JAZZ/SOUL Gil Scott Heron Edinburgh: Ego, Wed 28 Jun
The Holy Trinity of agit prop jazz soul fusion pioneers is the late great Curtis Mayfield, the sublime spirit of Terry Callier and our man with the cross; the gentle genius that is Gil Scott Heron. Of course Roy Ayres and Jon Lucien are winging it at the right hand side but life truly doesn't get much better than having the privilege of seeing any of these live; like peanut butter and jam sandwiches or the kindness of strangers they are experiences you will never forget. Scott Heron's intimate return to the land of his football heritage (his father known as the 'Black Arrow' had played for Celtic in the 30's) was no exception. If you missed it you truly missed out.
Here courtesy of Canongate Books as part of a publicity drive for his written work this was never going to be the full Amnesia Express experience but the great man seemed happy enough with the pared down set of himself and his long-time percussionist Larry MacDonald.
After shooting the breeze Heron launched into ‘Show Bizness' his rich baritone and chunky rhythms casting a spell over the packed auditorium which few wanted to break. That was until some drunken retard a third back decided to tell Chicago‘s finest that he was shit and later sat on the stage to provoke audience and band alike only to be removed by bouncers. With all the good grace and tolerance in the world, some people do deserve to be at least mildly tortured. Sorry about that Gil. Anyway our poet protector kept things going with a superb spoken word state of the nation jam that had all the student wannabe daddio beatniks in the audience stroking their underchin Fidels like they had ‘Almost Lost Detroit'. Then Gil, having performed his commercial obligation to Canongate, settled back into what he does best — playing the same playlist he's played for the last
Lead weight rumbustious guitar slaughter
Propheting in peace: Gil Scott Heron
fifteen years — I've seen him five times now and its never altered; ‘Save The Children', 'Winter In America', ’Lady Day And John Coltrane’, ’South Carolina', 'The Bottle' they're all here and boy do they sound sweet.
MacDonald works miracles with his set up while Heron croons and prunes his oldest tunes to the point of doped out serenity. Wisely though he jokin skates through the lyrics of his most famous tune ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’, a clarion cry to the black underclass in its day it is of little relevance to this mostly Caucasian audience. Heron chooses instead to emphasise themes of love, joy and happiness in breathtaking improvisations around songs like 'Beginnings' and 'Shut ’Um Down’.
As ever, the pavement Prophet was an inspiration and the audience (most of whom cannot have even been born when Gil had his 'Small Talk At 125th & Lenox' in 1970) left with smiles on their faces and warmth in their hearts. Peace. (Paul Dale)
As a frontman, Coxon's shortcomings are apparent, glances at the audience are infrequent, and the scarce banter is self-defended because he is ’concentrating like fuck' Without the constraints of Damon Albai'n's celebrity deathmatch relationships in the way, ('oxon let loose should have made for a display of markedly defiant post-Blur getaway Instead, Coxon's great escape is a dissonant trawl through the lo—fi American post-punk wastelands l-r'om 'Jamie Thomas' l(](il'l)l(‘(i freakoid tribute to Graham's favourite skateboarder. and Tags And f‘tilllll't" imore unsheltered riffor'amal, to a dry cover of Mission Of Burma's 'lhat's When I Reach for My Revolver", Coxon barely displays any indication of his
Graham Coxon Glasgow: Garage, Mon 10 Jul Attempting to childhood dreams is a dangerous guest for Blur geek boy and guitar prodigy, Criahain (oxon, his solo turn involves a \.vild adolescent fantasy to don a pair of contact lenses and play some thrash metal
With hangovers and mud trails from
the i.‘.'eekend's l in the Park festival still consuming many of the patrons, a set drawn mainly from the aural backlash of ( oxon's second album ‘l’he (iolden l)’, is somewhat merc less penance Winged by a backing troupe including ldlewild guitarist Rod Jones, bassist Toby lvlcl‘arland from 13/13, and fellow Blur stickiiian Dave Rownti'ee, Coxon announces that tonight ilylatthmvi his band are going to he
reputed artistic licence What is delivered is leacl—weighted rumbustious guitar slaughter, at times as die-hard as h.l()()\‘.'(il ampiitating Iron Maiden, but never as appealing as the nearest exrt Ironically, this Illl‘wi‘ last year Mogwai were making a thrift trade on ’Blur' are shite' t-shirts Who'd have imagined that one of Blur's own would be drilling 'gwai-scented white noise as a benchmark (Jason Ci‘anwelh
live reviews MUSIC
Animation Glasgow: T’Chai Ovda, Thu 29 Jun.
It's not often that you see a gig in a smoke-free, teetotal zone, but the soporific enVirons of T'Chai Ovda suited Animation down to the ground. Frontman and chief songwriter Francis Green played a selection of acoustic versions from the forthcoming debut album Sunset In Black And White to a hushed audience, Stripped down from the already low-key originals, Green’s cracked, country-folk vocals were placed centre stage. This had the effect of turning sad s0ngs into real heartbreakers, With most of the tracks dealing in tangential tales of romantic upset At times there was a wandering toward whimsy, 'When We Were Young' might have turned sacharrine in less capable hands, but here was kept on the right side of charming Animation are a band to watch
Life Without Buildings/ Desert Hearts Glasgow: 13th Note Club, Sun 2 Jul.
Clarity, it seems, is not a priority in the musical minds of Northern Ireland's Desert Hearts Rare moments of focus occasionally slice through the fug of sub-Boo Radleys clatter, but after fifteen minutes of the same moribund rhythmic pulse you're left feeling utterly bereft of curiosity. Meanwhile, we can only wish for future pop stars who try to communicate with a vrgour whic h looks forward (and skywardi, rather than backwards
Enter Life Without Buildings Taut, purposeful and melodically inventive, upon the base of late 70s/early 80s new wave, they steadily build each song up with tender details, every one ending rust that little bit too soon Low-key rhythms play off syncopated, scattish wordplay GLiitar and bass lines trickle and slip like sweat Better still, the vocalist has character and ideas an uncommon, but welcome, revelation Together, the union of considered dynamism and unadulterated Joy sounds very, very intriguing (Sean Guthriei
The Soul Collective Edinburgh: The Bongo Club, Thu 29 Jun. A young Glasgow-based ten-piec e, The Soul C ollec tive know how to keep the punters happy the Bongo Club was Jumping the band were tight and funky Huge ass-biting basslines, sometimes \\.'aiidei'irig, sometimes fat and slow, toyed with insistent wah- wah guitar riffs, punctuated by a sharp horn section Three svelte and wiggly female vocalists, led by the laid—bac k tones of (iayle Evans, produced close, bi‘eathy harmonies, givmg the songs a highly-polished veneer
An urban, trip-hoppy edge was evident in some tunes, but the mainstay was chart-friendly wrth the gutsy debut single ’Passion' reac hing heights of catc hiness and danc’ability Whilst their fusion of chilled funk and smooth, sexy soul is still a bit pickled in its own influences (Brand New Heavres, Incognito), The Soul (ollec tive's youthful exuberance and desire to entertain is refreshing, and is a true pleasure to watch. (Janet Neih
20 Jul—3 Aug 2000 THE llST 65