Tag Archives: Old Fruitmarket

Taking Stock!

Taking Stock!

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A slight conflict for my birthday evening celebrations. Did I go along with my gut feeling and go to Candleriggs to experience Stockhausen’s Kontakte and watch someone battering seven shades of shite out of a piano OR cave in and take Shields to see Simple Minds and Ultravox at the Hydro, the latter being her choice? The thought of spending the rest of my life looking at myself in the shaving mirror every morning and knowing that I’d celebrated my sixtieth birthday at some Eighties Cheesefest quickly swung the decision. I pulled rank and The Fruitmarket got our hard earned readies.

A couple of hundred of us, I guess, (we had tickets 179 & 180), sat down cabaret style in the rather cavernous Old Fruitmarket. The stage had a piano to the left and a well stocked percussion station to the right.

To set the mood to begin with, we got ‘Klavierstuck’ which is a solo piano piece. As a child I was often left alone in a room with only a piano to keep me company. For amusement I would occasionally depress the pedals and hit as many keys at the bottom and top of the keyboard as possible, in order to see how much noise I could make and sustain and listen to it decay away to almost (but never quite) silence. The results were not dissimilar to this evening’s Klavierstuck except the young me, unlike Nicolas Hodges, never enjoyed having someone sitting at my side turning the pages of the score. For much of the time he was playing the keyboard with his forearms.

In a different room I could, and would, literally pull out all the stops on a harmonium but that’s another story for another day!!!

The fact that I knew my gig buddy was not enjoying this one little bit, probably skewed my perception tonight. The shortest of intervals allowed us to take stock as the percussion was laid out taking up the majority of the stage.

Percussionist Colin Currie, then joined and the two of them set up a dialogue, or should that be trialogue, with sound engineer Sean Williams.

The results in ‘wraparound, three sixty, quadrophonic or whatever you want to call it sound’ of Kontakte was absolutely fascinating and engaging in all the ways the Klavierstuck piece wasn’t. The sound appeared to be coming through some fairly basic klaxon style PA horns but I didn’t actually check that when the lights went up, such was the haste with which Shields wanted to leave.

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Very impressive however. That clicky clacky noise that the plants make in Day of The Triffids was very much in evidence and had me glancing nervously over my should a few times to ensure I wasn’t being stalked by some sentient shrub. The piano was as manic as before but with the electronics and percussion involved It suddenly all made perfect sense. I shouldn’t really be as surprised as I was, as I listen to this piece quite often

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Imagine Morton Subotnick arm wrestling with Pierre Henry and the resulting noises being manipulated by a pre-menstrual Delia Derbyshire and you’re getting close.

We repaired to Blackfriars to liaise with a limping Rhursach before heading off to Guy’s for a wonderful birthday meal!

Labyryth, Fruitmarket 23rd September, Acts 43 & 44

Fruitmarket again. Craig Armstrong again, but before that, as usual, a compulsory visit to Blackfriars. We, Sheilds ‘n’ me, saunter round the corner and enter the door to the Old Fruitmarket. Automatically taking a 45 degree left (to arrive at the bar), we are stopped in our tracks by a Mrs Slocombe type who steers us through a black curtain towards The Labyrinth. Once through the curtain we are in a blacked out area that is criss crossed with beams of light (similar to the scenes you see in movies when a lycra bound jewel thief sprays the room with deodorant/hair laquer to ascertain the location of the laser beams). Breaking these beams triggers hidden synths that make a series of wonderful wee noises, a bit like what I imagine the Radiophonic Workshop attempting to recreate Bleep & Booster with Tourette’s would be like. While I consider this to be the Eighth Wonder of The World and the greatest invention since the horse, Shields has bored quickly with the squeals and farts that this wunder-chamber is emanating, needs a Bombay Saphire and exits barwards.

The labyrinth itself is at both times amazing and disappointing. What appears to be half the floor of the Fruitmarket is taken up with a giant water tank with what I estimate to be no more than 1cm of water. On the floor of this tank is the maze but it really looks more like a ring off of an old Belling caravan cooker and wouldn’t overtax a five year old (I later discovered it was a ‘family’ thang!). It was all very civilised with an area to take your foot coverings off before paddling in circles. All of this aquatic meandering was captured by an overhead camera and used as a back projection on the stage.

Icebreaker were first up playing Terry Riley’s In C and making it last exactly one hour. A stonker!!! absolutely ace stuff with the keyboard players having to take spells away from their instruments to play the strident repetitive chords. Shields loved it! I saw these guys, well eleven blokes and a woman to be more precise,  playing Brian Eno’s ‘Apollo’ last year and it was one of the most gorgeous perormances I’ve encountered. Star of the show that night was BJ Cole and, blimey here in The Labyrinth, he’s standing next to me. I engage him in idle chatter telling him how wonderful his interpretation of Lanois’ part in the Eno piece was. He seemed politely surprised that I had so many of his recordings and was also unaware that Clive John, from Man, had died (this is the very same BJ that plays pedal steel on ‘Mona’ from  10″ vinyl Christmas at The Patti)

Craig Armstrong and Antye Greie were next on to perform Eilean. Where the last Armstrong gig see xxx below was an unexpectedly lush affair with a stageful of punters wielding cellos, double basses and violins this was more austere. Three Apple laptops, two performers and a partridge one grand piano to be precise. To this audient it appeared that Armstrong played the music while greie processed and distorted it while creating an everchanging backdrop on the big screen that seemed to be a loop of waves curling across a sandy beach.

