be added to the line-up in the coming weeks With at least three more larger shows at the Corn Exchange.
EDINBURGH'S NEWEST live music
venue, the Corn Exchange, has had its capacity increased by 500 to 3000. This coincides with the announcement that DF Concerts are to use the venue as host for their bigger T in the Fringe shows.
EAGLE EYE CHERRY, Elastica, Kent and The Dandy Warhols have been confirmed as the latest additions to the Glasgow Green bl”. The Dandy Warhols appear on the Sat 26 Aug While the other three play on the Fri 25 Aug
JUST ANNOUNCED Lee ‘Scratch' Perry Barrowland, Glasgow, 29 Jul; Bob Dylan SECC, Glasgow, 17 Sep, k.d. lang Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, 10 Oct.
We bring you the brightest gems from the dark reccesses of the diamond mine of music. This issue: John Martyn.
So why's this 52 year~old Glaswegian so brill?
Because he's continuously ploughed hIS own furrow. His newly-released Glasgow Walker is a melancholically romantic riposte to his debut 1968 LP, London Conversation.
42 THE “ST 22 Jun~6 Jul 2000
Melancholic. How very unlike John Martyn. So what else has changed? Well, his vome is even deeper and more slurred. His beard's a tad shaggier and ineVItably he’s grown a belly, but when this guy and his gurtar tune in together he’s liquid gold.
50 what's he play? Romantic ballads? Reggae?
You know, you're not far wrong. He was black enough to be the first white solo artist signed to Chris Blackwell's Island label in 1967. He started off very
What do his audiences consistently yell for him to play at gigs?
'lvlay You Never’, a tender romantic blessing for a loved one; and 'One World', a true highspot in his career.
So basically, he's God. Correct. (Gabe Stewart)
I John Martyn plays Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow on 26 Jun, Gaier Theatre, Ayr on 27 Jun; and the Liquid Room, Edinburgh on 28 Jun. Glasgow Walker is out now on Independiente.