. . . AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD
QMU, Glasgow, Wed 24 Apr
. . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead blasted back in February with new album Source, Tags & Codes, a white-hot explosion of expression and aggression, a firestorm of passion heralded by the double-barrelled assault of breathtaking, brain- meltingly ferocious opening tracks in ‘It Was There That I Saw You’ and ‘Another Morning Stoner’.
Theirs is no limp-wristed pus- dripping softcore Yank ‘punk’ travesty (Sum 41, your number’s up), . . . Trail Of Dead write acutely intelligent, piercineg emotional and
honest rock’n’roll that simultaneously annihilates
simpering drips like Starsailor with their acoustic guitars, constipated
expressions and pathetic nasal
whines and the no-brainer, water-
weak posturing of Blink 182.
Their agenda has always been
simple: no compromise. Their
appetite for destruction, sometimes with glee, sometimes in fury, is the stuff of legend. Their tour insurance has a special . . . Trail Of Dead clause.
But between last album Madonna and Source, . . .Trail Of Dead signed to globe-bestriding behemoth lnterscope. On the surface at least, there’s no difference - no extravagant courting of the press, no fancy-schmancy ad campaign, no MTV-slick videos. You may ask what a true-grit punk band like this is doing cosying up with corporate rock,s gargantuan hell-whore and its Satanic demonspawn. They delivered unto the world Limp Bizkit, for Christ’s sake!
While he admits the band come from ‘a tradition of complete distrust for major labels’ says guitarist Conrad Keeley. The sentiment may be admirable in some circles but inevitably the band wanted to take their music further than preaching to the converted. ‘When I look back on the bands that have changed my life, I can probably count the indie bands on one hand, while there are so many major- label bands. You can’t say it was all evil.
‘The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Beatles - bands I associated with being more than just some kind of capitalist ploy to sell units, but were really about changing art and people’s thinking.
‘Poignancy and pop music are not mutually exclusive - many historic bands have proven that - U2, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, the Beach Boys, Nirvana - they were able to say something relevant to our human condition in the idiom of major label success.
‘lt’s those poor kids in high school and middle school who think that Blink 182 are a fucking punk band who need to be saved.’ (Vicky Davidson)
PETTER WETTRE SEXTET
Henry‘s Jazz Cellar, Edinburgh, Fri 12-Sat 13 Apr
Wettre plays double or quits
Anyone who caught the Norwegian band known simply as the Trio on their earlier Visits to Edinburgh wrll already be aware of Petter Wettre’s explosive saxophone playing. His latest visit
will see him link up with a handful of home-based players in a new sextet. the latest link in a chain of such cross-cultural liaisons at Henry‘s.
The Trio (later renamed the Petter Wettre Trio) is in abeyance. but his current projects in Nonrvay include a new trio with Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen. and a quintet.
‘The Trio had played a lot together over the last six years. but the other guys are very busy now, and l didn't want to spend time playing if the music wasn't in constant forward motion. Time was just not on our side. Also. playing with the same guys for so long makes y0u wonder how it is to play with other musicians.
‘My concept with the trio was that each musician was equal. My quintet is more under the American influence. and I guess Branford Marsalis has been my main source of inspiration over the last couple of years. even though David Liebman has been my mentor on how to approach
Wettre is looking forward to meeting up with his 'Scottish' band. which will feature alto saxophonist Laura MacDonald (a revelation with Reid Anderson recently) and trumpeter Ryan Quigley alongside the tenor saxophonist.
‘l'm very excited by this opportunity. If there's one thing for sure. it is that there are great musicians all over the world. and it is astonishing that so many people with such different backgrounds can get together and communicate through music.
'It's in everybody's interest to make the music sound good. and I'm sure that's the case with them as well. Of c0urse. I will like them to play what I have written, but also give them an opponunity to shine with their own individuality. There is no point travelling so far just to make the music sound like home. That's the beauty of jazz. that everybody has the chance to bring themselves into the music.’ (Kenny Mathieson)
Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Wed 24 Apr
Take half a dozen lads from the English north, arm them with guitars the minute they leave school. then tell them to sit in that there studio and give it their best shot. And — yOu would think — listen on in horror as a sub—Oasis townie-rock fiasco unfolds before your ears (or Northern Uproar. as they were known at the time).
The Coral. however. beg to differ. You see. they might very well be five teenagers and a twenty-one year old songwriter-in-chief (James Skelly, or ‘J' to his mates). but the music proves they're undoubtedly dredging a well of inspiration that most songwriters twice their age don't even know exists.
Imagine a Nick Cave-fronted Doors scoring David Lynch's next flick. if you will, with some ska and a bit of inexplicable Pythonesque humour shovelled in for good measure — even that elaborate description doesn‘t come close. but at least it's on the right track.
Goth allergics in a mad, dirty world
If reports from January's NME Carling Awards shows are anything to go by. it‘s also a sound which translates well to the live stage. ‘lt was a good low, yeah. I enjoyed it‘. recounts organist and co-composer of new single ‘Skeleton Key' Nick Power. ‘But there were so many goths there 'cos it was such a mixed bill. Hopefully they still got into our musrc.‘ Power is quick to dismiss the much- reported bad blood between the bands backstage as a couple of off- the-Cuff comments being blown way out of proportion. defending Andrew WK and co as fine people to head off around the ceiintry with.
So what — having completed yOur first large-scale tour as a young band — do y0u make of the musrc industry's machinations. then? ‘We just get the manager to deal with it'. he asserts. ‘cos nothin' interests me in that mad. dirty world. If you're always good and you’ve got the tunes. then you don't ever have to play that paparazm game and no-one can question you.‘ Now that's confidence. And here's your chance to find out if it's justified.
. (David Pollock)
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