ROCK MUSE SECC, Glasgow, Tue 25 Nov
Muse are here to save British rock from the current trend of blandness. We want hyper kinetic space opera packed with crunching guitars, wailed falsettos and roaring theatrics. Or, as vocalist and guitarist Matt Bellamy so modestly puts it: ‘Expect a big rock show.’ If you’ve ever encountered the expansive, epic music of Muse you’ll know what an understatement that is. Their live shows bristle with energy — Bellamy a screaming, guitar virtuoso striking appropriate rock poses while coaxing the most complex of sounds from his
Bellamy is on a tight schedule. He’s got an appointment at the doctors to examine his throat (don’t worry, ‘it’s just a check up’), but the ideas and insight come thick and fast. No wonder third album Absolution is so rich, packed with themes of Armageddon. ‘There were various things going on that meant the album dealt with the idea of things coming to an end,’ he says. ‘Sometimes in a very positive way like ‘Hurricanes and Butterflies’, that’s about finding the strength to come through and find a new future. Then there’s the darker side like ‘Apocalypse Please’ which is about
religious fanaticism mixed up with military
action causing the apocalypse.’
Does he really believe all their rhetoric? ‘There are moments of panic when you believe something like that could be true, but often they get suppressed,’ he explains. ‘I mean, you can’t walk into the pub with your mates and go: “Shit the world’s about to end.” That’s what song writing for me is, the things that don’t
SCOTTISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Thu 20 Nov
Harper’s In good voice
It's only been up and running for a few months after a silence of many more years than anyone cares to remember. but the restored Usher Hall organ is once again making its powerful presence felt. A sparkling inaugural recital by Dame Gillian Weir, a starring role in the Edinburgh Festival, a few day- time concerts for fun and now. in its first special commission. the Usher Hall organ is centre stage for Voice of a City. Not that it will be a solo voice. Edinburgh based composer Edward Harper has written his new piece for no fewer than
48 THE LIST 13—27 Nov 2003
300 voices. Singers of all ages and abilities combine with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and recently appointed city organist. John Kitchen. in what is intended as a public celebration to welcome the Usher Hall organ back to the forefront of musical and Cultural life in Edinburgh.
‘It is a great honour to be asked to write a work which celebrates both the city I have lived in for 40 years and the Usher Hall organ,‘ says Harper. Particularly challenging is writing music which involves children‘s choirs — four city primary schools put forward their brightest singers — and an adult community choir. as well as the polished sound of the SOD and. of course. the organ. ‘My experience of writing Music for King Arthur. which similarly combined amateur and professional forces should stand me in good stead.‘ explains Harper. ‘And. indeed. writing what has to be very simple. direct vocal music but colouring it with more elaborate and sophisticated instrumental writing proved to be very stimulating.‘
Texts have been taken from an anthology created by children from Craigmillar. and the music for the adult choir is set to words from Edinburgh. An Intimate City. a collection of poetry inspired by Scotland's capital. (Carol Main)
come out every day. When I sing that song I’m definitely feeling it, and when I’m writing it I definitely feel it. But when I look back on it a few weeks later I go “hee hee hee - that’s a bit When you start out there’s this rule that all the funny isn’t it?”’
That love of scale and grand sweeps easily translates to the live arena in Muse’s hands.
It’s the end of the world as they know it but Muse feel fine
‘We’ll be trying to pull off a larger production, with video screens, weird moving pieces, confetti bombs, ramps - all that kinda stuff.
money you get paid for a gig you put back into the gig. We still apply that rule now.’ (Henry Northmore)
ROCK THE COOPER TEMPLE CLAUSE QMU, Glasgow, Tue 18 Nov
Didz Hammond is sick of people talking about his hair. The famously hyperactive bassist of Reading six-piece. the Cooper Temple Clause. may be on unusually quiet form today. but when asked 21me the media's obsession with the band‘s big- barneted style he becomes noticeably tetchy. ‘Those hair jokes are still there.’ he sighs. ‘It is extremely tiring but it's something that we've learned to ignore' Bizarre that after having released an LP as stunning as the Coopers' second effort. Kick Up the Fire. and Let the Flames Break Loose. people should still want to focus on anything other than the music. They obviously haven't heard it: it's a storming rock record with experimental tendenCies and darkly mesmerising melodies that would silence anyone still branding them a style over substance outfit.
Hammond and Jon Harper (drums) were the last to join schoolmates Dan Fisher (guitar, vocals bass). Kieran Mahon (keyboards). Tom Bellamy (effectsguitar'synths. bass) and Ben Gautrey (vocals) when they got together in 1997. The latter pair had been in a band together since they were 1 t -years—old. Branded 'weirdos' by Reading neds. they bonded over a revulsion for the post-Britpop drought and hype be damned. slowly built up an obsessive fan base thr0ugh word of mOuth and 18 months of solid gigging. leading to Hammond's much publicised near-death hospitalisation. 'At the beginning we'd seen bands like UltraSOund and Gay Dad come and go. and were always aware that it could happen to us. So we stayed out of the press for as long as possible and played loads of gigs. We just wanted something that was real and not based on hyperbole really.’
The Cooper Temple Clause have never been. and never Will be. a scenester band. They have made a career out of turning unsuspecting audiences into devoted fans. Hammond ends our conversation promising an ‘extreme and emotionally involVing' Glasgow performance that you too will find hard to resist. (Camilla Pia)
a a... . Who can resist the charms of Didz?