BRONTO SKYLIFT For some reason duos can conjure more volume and power than traditional groups of twice the size can manage. Think The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Lightning Bolt, The Carpenters. OK, we can’t think of any more. No, hold on, here come Glasgow-based duo Niall Strachan (vocals and guitar, originally from Inverness) and Iain Stewart (drums, originally from Orkney) to remind us all of the power of two How did you start working together?
Strachan We met at a mutual friend’s Hallowe’en party almost exactly two years ago and hit it off straight away. It was the day after that we started practising together, and that’s us played 110 gigs now. What was the intention for your music at the start?
Just to have fun with it, and not to consciously try and sound like anyone else [The List notes hints of Nirvana, Shellac and Lightning Bolt in there]. It was around March this year that people started taking notice, we played T in the Park, Belladrum and Loopallu. And Rock Ness, because we were invited by Vic Galloway. Our first EP just came out too: it’s called The Bearded Fish and the Jackalope.
You’re not worried about being sued by the Bronto Skylift’s makers, are you?
Not really, I don’t think anyone would ever get us confused with a hundred-foot crane. If they did, though, we’d just be Bronto. Not that we’ll ever have enough money to be sued! (David Pollock) ■ Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Fri 13 Nov, with Japandroids and Super Adventure Club.
REVIEW POST ROCK ELECTRONICA KESER GRV, Edinburgh, Fri 23 Oct ●●●●●
There are three words which it will probably become a legal requirement to use in all reviews of this Edinburgh band: epic, soundscape, cinematic. There. Done. Another one, if we’re talking about the live Keser experience, is loud: the noise coming from these two most unassuming of chaps defies the laws of physics, seeming to sound bigger than the room itself could possibly contain. Compared with the atmospheric, relatively ambient sounds of the new record they’re launching tonight on Alex Tronic Records, this is heavier, with more thunderous beats and guitar that reverberates through you to your very core.
With no vocals and little in the way of a leading melody to distract you, it’s the tiny, nuanced variations that mean a lot with Keser. Whether it’s the odd syncopated beat or a key change in just one layer of the rich overall sound, these are the progressions that carry you along on this slow-burning, but ultimately very rewarding journey. The most richly layered are the best of the tracks, combining droning guitars, a stuttering electronic beats and rippling melody combining to tell a gripping musical tale. (Laura Ennor) ■ www.keser.co.uk
REVIEW OPERA SCOTTISH OPERA – THE ELIXIR OF LOVE Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Sat 24 Oct ●●●●●
Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love is a feel- good opera, a lighthearted tale of true love triumphing against the silliness of the odds. With its predictable ‘all’s well that ends well’ outcome, Scottish Opera’s revival of Giles Havergal’s production is an affectionate staging that is as skilfully cast this time round as when first seen in 1994. Elena Xanthoudakis, making her Scottish Opera debut in the role of Adina, performs Donizetti’s vocal gymnastics as if she sings them every day of her life, while looking like a diminutive dancing doll twirling atop a music box. In contrast, Edgaras Montvidas as
her ultimately successful lover, Nemorino, is a rural simpleton who sees life in black and white. Vocally, he is the less supple singer, but as a central character to Donizetti’s snapshot of rural, autumnal coloured Italian life, he is critical to the success of what goes on in the picture frame in which the production is set. As is the orchestra, who under the baton of Francesco Corti, move the story along in playful mood. (Carol Main) ■ Scottish Opera, The Elixir of Love, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Sun 22, Thu 26 and Sat 28 Nov.
REVIEW ELECTRO POP MIIKE SNOW Sick Note at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sat 28 Oct ●●●●● REVIEW INDIE CALLEL Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sat 31 Oct ●●●●●
A pre-Hallowe’en crowd swelled Cabaret Voltaire for this live club appearance of Andrew Wyatt’s (formerly of The AM) new band, as Smurfs, vikings – possibly in some kind of lame tribute to the band’s Swedish origins – and staggering show-offs in bodystockings crammed into the dancefloor. They were here for a party. Miike Snow showed them a good time. But that was about it. Trapped somewhere between being
a quirky indie band of the kind which Wes Anderson fans listen to and a house-playing clubber’s delight, the group amble through tracks like ‘Black & Blue’, ‘Silvia’ and ‘Animal’ as if they aren’t sure whether they’re backing Sam Sparro or Stuart Murdoch. The music is quite pleasing, but this crowd are up for mayhem, and the sight of six guys striding on in expressionless Michael Myers masks fools them into thinking they’re going to get it. There are two highlights: an admirably bizarre cover of Air’s ‘Kelly Watch the Stars’ and the ten-minute closing techno breakdown, when all of a sudden they’ve decided to impersonate Underworld. More of that will do just fine, ta. (David Pollock) ■ www.miikesnow.com
We might be forgiven for thinking that Edinburgh’s Callel are emulating the glory styles of 70s rock here, with singer Aaron Cornall wearing what looks like a velvet cape and a ruffled shirt and at least two of his three bandmates being similarly over- dressed. It’s like John Lennon, Lindsey Buckingham and Gene Clark have formed a supergroup. Not really, it’s just Calleloween: this
mob launch their new album Body Discovery while a big audience of friends and local fans act out their dressing-up urges. Result: a good night out that dances over a stream of genres from power-pop to classic AOR. There’s a youthful energy to Callel’s sound, but the influence of parental record collections is apparent on songs like ‘Best Foot on the Ground’ and ‘Body Discovery’ itself. Yes, the sound of Fleetwood Mac and The Byrds is in there, but there’s also some Simon and Garfunkel in Cornall’s folk-toned voice and the kind of exuberant electronic pop you’d find on the soundtrack to a John Hughes film. Fun, retro and not overly serious, this band are still very good at what they do. (David Pollock) ■ www.myspace.com/callel
5–19 Nov 2009 THE LIST 63