InterCity Crawl - Glasgow - 19th October 1997

If you've heard of the Camden Crawl in London, well, this unfamiliar 'festival' name may start to ring a bell. 60 bands travel from Camden to Manchester and now to Glasgow, spearding themselvses over 5 venues for the duration of the evening. It takes fast feet and meticulous planning to see everything you want, and even at that, you are still at the mercy of the organisers, venues, tardy bands and pure bad luck.

 So I arrived at the Cathouse expecting to see 'the New Blues Explosion', apparently, Groop Dogdrill. Instead, and 3 hours early, are a seriously pissed-off Midget. Their song is a hard rocking thing, a bit in the style of the 60 Ft Dolls. With that, they are gone, pausing only to bitterly complain about 'bands who don't get their act together'.

So we head off to Nice'n'Sleazy's where Glasgow's favourite adopted sons, Magoo, are playing. Now labelmates with Arab Strap and the Delgados, they play a set which includes a lot of new material, plus the finest moments from their debut lp 'The Soatremic Sounds of...'

My ears are ringing at the end, so convienently the next band up give us the luxury of staying in the same venue plus offering a more sedate form of music. The Karelia are pretty difficult to describe, frankly. The line up first then - a couple of guys in sharp suits on guitars, a trumpeter who looks barely old enough to be allowed in the bar, and a drummer, borrowed for the night who bears a distinct resemblance to Quentin Tarantino. Only better looking. (I always worry that people might actually read this). He actually fits in pretty well, frankly, but jazz drumers always can lend ther hand to anything. Jazz, I hear you cry (scream?) Well, yes, as the Karelia have as I suggested, an unusual sound - jazzy influences for sure, some of that genre which can only be descvribed as 'detective theme music', and some good-old fashioned rocking out (free-form, naturally). Niiiiice. They remind me most of the Divine Comedy, but that's the Neil Hannon-esque laconic delivery more than anything, I suspect, Musically, the only parallel I can draw is the Monochrome Set. Ask an older relative for help on this one.

A quick hop across the road to the Garage where Silver Sun should be on, but they've long gone. Symposium are next up, so we beat a hasty retreat to King Tut's where the Lo-Fidelity Allstars are already onstage. Not to be confused with the Beatnik Filmstars (who are GOOD) but more a throwback to early Happy Mondays/Stereo MC's, only largely without vocals. Or perhaps a third-rate Renegade Soundwave. Either way, the hall is packed and the audience are lapping it up. No accountung for taste I suppose.

Conversely, Tanya Donnely, the last act we will see tonight, has a surprisingly half-full King Tuts to greet her. It's very nearly reduced by one immediately, as her safari-suited slide-guitarist plays some deeply unpleasant country and Tanya sings in her deepest Southern accent, like some distant cousin of Dolly Parton. Mercifully, the band kick in for the next number, but the new material is distinctly uninspired, despite the all-star backing band, which includes at least one ex-member of Throwing Muses. However, it's probably the old Belly songs that the audience are there to hear and we get a couple of these thrown in for good measure, crowd pleaser that she is. But the high point of the set is the final encore, a cover of the Zombies 'Time of the Season', this fact saying more about the set than anything else.

So was the Crawl worth the effort then? Well, at £10 with a free cd you'd say yes, though the locals were proabbly feeling short-changed at the much more impressive line-ups at the cities in the south. Still, that's devolution for you, I suppose.