John Shuttleworth tries to pass himself off as composer of lush orchestral film scores.

John Shuttleworth tries to pass himself off as composer of lush orchestral film scores.

 Random paddler.. Clicking this photo should take you to another person’s site that manages to show no photos of yours truly!

Random paddler..

Inspired by discarded cooker element!

Labyrynth inspired by discarded cooker element!

Celtronika, Old Fruitmarket,29th Jan, Acts8-14

Celtronika, Old Fruitmarket,29th Jan, Acts8-14

Wednesday, 03 August 2011

My designated driver, Shields, & I take a Soda and a 5am Saint onboard, respectively, while in Blackfriars, before waltzing around the corner to join what is a very short queue indeed. Again, I wonder aloud whether Celtic Connections is spreading itself too thinly. In no time at all, we are allowed into the venue. This time the perma-changing hall is laid out with tables and chairs and the bar stays open throughout.

We plunk ourselves down at the front of the stage, dead centre and congratulate ourselves for getting such a good vantage point.

While the sound system tinkles out Delia Derbyshire-like sounds and roadies tinker around with whatever, I ask a security man what time the event might finish before bursting out laughing when he tells me that the last act is due on stage at 03:00…. some eight hours away!

Wearing a suit that gives this the viewer the impression that it may have been Weetabix no so long ago, Vic Galloway comes on and introduces the first of the acts…………………

This looked promising. What I hoped would be The Bluebell Polka meets Sooty’s Cyber Abbatoir crashed even before it took off. With only a ten minute slot to woo us with, the unnamed band’s ageing computers took the huff and had to go through an involved reboot that must have lasted for half their time. Featuring Lau’s Martin Green, his droll patter during the technical brown spots was just as good, if not better, as the finally emerging music.

This looked promising. What I hoped would be The Bluebell Polka meets Sooty’s Cyber Abbatoir crashed even before it took off. With only a ten minute slot to woo us with, the unnamed band’s ageing computers took the huff and had to go through an involved reboot that must have lasted for half their time. Featuring Lau’s Martin Green, his droll patter during the technical brown spots was just as good, if not better, as the finally emerging music.

My nemesis Sushil K Dade (rivalled only by the seemingly equally talentless Duglas) marshalled his Future Pilot Indian Pop Art Orkestra on to the stage.A ramshackle crew wearing red and black in what we can only presume is a homage to Ralf ‘n’ Flo. It’s a small price to have to pay, I suppose, to endure this vanity project in order to witness the other lurking gems (and, to be fair and give him some credit, he was responsible for the very enjoyable Sly & Robbie Burns Night in the same venue a while back). However I just don’t get him. On paper, I should, but it always seems slapdash and under-rehearsed. I am honestly shocked when MC Vic announces that Dade’s next album will involve contributions from Eno & Robert Wyatt. Hmmm!

My nemesis Sushil K Dade (rivalled only by the seemingly equally talentless Duglas) marshalled his Future Pilot Indian Pop Art Orkestra on to the stage.A ramshackle crew wearing red and black in what we can only presume is a homage to Ralf ‘n’ Flo.
It’s a small price to have to pay, I suppose, to endure this vanity project in order to witness the other lurking gems (and, to be fair and give him some credit, he was responsible for the very enjoyable Sly & Robbie Burns Night in the same venue a while back). However I just don’t get him. On paper, I should, but it always seems slapdash and under-rehearsed. I am honestly shocked when MC Vic announces that Dade’s next album will involve contributions from Eno & Robert Wyatt. Hmmm!

You can seldom go wrong with two drummers, as fans of King Crimson and The Glitter band will testify. So it was no surprise that The Hidden Orchestra, with a brace of beaters, and a guesting Fraser Fifield upped the ante during a short but memorable set.<br /><br />
So good that I bought the album next day.

You can seldom go wrong with two drummers, as fans of King Crimson and The Glitter band will testify. So it was no surprise that The Hidden Orchestra, with a brace of beaters, and a guesting Fraser Fifield upped the ante during a short but memorable set.

So good that I bought the album next day.

Just prior to Craig Armstrong, and when the Pastels DJ set was showing everyone how it should be done by playing loud slabs of Kraftwerk,  I found my mind wandering. To my great surprise, I was snapped out of this on discovering that Davros had put his name down for the interval karaoke and actually does quite a mean Maria Carey (with the appropriate Melisma).

