Music, Allan Brown

23 articles

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Various artists - Virgin Records: 40 Years Of Disruptions

8 Nov 20134 stars

Like a vast, tattered flag of modern British popular culture unfurling before you

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s record companies, whether EMI or RCA, were monolithic and faceless, vast industrial combines that also manufactured your fridges and television sets, and were answerable slavishly to shareholders. Then, in 1973, came…

T in the Park 2013 - Scottish pop music festivals before T in the Park in 1994

5 Jun 2013

On T’s 20th birthday, Allan Brown looks back at the festival’s first ever line-up

Prior to year one of T in the Park, rock festivals in Scotland were as rare and as fleeting as the Highland wildcat. Fittingly, then, in 1979, an early stab was staged in a zoo; or, rather, a bear park near Loch Lomond. By most accounts it was a…

Talk Talk - Natural History 1982 - 1988 / Natural Order 1982 - 1991

21 Feb 20134 stars

'They sound like Duran Duran after receiving some very bad news'

Talk Talk were the born-again virgins of British pop. They spent almost a decade as a conventional commercial entity, producing several albums of post-New Romantic synth-pop that was wistful and angsty and sounded like Duran Duran after receiving some…

Mike Heron & Trembling Bells with Hapton Crags - Celtic Connections, Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 24 Jan 2013

4 Feb 20135 stars

Psych folk line-up gives a glimpse into an electric Eden

Nothing lifts the soul quite like The Incredible String Band. This is why you must never swallow the line that ISB were some kind of 1960s novelty outfit, a crowd of free-love Catweazles seeing salamanders in the bonfire. They weren’t. Well, they were a…

The Primevals - Heavy War

19 Dec 20123 stars

Trashy Americana that does little to lift itself out of the pub circuit leagues

Discovering The Primevals are still above ground was a pleasant surprise. In the days when being in a Glasgow band meant regulation tank tops, shorts and sandals, The Primevals loitered like bad boys outside the chippie. Their thing was trashy…

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Hogmanay 2012: 5 reasons we love Simple Minds

12 Dec 2012

The 1980s pop-rock titans are set to headline Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations

Pretension At the height of the band’s career, approximately 1980-84, Minds frontman Jim Kerr was thought the biggest pseud in rock. Boundless was the glee generated whenever Kerr discussed his newest cultural crushes, as with this 1981 example in the…

Interview: Peter Hook performs Joy Division's new wave, melancholy masterpieces, Unknown Pleasures and Closer

27 Nov 2012

Uber-fan of Joy Division Allan Brown gets a chat with one of his musical heroes, Peter Hook

Peter Hook is one of the most gratifyingly paradoxical figures in all of heritage indie-rock, if that’s a thing. The man and the music just don’t match. The latter, as represented by New Order and particularly by Joy Division, is by turns intense…

Alvin Stardust - Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 9 Nov 2012

27 Nov 20123 stars

A polished and engaging, but somehow lacking, show from the 70s rock'n'roll megastar

For those not entirely certain, Alvin Stardust was a kind of evil Shakin’ Stevens. Or a less sinister Alice Cooper. He was a pantomime bad boy rocker, essentially, whose trademark was a single black leather glove and a John Craven’s Newsround sneer.

Documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul discusses the remarkable story fo Sixto Rodriguez

15 Nov 2012

The musician, the subject of Malik's Searching for Sugar Man, plays the Usher Hall this month

Like Robinson Crusoe in reverse, Sixto Rodriguez spent many decades oblivious to the fact that the world wished urgently to get in touch. In the early 70s, the young Latino songwriter (above) released a brace of albums. They sounded a bit like Bob…

The Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (Deluxe Edition)

16 Oct 20125 stars

A respectable tribute to this bunch of shoddy but insanely talented chancers

The dark art of the remastered reissue reaches its zenith with this, a 35th anniversary, four-disc trawl of every cough and spit - with the emphasis on spit - recorded during the short and combustible career of The Sex Pistols. The main item of business…

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Punk poet Patti Smith set for UK tour

21 Aug 2012

Patti Smith tours album Banga to Glasgow, London and more

Much like her contemporary John Lydon, Smith is fêted less for what she does currently than for having hammered out, decades back, a profoundly revolutionary paradigm. Smith – and Blondie and The Ramones too – came along just as we needed reminding that…

