Skip to main content

John Cale

HMV Picturehouse, Edinburgh
3 stars
The five minutes of seemingly orchestrated feedback that acts an overture to the first of three UK dates by the former Velvet Underground co-anchor may be a little symphony in its own right, but over the next two hoursit's also the most avant-garde noises on offer. Where Cale's just-released Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood album serves up a dolefully textured set of playfully hi-tech pop songs, live, he and a three-piece guitar, bass and drums line-up deliver a crunchily old-fashioned rock and roll with a metal edge.

Sporting a full-headed Warhol-like silver mane, checked jacket and dryly minimalist  stage patter, the now seventy-year old stands before an electric piano which he proceeds to batter  with a force that belies the fourth world digital funk subtleties of the record. Cale's perfectionist ear is still finely tuned, however, as he demonstrates when he halts the opening of one song to rid the microphone of echo, then re-starts another later on.

Such ferocity works best on 1970s material such as Guts and Helen of Troy, for which Cale too straps on an electric guitar. There is an interesting live arrangement, however, of last year's Whadda Ya Mean By That? While the woozy gallop of the record may be absent, with Cale on acoustic, the electric guitar licks possess a decidedly velveteen drive. If there's an occasionally melancholy sense of adolescent-based nostalgia in the subject matter of that song and the album's title track, there's a sense  too of  reclaiming a more recent past. Nookie Wood itself becomes a bad-ass epic as elongated as the inevitable wig-out on Jonathan Richman's Pablo Picasso that closes a defiantly back to basics affair.

The Herald, October 8th 2012

ends

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…