ROCK The Sisters Of Mercy
Glasgow: Barrowland, Sat 2 Sep.
Fifteen years is a long time in show business, especially when it happens to be three quarters of your musical career. 1985 was the last time The Sisters Of Mercy graced Scottish soil with their presence, with a sell-out show at Glasgow’s Strathclyde University.
That is not to say they have been sitting about doing nowt; well actually, they have, they've been on strike. The band had been contracted to EastWest Records — a subsidiary of WEA for many years. However, their album Vision Thing, released in 1990, did not achieve what the company expected of it (whatever that means) and they promptly withdrew any funding for the band but refused to free them from their contract which still had two albums left to run. This stalemate continued until EastWest agreed to take an album, unheard by them, in exchange for freedom from the contract and £75,000 the label owed to vocalist Andrew Eldritch. They accepted the now infamous ‘SSV' album (which EastWest have yet to release) and the band were free to resume work on new music, to be released independently.
They have continued to tour during their time of recording inactivity and their live set is littered with unreleased tracks from the last nine years and promises have been made of new recorded material soon.
The band was formed in 1980 in a flat above a chemists in Leeds, when Eldritch, then a student studying Chinese at Leeds University, got together with Gary Marx and a beat-up drum machine to make their first tentative recordings. This shambolic start was like many bands’ first outings — something of a disaster - and it took a while for the band to begin to shine. And shine they did, proving themselves one of the most incendiary of live
Top class strikers The Sisters Of Mercy
outfits, and earning themselves a loyal following. Despite the Goth tag becoming as much of a hindrance as a help, the pulsating beast they created showed traces of wayward genius.
The line-up has seen many changes: most prominently Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams (who went on to play for The Mission - Adams now plays bass in The Cult), Tim Brechenio (formerly of All About Eve) and Tony James (now back on the comeback trail with Sigue Sigue Sputnik). The sole remaining original member is singer Andrew Eldritch, while Adam Pearson and Chris Sheehan showed up in 1998 to play guitars and erstwhile techie Ravey Davey completes the current line-up.
Despite being hugely unfashionable, they continue to sell out live shows all over Europe and have headlined the likes of Rock Am Ring and Roskilde (something Oasis have never managed).
They retain a dry sense of humour about their relative inactivity but this feverish series of live shows will see them remind us all what we have been missing.
A T i
Bhangra band DCS. The ten-piece found success with their Punjabi Dance Nation album and are now working on a Hindi dance/R&B project. These two concerts are ticketed, but there's a wealth of musical talent which you can hear absolutely free.
Fun Da Mental’s Aki Nawaz has been working on a project in Nottingham, fusing traditional Qawwali vocals and rhythms with dance beats. Sufiana Big Beat are the resulting outfit, and definitely one to watch out for. If you’re a fan of slick dance routines then check out D/l/P, the boy band who're leading the way with their new
Edinburgh Mela Edinburgh: Pilrig Park, Sat 2—Sun 3 e
A walk through Pilrig Park wouldn’t normally include a soundtrack of world music, but you can hear just that when the Edinburgh Mela sets up camp. The multicultural festival has found a new home, having outgrown Meadowbank Stadium, and is striving to bring the best modern and traditional sounds from around the globe.
’We're looking to get people with an international reputation if we can,
New boys in town D/IIP
preferably from the Asian sub- continent, plus we’re looking for the crossover, so it’s a mix of traditional and modern,’ says one of the organisers, Morag Neil. Pankaj Udhas is one of the biggest names on the bill. His brand of Ghazal music has achieved triple platinum record sales, with a voice and melodies that transcend language barriers. An ambassador of Indian culture, he sings in Urdu, Punjabi and Gujarati and past venues have included the Royal Albert Hall. Another group who are used to filling large halls are the UK's top
British Asian sound. The Mela wouldn’t be the Mela without the sound of the drums — regular favourites the Dhol Crusaders will be there, ’they've got pipers, dhol drummers, and there’s Scottish country dancers on stage at the same time; we’ll just have to wait and see what happens,‘ says Neil. Keeping the beat going are the Pulse of the City Samba band, the Caribba Stargazers Steelbands and if that isn’t enough to get you moving then Afridonia with their mix of dance and music surely will. (Louisa Pearson)
For more information, call 0737 557 7400.
Tim Richards Trio
Glasgow: Tron Theatre, Tue 29 Aug; Paisley: Arts Centre, Wed 30 Aug; Edinburgh: Queen Charlotte Rooms, Sun 10 Sep.
Putting together a dozen consecutive jazz dates in Scotland is no mean feat, but pianist Tim Richards has managed to do just that for his Trio, kicking off in Glasgow this week and ending in Edinburgh, via a sojourn in the Highlands. As a founder and eventual leader of the long-running Spirit Level, he is well used to coping with the rigours and frustrations of keeping a jazz band on the road.
Spirit Level first formed in Bristol in 1979, with saxophonist Paul Dunmall (and his copy of the then hard-to-get book of jazz charts, The Real Book) as another original member. ‘I had been playing in jazz-rock bands, and wanted a vehicle for my own compositions,’ says Richards, ’and also to play something more in the Coltrane, Monk, and Mingus kind of aesthetic. It was fortuitous that Paul had just returned from the USA, and brought a copy of The Rea/ Book with him, which was the first time I had access to the authentic jazz repertoire. Initially we played tunes by Coltrane and McCoy Tyner and so on, but quickly moved on to our own material.’
The band lasted two decades, albeit with various changes, and the pianist celebrated that achievement last year by organising the even more ambitious Great Spirit, a nine-piece band which performed and recorded his ’Suite For The Shed’. 'l’d love to bring Great Spirit to Scotland, but it would have to be one of the big festivals. Up to that point all I had really done was compose for quartet and quintet, and I wanted to get away from the usual jazz structures and explore different instrumental textures and more structured ways of writing.’
His diverse musical roots incorporate straightahead jazz, funk, jazz-rock and blues, all of which are liable to crop up in the trio. He is joined by bassist Dominic Howles and Italian drummer Andrea Trillo, who is also featured on his most recent trio recording, The Other Side. (Kenny Mathieson)
The spirit of adventure in Tim Richards
24 Aug—7 Sep 2000 THE UST 27