Skip to main content

The Filthy Tongues

The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
Four stars

The mini spotlight attached to Martin Metcalfe’s microphone lights up the Filthy Tongues’ vocalist’s face with a celestial glow that casts even more shadows on an otherwise black-swathed stage. This gives the now annual festive appearance by Metcalfe and co the stylistic demeanour of a demon-purging hellfire club. The scene set, Metcalfe and fellow core members, bassist Fin Wilson and drummer Derek Kelly, proceed to reclaim their neglected past with 1980s/90s shoulda-beens Goodbye Mr Mackenzie as much as keeping a gimlet eye on the future. The opening bump and grind of Come on Home from their second album, last year’s Back to Hell, is followed by late-period Mackenzies number, Crewcut. This fits seamlessly with the gothic noir of Leper Town and Carlos The Jackal that follow.

Augmented by guitarist Alex Shedlock and percussionist Asim Rasool, this five-piece incarnation of The Filthy Tongues unleash barrages of swamp-deep thunder wielded like weapons behind Metcalfe’s incantations. Joined by cellist Su A Lee, they reveal their true colours even more on Violent Sorrow and the dervish-like jig of The Ghost of Rab McVie. Accompanied by the painted projections of artist Maria Rud and with the Tongues casting themselves as sooth-saying outlaws, Metcalfe’s short stories dig deep into the underbelly of Edinburgh mythologies ancient and modern.

The theme continues with the white-light funk of Back to Hell’s title track and its predecessor Jacob’s Ladder, with Metcalfe’s hands clasped in diabolic prayer before dedicating Mother’s Got A Knife to Melania Trump. Closing the main set with Goodbye Mr Mackenzie’s epic Goodwill City, The Filthy Tongues are joined for the encore by guest star and long-term Rezillos front-woman Fay Fife. Her other band, The Countess of Fife, had already played a set of deep-fried alt country, aided on one song by Metcalfe. Fife plays theremin on the strung-out dirge of long-lost Mackenzies B-side Friday’s Child before closing with the panoramic gallop of Nae Tongues. With Metcalfe and Fife sparring as if casting spells on each other, it looks as if both have been redeemed at last.

The Herald, December 31st 2018
Ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…