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   Thursday, May 23, 2002  
Just when it seemed reallyrather's summer was turning into a gig-less desert (the Be Good Tanyas the only oasis), David Bowie(!) pulls a wizard stroke. His curating of the annual Meltdown festival on the SouthBank hasn't been without it's critics. Stuart Maconie in The Times lamented the relatively mainstream safeness of the programme, criticism Bowie dismissed as kneejerk sniffiness. Certainly, reallyrather's interest had hitherto failed to be aroused by the prospect of Coldplay, Divine Comedy, The The, etc but an amazing rabbit - actually, make that about two dozen rabbits - have just been pulled from the hat. On June 22, before the Coldplay/Pete Yorn show, there is to be a performance by The Polyphonic Spree! Loyal readers will recall this choral pop extravaganza were the toast of SXSW2002, their 18-28 robe-clad members taking the roof off whichever venue they were shoehorned into. As anyone who has the album The beginning stages of... will know, they apply an experimental, kitchen-sink orchestral approach to a clutch of sunny '60s-style pop songs. Whilst not completely successful on disc you get the feeling that's not really the point, this is pop music which can really only make sense in performance. With commonly 20+ voices, tympani, french horns, etc augmenting the usual rock band instrumentation, the simplistic tunes are stretched into something resembling, say, a widescreen Flaming Lips. For this London show they'll be on the ballroom floor of the Royal Festival Hall so they'll be sorted spacially if not acoustically. And the very best part of all is that the show is free - FREE I tell you! A collector's item for sure. Thanks Dave...

Can't quite say the same about the show at the Monarch in Camden the following Wednesday but only because reallyrather has seen the headliners at least three times before. Still unmissable though - it's Myracle Brah! Andy Bopp's full-on, harmony-drenched guitar pop never fails to deliver - hopefuly the line-up will be the same as last time with Paul Krysiak alternating on B3 organ / 12-string electric, Dennis Shockett bass and 'loud' Joe Parsons drums. As ever, they're part of a RainbowQuartz label night so share billing with fellow pysch-pop-rockers RockFour, the Grip Weeds and the Three-4-Tens...

From the sublime etc...
The trump card in the hand of all Europhobes fighting further integration, the Eurovision Song Contest casts it's shadow once again. Throwing up the type of 'music' for which the word 'execrable' was probable coined to describe, having a small wager is just about the only way to make the event interesting. Comedically dubious voting nothwithstanding, it's generally pretty easy to narrow the dross down to a handful of contenders. Going way beyond the call of duty, reallyrather has heard them all and can report that all your favourite elements - generic chord changes, lyrical cliches, etc - are all present in abundance. Hideous sub-Celine / sub-Flashdance monstrosities are legion and can all be confidently dismissed, as can the laughable 'boy' bands - can you be such if you're 27? - from Russia and Cyprus. The ghost of Hazel Dean is unwelcomingly summoned by Finland, Germany AND chance. Austria, no chance. Slovenia's cross-dressing trio? No chance. Sergio, "Belgium's Mr Entertainment" (actually the Robert Palmer from Hell), no chance. The UK's is one of slicker efforts but Jessica Garlick is joint-favourite and no value at 4/1. No, the reallyrather tip has to be Malta. One of the least offensive efforts, it's still numbingly lightweight Europapp, but catchy (and Ira Losco's v. easy on the eye) - good each-way value at 14/1 with
   posted by SMc at 11:36 AM |