INDIE ROCK SUEDE
Carling Academy, Glasgow, Sun 7 Dec
Suede's decision to split a few weeks ago will come as a blow to anyone who felt ‘Animal Nitrate' and ‘The Drowners’ light up the early 905, to anyone who considers the fragile operatics of Dog Man Star amongst the finest music put to record, and to anyone who saw a ﬁery Brett Anderson lead his band through a passionate set at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room last year. And it will come as a blessed relief to anyone who listened to a ﬁne group slowly lose their focus and their spark.
This year’s Singles compilation muddied the group’s chronology and sat ‘We Are the Pigs’ by ‘Positivity’ and ‘Everything Will Flow’ alongside ‘Stay Together’. It made Suede’s decline from vitality to relative irrelevance seem a little less obvious, but still sold disappointingly.
Lead singer Brett Anderson announced the split with a terse ‘I NEED TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET MY DEMON BACK’. A month or so earlier, guitarist Richard Cakes and new keyboardist Alex
O’Connell had sounded enthusiastic and relaxed, giving few clues that Suede were on their last legs.
Oakes grumbled about Singles (‘it was an industry decision; it wasn’t our idea. At all’), reminisced over his arrival as a hale 17-year-old in a band hardly known for clean living (‘the first rehearsal I came in on they were all doing coke’) and looked back with enthusiasm at a sequence of London dates that had seen them run through an album a
‘I think we represented the old Suede stuff well in a way that was relevant to the modern line-up,’ he said. ‘We’re never going to be the band who
E>W. Studio 24, Edinburgh, Tue 9 Dec
A case of the Ex
Punk's just one big Jubilee these days. Go ask the Ex. the Allisterdam-based noiseniks who. like so many others. took inspiration from 1977's anti- establishiitent year zero effect. but. here and now in the 21 st century. are remarkably in the throes of their own 25th anniversary. And. as tabl0id hacks and ex-servants alike SlO'll‘. the barricades in an unprecedented wave of Buck House siege mentality. the band look to he in a far healthier state than the Royal household.
‘It feels like a brand new band." says guitarist Andy Moor. 'There's a whole new dynamic going on. which is much more manic. but has a whole lot more space and creative interplay. The difference is that I think we actually listen to each other now and respond.‘
Much of this rebirth is down to the departure of bassist Luc Klaasen. who. after 19 years. Quit Ill 2001. HS; replacement. the
classically trained Rozemarie Heggen. plays double bass like a bass player should do'. says Moor. ‘LuC played it like a guitar.‘
Formed Out of the Still thriving Dutch anarcho scene. the Ex's initial thrash was more akin to the hippified late-19705 Ladbroke Grove squat rock scene that informed the early sound of Rough Trade Records. Like RT. the Ex took punk's DIY aesthetic seriously. Running their own label and organising their own gigs cuts out the middle man. so the Ex now control a thriving cottage industry. with the internet allowing full access to the means of production in true punk idealism.
And in true partisan laShion. the Ex‘s first dates here for almost a decade see them headlining E>W. a festival organised by MRW44 Records. designed to offset the perceived lack of musical activity in Edinburgh.
The Ex's horizons. however. have cut a far broader swathe. so that Ethiopian and African music is now a major influence on a sound that '5 growing old disgracefully.
‘For me it's a continuous experiment. and until it stops working. we'll do it.‘ says Moor. ‘If that does stop. we'll end it. but we change our set every two years. so we get the same nervousness and chaos from the first gigs with the new set as we did way back. Of course. ‘we've got to be physically able as well.’ (Neil Cooper)
‘Stay Together?’ Not any more mate. . .
wrote and recorded that material so we do present Stuff at the Phoenix Festival in 1994 - tend to play it in a different light . . . we were wanting to do a nice lounge jazz version of Dog Man Star. In fact we did try a version of ‘We Are the Pigs’ that melded into ‘Le Freak’, but I think we’d get eaten alive if we did that live.’
The band’s Glasgow date, the opening night of the band’s last tour, may be low on revisionism, but it should be high on emotion. Not many bands have one more chance to polish their gravestone have played under the shadow of the guillotine, and those that have - one thinks of the Wonder
out of their skins.
One feels for O’Connell (ex-Strangelove), recruited to replace Neil Codling, whose ﬁrst UK tour will prove to be his last. ‘You can’t stay like a poster on someone’s wall from 1996,’ he pondered at the end of our interview with - presumably unwitting - irony. ‘You have to move on.’ Suede
before they are laid to rest. It’s the least they deserve. (James Smart)
WORLD FUSION ORQUESTRA SCOTLAND BRASIL The Arches, Glasgow, Wed 3 Dec; the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Thu 4 Dec
Scotland played an away game with Brazil earlier this year — and scored a comfortable draw. Tickets for the home game(s) are on sale now and. as the team line-up remains the same. we can expect even more from Alyth McCormack (Shine). Chris Stout and Catriona MacKay (Fiddler's Bid). Hazel Morrison (the Bathers). Alan Bryden (Sidewinder). Stuart Brown (Horse). Chris Mack (James Orr Complex) and David Paul Jones.
Actress and Gaelic singer Alyth McCormack grew up on treeless Lewis. and found central Brazil to be just a little different. ‘l’d never been anywhere so lush. hot and wet,‘ she says. ‘lt's hard to describe just how big a melting pot it is. So many different cultures. and everyone so fantastic — very friendly. But the heat certainly has an effect on the music. We were rehearsing in a music academy in Sao Paulo. It was a bit like Fame — all singing. all dancing. but with art and design students too - and I went off as often as I could with some of the Brazilian singers. Some. from the north. c0uldn't speak any English. but we managed to communicate. l was trying to find Brazilian laments. Well I know it's a joke that Gaelic song is slow and all about misery. death and lost love — and yes. it's probably true. though so many of these laments are really beautiful. But in Brazil everything's got rhythm. Even the songs of loss and mourning. Even the songs by the people who dress the dead have a feeling of celebration about them.”
And then there was the Brazilian sense of style. ‘They have such enjoyment making music' and that's true even in rehearsal. but when it comes to the night of the gig — what a transformation. They change. They have such a love of performing that they totally dress up. They certainly got me to spruce myself up a bit.‘
Add to that their two-steps-forward-two-steps-back-and-bang-crotches local dance. and a Lewis winter might begin to seem a little frigid. But over their ten days in South America the 16 musicians have cooked up enough calories to keep their Scottish audiences warm right through to Hogmanay. (Norman Chalmers)
Brazil meets Scotland and for once we don’t get hammered
27 Nov—t 1 Dec 2003 THE LIST 53