Stadium, palladium, tedium

Rock

If You were making a list of the bands least likely to be affected by the death of a royal, two names near the top of the page would be Primal Scream and 2K (the would-be artists formerly known as the KLF). None the less, both of these groups postponed the concerts they were due to put on last week. Primal Scream's spokesman said that they couldn't have got the police presence they needed for their weekend dates in London's Victoria Park; 2K's spokesman said that they wouldn't have got any tabloid coverage. Personally, I think they're grief-stricken, but don't like to admit it.

With big-name concerts thin on the ground, there was no option but to see Wet Wet Wet, who finished their British tour at Wembley Arena last weekend. Actually, this was not as much of a chore as it might seem. A band you could take home to meet your great-aunt, the Wets specialise in wholesome family entertainment: more palladium rock than stadium rock. They're cheery and enthusiastic, and they don't stint on the fireworks or video screens. They even have - whisper it - some quality songs.

But stay calm. Wet Wet Wet are in no immediate danger of taking the world by storm. The band are always proficient rather than distinctive, and the toothsome Marti Pellow would be more suited to West End musicals and Saturday early evening game shows than he is to rock'n'roll. Watch him as he skips around stiffly in his sensible trousers, then plays some air drums and air keyboard. He's looking more like Phillip Schofield every day.

At the moment, Finley Quaye is best known for two things. One is his breakthrough single, "Sunday Shining", a refreshing, Marley-delic cocktail of Britpop, trip-hop and reggae. The other is that he is Tricky's uncle (Tricky's classic debut, Maxinquaye, is named after his mother, Finley's big sister). Not since Schwarzenegger and DeVito in Twins have there been two more unlikely relatives.

For starters, Quaye is the younger of the two, at 23, and on Monday at the Jazz Cafe he looked half as old as that. He's like a schoolboy being told off by the headteacher - sheepish, head down, one hand in the pocket of his baggy, white trousers, until, every now and then, he looks up with a coy smile, as if he knows he's charmed his way out of any recriminations. Playing the pedagogic role in this scene are Quaye's band, who have more than enough in the way of beards and dreadlocks to compensate for their short-haired, fresh-faced leader.

The obvious difference between Finley and his nephew is that while Tricky's music is as murky and dark as the gap underneath the fridge, Quaye's is so bright that you'd be advised to apply suntan oil before listening to it. As you might surmise from the titles, "It's Great When We're Together" and "Your Love Gets Sweeter (Everyday)" are as positive and unpretentious as a reggae Jonathan Richman. There aren't many people who can chirp, "I'm a friend of the tree, I'm a friend of the country ... I'm a sweet and loving man," and not end up being pelted with over-ripe country produce.

One thing the Quayes agree on, regrettably, is that the essence of live performance is to stand motionless and ignore the audience. The show is saved by a segment of sitting-on-the-porch-style acoustic strumming, tailor- made for Later With Jools Holland, but Quaye's live band don't have the scope required to do his diverse songs justice. In concert, his new single, "Even After All", is a light reggae fragment - you wouldn't know it was related to the soulful evening breeze of the same name on the forthcoming Maverick a Strike (Epic). This is a gem of a record, with joy glinting from its many multi-coloured facets. One of the debut albums of the year, without a doubt.

The nominal headliner of the evening, which launched London's new alternative radio station, XFM, was Jah Wobble. He and his band, the Invaders of the Heart, did their ethnic hypnogroove thing, Wobble's ever-sturdy dub bass joined by bamboo pipes, recorders and funny-shaped flutes I won't pretend to know the names of. It was excellent. In these days of mix'n'match, multi-cultural cross-overs, of the aforementioned Primal Scream and Asian Dub Foundation, Wobble could even be fashionable, if only he were a generation younger. Mind you, as always with music built on repetitive, competing rhythms played on numerous percussion instruments, there are moments when you wonder what separates the Invaders from a crowd of bum-fluffed Inter- railers playing the bongos in the Prague's Old Town Square.

Also at the Jazz Cafe last week was 19-year-old Shola Ama, who has a debut album in the Top 10, three years after she was discovered singing in a tube station. By the sound of Much Love (Warner), the secret of her success is the efficiency with which she and her producers have duplicated contemporary American R&B, that sanitised soul-funk amalgam which considers itself sexier and more sophisticated than lowest-common-denominator pop because the singers flutter around the tune rather than follow it. Still, it's hard to begrudge Ama her success. Her music flows easily, she has a strong gospel voice when she lets it out, and, most significantly, she is a smiling, upfront London girl who sweetly acts out her lyrics. Take note, Finley.

Finley Quaye and Shola Ama both tour in October. Primal Scream's tour dates have been postponed by one week.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions