Music LIVE REVIEWS
T R A W E T S N A I
I : O T O H P
OASIS BROTHER SOLO PROJECT NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Thu 27 Oct ●●●●●
Some gigs feel more like football matches than concerts. While there’s always a certain frisson in the air at anything Oasis-related, Gallagher Senior has perhaps more expectation on his shoulders than little bruv’s Beady Eye endeavour; after all, he’s always been ‘the talented one’.
The chanting throng and free-flowing beer feels at odds with the Usher Hall. It takes about 30 minutes for crowd and band to settle; to come to terms with the fact that this isn’t an Oasis gig.
Noel opens with a double bill of ‘(It’s Good) to be
Free’ and ‘Mucky Fingers’ before moving into his new material, with about 50% new songs, 50% Oasis tracks. These latter terrace anthems are given a slower, more wistful take, most noticeably on an acoustic version of ‘Supersonic’. Unsurprisingly ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, and ‘Little by Little’ get the biggest response but new tracks like ‘The Death of You and Me’ fit in effortlessly. Noel looks more comfortable than he has in years. The calmer tempo suits his delivery, but there are moments when you miss Liam’s verve and danger. (Henry Northmore)
INDIE ROCK THE SHIVERS Mono, Glasgow, Mon 7 Nov ●●●●●
‘I really love Glasgow,’ says The Shivers’ Keith Zarriello, ‘it’s much better than London.’ Cue easy- won cheers and chants from the crowd. ‘He loves the power, don’t give it to him,’ laughs his keyboard playing accomplice Jo Schornikow. Too heartfelt to be twee, too kooky to be
straightlaced, just street enough to fit perfectly on Fence (they were signed after Fence’s label runner, Johnny Lynch saw them perform at South by Southwest in 2009) this American/Australian duo have the air of Moldy Peaches with a bit more post-punk New York sass or, looks-wise, some impossible double act between Stanley Kowalski and Kristen Schaal. Their schtick moves between the straight-faced
(‘Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars’) and the downright comedy, most notably the rinky-dink piano confessional ‘Remain in the Pain Zone’ (where ‘you drink more, and then you take drugs, and then you take more drugs’). Then often, as on the new album’s title track ‘More’, or when ‘African Passport’ unexpectedly segues into The Everly Brothers’ ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’, they hit upon the strikingly emotional. (David Pollock)
DARK GOSPEL POP LYKKE LI O2 ABC, Glasgow, Sun 30 Oct ●●●●● INDIE ROCK THROWING MUSES Òran Mór, Glasgow, Mon 7 Nov ●●●●●
Having transformed radically and impressively from indie pixie into arty, bleeding-hearted Spector pop maker on her second album Wounded Rhymes, you hardly expected Li Lykke Zachrisson to be exchanging high-fives with the crowd. But then neither did you expect her to repeatedly grumble at them for not reacting enthusiastically enough. ‘The least you can do is clap,’ she remarked. Perhaps she was haunted by her mysterious meltdown in a Glasgow Marks & Spencer in April, which necessitated this rearranged show?
A passive response is maybe to be expected when an artist builds a fourth wall as high as Zachrisson does, the stage cloaked in drapes, dry ice and strobes, dressed in billowing black, mining her soul on the likes of ‘Sadness is a Blessing’ or the tribal-sounding ‘Get Some’, with pounding music played by handsome blokes on organs, guitars and two drum kits. An encore of ‘Unrequited Love’ revealed a softer touch, then she departed some way before curfew, without alleviating the feeling the show might have been improved by someone politely reminding her who had paid to be there and who was being paid. (Malcolm Jack)
Considering the period in which Throwing Muses enjoyed the bulk of their popularity, it’s no surprise that tonight’s return to Glasgow sees largely middle-aged couples pour through the doors. Kristin Hersh isn’t exactly in her angsty early 20s anymore, but one of the most striking things about tonight’s show is the intensity with which these songs are delivered, as if she’s stumbled upon some kind of mid-90s fountain of youth.
Completed by long-time members, drummer David Narcizo and bassist Bernard Georges, they waste little time in giving us a series of reasons to stay out on a cold Monday night in Glasgow, blazing through the songs that made them on the back of the recently-released Anthology collection.
Slinking side-to-side like a snake charmer with eyes shooting daggers the length of the room, Hersh commands attention through a fevered version of ‘Soul Soldier’, maintaining her form throughout the likes of ‘Bright Yellow Gun’ and ‘Shark’, her voice often breaking up into a throaty howl.
It’s a set not just powerfully performed but also a reminder of how to make a tasteful return to form. (Ryan Drever)
17 Nov–15 Dec 2011 THE LIST 87
M O C S E H T M S L H P W W W .
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FOLK ROCK BON IVER Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 22 Oct ●●●●●
To a long since sold-out crowd of ardent devotees, Justin Vernon takes the stage – after the audience impatiently chats through support act Kathleen Edwards’ countrified indie folk. (Vernon helped out with production and instrumental duties on Edwards upcoming Voyageur album.) Vernon’s come a long way from that cabin in the woods in Wisconsin where he retreated to mend a broken heart and pour himself into his first album, 2008’s For Emma, Forever Ago. With a beguiling blend of falsetto harmonies and acoustic accompaniment, he managed to both capture the specificity of his situation and touch a chord with universal experience. It ended up in plenty ‘Best Album of the Year’ lists on blogs and in magazines around the world that year, (at the time, The List described it as, ‘a gloriously minimal and spectral solo debut’) and simultaneously fuelled a trend for young men growing beards and wearing soft check shirts. Significantly, three years after For Emma. . .’s release, the Usher Hall audience is dotted with lumberjack-aping Vernon look-a-likes.)
Now smartly attired in a white shirt and black tie, and with a noticeably cheerful demeanour – he stops his set at several points to beam about what a great time he is having ‘up here’ – Vernon heads up a band of two drummers and multiple mariachi-style horns for a near track-by-track run through of the more energetic and fuller-sounding second album, this year’s Bon Iver. The busy stage-full of quality musicians lend a muscularity to the larger scale of these recent tracks that takes the songs even further away from the spare beauty of his debut. Bolstering his vocals with instrumentals, Vernon clearly enjoys the camaraderie of the Arcade Fire-style set-up but it’s a case of less is more.
When, in a few quieter returns to his first album (particularly ‘re:stacks’), he trusts his voice and guitar to be enough, the audience is granted access to what a good deal of them came for: the affecting, ethereal, melancholy beauty of the magic Vernon first captured in that cabin. (Suzanne Black)