Thu June 12 / Sat June 14
Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
Somewhere between Manchester and Bristol there’s a punk-funk ley line. How else to explain the umbilical link between The Pop Group and A Certain Ratio, two bands who married rudimentary white-boy messthetics to a Funkadelic-inspired disco groove, free Jazz skronk and Dub sound system clatter. Often in the same song.
Both bands produced classic singles, The Pop Group with ‘She Is Beyond Good And Evil,’ ACR with their cover of Banbarra’s ‘Shack Up’. Both appeared on Andrew Weatherall’s ‘The Nine O’Clock Drop’ compilation, released retrospectives on Soul Jazz, and have new albums pending. How thrilling, then, for both ACR and former Pop Group vocalist Mark Stewart to turn up on your front doorstep within days of each other.
“We were in competition,” says ACR’s Martin Moscrop. “They were the only other band trying to fuse things other than just rock.”
ACR were immortalised via Factory Records flick, ’24 Hour Party People.’ An episode of flashback cop drama, ‘Ashes To Ashes,’ meanwhile, was based around a Pop Group fan daubing the slogan ‘We Are All Prostitutes,’ plundered from the band’s most anti-capitalist single, around Thatcher’s London. 27 years on, Stewart is warming-up for a South Bank appearance at this year’s Massive Attack curated Meltdown.
“My philosophy,” says Stewart, “is to go to the source. So I’ve been working with Berlin Techno guys, and there’s talk of working with Ornette Coleman. But basically all I’ve ever done is try and lob square bricks into round holes.”
The List, June 2008