STEREO DECADE Formed 18 months ago during a school music class, Stereo Decade decided to make a go of it when they did a charity gig and received a rapturous response. The Upminster quartet have now played to 6000- strong crowds supporting McFly, won two battle-of-the-band competitions in one day and are set to release their debut single ‘Slow Down’. What do they sound like? They’ve been likened to ‘a wild night out jamming with Caleb Followill, mud wrestling Damon Albarn with Luke Kook tar and feathering Jack Peñate’, but Jonny Romain (vocals, guitar) and Joe Harvey-Whyte (guitar) opt for ‘infectious indie pop’. Joe explains: ‘Our motto is “a good song’s a good song”.’ They say the band draws on a ‘smorgasbord’ of influences, but Joe says they haven’t come to blows. ‘There haven’t been any marital difficulties yet. There’s a lot of love in the band.’ And do they travel in style? Damn right! The band have been endorsed by Gibson Guitars who have offered the band a $500,000 bus for their UK tour. ‘It’s incredible,’ gushes Romain. ‘There are only five in the world and it has a TV bigger than any of our’s at home!’ How about their work with the Teenage Cancer Trust? Joe explains that drummer Ben’s brother was treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (he is now in remission) and received help from the charity. The band will visit TCT units around the country during their UK tour, playing acoustic sets, and Joe believes that this will be rewarding but thought provoking. ‘It’s going to be some really emotional work.’ (Emma Newlands) ■ The Box, Glasgow, Sat 24 Oct; Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sun 25 Oct.
REVIEW METAL INVASION AND JACKIE TREEHORN Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Tue 13 Oct ●●●●●
The power of the press is something that can be overstated. Evidence of this is that the glowing notices given to Invasion by both NME and Kerrang!, which state them to be the finest new rock band around, haven’t reached Edinburgh as the sparse crowd attests. Shame everyone else missed such a bloody great show. Edinburgh quartet Jackie Treehorn’s singer isn’t performing tonight because he has swine flu. A fair enough excuse but it turns out their own take on riffology is more than enough to propel them into our good books. Pitching up somewhere between Rubik’s cube metal and Kyuss-style grooving, the quartet hold back from big payoffs a couple of times but nevertheless astound with their elephantine swagger.
Invasion’s bassless assault seems tiny by comparison but no less ingenious. Imagine if the 50ft woman ate The White Stripes, Gossip and Neurosis and shat out a magical glistening poop, the result would be this beauty, a bewildering barrage of sticks, wails and juddering string action. Give it six months and half of Scotland will have claimed to have witnessed this show. Invasion won’t be so lonely next visit. (Mark Robertson) ■ www.myspace.com/invasion
REVIEW PROGRESSIVE ROCK DREAM THEATER SECC, Glasgow, Sun 11 Oct ●●●●●
Progressive metal godfathers Dream Theater are here tonight for their Progressive Nation tour, and they bring with them some buddies who share their insatiable love for odd-timings and guitar wankery. Sub-headliners Opeth impress with their melancholic, melodic yet extremely metal set, but tonight is really all about the headliners. The stage bubbles with the sound of
thunder before the curtain drops and ‘A Nightmare to Remember’ careers through the speakers. The crowd bop – then settle into zombie-like awe – as this virtuosic band slay and also sway through the 16-minute opener.
And they manage to preserve the
soft and heavy dichotomy throughout, from ‘Solitary Shell’, a lilting prog-rock jaunt and a true sing-a-long, to the earthy stomper ‘A Rite of Passage’. Thankfully these five men don’t take
themselves too seriously, with drummer Mike Portnoy playing up to the on-stage cameras and comedic animations on the gargantuan screens. Their personalities seep through, something not always associated with this type of complex music, giving those who are a little overwhelmed by the noodling something to take home on an evening of 13/8 timings and keytars. (Chris Cope) ■ www.dreamtheater.net
22 Oct–5 Nov 2009 THE LIST 65
REVIEW GARAGE FUNK KING KHAN AND THE SHRINES Stereo, Glasgow, Sun 4 Oct ●●●●● REVIEW ROCK JAMES APOLLO The Caves, Edinburgh, Tue 6 Oct ●●●●●
When a man takes to the stage sporting a leopard print jacket and a precarious headdress of ostrich- feathers, listen up. Not that tonight’s supports were mundane: local troublemakers Black Rat Death Squad thrashed and cussed like slack-jawed pop punkers on an Iggy death trip while French garage psychers Jack of Heart featured an audacious frontman with a look somewhere between a teenage Frank Zappa and Borat auditioning for membership of MGMT.
All is warm-up for King Khan aka Berlin-based Indo-Canadian Arish Khan and his Shrines, a seven-strong motley crew of organ-shakers, brass-tooters and nimble-fingered axemen, all decked out in black shirts and shark’s teeth necklaces. A cadre of campy shock troops who flit between garage rock, Motown-tinged funk and way-out schlock, the Shrines are both an excellent band and captivating showmen. Khan clambers on amp stacks and, on ‘I Wanna Be a Girl’, gyrating around the venue’s columns but stays clear of the antics that’ve seen him banned from clubs previously, but singing songs this tight and solid, with a voice recalling James Brown and Little Richard, that’s delinquency enough. (Nadine McBay) ■ www.myspace.com/kingkhantheshrines
Some people might say that rock’n’roll isn’t all about having great hair. But these people are fools! James Apollo has a truly spectacular quiff and a rockabilly sound of equally high calibre that both get an awe-inspiring showcasing in the appropriately atmospheric Caves. Or as he hollers: ‘The acoustics in this club are amazing!’ They sure are, and he and his band fill the room with irresistible unadulterated Americana.
And it’s the real McCoy: Apollo himself apparently celebrated his 16th birthday by leaving home in Arkansas and ending up in San Francisco then NYC, later getting thrown 20ft of his motorbike and taking six months to fully recover which, he says, is the best thing to happen to him. Onstage he is restless charisma personified, with a cracking dry wit and vocals that could both stop bullets but also bring a gentle sadness on a cover of ‘Dark End of the Street’.
He rounds up saying: ‘It’s been a real fine time. Let’s go out on a high note.’ And sure enough every note in this set is as high as his artfully- coiffured hairdo. (Emma Newlands) ■ www.jamesapollo.com