Skip to main content

Counterflows - Day 3

Kinning Park Complex/CCA, Glasgow
4 stars
Theatrics were to the fore on the third and final day of the inaugural
Counterflows festival, which proved to be an intense and largely
song-based affair featuring an array of left-field divas
and show-people. With Sunday afternoon’s events at Kinning Park’s
artist-led space curated by the small but perfectly-formed
Tracer Trails organisation, none were
showier than Iain Campbell F W, whose live art display involving
assorted amplifiers, recording devices, record players and laptop
footage of himself seemed to question the nature of performance itself.

Following Saturday’s trio set, veteran Swedish drummer Sven-Ake 
Johansson’s solo routine began with him utilising two copies of the Yellow Pages to
skitter out a series of clip-clopping percussive patterns which
occasionally broke into a gallop. While the extended rolls on a snare
drum that followed were just as much fun, once Johansson picked up the
brushes to vamp it up on “three love songs”, the scat vocals and
Swedish-accented shoo-be-doos became something else again.

Opening the evening programme at the CCA, German singer Margareth
Kammerer combined a strident blues rasp and minimal electric guitar to
interpret poetic works by e.e. cummings, William Blake and un-named
Portuguese lyricists to startlingly dramatic effect. Looping her vocals
to heighten her stark incantations, there were moments that recalled 
the post Lloyd-Webber rock folly Julie Covington’s version of Alice
Cooper’s Only Women Bleed if she’d been put through an avant drone

With Bill Wells clearly en route to national treasure status,
it should be noted that his National Jazz Trio of Scotland do not
play conventional jazz, and indeed aren’t a trio. None of which matters
in a sublime set of school assembly style melancholy, in which Wells’
exquisitely understated piano patterns underscored a collection of
equally lovely vocal performances. When not soloing, Aby Vulliamy, Kate 
Sugden and Lorna Gilfedder provided harmonies for each other in a
beguilingly charming display unmatched since Weekend’s Alison Statton 
was backed by pianist Keith Tippett at Ronnie Scott’s thirty years ago.

The extent to which Japanese polymath maverick Kazuki Tomokawa is
regarded became clear when the entire contents of his merchandise stall
was snapped up before the gig even started. Once a trilbyed-up Tomokawa
picked up his acoustic guitar to belt out an hour’s worth of urgent
little litanies, it was easy to see the appeal. His cracked whispers,
manic laughter and wracked version of highly-strung troubadourism are
as raw as anything by Jacques Brel, and his delivery just as startling.
At one point early in his set he attacks his guitar with such ferocity
that the string he breaks is shoved aside while he retunes as he goes.
It’s a fitting climax to what looks set to be a major addition to
Scotland’s increasingly fertile contemporary music scene.

A shorter version of this appeared in The Herald, April 10th 2012



Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1
1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77)
3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77)
4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77)
5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77)
6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77)
7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77)
8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78)
9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78)
10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79) 
11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79)
12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79) 
13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79)
14. JOLT See Saw (6/79)
15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79)
16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79)
17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79)
18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79)
19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79)
20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79)
21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79)
22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79)
23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79)
24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80)
25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980)

1. THE REZILLOS I Can’t Stand My Baby (Sensible FAB 18/77) If it wasn’t for T…

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

1. THE STONE ROSES  - Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3  - Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART  - Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS  - Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY - Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!  - Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS - I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS - In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES  - Everso 10. THE SEERS  - Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND - You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS - We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE  - Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS  - Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND - In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES - Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS  - Justice In Freedom (12" Version)

1. THE STONE ROSES Don’t Stop ( SilvertoneORE1989)
The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds like it. Vocalist Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire met in 1980 at Altrincham Grammar School. With bassist …