ROCK / Reggae show in no guns shock

THERE ARE no guns in Brixton for Jimmy Cliff. This is a mellow roots riposte to Hammersmith's ragga uprising of the week before. Fears of further trouble leave the Academy less packed than it should be, but a healthy crowd is still on hand to be bombarded with messages of peace and environmental concern. It may or may not be ironic that Cliff, who comes second only to Bob Marley in reggae's crossover canon, achieved his greatest fame in Perry Henzell's classic film The Harder They Come as a would-be pop star turned gangster.

Perched atop a bill that is part cabaret and part history lesson (teaching us above allthat Ken Boothe is as hardcore as he ever was), Cliff is smiley and tireless. 'Some of us are DJs, some of us sing, I Jimmy Cliff do every little thing' is his boast, and he backs it up with daring knee-drops and bubbling dance-hall chat as well as the soulful singing he's renowned for. The band are not as comfortable with the rock-steady rhythms of his early stuff as with later, blander stylings. Cliff is saddled with a guitarist who thinks Eric Clapton's was the definitive version of 'I Shot the Sheriff', but he still shows flashes of the old fire. And you just can't argue with 'Many Rivers to Cross'.

If Michael Jackson is sponsored by Pepsi and Beverley Craven by Tampax, why hasn't Black & Decker snapped up Einsturzende Neubauten? That is one question that might occur to those in the Clapham Grand lucky enough to see the stage. Another is 'How are they making that extraordinary high-pitched buzzing noise which seems to be coming from inside my head, and how much longer can I stand it?' Neubauten are no novelty act, however; they wouldn't drop gravel on boards, stretch and strum metal springs and climb up scaffolding to drip globules of boiling oil if it wasn't absolutely necessary. The blasted beauty of their noisescapes deserves more attention than their methods of construction. The band are not quite the fearsome spectacle they once were - Blixa Bargeld's cheekbones have lost some of their gauntness, and the mighty frame of F M Einheit, barely contained within a blacksmith's apron, is now benign rather than menacing - but when it comes to pushing the edges of the sonic envelope, only their countrymen Kraftwerk can touch them.

Last year P J Harvey battled it out with Suede as the great white hopes of indiedom. It will be surprising if their new album Rid of Me (Island, LP/CD/tape, out tomorrow) is clutched to as many hearts as Suede's has been. This record has been cunningly designed to scourge the idle pleasure-seeker. In tandem with producer Steve Albini, P J Harvey have crafted a very scary punk record - sharpening the sound until it gouges pits in your ears.

The title track is a monster. It starts with a muted guitar throb and then explodes, building again to a conclusion of unrestrained hysteria. What follows is a relentless assault on the senses and, occasionally, the nerves. Singer- songwriter-axewoman Polly Harvey's determination to do all her emotional dirty washing in public can be wearing, but she is a real talent and this is a far more satisfying record than last year's debut. There is too much to take in at one sitting, but the best of it - the deadly 'Dry', the imperious 'Me-Jane' - is great.

In terms of their critical standing, you would have to add water to Deacon Blue's name to make it mud. That doesn't seem to bother the crowd on the first of two sold- out nights at the Hammersmith Apollo, and it becomes clear that the fans have got a point. Deacon Blue have plainly taken a class at the U2 school of staging overkill, but the sudden influx of props - corrugated iron, big mirror, Bacofoil jackets and a troupe of dancing miners - is not unwelcome. The workmanlike songs of professional Glaswegian Ricky Ross respond well to the competition.

Ross has a reputation for taking himself more seriously than anyone else does, but he is an engaging and witty stage presence. His singing foil Lorraine Butler has a clear, high voice which interacts fruitfully with his breathy rasp, particularly in the romantic surroundings of 'Your Loving Arms'. It will be a shame if their bid simultaneously to grungify themselves and enhance their disco credibility is allowed to undermine the simple tunefulness that is their greatest asset.

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
By Seuss! ‘What Pet Shall I Get?’ hits the bookshops this week
Arts and Entertainment
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after Enola Gray and her crew dropped the bomb
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Elliott outside his stationery store that houses a Post Office
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Film review Tom Cruise, 50, is still like a puppy in this relentless action soap opera

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'