Just prior to Craig Armstrong, and when the Pastels DJ set was showing everyone how it should be done by playing loud slabs of Kraftwerk,  I found my mind wandering. To my great surprise, I was snapped out of this on discovering that Davros had put his name down for the interval karaoke and actually does quite a mean Maria Carey (with the appropriate Melisma).

Craig Armstrong, One Morning<br /><br />
Wow! I thought Craig might walk on to a lone piano, but no, two double basses, four cellos, a laptopper and female singer all accompanied him, while a video of dawn slowly revealing a lone CCTV car park camera and an island (Arran?) played out on a screen behind them. It was gorgeous and on more than one occasion had me thinking fondly of Gorecki&rsquo;s Third Symphony.The performance was ruined completely by a shower of noisy bastards at the bar. Realised I must have been getting visibly angry when a stranger at my table told me just to ignore them.

Craig Armstrong, One Morning

Wow! I thought Craig might walk on to a lone piano, but no, two double basses, four cellos, a laptopper and female singer all accompanied him, while a video of dawn slowly revealing a lone CCTV car park camera and an island (Arran?) played out on a screen behind them. It was gorgeous and on more than one occasion had me thinking fondly of Gorecki’s Third Symphony.The performance was ruined completely by a shower of noisy bastards at the bar. Realised I must have been getting visibly angry when a stranger at my table told me just to ignore them.

When I hear the term &lsquo;electronica&rsquo;, I think of perhaps Basil Kirchin, Brian Eno, Neu, Harmonia etc. Having had a ring side seat since the start of the evening, I am suddenly surrounded by a crowd of noisy drunken teuchters here to bear witness to Skye&rsquo;s Niteworks. They&rsquo;re shite, the sort of drivel you hear from pre-pubescent neds upstairs on a late night bus heading to Drumchapel or from an iffy software stall at the Barras. The ensuing crowd invasion (the same bastards that chattered and guffawed all through One Morning) of what I had considered my little fiefdom is led by none other than the teflon headed Calum from the Wobble gig. God this bloke is a Grade -A Wanker.<br /><br />
Everyone, except me, seems to be having a good time. I suspect they&rsquo;re probably relieved at having a night off from tending their livestock but by the smell they can&rsquo;t be too far off either.

When I hear the term ‘electronica’, I think of perhaps Basil Kirchin, Brian Eno, Neu, Harmonia etc. Having had a ring side seat since the start of the evening, I am suddenly surrounded by a crowd of noisy drunken teuchters here to bear witness to Skye’s Niteworks. They’re shite, the sort of drivel you hear from pre-pubescent neds upstairs on a late night bus heading to Drumchapel or from an iffy software stall at the Barras. The ensuing crowd invasion (the same bastards that chattered and guffawed all through One Morning) of what I had considered my little fiefdom is led by none other than the teflon headed Calum from the Wobble gig. God this bloke is a Grade -A Wanker.

Everyone, except me, seems to be having a good time. I suspect they’re probably relieved at having a night off from tending their livestock but by the smell they can’t be too far off either.

Chemikal Underground&rsquo;s latest darlings, Found, perpetually championed by Vic Galloway, were in a word tedious.

Chemikal Underground’s latest darlings, Found, perpetually championed by Vic Galloway, were in a word tedious.
The night was drawing on and we were beginning to wilt ever so slightly!Catriona McKay and Alistair MacDonald’s Strange Rainbow were the final act that we witnessed. At around two a.m., Catriona started making soundscapes on the harp with what was either a Pifco Cocktail Stirrer, her vibrator or an e-bow (it was dark!). All this was being sampled, processed and regurgitated via MacDonalds Mac, in a similar fashion to Leafcutter John&rsquo;s role in Polar Bear. I actually quite enjoyed this.<br /><br />
 Adios Celtronika, a good idea on paper but didn&rsquo;t quite gel for me, thanks

The night was drawing on and we were beginning to wilt ever so slightly!
Catriona McKay and Alistair MacDonald’s Strange Rainbow were the final act that we witnessed. At around two a.m., Catriona started making soundscapes on the harp with what was either a Pifco Cocktail Stirrer, her vibrator or an e-bow (it was dark!). All this was being sampled, processed and regurgitated via MacDonalds Mac, in a similar fashion to Leafcutter John’s role in Polar Bear. I actually quite enjoyed this.

Adios Celtronika, a good idea on paper but didn’t quite gel for me, thanks

   

Cheikh Lo, Fruitmarket, January 15th 2011,(Act #02)

 

The Senegalese chappie came on stage bang on time after it had been filled with a variety of drums, timbales and strange percussion instruments. Dressed in robes that were gathered round his waist with what looked like a boxer’s prize belt and wearing locks that any Rasta would be proud of (if pride wasn’t considered a sin of course!) Cheikh set this ensemble off with a rather dashing pair of purple Argyll socks.

Truth be told I found the set disappointing with most of the tunes being overlong, locking into a ‘groove’ that somehow passed me by. Difficult to tell if he was enjoying himself as he wore those impenetrable Electric Miles wraparound shades.
During all of this, a third price for the same drinks round was charged. What does this say about computerised tills?