POP&JAZZ: Reviews

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The Independent Culture
2K, Barbican Hall, London EC2 (0171-638 8891), 2 Sept

It was just a matter of time before Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond hatched another prank and put a grin back on the face of pop music. The dynamic duo, previously known as The JAMS, The Timelords and The KLF, aren't telling much about their new metamorphosis - 2K - but as usual, they say a whole lot of nothing with a ton of style.

With a mix of extravagance, self-aggrandisement and baffling half-clues, full-page advertisements for their live outing invite the punter "to a 23-minute performance during which the next 840 days of our lives will be discussed". And in case you need prodding, it'll be 840 days from that day to the next millennium. For an extra bit of quasi-mystical spice, the record of the gig will be released on the autumn-summer solstice, 22 September.

One hopes the 23-minute gig at the heart of this circus will live up to expectations. It's pretty hard to top their last exercise in 1994, when they scorched pounds 1 million of their own cash.

One hopes they are not about to shoot themselves in the foot. One of the two recent adverts declared that KLF were "the creators of trance. The Lords of ambient. The godfathers of techno metal. The greatest rave band in the world. Ever?" Now they fiddle with a concept called Acid Brass, somewhat unpromisingly, and the grand unveiling of the music will be on the night only.

The idea came from artist Jeremy Deller, who persuaded the acclaimed William Fairey Brass Band to convert eight acid-house anthems into brass concert pieces. One of the tracks was the KLF's "What Time is Love". Cauty and Drummond turned up for an Acid Brass performance at the London Queen Elizabeth hall, and were suitably impressed enough to re-record the song complete with brass sounds, themselves.

The idea walks the tightrope between lunacy and brilliance. But walking that slippery rope is what Cauty and Drummond were born to do, it seems. You just ache for them to be No. 1 again. Whether you're at the Barbican or not, the pop world's countdown to the millennium surely starts here.

GIG HIGHLIGHT If Fort Friendly came from Illinois, we'd probably have heard their touchingly engaging songs by now. As it stands, they are tunesome strummers from unfashionable Denmark. But don't let that put you off. 12 Bar, 22/23 Denmark Place, WC2 (0171-916 6989), Fri