SOUNDS December 9 1989


Glasgow Rooftop

WITH THE Iron Curtain all but dissolved and Gorby fever at a high, the time was right for glasnost to hit Glasgow in the form of Ne Zhdali, Kollegian Assessor and Agata Kristie. three of the most provocative 'unofficial' Soviet bands, who were playing their first show outside the USSR.

The place is awash with the bald, the bearded and the culturally curious, not to mention the odd rock fan - all hot to trot for these blazing apostles of perestroika.

First to face with the bemused gaze of a Western audience were Ne Zhdali — an eight-piece disruption combo from Tallinn, Estonia. A wildly animated clash of Kramer and Rasputin in one body, the frontman sings "nothing's happening today" — maybe so, but Ne Zhdali more than make up for any cultural hiatus with an overload of activity on stage.

Rooted in performance art and a nodding acquaintance with the works of Frank Zappa, Pere Ubu and Stackridge with flashes of bossa nova dance routines and a general taste for unpredictability.

Quirkily off beat, but nowhere near as willfully eccentric as Ne Zhdali, Kiev's Kollegian Assessor seem to operate along the lines of a conventional indie guitar band. The name might suggest the personification of some dark Kafkaesque nightmare but. balancing the inheritance of XTC and the Gang Of Four with traditional folk elements. Kollegian Assessor are an understated yet twisted variation on the Creation theme.

Then, most bizarre of all, from Sverdlovsk (commonly tagged the Manchester of Sov-rock), come Agata Kristie. Their adoption of the pomp rock aesthetic, their slick professionalism and their sense of theatre - ruffled shirts, tail suits and eyeliner— make them the show's would-be stadium rockers.

Describing themselves as 'hard wave', they peddle rock with a glossily metallic edge. Its origins lie in an over-ripe union of the early '70s with state-of-the-art electronics.

Candidates for the big Jim Steinman production. Agata Kristie are no strangers to grooves - and that's PM grooves. Tommy Vance to the rescue...