Most live scenes tend to peter out a little from late June/early July onwards as the Festival season starts to cannibalise what remains of the audience after the students have gone home, and people tend to take what little chance they get to be outside in the sun, if it ever appears, rather than in a sweaty basement listening to pale young men complaining about their feelings.
The Edinburgh live scene, on the other hand, tends not to be as dependent on students, not to have to fear too much from oft promised but never delivered good weather, but nevertheless to peter out for a different reason: the lumbering behemoth that is the Edinburgh Festival.
Now I don’t hate the Festival as much as a lot of locals, but I am nevertheless a little ambivalent. Yes it’s awesome, yes it brings all sorts of cool stuff to the city for a month, but there are obviously some drawbacks.
Firstly, the practical. If you are ever trying to get anything done in August, it’s a fucking nightmare. People and shit everywhere, and everyone making the smug plea of those with nothing pressing to get done: ‘Just chill out man, it’s the festival dude, we’re on vaykayshun, relaaaax!’ No. It is Tuesday, and I have shit to do. Get the fuck out of my way before I make you massively grateful for the Communist oppression of a functioning National Health Service.
Secondly, local music really does just have to stop. There is no point a Scottish label or band releasing anything in August, as the local press simply haven’t a sliver of column space to devote to it. Also, gigs tend to stop as well, because the Edge Festival won’t let any local bands they book play at all, anywhere else in August, venues are near-impossible to come by, local fans often turn their eyes and wallets to the more exotic imports and advertising against the maelstrom of confetti generated by the Festival is basically impossible.
Did I mention that I’m putting on four gigs at the Electric Circus in August? What a dick.
Anyhow, Acoustic Edinburgh and The Retreat Festival have been brilliant over the last few years, and Electric Circus are following their lead this year: booking lots of local stuff and offering amazingly good deals on drinks too, so we can all afford to actually go.
This week, however, due to what I assume is pre-Festival wind-down, there is really not that much, except for the ever-reliable awesomeness of The Ides of Toad. Yes, really, for once I am not joking.
Of the (admittedly relatively few) open mics I’ve attended in Edinburgh, Out of the Bedroom has been my favourite, and this week Lach will be playing. Lach is the man who invented Antifolk and whose Antihoot open stage in New York launched the careers of the like of Beck, Jeffrey Lewis and Kimya Dawson. He is moving to Edinburgh and releasing an album with us in a week or so (which should absolutely delight some people).
This isn’t a gig, and I’m not sure I could even call it a club night really, more a late night drinking opportunity where some distinctly odd and distinctly excellent people will play distinctly odd and distinctly excellent music. I wanted a night like this all through my twenties and have had to wait until I am thirty fucking five to actually find it.
Since Tallah and JP took over the booking at the Electric Circus they have really started to book some good stuff, including Live Lounge, which seems to be a lineup of good live music every Friday. I don’t know the Deadly Winters, I have to confess, but the other two bands are very good indeed.
Jesus H. Foxx have finished their album! Yes, finished their fucking album, I kid you not! This means that they will be out and about playing an awful lot more from now on, and that singles will be starting to appear in the Autumn. Get in! It sounds fucking great, too. Add to this the beast that is The Second Hand Marching Band, and brand new Edinburgh popsters Pet and we have a great wee lineup for you. Better get down early though, because there’s so many musicians in these bloody bands that they could end up pretty much filling the venue by themselves!