ThE InDiE LiVe ReViEwS


Our man about town JIMMY BLACKBURN comes up with a few memories of the shows he went to this month. He seems to go out a lot, which is something as a surprise seeing as we never pay him. (You'd only moan that it wasn't enough if we did pay you -Ed).

This month was definitely something of a MICHAEL HUTCHENCE kind of time. First I found myself just out of shot at the post -BRATS award party when the massed paparazzi got a photo of him and his tacky mates doing nothing controversial, though the rumour mill said that he'd been spotted smoking something, and it wasn't salmon. And last week he leapt on stage with BLACK GRAPE, adding his curious lack of vibe to 'Rev Black grape' itself. Of course I failed to recognise him either time, being useless as a celeb spotter, but he didn't look too well at the Brats, and only next to the Grape could he be called healthy. Still, it must be the sole time in his 'career' that he's ever appeared on a valid and interesting piece of music, and the difference between 'Old Rock'- Hutchy draping his arm round a guitarist- and 'New'- Shaun Ryder wandering about in a blue anorak like a postman who can't find the right address- was touching. The Grape were top fun, in a ropy kind of way too, much like Primal Scream a couple of years ago.

Them Brats provided some odd entertainment too. I'd have to be already unconscious to enter a building hosting the appalling CAST, who could leave any sentient being comatose, so that was missed, but the 'sadcore' night was highly entertaining, if men in bad suits is your thing. Who'd have thought that SPARKLEHORSE would have been the nights hardest rocking act? (And get well soon, Mark Linkous, currently still in an English hospital with something that won't let him travel home to the US) BABYBIRD were a guaranteed hit, though the band really aren't fit to lick frontman Stephen Jones shoes, and the HIGH LLAMAS were as epic as their dress sense is drab. TINDERSTICKS were much as ever, great for ten minutes, annoying thereafter. Two nights later saw more varied bill. The excruciating if slick BIS proved that success is a certainty, but I'd rather eat dirt than listen to a cross between Altered Images and Blur myself, DRUGSTORE have written some new songs that don't sound like the Mary Chain, TEENAGE FANCLUB were great as usual, and idiots that bemoan their staidness should be forced to eat in a catering school canteen for the rest of their lives, but the guvnors were the amazing FLAMING LIPS, old hippies for sure, but incendiary guitar noises just illuminated a collection of fantastic pop songs. My jaw dropped.

What else? Every time I went out QUICKSPACE SUPERSPORT seemed to be performing, with a totally different lineup each time. They sounded pretty much the same too, but it sure was unsettling to see a band that sounds just like someone you saw last week but looks different. Oddly TORTOISE were the hottest ticket in town, and certainly more direct than their shows last year, though the ideal Tortoise track should bear the title 'Soundtrack Offers Gratefully Received'. Other American obscurists visiting included THE GRIFTERS, as academic as their records suggested, and not hopeless, though they murdered their excellent 'Last Man Alive' single and NUMBER ONE CUP, strangely uninspiring though all the ingredients were present. Is it too much to hope that a band with four singers could attempt an occasional harmony? Support, Derby's CABLE frankly blew them off, with a variation on US alt. rock that pissed on the real thing. South London's LIGAMENT did the same to the Grifters in a way, though they are so obviously nice lads from good homes that it makes their tribute to the likes of Killdozer somewhat unbelievable. What else? ANGEL CORPUS CHRISTI demonstrated that a skinny woman with an accordion can sound predictable, and I saw lots of clueless comedians and JOHNNY HOBBS. This young man is going straight to the top, or my name isn't Jimmy Blackburn.

(which it isn't of course, but neither is his Johnny Hobbs for that matter...) If I spot anything interesting I'll try to remember it next time. Here's to more of the same.

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