Rocks Off

Edinburgh's Cas Rock was one of the cornerstones of scottish live music, we rake over the ashes of its final week.

' Words: Paul Whitelaw, Kirsty Knaggs, Catherine

Bromley and Doug Johnstone

It was inevitable that it had to end. Things were gomg Just a little too well. In the last c0uple of years, Edinburgh, for so long cowering in the shadows of Glasgow’s voluminous spectre, had built itself something Which could comfortably be termed a ’Pop Scene', a helter-skelter conglomeration of bands bound only by geography and the heady, tangible

belief that hey! ~ Edinburgh mattered

The scene's headquarters of course was

the Cas Rock. Nestled coolly at the apex of Edinburgh's famed pubic triangle, the Cas was always the most accommodating and, on a good, packed, sweaty night, the most rock 'n' roll of venues. Edinburgh's finest all cut their teeth here: ldleWild, Khaya, Annie Christian and innumerable local stars number their nights at the Cas as among the best in their careers. A night at Cas Rock, if you were so inclined,

could be a JOurney into the most Sublime

debauchery imaginable, Unpretentious, friendly and snugly atmospheric it easily kicked seven shades of shinola out of more ostensibly auspicious venues.

But now it’s gone. The last last orders have been called, the last pint has been

supped and spilled, the last chord fades as the amps are SWitched off for the final time. Why? Why to make way for another Tapas bar of course. God bless Edinburgh,

Tuesday night saw Huckleberry c0unt themselves among the bands responSible for transforming a pokey dive into the legendary live mUSIC venue it’s now remembered as, With appropriate humility then, their singer Vic Galloway, articulates the mood of the night, shouting " Respect the Cas Rock and fuck Tapas bars”, before launching the band into a fren2ied Hammond-driven punk instrumental. Demonstrating their versatility, they play what amounts to a greatest hits compilation With 60s ska-pop ditties sitting comfortably next to thrashcore thumpers and receive a rapturous response from the packed-out crowd.

Thursday and Silver Pill were warming up for their T in the Park slot, and being filmed for MTV. We are impressed




Annie Christian says adios Cas Rock

It’s no less than they deserve for their superb Fugazi- inspired, melodic power-punk. Their unique selling mm of haying a pair of (v. attractive) Maori twins in the line-up surely won’t do them any harm either.

Action Spectacular were next, with a criminally short set due to time limitations, but what they did produce was spectaCular indeed. A corking rendition of their new single 'General Lee’ was the highlight, but it was a Joy Just watching those crazy kids do their stuff.

Friday saw Edinburgh electro art-punk terrorists The Magnificents being, well, magnificent, and their lead singer is a truly scary man. TWitching and scowling through the band’s thrashy blasts of weird, nOisy madness, he looks as if he could throw a wobbly at any minute and boot his bandmates up the arse, all of which makes for brilliant, if edgy, VieWing.

The three weegie teenagers of Sputniks Down create an utterly beguiling and beautifully atmospheric post-rock SOund, each song building to an awesome climax before

Sputniks Down go down a storm at the (as

gently ebbing away. What's more, the trio seems utterly oinVious to the fearsome power their mUSIC possesses.

Saturday proved that things have changed on planet Christian, Once, an empirical neo-goth Suede-esque outfit With a fine line in corroswe guitai' pop-shocks, Edinburgh’s Annie Christian have transmogrified (somewhat) into now get this a Tubeway Army for the Harry Potter generation. Or something.

Where once they crunched and spat, now they squelch and wail, suffusing their patent giddy stomp With something altogether more scarifying. Synths blip and squall, drum- loops ciatter and Larry Lean bawls like a Jaundiced robot. It’s fab of c0urse, like Gary Numan Without the rotten politics and hair-transplant, the Christian clearly energised by their neW-found freedom. A fitting ruckus to mark the end of an era.

live reviews MUSIC

ROCK/POP Elliot Smith

Glasgow: The Garage, Sun 18 Jun *****

The not-so-young Singer songwriter in question shuffles on stage, all woolly- hatted, stubbly frowning shyness and mumbles a brief 'hi there' to a sweltering Garage crowd. Judging from Elliot Smith's demeanour and the delicate nature of his mostly acoustic melancholy records, you fear that somehow all this attention might be too much for the poor wee lamb. Then he and his band start to play.

And they raWk. Big dirty guitars come tumbling out the sky, and Smith’s voice, which is so fragile that it seems on the mm of breaking on Virtually every song on his new album, Figure 8, is belting out around the Garage to pleasantly startled looks.

So tonight’s set is a bit of an unexpected romp through Elliot Smith’s more rock ’n' roll back catalogue. For the most part, gone are the acoustic strums and the Beatlesy piano numbers, replaced by good old- fashioned American guitar tunes, not a million miles from the kind of thing Tom Petty used to dish out.

Opener, ’Ballad Of Big Nothing', typifies the night’s attitude it's a far cry from the gentle affair from Smith's pre-major deal album Either/Or, instead being turned into an anthemic kick up the butt.

Elsewhere, plenty of Figure 8 shows up, and is even better than on record. ’Son Of Sam' loses its preVious piano Jauntiness and turns into a fair old romp of a tune, ’Everything Means Nothing To Me' becomes scarily monolithic in its mantra-like chorus and 'Stupidity Tries' almost sounds like Led Zep on one of their less pompous days.

All of this is totally at odds With Smith’s self-effaCing attitude in between songs. At one pomt when a punter shouts he should take his woolly hat and t-shirt off he Just laughs, looks a bit embarrassed, has a SW|g of beer and gets on With the busmess of playing tunes. And playing great tunes is exactly What Elliot Smith and his exemplary backing band are all about. They should make a law: all gigs should be this good.

(Doug Johnstone)

The real Mr Smith you should be getting jiggy wit’

22 Jun—6 Jul ZOOOTHE HST 45