Rock and pop preview: : April 19-25

Edwyn Collins, on tour | Boris/Growing, on tour | Triptych, Scotland | Eric Burdon & War, London

Edwyn Collins
On tour

It's one thing to come back from the dead professionally speaking. For Edwyn Collins, however, it's lately been a question of doing so in every sense. Diagnosed, after a collapse in 2005, with having suffered a serious cerebral haemorrhage, the former Orange Juice frontman has battled to recover his health and his career. His physical recovery may be ongoing, but his talent for great urbanity and an often funky take on pop remains as strong as ever. A new album, Home Again, was released last year, and it finds Edwyn displaying a muse in undoubtedly rude health.

· Glee Club, Birmingham, Sun 20; Queens Hall, Edinburgh, Mon 21; Oran Mor, Glasgow, Tue 22; Northumbria University, Thu 24; Manchester Academy 2, Fri 25

On tour

Heavy rock, contrary to what you may have suspected, is a pretty interesting place to hang out. Always an area of extremes, be they of volume, bacchanalian excess or bad clothing, lately metal has been indulging its more abstract and conceptual side, giving rise to bands like Boris, from Japan. Though undoubtedly metal - the propensity for guitar heroism; a record label called, magnificently, Fangs Anal Satan - the overall effect is bracingly bizarre, with some psychedelic moments. At the other end of the heavy rock spectrum are New Yorkers Growing. A less hectic affair, their ambient metal prompts a rather unlikely word: soothing.

· Cooler, Bristol, Sun 20; Ruby Lounge, Manchester, Mon 21; Custard Factory Birmingham, Tue 22; ULU, WC1, Wed 23


An impressive three-centre event, Triptych is the major Scottish festival that makes its home not in a big field, but in the left field. Now in its eighth year, what the event's mixture of gigs and cinema presentations lacks in geographical unity, it makes up for in a singularity of purpose: simply by picking the best alternative acts. Particular high points would have to include the brilliant guitarist James Blackshaw, the newly "gone techno" math rock of Four Tet and the great Thurston Moore-favoured duo Magik Markers, but a big event will be a much-anticipated gig by the reformed Sebadoh. A band noted particularly for Lou Barlow's output of quality troubled relationship songs, "troubled relationship" would also nicely account for the conditions in the group. A volatile mix of Barlow's introspection, Eric Gaffney's bizarre sound explosions, and Jason Loewenstein's spiky tunefulness, if only for a short time, it's great to see that they've been reconciled.

· Various venues, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fri 25 to Apr 27

Eric Burdon & War

In the wake of successful outings by the likes of the Sonics and the Zombies, the reformation of 1960s and 70s acts now seems less like an act of desperation and more like an act of duty. You'd like to hope that's the case here. A slightly bizarre union of the former Animals singer and a long-established group of LA musicians, the joint-forces effort ran to a couple of respectably received blues-tinged albums, but the peaks subsequently reached by War with albums made under their own steam make redundant any notion that they were in any way just Burdon's backing band. A funk ensemble, capable of far-reaching stylistic excursions, the fact that it's only Burdon and founder member Lonny Jordan involved should hopefully not impact too heavily on the authenticity of what's on offer at this one-off show.

· Royal Albert Hall, SW7, Mon 21


John Robinson

The GuardianTramp

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