Finding their spark again with Know Your Enemy, the Manic Street Preachers return for a pair of nights at the Barrowland. When they launched the album with a show in Havana, The List travelled to Cuba and found there were two sides to this historic performance. Words: Jan Fairley
nd so the original Welsh rabble rousers arrive
back from Havana's Karl Marx Theatre to set
up camp at the Barrowland. In Glasgow for sure there will be no Fidel Castro on the balcony looking hard at his watch while waiting ten minutes for the gig to begin: no ‘invited‘ audience of teenagers bussed in from pre-L‘niversity boarding schools: no minders keeping everyone in their seats. save
for those in front of the TV ‘In Glasgow there be no. cameras. Perhaps there‘ll be CaStrO on the baICOny. IOOk'ng no huge Cuban flag as hard at hIS WBTCh waiting fOf the
backdrop as the Manics won’t to begin.’
be impressing on ‘I-il Jefe
Maximo'. the only communist leader left in the world. just why rock is such a good thing. And for Cuban rock fans. a few of whom did manage to get tickets to the Havana gig. that has to be the most positive outcome of the Manics decision to launch the new album in what is undoubtedly today‘s sexiest city.
Last December Fidel showed that he had changed his mind about rock being a western excess when he attended the unveiling of a John Lennon statue in a Havana park. This was either a positive re-think for a man whose government in the 1960s and 70s thought that possession of Beatles records was decadent. anti- Revolutionary activity. or a PR job. Lennon. it now seems. shares Fidel's ideals for love and peace (or is it vice versa'.’) Anyway. the musical space Cuban rockers have fought hard for — (including radical. long-haired Culture Minister Abel Prieto sitting at Fidel's side) — has now. been officially consecrated. with Reggae. Rap and Hip-Hop now also recognised
44 THE LIST 29 Mar—12 Apr 2001
Return of the angry young men?
as legitimate musics for Cubans to create.
Fidel seemed to really enjoy the Manics concert: he stayed the full length of time. did not seem to be wearing ear plugs. and waved happily as he left. And it was his first major concert: he’s certainly never graced the gigs of any top Cuban musicians like Grammy winners Los Van Van or the street cred NG La Banda. whose songs tell you what the government controlled newspapers never do.
It was hard to see if Fidel also waved his red and white Manic Street Preachers flag. or whether he caught on as to how to head bang. Whatever. the Manics delivered a blistering set. full of intense melodies. the lyrics of socialist songs like ‘Masses Against The Classes' just waiting to be sung in Cuba. Which song will Fidel remember most? It might be James‘ acoustic rendition of ‘Baby Elian'. the child saved from the devils‘ playground that is North America; Nicky‘s dark. splintered ‘What's Going ()n‘.". or the gorgeous ‘You Love Us‘. which finally had everyone up dancing. It won't be the first encore. ‘Australia‘. evoking a place many Cubans might like to visit if they were free to earn hard currency and travel abroad. because Fidel had left by then. Then the atmosphere inevitany loosened as for most Cubans it was best behaviour until ‘Super Dad' went home.
While the Manics are not as they claim the first ever western rock band to visit Cuba. they are the first singing in English. Unfortunater few people had heard of them or their songs before or could understand the lyrics. but they could tell the Manics were in solidarity with Cuba. still holding out after forty years of North American economic blockade. However. despite free education and health. it would be naive to think that living in Cuba was a bed of roses. And it would be good to know that Cuban musicians were as free as the Manics to write and perform songs about whatever they pleased. But then. as the Manics sang as their parting shot — it‘s all just 'Rock and Roll Music‘ isn’t it?
Manic Street Preachers play Barrowland. Glasgow on Mon 2 & Tue 3 Apr.
All the collaboration, constipation and degradation in the wonderful world of music
WILKIE HOUSE ON THE Cowgate in Edinburgh has Closed down. The venue was in danger of losrng its licence after a number of complaints about noise. All gigs scheduled fOr Wilkie House have been moved to other venues including Autechre and Goldfrapp. See Book Now on page 47 for more details.
ASPIRING BANDS WHO would like to get to play at this year’s T in the Park can do so by entering their demo into the final heats for T Break. Bands like Cosmic Rough Riders who played last year got much needed exposure through the competition. Entries should be sent to: T Break. PO Box 16590, Glasgow, 631 1YD. The deadline is Monday 10 April, so be quick.
GREEN DAY HAVE BEEN confirmed as the first band to play this year's Glasgow Green festival in August. More bands are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
LOOK OUT FOR THE tripTych programme inserted in this issue which carries a full running order for events in the three cities. Next issue will carry our main preview coverage for the Tennent’s sponsored festival which runs 27-29 April.
WIN OCEAN COLOUR SCENE TICKETS
DeSpite the rescheduling of two of their dates at the Barrowland. Ocean Colour Scene's show at the Corn Exchange is alive and well and you can witness the whole shebang by winning a pair of the five sets of tickets we have to give away.
Just answer the simple question:
What was the title of OCS's debut Single? Was it:
Answers to OCS competition, The List, 14 High Street. Edinburgh, EH1 1TE by Friday 6 April.