Elvis Costello - Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Fri 11 May

22 May 20124 stars

Three-hour 30-song greatest hits show with patter aplenty

‘She’s filing her nails while they’re dragging the lake’ – has any songwriter anticipated the career ahead of them as clairvoyantly as Elvis Costello did on Watching the Detectives? The song appeared in 1977 but its writer has spent the decades since…

Paul Buchanan - Mid Air

22 May 20122 stars

Poor solo effort from the former Blue Nile member

Written as a kind of pop requiem for a late friend, Mid Air is, quite fittingly, something of a musical flatline; a cycle of 14 barely-there doodles for voice and piano with all the punch and urgency of a ghost falling asleep. Virtually nothing remains…

The Waterboys - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Wed 3 Mar

26 Apr 20124 stars

Three hours of intense, lyrical rock music for grown-ups

Backstage after tonight’s show, Mike Scott, Waterboy-in-chief since the band’s inception in 1983, is disgruntled. His band have put in a considerable shift, knocking out not only a connoisseur’s best-of set but the bulk of its recent and remarkable…

Sinead O'Connor

28 Mar 20124 stars

Powerfully autobiographical live show from the suede-headed nutter

One of the funniest tales in music concerns an Irish hack sent to doorstep Sinead O’Connor. The scribbler promptly vanishes then days later is tracked down to O’Connor’s Paris hotel suite: ‘Sinead and I,’ he informs his former colleagues loftily…

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Simple Minds - Barrowlands, Glasgow Sat 25 Feb 2012

8 Mar 20123 stars

Revisit to first five albums a reminder of their potency

In these recessionary times, it’s easy to suppose the manufacturers of dry ice are thanking their lucky stars for 1980s art-rock bands on the comeback and reunion trail. Clouds of the stuff create precisely the proper atmosphere in which men with…

The Wedding Present - Valentina

28 Feb 20122 stars

Well-worn template mixes with stabs at hummability

(Scopitones) The last time this reviewer looked, which wasn’t yesterday admittedly, The Wedding Present were a bracing proposition, the musical equivalent of being dragged along a cobbled street in Halifax with one leg tied to a Raleigh Chopper. Flat…

Bob Dylan set for 2011 UK tour

14 Sep 2011

Dates in Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Cardiff and Bournemouth

Rock stars, like canines, maintain strange relationships with the tally of the passing years. The job is viable till the moment the performer hits 60, at which point the shade of pensioner-hood lowers like showers on a Bank Holiday weekend. We’re…

Paul Simon - SECC, Glasgow, Fri 24 Jun 2011

21 Jul 20114 stars

A perfectly-crafted set from the legendary pop monarch

‘Glasgow – I once got into a lot of trouble in this town,’ Paul Simon told the full-house at the Clyde Auditorium. Maybe the singer was divorced from his psychoanalyst’s stepdaughter here. Simon didn’t elaborate, though he scarcely needed to: the…

Review - Roger Daltrey, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Wed 6 Jul

8 Jul 20114 stars

Daltrey flies the Who flag, with compelling results

The truly distinctive thing about The Who was that each of the four members appeared to believe he was the band’s lead guitarist, even if guitar wasn’t the instrument he played. Each brought an exhibitionist’s swagger to his role; the whirling mania of…

The Ringo Starr All-Starr Band, SECC: Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Thu 23 Jun

24 Jun 20112 stars

'Is Ringo the best drummer in the world?', a reporter once asked John Lennon. 'He’s not even the best drummer in The Beatles,' Lennon replied. And neither is he a natural frontman. Certainly Starr doles out small servings of the mandatory patter during…

Roxy Music - Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Fri 28 Jan 2011

8 Feb 20113 stars

Less a group than a luxury brand

Several days before this brace of Glasgow shows, Bryan Ferry turned up in House of Fraser for a signing session where entry was conditional on the purchase of a £50 box-set. A similar skein of pension-provision ran through every aspect of this…

Upside Down: The Best of The Jesus and Mary Chain

15 Nov 20103 stars

(Rhino) Quite sensibly, this kitchen-sink-included compilation of the East Kilbride noiseniks does not arrange itself in chronological order, thus concealing the fact the band’s introductory fusillade of sonic fireworks – ‘Upside Down’, ‘You Trip Me…