ACOUSTIC ROCK TURIN BRAKES Barrowland, Glasgow, Tue25 Feb
Turin Brakes are unlikely guitar heroes. Their debut album, The Optimist, was one of the success stories of 2001, but its quietly strummy tone was surely more suitable to coffee shops than sweaty rock gigs. But anyone who saw their frenzied reception at an acoustic show in Edinburgh last year will know the staggering levels of devotion that Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian invoke, something which puzzles the lads themselves.
‘Yeah it’s funny,’ says Knights. ‘I mean, The Optimist isn’t the kind of record that makes you want to do backflips, is it? But that's what we find at gigs, especially in Scotland. I guess it doesn‘t always have to be heavily rocking to make you feel like that. It's about emotion, so if you connect with the music then the band come and play live and you can see they're up for it, then you’re going to be up for it too.’
Knights reckons that the band’s portrayal as bookish acoustic introspective types in the media is well wide of the mark, and he likes nothing better than an up-for-it crowd.
‘People think we’d be happier in a calm, polite situation but actually it’s
the opposite,’ he says. ‘The more mental the crowd are the more mental we play, so hopefully the Barrowland will set us off and make us do things we’ve never done before.’
And anyway, those devoted fans might have something a bit more suited to backflips this time round. The band’s second album, Ether Song, is out next month, and it shows a decidedly rockier and more experimental edge, something in part due to being recorded almost live as
a five-piece band in LA.
‘We had two options: we could either make something that sounded just like The Optimist or we could try and stretch ourselves and extend the sound,‘ says Knights. ‘Every day I think we get more ambitious musically, and the more success we achieve, the more conﬁdent we get about pushing the envelope. I don't feel it’s our job to be one of those bands that continuously remakes whatever it was that made them successful.’ (Doug Johnstone)
EXPOSURE This issue, Damien Rice is awarded the honour of a highly contrived question and answer session.
Not another of these alt.country freaks! Why can't trendy people start admitting that in an honest world they'd be Counting Crows fans and stop abusing full stops and wanking on about Ryan Adams? Don't go judging the man too quickly. Damien Rice impressed David Arnold so much that the Bond-rockin' boffin bought him a mobile recording studio and produced part of his rather brilliant debut album 0. Never heard of it. That's nothing to be proud of. O was one of the best albums made last year. lauded by the press but sadly neglected by British punters. alth0ugh the Irish took to it with more enthusiasm. It's a stripped down wonder of a rec0rd. full of heartfelt and unsentimental lyricism. deft guitarwork. choruses about eskimos and opera bits that actually lift the tracks in question rather than weigh them down with pointless bombast. Rice sings of love and loss with a skill and a passion that makes songs like ‘Delicate' and ‘The Brewer's Daughter' sound at once universal and deeply individual.
I like eskimos. Did you know that, contrary to popular opinion, the Inuit don't have 50 words for snow and, until the arrival of western settlers, they were the only major society not to have discovered the questionable joys of intoxication? No. But I do know that Rice recorded 0 in a boathouse in south-west Ireland, playing whenever the urge took him. and that by the end of this year. if there's any justice whatsoever in this world. his album will have become a part of the life of th0usands of people across the globe and Damien will be rich, famous and fulfilled. Alth0ugh not too fulfiled. obviously. in case it compromises the emotional clout of his future Output. (James Smart)
I Damien Rice plays King Tut '3, Glasgow Sun 23 Feb.
Rice is nice
Five get over excited
FOLK DOCHAS Live at the Star, St Andrew's in the Square, Thu 20 Feb
“It's been a hectic year.‘ admits Julie Fowlis. education
development officer for Feis Ros in Dingwall. and Gaelic singer. piper and whistle player in Dochas — whose eponymous album
recently heralded a fresh new sound from the Scottish Highlands and Islands. All in their early 203. the five women in the band come from areas as distinct geographically and Culturally as Uist. Caithness. Shetland and Glasgow's Donegal Irish community. but have f0und common ground in the band
whose name in Gaelic means 'Hope'.
'Jenna (fiddle) and me are the new additions‘ says Fowlis. ‘We ditched all the old stuff and made a new start with all-new material.‘ With an attacking line-up of bagpipes. harp. keyboards. whistle. fiddle. accordion - and even oboe — the
band obviously enjoy live performance. ‘When we're in front of
an audience the music can get a bit wild.’ she says. ‘We're all definiter guilty of getting over-excited.’ They head down to the south of England. playing the
‘ Gospon Easter Festival as suppon to the Saw Doctors. then
take off to the furthest corner of Britain f0r the Shetland Folk Festival. And there are trips to Italy and a festival on Jura. But the booking Fowlis looks fon~ard to most takes her back home aCross the Minch. ‘We're going as resident band for a week in July to Ceolas. in 80uth Uist.‘ and she smiles. ‘where we are playing for dancing. and teaching a bit - but basically we're the party!’ (NOrman Chalmers)
At home with the Brarthwaite A bad week for rock’n’roll? No, not entirely . . .
eing designated to take the B helm of the new album by
England's dreariest of the dreary. Starsailor. is a task that I am unlikely to be invited to undertake. It is also one that would drive any man to his wit's end. But even I wouldn't have presumed that it could drive a man to crime. It should be noted that Phil Spector already had a reputation as being somewhat 'unbalanced' but with him being charged with murder, not to mention Paul McCartney removing his beloved strings from Let it Be. it's all in all been a pretty bad week for the chap.
Bizarrer enough. Mr Spector allegedly shooting someone in the head hasn't even been the biggest 'music industry psycho' stOry of the week. That gong goes to Michael Jackson and the tremendous(ly entertaining) documentary that aired about him on ITV — and to think that I had considered my Leith abode to be the epitome of superﬂuous luxury! His house is outrageous. Why he chooses to fill it with weans that aren't even his is beyond me (as are many things. truth be told) but since I am of the charitable opine that he has no dubious intentions towards these scamps I think he should be left alone. His obvious and extreme idiosyncrasies are not particularly surprising (if more than a little alarming) considering his upbringing, tormenting father and heinous acne. I for one think that living in a theme park. befriending animals and obsessing upon the Elephant Man to the extent that you actually begin to resemble him is a much more intriguing and charming way of dealing with fame. Better that than snorting too much gak. shagging soap stars/footballers/ page 3 models. writing pseudo biographical books. going into rehab. selling your story to tabloid newspapers and finally appearing in reality TV shows. which seems to be the plan of action for most British celebrities. At least Michael Jackson can dance. not to mention his utterly astounding rendition of the Green Giant jingle. which was incredibly moving in a very surreal/random kind of way.
13-27 Feb 2003 THE LIST 46