Cafe Royal, Edinburgh,

14th December

It may be the season of goodwill to all, but some decidedly unfestive vibes are floating around the Cafe Royale. Well, dedicating ‘I Will Cut You’ to the audience hardly seems a charitable act from Hail Caesar. But it’s said with a cheeky grin by frontman Vic Galloway, the band formerly known as Huckleberry playing a hometown gig in front of friends and family. Thus, they seem much more at ease than in their recent Glasgow outing - perhaps it’s that their swirling garage rock works much better in front of a big, excitable crowd. And it is a , __ sizeable throng that greets Moniack, another bunch of homecoming heroes. At this, their first Edinburgh gig in over three years, band and audience connect and seem almost overjoyed to be in each other’s company. Mind you, via their 705 prog leanings (as well as hair and shirts), the five-piece are decidedly luvved up. Sonically they’re more aggressive - a steamrolling stop-start set is punctuated by some intricate moments of guitar; think King Crimson being bludgeoned by Motorhead.

Lapsus Linguae also have quiet contemplative passages in a multi- vehicle pile-up of a set - their trademark tinkling piano is more in evidence than in recent gigs, adding colour to their darkly gothic canon. They launch headlong into the Liberace-does-death-metal of ‘Parade’ and career through a set that mixes golden oldies with some nerve-jangling new material, which, they announce, will be on an album next year. ‘Buy it, you cunts,’ screeches an eerie, disembodied voice which may have come from the merchandise table. Could be an ideal present for Xmas 2004.

(Stuart McHugh)

Multi-vehicle pile-up of Lapsus Linguae

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LINDER STERLING AND Now. 20-odd years on. Sterling's IAN .DEVINE warblings are more muted. ilzlglihi Glasgow, 3”" 8 Dec underscoring the motormouth

anoraked raps of Stephen Singh. Devine's fast-fingered guitar patterns are despatched for insistent thrash drones. while the burly bloke. aka Jah Scouse. holds the radio up to the microphone. tuning in and out in- between savant mutterings and dedications to Bill Shankly. In snatches of ‘To Sir with Love' and 'Misty.' Linder is the ice-cool cocktail bar chanteuse she should‘ve been. It's a scattershot musical jumble. each component wonderfully at odds with each other. Around the corner. posters for the latest Bug/cocks revival tour flap windily. (Neil Cooper)

When the burly Sc0use bloke puts the transistor radio on the makeshift stage of Glasgow‘s most bijou Sunday night happening. you know it's part of the act. Run by artist LUCy McKenzie. formerly of Ganger. Flourish has played host to avant provocateurs from Franz Ferdinand to Throbbing Gristle's Cosey Fanni Tutti. Tonight it's the turn of Linder Sterling. whose collages adorned the Bu7zcocks ‘Orgasm Addict' sleeve. now on show at DCA's ‘Plunder' exhibition. With lan Devine in Ludus. Sterling married art- jazx guitar to lipstick-smeared libertine rhetoric.



The Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, Tue 9 Dec coo

Certainly. no one has any cause to ask for their money back. Tonight sees Justin Hawkins go through three jump suits. traverse the crowd on a roadie's shoulders. pull rock poses that would make Eddie Van Halen blush and screech out the lyrics to some of the greatest pop songs of 2003. Glittering paper cascades from the ceiling. 3000 hands clap in unison and the requisite number of small. frightened people retreat from the boisterous rnoshpit.

Yet it doesn't feel like a fitting climax to a year in which the Darkness have sold a million albums and given rock back its pomp. It feels more like the high five that Hawkins shares with bassist Frankie Poullain onstage: exhilarating but rehearsed. a gesture of showmanship rather than genius. The Darkness have risen quickly next year they are scheduled to be hanging abOut the upper echelons of the T in the Park bill. Unless they come up with a fine second album. their descent may be just as swift. (James Smart)

Have the bells ended?

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