LIVING LEGEND BRIAN WILSON
Clyde Auditorium, SECC, Glasgow, Fri 25 Jan
In the pop star lexicon, the two most overused words are ‘survivor’ and ‘genius’. Oh, for a quid every time they’ve been dropped into conversation and composition. The pair are both common in the story of Brian Wilson’s life and not without an ounce or two justification.
The only surviving sibling of the Wilson family who formed The Beach Boys in the Eisenhower era, he has overcome drug- as well as therapy-dependency. Wilson is responsible for one LP - Pet Sounds - that regularly and justifiably tops critics’ lists of best album ever. So he at least had his moment of genius.
For many music fans and writers under 30, The Beach Boys are a bit daft. Fair enough. They are responsible for ‘Kokomo’ after all. But whatever you think about the band and their Happy Days patriotic suburban image, the sounds that Wilson achieved in the studio and their subsequent influence cannot be discounted.
The production values were heavily influenced by Phil Spector’s ‘wall of sound’ (indeed, even to this day, Wilson idolises Spector, reportedly believing ‘Be My Baby’ to be the greatest song ever recorded and listening to it on a daily basis). Wilson raised the bar, chucking in all sorts of instrumentation to create sonic waves that rivalled whatever George Martin and that other band in the Abbey Road studios
committed to tape.
Ironically for the man who comes to Glasgow’s SECC and has several sold-out shows in London this month, live performance was not something Wilson was entirely comfortable with. Whether because of sincere stage fright or the recognition that the sounds he created in a studio could never be reproduced on stage, Brian Wilson largely stopped touring with The Beach Boys.
This withdrawal in effect introduced the principle of officially approved and essentially bogus Beach Boys. Not only did producer/singer/songwriter and sixth Beach Boy Bruce ‘I write the songs’ Johnston replace him at concerts, a lot of publicity stills of the band featured him rather than Brian Wilson. That fragmented legacy continues today with Wilson’s cousin Mike Love and other founding member Al Jardine both individually touring under the Beach Boys moniker.
With Pet Sounds, however, Wilson and the band (which coincidentally largely hated the work) produced a complex and enduring piece of art. It may well form the centrepiece of the current European tour. ‘We’ll do Pet Sounds,’ he recently told The Observer’s Sean OHagan, teasineg adding, ‘maybe all of it.’ (Barry Shelby)
Free Brian Wilson!
Reading about the man is clearly not enough. You must witness him in the flesh or if not then in the comfort of yOur own living room. We have a pair of tickets and three copies of his new live double CD to give away. All you have to do is stick your name, address and contact number on an email to l7lUS/C@/lSi.CO.U/< or on a postcard to: Round. round get around to giving me free stuff, The List, 74 High Street, Edinburgh, EH 7 ITE
by Monday 27 January
INDIE. ELECTRONICA LO-FIDELITY ALLSTARS
QMU, Glasgow, Sat 19 Jan; Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Sun 20 Jan
It lust doesn't make sense. How could a band make such a splash aeross the Atlantic that Howard Stern gets them on his show. BootSy Collins asks to do a remix and the makers of ER love them. while back in Blighty. noone is captivated but Radio 1's leather- v0iced queen of rawk Mary-Ann Hobbs and a small division of fans? After all, what's more quintessentially British sounding than a collision of turn-of-the-90s techno and old skool Madchester sneerage reprocessed for the Norman Cook generation?
Not that we'll be hearing much
more of that unmistakable sub-Sub-
Liam whine. of c0urse. as vocalist Dave Randall (aka The Wrekked Traini packed his bags the night before what was at that point their largest tour. taking their keyboard player Matt Harvey with him for good meaSure. “As it went on, I think Dave wanted less and less effects on his vocals. while we wanted to experiment more.‘ says DJ co-vocalist Phil Ward (nee The
40 THE LIST 17-31 Jan 200?
Albino Priest. although the pseudonyms are edging into retirement). “And he wanted to go down the guitar-based route. which has never really been us. anyway. It was still a bit of a mad shock at the time. though'.
One they managed to recover from. however. as their scuzzy. squelchy. line-in-the—sand monolith ‘Battleflag' took off in the States. wrth suppoit slots over there for the likes of Orbital. Rage Against The Machine and Limp Bizkit. In between. they also managed to hold down DJing careers and record Don't Be Afraid Of Love. the follow up to the debut album How To Operate With A Blown Mind.
Featuring illustrious collaborations
America’s most wanted
with former chief Afghan Whig Greg Dulli. Jamie Lidell of Supercollider and that long-awaited Bootsy Collins crossover ("We sent him a ballad — not an obvrously funky one — and he sent it back with. like. five- piece female backing vocals and his son rapping on it. Amazing blokef'l. Ward describes this effort as more uplifting than the last. ‘Well. we thought the first one was soulful. but no one agrees! I dunno. there is this theory that the muse of the times is opposite [in mood] to the politics of the times. but I Just think it's hard not to sound )OyOLIS once yOLi've got a brass section in there' (Davrd Pollockl I The album Don 't Be Afraid Of Love. on 78 Feb. both on Ski/it.
Henry's Jazz Cellar, Edinburgh, Fri 25 Jan
While trumpeter Dave Douglas has attracted a great deal of attention and a slew of awards in recent times. he has always maintained that his colleagues in the loosely constituted 'Downtown' improwsation and experimental music scene in New York are equally deseniing of such attention.
One Such musician is his fellow trumpet player Cuong Vu. who make his Scottish debut wrth his New York-based trio at Henry's. He has been attracting growing notice for sometime. both With his contributions to other people's bands lincluding DOuglas' ambitious Sanctuary project) and, more recently. wrth his own rt—x;ordings as a leader. Bound (Omnitone. 2000). Pure lKnitting Factory. 2000i. and Come Play Ill/fl: lvfe (Knitting Factory. 2001).
The trumpeter was born in Vietnam. where both his parents were muSiCians. but he moved with his mother to Seattle when he was six. He took up trumpet more or less by mistake when his mother misunderstood his request for a horn — she took it to mean trumpet. while he had a saxophone in mind.
Once embarked on the instrument. he stuck wrth it. and eventually arrived on the New York scene via a stint at the New England
Vu goes Downtown
Conservatory in Boston. where he studied ia//. His personal musical at.)proach is more \xiideranging than that. however. encompassing elements of Ja// within a more eclectic mix of pop. eiectronic and classical influences.
Contact With clarinettist and saxophonist Joe lvlaneri whrle be was still in college led llllll to decide that he wanted to explore other musics. 'The best way for me to do that was by irnproVisation and trying not to be in any one kind of style] he sat s. ‘lt’s almost like any time you irnpr‘o\.'ise. people are going to label it Ja/z. but all musics have improvisatioii. and pop music can also be realw avant garde and creative'
His reputation continues to build. but his recognition factor with a muclt Wider audience took a quantum leap forward when he was invited to Join Pal Metbeny's nev.‘ group last year. an adventurous move for both parties. lKenny lvlathiesoni