Skip to main content

Joanna Gruesome

Summerhall, Edinburgh
Four stars


It's an unintentional piece of synchronicity that Cardiff-sired nouveau-riot grrrl
indie-pop noiseniks Joanna Gruesome have broken cover to release their second
album, Peanut Butter, the sparky follow-up to their 2013 debut, Weird Sister,
just as the other-worldly voice of the chanteuse who inspired their name, Joanna
Newsome, has similarly reappeared on the scene.

With former front-woman Alanna McArdle departing following the recording of Peanut Butter, twin vocalists Kate Stonestreet of Glasgow fem/queer punks Pennycress and Roxy Brennan of Two White
Cranes have stepped into the breach in a way that makes them sound more wilfully
disparate than ever.

The Edinburgh date of JoGrue's inaugural tour in their new six-piece line-up forms part of Summerhall's ongoing Nothing Ever Happens Here
series of shows, and opens with the headliners Fortuna Pop! label-mates and
fellow travellers, The Spook School. Like their forbears, the Edinburgh-based
quartet are a mixed gender combo who wrap up two-minute yarns concerning
twenty-first century sexuality with fifty-seven varieties of androgynous buzzsaw
punk-pop that isn't afraid to get in touch with its feminine side.

Joanna Gruesome are even more contrary, their three guitar frontline bridging the gap
between C86 gonzo thrash and more FX-driven cosmic adventures as Stonestreet's
shouty confrontationalism counterpoints Brennan's sweeter choir-girl warbles.
The effect of all this in a live arena is a gloriously low-attention-span sugar
rush of absorbed ideas which have been cut up, bent out of shape and freshened
up for a new wave of DIY dilettantism. Beyond the fun and frenzy, the music
takes itself seriously even as it makes for a beautiful explosion of pop and
politics designed to have you grinning your way to oblivion.

The Herald, September 25th 2015




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…