Live in Edinburgh This Week – 17th May 2009


Well, after a bit of a lull last week there’s all sorts of crap going on in and around Edinburgh this week, so choose wisely because trying to attend everything could just be the end of you.  As well as the usual recommendations there are a couple of half-recommendations this week; gigs I feel I should want to go to, but am actually not that fussed about.  Crystal Antlers (I mean, come on, they have Crystal in their name, they have to be good, almost as guaranteed as having Fuck in your name last year, or Bear the year before that, or Wolf… well, never mind) are playing at Sneaky Pete’s with Times New Viking and Dupec.  These are all bands I feel I should like more than I do, for some reason.

The same applies to all of Glenn Tilbrook, Kristin Hersh and Alastair Roberts who are playing Cabaret Voltaire on Tuesday 19th, Wednesday 20th and Friday 22nd respectively.  I should be excited about them (well, maybe not Mr. Tilbrook in particular, no offence) but for all it is good that these guys are playing Edinburgh I find myself no more than vaguely interested in their gigs.  The splendid Rob St. John is supporting Alastair Roberts though, so that one is definitely the most appealing of the lot.

In terms of gigs I am likely to be attending, well let’s go, shall we.  And, er, just check Saturday out.  The Edinburgh gig going public might well be spread very thinly indeed this Saturday:

Thursday 21st May 2009: White Heath, Yusuf Azak & Colourmusic play Limbo at the Voodoo Rooms.

Well all know I think Yusuf Azak is bloody brilliant, but White Heath were also excellent at Trampoline last Saturday.  Their sound is very crowded, and their lead singer sounds a little like a muezzin who has rather badly lost his way, but they sound really, really promising to me.  Trombone and mental fiddle solos? Count me in!  And they even play the bongos without sounding shite, which is an achievement in itself.  They’re going to be working on some new recordings with Alex from Fentek Audio in the near future, and Alex appears to be carving out a reputation as one of Edinburgh’s most trusted sound guys, so this is very good news.  I’ll definitely be at this one.
Colourmusic – Spring Song

Thursday 21st May:Benni Hemm Hemm and Withered Hand at the Bowery.

Glacial Icelandicism is no surprise these days, but this is more of a style we might associate with the rest of Scandinavia, with an almost januty instrumental pop style never far from the surface.  Benni will be at the Bowery on Thursday with the brilliant Withered Hand.

Friday 22nd May 2009: The Mannequins, The Pineapple Chunks and quite a few others at Henry’s Cellar Bar.

In amongst a lot of bigger names this week, I reckon this looks like the pick of the bunch when it comes to more under the radar slots.  I’ve been slack at checking the Henry’s listings recently because they’ve been rather quiet since the new year, but I hear that that is about to be taken firmly in hand and they will be making a bit of a push in the coming months.  The Mannequins have some pretty decent pop songs from the sound of it, and The Pineapple Chunks have done well at Limbo in the past, so I think this is gig to go to if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track.
The Mannequins – Little Black Book

Saturday 23rd May 2009: Cats in Paris & Mitchell Museum at Cabaret Voltaire.

I should really be at the Stag & Dagger Festival in Glasgow watching Meursault on Saturday, but they asked me to sign release forms so that Meursault’s set could be both filmed and recorded and then denied me permission to film at the festival myself, so they can go and fuck themselves with a bag full of scorpions, frankly.  Instead, I will be at Cabaret Voltaire watching the very fashionable Cats in Paris and the very excellent Mitchell Museum.  The last time I saw Mitchell Museum was in a rather large venue, so somewhere more intimate and a little sweatier should be great fun.
Mitchell Museum – Arthur Loves the Shadows

Saturday 23rd May 2009: Found, Player Piano, The Pictish Trail & King Creosote at the GRV.

I just don’t go the GRV, not really on purpose, more because they so rarely have my kind of music on the bill there that I get a little lazy about checking the listings.  This one is pretty bloody obvious though: a kind of Fence Collective Allstars get together, with all the charismatic alt-folk you could wish for.  Player Piano is more of a lush pop band though, and Found aren’t really folky at all, so I don’t think this would be the Fence Collective of hushed and lovely balladry which you might expect if you were coming along on the basis of a hundred-word newspaper clipping.
Player Piano – Anything At All

Saturday 23rd May 2009: Anathallo, Samamidon, The Stormy Seas & Your Boy Blair at Sneaky Pete’s.

Anathallo, although I know very little about them, sound rather lovely from a quick skim of their MySpace page.  Also on the bill is the truly gorgeous Samamidon, and anyone who missed either of his Bowery gigs this Winter really should not miss this.  He has the loveliest voice and the most amazing way with a banjo you are likely to hear anywhere, ever.
Anathallo – The River

Saturday 23rd May 2009: Lach at the Bowery.

Lach pretty much started what is generally thought of as the modern anti-folk movement in New York, and he certainly coined the phrase itself.  It’s hardly a new thing of course – Bob Dylan rubbed the folkies all up the wrong way when he first turned up as well, but they couldn’t really ignore him for all that long.  Getting a legendary figure like Lach to the Bowery is something of a coup as far as I’m concerned so, er, what the fuck am I going to do on Saturday with all these bands to see.  I can’t miss this one.
Lach – A Quiet Distance

Sunday 24th May: Defiance Ohio, Madeline, Withered Hand, Torn Strings & Billy Liar at the Bowery.

Madeline is a big favourite of my pal Rich who writes the Georgia (no, the one in the States) blog Cable & Tweed, so I really think I should go to this.  After all, without Rich we would have no Porlolo, no Builders & the Butchers, no Loch Lomond, no Sleepy Horses and no 63 Crayons.
Madeline – White Flag