POP ROCK SUPERGRASS Barrowland, Glasgow, Thu 17 Oct
‘lnfuriating’ is the only word to describe it. Supergrass produce four albums of the most perfectly rounded, stonking guitar pop that collectively make you laugh, cry, smile and sing your heart out, they put on an earth- moving live set, and yet still they’re bemoaned for being bland. The so- called critics dissect their music cruelly and label their live set as ordinary. No more. End the Supergrass witch-hunt.
When a band doesn’t put a foot wrong musically or publicly, do they become boring? Perhaps Supergrass are victims of their own success; tarred with a happy-clappy Britpop brush and forever destined to lack credibility. But why?
Three years ago I witnessed their Barrowland show, part of the latterly- christened ‘X-ray’ album tour, and nothing since has even come close. Quite simply, they rocked. According to Gaz Coombes, they weren’t even close to their best. ‘We’re playing so much better than we were on that album,’ he says. ‘It feels like it’s glued together and we’re playing with more enthusiasm.’
Better than mind-blowing? This I have to see. As in 99, the Barrowland gig will feature most, if not all, of the tracks from the new album, this time Life on Other Planets. Produced by Tony Hoffer (sometime collaborator with Beck and Air), LOOP. is less organic-guitars and more obviously
FOLK BOTH SIDES OF THE TWEED FESTIVAL Sat 6 Oct
lnnerleithan, by Peebles, Fri 4-
Accessible from anywhere in the central belt. the sleepy little town of lnnerleithan wakes up to a Wild weekend of roots- related music when it hosts the sessmns. werkshops. concerts and ceilidhs of the third Both Sides of the Tweed Festival. From the reVitalised folk rockers Lindisfarne. to y0ung Edinburgh trio Fine Friday. the concerts cover a lot of
Equal in their lack of pretenSion. if vastly differing in style. both Michael Marra and Dick Gaughan write and perform paSSionate. powerful and pOignant songs. full of Wll and soul. yet not lacking a sly Scots irony. They'll be kicking off the Friday concert With support from Give Way. the latest crop of youthful stars emerging from what used to be a staid fiddle and accordion scene. On the Sunday. Skye-based Cliar take the Gaelic song tradition and weave it With harmony and deft instrumental arrangements. and Fine Friday take simple flute. guitar and fiddle. and With astonishing musical empathy make something much. much more than the sum of the parts.
But festival organiser Hector Christie believes that the veteran Geordie lads have the edge over the younger hands. insisting that Saturday's hr-xtdhners Lindisfarne have ‘found a new generation of fans hearing echoes of the folk-blues of an earlier era. and recognising a blueprint for contemporary
acoostic music'. (Norman Chalmers‘i
52 THE LIS'I' I‘L— '. i' Oct 2007
Lindisfarne make for the border
electronic and arranged.
With four albums to choose from, is it hard deciding what stays and what goes? ‘lt’s good to have the choice. You can get rid of a few that are starting to piss you off and then just put in a few that we enjoy playing. We love doing ‘Richard III’ and ‘Fuzz’ and ‘Strange Ones’ and ‘Lose it’.’ And ‘Alright’? ‘We haven’t played ‘Alright’ for three years or so and there’s never really any outrage about that,’ he says. ‘I mean ‘Alright’ is a good song. I love looking back to it and
The ‘Grass just keeps growing
remembering when we wrote it and loving the song. It just becomes a bit wearing after a while.’
The scariest thing is, remembering ‘Alright’ means looking back seven years. Has it really been that long? ‘When I look back to 95 or even 94 when we were recording I Should Coco, it’s like, Jesus, we were all skin and bones. We’re all emerging into fat rock’n’roll stars now. No, not really, only a few of us.’ (Maureen Ellis)
I l it'e ()l‘ Owe! lA’l'anefs s c.i.' "or. o"
In this new and undoubtedly sporadic feature we cast an
eye over some of the finest new labels around and all they
have to offer. This issue: Alfonso Records.
Alfonso is a hugely popular name in Venezuela: would this be a label inspired by the wonders of Latin America? Let's be frank now. no; that would be a damn foolish Il‘lllt] to think. Alfonso's stable take their influences yen. much from this Side of the hemisphere.
Do tell. Well first off there's Comfy Moss. An absurdly inonikered but iii\,isteri()iis outfit who think nothing of sguee/ing some hauntingly beautiful sounds out of inoogs and guitars. Sounds braw. What else? The Kittens. ‘.'.rhose skill for a laiigiiid melody and off killer wig out challenges the giddin high standards set by those original space cadets, ‘riandaddy
Yum. More? Hows about Javelin? This bunch ‘.'.’lii rattle a few
the same stage, less the same band? You'd be surprised.
of Foo-Tortoise or a sense I suppose.
and the force is
for dressing like pervert rednecks is truly unacceptable.
expect platters from all three lniininently.
I The Alfonso
at the Bongo Club.
(Edinburgh, Fri ll Oct.
So Javelin are a sort
Tortoise Fighters? lii
indeed strong l.'l them
even if their penchant
How true. Ui‘-huh. so
HOOD/(i8 S/l()‘.’i/(I<'IS(,‘ l8
heads with their schizophrenic split of bo'iibastic bu//sa\.'./ punk stomp-athons and intricate post-iock ja/x'nongering. Eh? Surely shoogling and noodling are not allowed on
Woof! Here’s Javelin
5 REASONS TO GO SEE . . .
1. Many will admit to having a soft spot for striking front man. MOrten Harket. A fawning fanbase ensured early 80s Success. and many a Cynic might say that their lasting legacy to pop seems to be fairly aesthetic. The good news? Twenty years on. the boys look better than ever. Harket is still unnaturally beautiful — only now he has better hair. But whisper any appreCiation laydeez: Harket is reputedly getting a tad pissed off that the press are focusmg on his looks and not his musical ability. Awh. we feel for yOU Morten . . .
2. Moving on. Okay. let's not be fickle people. That’s like saying that people only go to see Kylie for her pert botty (hang your head in shame. gentlemen). Cast your mind back — they actually penned some damn fine tunes. ‘Take on Me' may have been their most popular hit. but who can forget golden oldies like ‘The Sun Always Shines on TV'. and ‘Cry Wolf'? 3. Like Swedish coenterparts ABBA. they created tunes that defined an era. Unlike ABBA though, you still get the opportunity to catch them perform their hits while they occupy the same stage. Get yOur nostalgia hat on kiddiewinks. you'll be dancing in the aisles by the time the first number's done ‘n' dusted.
4. Forget Blondie. These fine lads (okay. bonelide men-things now) aren't just cashing in on 803 nostalgia — they've been working consistently for nearly 20 years. so have a wealth of material to choose from.
5. Al 's rehash of A-Ha's first hit 'Take on Me' proved that the original appeal of these songs still has the power to draw a crowd. And hell. if this doesn't sustain their pop credentials. then simply go and revive that teenage crush. Yep. those Scandinavian popsters are mighty fine at cheesy pop. And being good looking. It must be the six months of day and night thing. (Anna Millar)
I Clyde Auditorium. Glt'lsgow. Tue 15 Oct