Academy, Glasgow, Fri 7 Nov
The music of Grandaddy is many things - sleepy, melancholic, poignant, quietly moving, occasionally groovy — but it’s never angry. Is it? ‘You’d be surprised how much of an impetus anger is for a lot of what we do,’ says guitarist Jim Fairchild, smiling from ear to ear as if he’s enjoying the opportunity to vent his feelings. ‘Maybe it’s with the way people are treated or with how things are going in our country, or just all the shit that passes for reasonable music.’ Looks like we’ve caught Fairchild and the rest of the band in a distinctly irate state, and there are very definitely bees in Grandaddy’s bonnets,
by the sounds of things.
‘We’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about the absolutely fucking pitiful state of popular music,’ Fairchild continues. ‘The whole sensationalist thing about build ‘em up and knock ‘em back down . . .’ At this point he trails off in disgust, before thinking of a good example to illustrate his point. ‘We saw that band Good Charlotte the other day. They’re just disgusting, you know? They’re such fucking shit, they claim to be punk rockers and they’re so not punk rock.’
Grandaddy have changed. When their debut album, Under the Western Freeway, emerged, blinking in the light, from their Modesto, California home back in 1998, they sounded like
a frail bunch - lovely to listen to but you feared for them in the big bad music world. No need.
The five-piece have grown in stature, and their most recent record, Sumday, is their best yet, an accomplished and assured blend of intelligent rock with psychedelic country tinges. Live, the band have replaced early, nervy and shy offerings with robust and raucous performances. It’s all down to a subtle change
Tolbooth, Stirling, Fri 7 Nov; CCA, Glasgow, Sat 8 Nov; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Tue 11 Nov
If chamber music was to be invented now. it might be called room music. But, like maid and pot. the original terminology has stuck. Hebrides Ensemble's new look at chamber music. however, takes the 21st century equalent as its starting point for David Fennessy's specially commissioned music theatre piece entitled. quite simply. Room. ‘lt's a sort of analysis of where chamber music comes from. where it's been and where it's going.’ explains Ben Twist. stage director. ‘Originally. chamber music was played by a small group of players in a room and w0uld have been much more relaxed and personal than it is now.‘
At an hour and 20 minutes long. with no breaks. Fennessy’s piece deliberately takes familiar excerpts of well known pieces of chamber music. such as Beethoven's Spring Sonata and Brahms' Clarinet Quintet. and intersperses these with sections of his own new
48 THE LIST 30 Oct—13 Nov 2003
A Room for change
writing. In the process. the whole business of the relationship between the music and the audience. as well as that between the music and the players. is put under the spotlight.
The event will also be very visual. as it is staged. uses theatre lighting and the players move around. possibly singing (although they don‘t know that yet). As part of a larger initiative to develop audiences by enhancing concert presentation. Room is proof that chamber music is not dry and stuffy. but can appeal to a wide range of people. ‘lt’s quite different from the usual sort of concert.‘ says Twist. ‘And really bold.’ (Carol Main)
of attitude, according to Fairchild.
‘So many bands are doing it for the wrong reasons,’ he says. ‘So while we’re floating around in this harbour of poo, if we can throw out a lifeline, be one of the bands that’s making decent, honest, passionate music, then great. We only recently realised that we should do it with
A lifeline in a harbour of poo
the utmost care and the utmost passion, we shouldn’t be lackadaisical about it. Maybe it took us longer than it should have to come to that realisation, but if you’re going to do something, you should do it right.’
Anger is an energy, and in Grandaddy’s case, an energy worth cherishing. (Doug Johnstone)
ROCK ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Thu 6 Nov
Where did Electric Soft Parade 90’? Seems like only yesterday their debut album.
Holes in the Wa//. was Mercury-nominated and they were in our faces everywhere.
winning 0 awards and the likes. Then suddenly, zip. Nothing. Nada.
Turns out that instrument-swapping brothers Alex and Tom White were being dumped by their record label. Db. deSpite critical and commercial success. Never ones to get down about things. the effervescent Siblings simply retired to their Brighton home and. well. chilled out.
‘We had no label. it was literally just us.‘ says Tom. the younger of the Whites at a measly 19 years old. ‘We started making a new album ourselves. without any contact with the London industry. We didn't know if anyone was going to put the record out. or even if we were going to get to finish it. We were doing it because it was fun. and we were having a great time hanging out with our mates in Brighton.‘
The reSult is an amazingly complex and mature new album. The American Adventure. a record which takes a while to get a handle on. but pays back that investment tenfold. More expansive and creative than their debut. it's a rec0rd that swims against the twin tides of garage rock and heavy metal revivals.
'l just hope it goes down well,‘ says Tom. “We've made a real effort to make something slightly different. something that is the opposite of this whole rock revival thing. It's honest rather than ironic.‘
For all their laidback attitude. Electric Soft Parade are not short on ambition. l innocently ask about the pair‘s future plans. Tom goes into details about future albums. club nights. side projects and soundtrack ideas. Anything else while we're on the subject?
‘Yeah,' he says with a grin. 'I want to be drummer for the FOO Fighters.’
Not so soft