Skip to main content

Saint Etienne/Scritti Politti


Liquid Room, Edinburgh
4 stars
Questions may be asked about who the real head-liners were in this glorious double bill, though in the end it was the songs that mattered. Seeing Green Gartside's revitalised Scritti Politti live at all is a thrill, even if a bottle of cough medicine is on standby to help Gartside's honeyed tones. Opening with the slow skank of The 'Sweetest' Girl's deconstruction of the love song set the bar high, but, coming so soon after providing the live soundtrack to dancer/choreographer Michael Clarke's latest work, Gartside's four-piece band were happy to go through the Scritti back-catalogue without too much analysis.

Technology has made it easier to play shiny 1980s hits like The Word Girl and Wood Beez, which sit seamlessly alongside more recent wonders like The Boom Boom Bap. There's one new number, which apparently references Kant's response to cultural relativism, and only Gartside can think his eponymous countrified homage to French philosopher Jacques Derrida “really dumb.”

Saint Etienne's recent Words and Music album, written in part with former members of Girls Aloud production-line writing team, Xenomania, is a series of middle-aged love letters to pop. Live, the core trio's mining of sixties girl groups, seventies disco dolly electronica and eighties indie and Eurovision Hi-NRG oddly works better without a full band. With just Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs skulking at the back on assorted electronics while sparkly-frocked singer Sarah Cracknell trades vocals with long-term foil, Debsey Whykes, they too opt for a greatest hits set peppered with the odd new number. The result, even with a guitarist joining them, is a euphoric form of post-modern cabaret on a night of pure pop joy.

The Herald, December 13th 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…

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…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …