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flag Scotland - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 26 - 12/03/98

Glasgow a Go Go
A report from the Glaswegian scene

Although last month Aberdeen's Alternative Festival took centre stage in Scotland, the spotlight fell back on Glasgow once again with a flurry of activity. Live, we saw Idlewild gigging locally to promote Hope is Important, their first proper LP, and though they usually are a ramshackle bunch live (accused by no less than Mogwai as being noisy just for the sake of it!) they seem to have cleaned up their live sound. Whether this was because the gig was being recorded for radio broadcast remains to be seen (we can monitor the sound quality in Glasgow again in January) but for now the pure post-Nirvana pop of their tunes shine through the traditional feedback.

Also in town was David Gedge's new venture Cinerama, which is basically the Wedding Present, indeed both bands are basically David Gedge and some hired hands. Only among the hired hands this time round is Sally Murrell, Gedge's girlfriend, who takes more of a hand in this band than the Wedding Present backroom boys did latterly. The sound is still unmistakably Gedge-driven, though the use of keyboards and even flute combined with extra female vocals gives the sound a different dimension. It's just a shame that Love, recorded with Emma Pollock of the Delgados, wasn't aired live this time, as Ms. Pollock was in the audience, but a misunderstanding meant that the band and Emma didn't get together for one of those showbizzy encores favoured by so many other acts. However, that was the only disappointment of the evening though as the excellent songs on the Va Va Voom album come across superbly live.

More Ten Day Weeked events also provided us with some entertainment at the end of the month - Spare Snare and Ganger crowded into Nice'n'Sleazy's to work their magic. Ganger, first up, were back in the city for their first show since the Hammock Style album was released. Post-rock of course is the current trend or buzzword or whatever and is particularly applied to Glasgow thanks to Mogwai, in particular. Ganger produce a sound which would certainly be appreciated by fans of said combo, but to be fair it is different - perhaps more driving, more rhythm-driven, ad also there's the fact that they're not just jumping on the bandwagon, they've probably been making their own brand of (insert pigeon-holing cliché here) for just about as long as the Gremlin-monickered ones.

Spare Snare's Album of the Year (well, for any right-thinking individuals), Animals and Me has just begun to pick up some crucial airplay on the likes of the Peel show, so it's a confident band who appear, sporting new guitarist Ross. They do a fair selection from their new release, though the keyboards and samples aren't as easy to reproduce live. Still, along with old favourites like Scrabble and Bugs they do a fair variety of material previously not performed live, with admirable invention being shown by Ross in playing the Home and Away theme in the hiatus caused by a keyboard failure. This curtails the set somewhat earlier than the crowd would have liked, but the album is still the definitive work of 1998. Even when set alongside the latest from bis...

Glasgow's favourite sons (and daughter) released their comeback/reinvention - depending on how you view their music - single, Eurodisco. The band themselves stated that they wanted to make something to rival Blue Monday, and while the record won't have the same lasting place in everyone's memories, it indeed has a better tune that the pioneering indie techno tune of yesteryear. Oddly enough, the record was produced by Andy Gill, ex-of the Gang of Four, a band normally associated with the more DIY end of the bis spectrum. Also oddly, though the single provided the band with another Top 40 hit, they didn't appear on Top of the Pops - a fate which befell Gill almost 20 years earlier, though that was due to censorship, whereas today it's simply the concervativism of the whole mainstream UK music scene.

Speaking of the Gang of 4, their own debut release was on Fast Product of Edinburgh (along with the currently-on-tour-with Culture Club and ABC, Human League). For younger readers, Fast also released records by Joy Division and DAF; they were the Guided Missile of their day. "Guided Missile?", I hear you ask? Well, dear reader, this is a London-based label who takes great delight in releasing one-off singles by various Scottish bands (though they have just completed full-length albums by The Yummy Fur and El Hombre Trajeado). They're not completely Scot-centric, having released an October double 7", London, but their next stop in their musical tour of the UK is appropriately enough, "Glasgow". Their 2x7" pack has exclusives from Mogwai (a non-throwaway track unlike some of their other one-offs), a very different sounding Karelia, plus the aforementioned Hombres, El Hombre Trajeado, and The Yummy Fur (or Yummies as they're known locally). Since the old music industry saying goes 'All roads lead to Glasgow', the single is a rather fitting tribute to the centre of the musical universe.

Copyright © 1998 Stuart McHugh e-mail address

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