Proof is at hand that ravey, techno-centric world music has graduated from Womad-land and infiltrated the mainstream. Dreadzone brought a dub, Indian and classical music soundclash to one of the Oasis awaydays at Knebworth last year, giving the 120,000-strong crowd a multi-ethnic flavoured break from heavy guitars. Not that Dreadzone's Greg Roberts would be as uncharitable as to say the Oasis monster shows could have been a monochrome affair without them. "I think we are just one of those support bands who wind the audience up, make it good for the headliners," he muses. "I don't know exactly why we were invited, although we were on Creation for our first album. On the day, I just looked at pockets of crowds that were getting into us and imagined everyone else there was into us as well."
Dreadzone have spent the last seven months in the studio making the follow- up to the Little Britain album, the success of which, especially live, took them by surprise last year. Now, however, "computer roots and sound navigator" Tim Bran has left the ranks and, to judge by the new single, "Earth Angel", Dreadzone are heading unashamedly in the direction of pop. "The lyrics were written after my son Blake was born, so it's sort of about my little earth angel," Greg offers. "In general, it's about belief in love and evolution, the juxtaposition of spirituality and science. I think we are getting the balance right."
At the London May Day free festival, Greg expects a genuine, euphoric post-election mood will be in the air. "You know, everything in the world around us is changing," he enthuses. "We're in the third wave, what with new technology like cyberspace. Dreadzone have moved on, and I always like to think people who listen to us are moving on as well."
EYE ON THE NEW Cool swinger Beck has had a fine year of it - palled up to Snoop Doggy Dogg on the telly, got Noel Gallagher to remix one of his tunes, and still he wears the crown of indie maverick while selling big tours. Live, he knows a thing or three about ironic razzmatazz, so expect the dapper dude to be Elvis-meets-Sid-Vicious- meets-David Byrne. Freaky, but great. Manchester Apollo, 7 May; Birmingham Aston Villa Leisure Centre, 9 May; London, Brixton Academy, 10 May; Nottingham Rock City, 11 May; Glasgow SECC, 13 MayReuse content