The best cultural happenings in Dundee, November 2017
- David Pollock
- 9 November 2017
Happy Mondays, Alasdair Roberts, NeoN Festival among the highlights coming to Tayside this month
We know that many of you reading this will live there and be more than familiar with it, but if that isn't you – have you seen Dundee lately? They've only gone and built a bloody great art gallery on the waterfront, a destination visitor attraction which will open in 2018 and hopefully draw visitors from around the world. Then there's the recently-launched campaign to make the city the European Capital of Culture 2023, which even has its own theme song.
The purpose of this (hopefully) monthly round-up isn't just to draw your attention to the big arts events from Tayside which will end up on the front pages, but also the smaller, more grassroots shows you may have missed; the range of work our print edition already covers in Glasgow and Edinburgh, essentially. Here are our ten favourite events in November.
Capitalising on Dundee's well-established reputation as a centre for digital arts, the North East of North festival returns with a series of exhibitions, events and workshops, which include Kelly Richardson's The Weather Makers at Dundee Contemporary Arts and the group show Geltung (Validity): The Perception of a Natural Right at Generator Projects. See the link for more.
Various venues, Dundee, Tue 7 to Sun 12 Nov.
It's been thirty years since Mancunian former bad lads (and woman, given the often unfairly overlooked presence of fierce soul singer and sometime X-Factor contestant Rowetta Satchell) released their first album – deep breath – Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) on Tony Wilson's Factory Records. Often overlooked in favour of the two which followed, its title track '24 Hour Party People' gave Michael Winterbottom's Madchester rock bio film its name and has become the band's most enduring classic. The tour starts here.
Caird Hall, Dundee, Fri 10 Nov.
Stephen Home was the in-house pianist at London's BFI Southbank for thirty years, and an experienced hand at composing for live film. Here, he brings his live score of Arthur Robison's The Informer, a 1929 adaptation (not the later John Ford version) of Liam O'Flaherty's novel about the early days of civil war in Ireland, to Dundee after premiering it at the Boness Hippodrome silent Cinema Festival. Improvisational elements mean we can anticipate an entirely unique performance.
Dundee Contemporary Arts, Fri 10 Nov.
Luke Fowler: Electro-Pythagoras – A Portrait of Martin Bartlett
The Croydon-born, Vancouver-raised composer Martin Bartlett, who died in 1993 of an AIDS-related illness, was an important but unheralded figure in the development of electronic music, developing pieces for computer-controlled synthesisers. Here, the Dundee-educated, Glasgow-based, Turner Prize-nominated filmmaker and musician Luke Fowler pays tribute to Bartlett with his own film work.
Dundee Contemporary Arts, Wed 15 Nov.
Ulay: So You See Me
Marina Abramovic collaborator and seminal performance artist (and photographer) Ulay is the subject of one of the most interesting exhibitions in Scotland this month. So You See Me touches upon gender and identity, national politics in relation to the European Union and the use of language, all subjects which are as strikingly relevant now as they were when the German artist made these works over the last half-century.
Cooper Gallery, Dundee, until Sat 16 Dec.
Dundee Jazz Festival
With concerts at the Gardyne Theatre, Dundee Rep, the Reading Rooms, the Frigate Unicorn and at the Sunday afternoon Jazz in the Ferry, Dundee Jazz Festival returns with a programme which takes its cue in part from the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording in New Orleans. Alison Affleck and her Copper Cats will present an evening of music from the city, fast-rising Scottish star Seonaid Aitken has a show dedicated to the music of Ella Fitzgerald, and there will also be appearances by singer Becca Stevens, New York drummer and former player with Stevie Wonder Jaimeo Brown, and Hamish Stuart and Molly Duncan of Dundee's Average White Band.
Various venues, Dundee, Wed 15 to Sun 19 Nov.
Continuing his low-key tour of last year's Future Echoes and other back catalogue highlights with a reduced band of three, the Lost Map label's Johnny Lynch comes to a small venue with a big sound. Expect interstellar space-pop songwriting with an organic, folk-influenced sense of personal connection. And questionable jokes.
Conroy's Basement, Dundee, Sun 19 Nov.
Duncan Marquiss & Jonnie Common: Drawn to Light
Possibly the largest event of the month is this celebration event for 150 years of the McManus gallery, which will see the roads around Sir George Gilbert Scott's Gothic Revival building closed so that 6000 members of the public can watch as a film made by artist Marquiss from the McManus archives projected onto the structure. The soundtrack will be played live by electronic pop songwriter Jonnie Common.
The McManus, Dundee, Sat 25 Nov.
Performed by Mike Mckeon, who plays music as Dr Blue, and co-written with his partner Sameenha Zehra, this one-off theatrical piece is presented as part of Sweet Venues Lates at Dundee Rep, a serioes of low-key bar shows by the Dundee promoters, who are known for their Edinburgh Fringe presence. It tells a tale of the twentieth century through the eyes, ears and voices of three generations of the same family, with an original live blues score from McKeon.
Sweet Venues Lates at Dundee Rep Theatre, Sat 25 Nov.
By the time they take to the stage in Dundee, Glasgow-based duo BDY_PRTS' new album Fly Invisible Hero will have been available for a few days, and hopefully much more deserved acclaim will have been showered on the shoulders of Jill O'Sullivan and Jenny Reeve. Expect focused indie-pop songwriting, Stevie Nicks vocals, pristine production and excellent, well-coordinated costume game.
Beat Generator Live!, Dundee, Wed 29 Nov.
A mainstay of the Scottish alternative folk scene for two decades, Alasdair Roberts (once upon a time known as Appendix Out) returned this year with Pangs, a record which offers more of a focused pop aesthetic than much of his other work, albeit with the same earthy, folkloric spirit intact.
Clarks, Dundee, Thu 30 Nov.