FIFTY FOOT WAVE / AMUSEMENT PARKS ON FIRE
King Tut's Wah-Wah Hut, Glasgow, 25th September 2004
Eighteen months after Throwing Muses' last ever Scottish gig (sob), Kristin brings her new band to King Tuts. What's remarkable about one of my all-time heroines is that, as she grows older, she seems to be getting simultaneously louder (on the band records) and quieter (on the solo records) . It's the louder option though that gets my vote.
50 Foot Wave is certainly Kristin's most straightforward rock project so far, taking its cue from material on the last TM material like 'Speed Or Sleep' and 'Mercury'. Mind you, the "speed metal" comparisons aren't really accurate as a lot of the so far unreleased material sounds a lot like what another TM record would have sounded like. There's a bit more light in those songs than in the 6 from the EP, with a couple verging towards, dare I say it, the poppier side of Kristin's music.
However, the 50 Foot Wave EP was just a tiny bit disappointing - 1 more great (rather than good) song would have done the trick. But what about the live experience? Pre-gig warm-up was to get the Live in Seattle bootleg, which documents the current Wave set with 8 tracks over and above the first EP. So that means there's only 1 "surprise" on the night. More on that later.
First up though were the terribly named Amusement Parks on Fire. Sounding like a happier version of the Open they were OK in the live context, sweeping epics, verging on the proggy at times, but the melodies are a bit limp so they probably wouldn't grab the attention on record. But no-one's here for them.
|King Tut's was far from packed but as expected most of those present were devoted fans and any slight deficiency in numbers was more than made up for in enthusiasm (despite a large part of the set presumably being new to many). Kicking off like the EP with 'Bug' it was pretty much straight down to business. Fortunately it was apparent straight away that all elements of the sounds had been given their place in the mix, so unlike at the QM last year, you could actually hear Kristin sing.|
The disappointing thing about Live In Seattle is that the new songs aren't done justice but in the live setting they come to life. I'm still struggling with the titles to be honest but the likes of 'Sally Was A Girl', 'Golden Ocean' and 'El Dorado' stood out.
Of the EP material, 'Clara Bow' was amazing - at one point Kristin, Bernard and Rob seemed to be playing on completely different planets yet the end result was stellar. 'Long Painting' was an early highlight, whilst 'Dog Days' was an excellent close to the first encore. Even 'Bug', slightly disappointing on record, sounded invigorated in person.
Freed from my normal routine of counting the songs to remember what was played, the initial 11 songs seemed to fly by. The 3 song first encore though raised the bar - 'El Dorado' is one of the best 50 Foot Wave songs without a doubt and 'Diving' is terrific as well leading into the aforementioned 'Dog Days'.
The 'surprise' (well not quite because I'd read about it on TMO that morning) was the electric, band version of 'Your Ghost'. Grown men could be seen hugging when it started and it was a really amazing way to end a fantastic gig.
So Kristin's back with a vengeance. Let's hope more people are paying attention this time round.
Apologies for the really poor quality of the photos - should have tried a bit harder.
50 Foot Wave Setlist
In The Air
Sally Was A Girl