ROCK / Gig guide

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ICE-T's BODY COUNT

What he lacks in blackness, he makes up for in chutzpah. This is the original gangsta rapper's thrash metal act, which creative impulse produced 'Cop Killer'. It's nice to see the young man enjoying himself. 'I walked to Crenshaw High. (pause) It was fly.' What this music's audience lacks in numbers it makes up for in broadmindedness. Plus Carcass.

Tonight Brighton Event; Fri Bristol Uni; Sat Newcastle Uni; Sun Livingstone Forum; Mon Glasgow Barrowlands; Tue Bradford Maestro's; Wed London Brixton Academy; Thurs 23 Dec Wolverhampton Civic Hall

ROBERT PLANT

The former Led Zep man and his occasional axe. Playing from this year's decent solo CD Fate of Nations, plus obligatory old stuff. One cool old man. Plus North Carolina's Cry of Love. Worth putting off your shopping for.

Wed Wolverhampton Civic Hall; Thur 23 Dec London Brixton Academy

DIGABLE PLANETS

Funky, handsome and lyrically lightweight rappers from New York. Plenty entertaining live, where they use real horns to revive the jazz licks and samples. London's similarly fleet of tongue Urban Species support.

Sat London Astoria

BOY GEORGE

Chasing the sepia pound. All the old Culture Club hits, plus some of the housier late stuff.

Tonight London Hammersmith Apollo

MADNESS

Same old nutty ska. Carter USM support, which makes it worth the entrance. Half an hour of their whingeing will make you grateful for anything.

Wed, Thur 23 Dec London Wembley Arena

THE THE

More student art rock. Plus The Auteurs.

Tonight London Brixton Academy; Fri Portsmouth Guildhall; Sun Newport Centre; Mon Plymouth Pavillions

THE SISTERS OF MERCY

Stadium goths with a bit of brains.

Mon, Tue Brixton Academy; Wed Birmingham NEC

DEPECHE MODE

Serious, wordy dance band who have finally gone global and entered the world of arena- sized live albums.

Fri Manchester G-MEX; Sat Sheffield Arena; Mon London Wembley Arena

MOODY BLUES

Fri London Wembley Arena; Sat Birmingham NEC; Sun Brighton Centre

MORPHINE

Oddball Bostonian trio who survive on two- string slide bass, drums and baritone sax. Main-man Mark Sandman calls it 'low rock', and claims to be more influenced by noir novelist Jim Thompson than by particular musicians, but Tom Waits is well up there.

Tonight London Islington Powerhaus

SQUEEZE

Fluent songs of love and mild irony, from a band going through another purple patch.

Sat Leeds T&C; Sun Kettering Arena; Mon Ilford Islands; Wed London Forum

JOOLS HOLLAND

This is Jools's Christmas revue, featuring one of the funniest men in pop playing the usual boogie woogie piano with his 17-piece big band. Mixed in will be Ruby Turner, Sam Brown, soul man Laverne Brown, and Les from Vic Reeves. Recommended.

Tonight London Forum; Fri Blackheath Concert Halls

BLUE WHALE

Mick Fleetwood's serious blues rockers. Blues wail, geddit?

Tonight Leeds T&C; Fri Preston Mill; Sat Newtown Powys Theatre Hafren; Sun York Barbican; Mon Liverpool Lomax; Tue Newcastle Riverside; Wed Colne Municipal Hall; Mon 27 Dec Glasgow Arches; Tues 28 Brierly Hill Robin Hood; Wed 29, Thur 30 London Mean Fiddler

REGGAE SUPERFEST

Reggae without the gunshot licks: Frankie Paul, a sweet R&B singer, rootical harmonies from veterans the Mighty Diamonds, more reggae / R&B crossover from Lieutenant Stitchie, and backing from the fabulous 809 Band.

Sun London Brixton Academy

THE HOUSE OF ZEKKARIYAS

Once known as Womack & Womack (Cecil and Linda). Deep soul in a deeply dinky venue.

Tonight, Fri, Sat London Camden Jazz Cafe

MY GUY TOUR

Well-scrubbed teeny bopper acts doing early evening PA's. With EYC, E 17 and Lindy Layton.

Tue Reading Washington Heights; Wed London Leicester Square Equinox; Tue 28 Dec Romford Hollywood's

JOSE CARRERAS

The famous Spanish opera singer pays tribute to Mario Lanza. See what happens?

Mon Sheffield Arena

COUNTRY, JAZZ & WORLD MUSIC

COURTNEY PINE

It's that time of the month again. The saxman who never said it was going to be easy

listening.

Wed, Thur 23 Dec London Jazz Cafe

SHORTER THAN MILES

Funky acid jazz-type nine piece, most of whom have played with Jamiroquai and Brand New Heavies. Plus Hammond organ instrumental quartet, Max Rebo, more young Ealing geezers who give the JTQ a run for their money.

Sun London Ronnie Scott's

THE ROCKINGBIRDS

Neo-Country, city style. Good night out.

Fri London Mean Fiddler

(Photograph omitted)

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