I love Edinburgh in August!
It always reminds me of how lucky we are to stay in this city. The fact that so many 1000s of people come here to put on shows. And that so many more come here as tourists from outside and within the UK to have a look. It’s a bamboozling thing though if you’ve never experienced it before. To say there is too much to see is a bit like saying [insert a clever analogy]. Anyway, I get excited like a something something… oh come on brain!
Every other person in town is a comedian. Some are totally, incredibly, bamboozlingly rubbish. With bad timing and punchlines that really don’t work (see later). But there are gems to be had. Roll up roll up!
So, after poring over some of the listings. Here are some musical treats that took my fancy. Some events are organised by people nepotistically close to the shop but I’ll let you know.
For a start, getting a major plug, Andy from the shop is in a show!
A Janis Joplin biopic called Full Tilt at the Assembly Checkpoint (Venue 322) 20.50 every day from 31st July to the 24th August apart from the Tuesdays the 12th and 19th. Don’t worry, he’s not playing Janis Joplin although with the right wig I think he could pull it off. (I’ve been assured that Mercedes Benz actually sounds good the way they do it). Andy normally plays keys in The Holy Ghosts, a band that specialise in Wild Country Blues Rock as performed by the Rolling Stones circa 1972. Anyway, Full Tilt has a 5 star review from the List.
So we should all definitely see that show, our at least pretend to have seen it if you come into VoxBox on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The next nepotistic thing is The Song, By Toad Pale Imitation Festival as I’m friends with the label as shop/business and… Wait a minute… I don’t need to make excuses. Song, by Toad is actually Edinburgh’s only full time record label. Basically the VoxBox shop will help whenever it can. But without lying… Thankfully the Toad filter is set high.
This lineup is probably great. I have to admit, I don’t know 11 of the 28 bands announced but I know at least one on each bill and basically, all you need to know is that for a fiver each gig is worth a punt. 3 bands for a fiver! The headliners are all pretty fantastic too. Here is the poster:
But we’re not just about Edinburgh independent music. Our forte is MOJO/Uncut type bands after all. After investigating a bit, here’s what I found in the Fringe Guide and elsewhere for the first couple of weeks. Not definitive by any means.
1st The Chills play the Electric Circus. New Zealand legends!
2nd Broken Records at the Queen’s Hall They’re back! Promoting their fine new album, Weights and Pulleys. Support from shop favourites Kid Canaveral (album of the year shortlisted) and Book Group.
2nd Pale Imitation Festival -Adam Stafford, Le Thug, Duchess. Adam Stafford’s album, Imaginary Walls Collapse was my 1st choice for the recent Scottish Album of the Year Award.
3rd Born to be Wide 10 minute sets by selected Scottish bands: Cairn String Quartet, Jamie & Shoony, The Little Kicks (acoustic), Made of Glass, Megan D, Neil Pennycook (Meursault), Paul Gilbody, Rachel Newton. Short DJ sets of Scottish tunes in-between by movers and shakers in the Scottish music scene and VoxBox yours truly. FREE entry via Facebook.
5th Steve Heron, Benny Monteux and Made of Glass at the Electric Circus.
6th A good day to see VoxBox Andy in Full Tilt.
8th The Little Kicks at the Electric Circus. They made one of my top 5 of Scottish albums of the year; Aberdeen’s Little Kicks are pretty special guitar disco pop.
9th Pale Imitation Festival– The Yawns, Sharptooth, Alan Smithee
9th The Last Battle at the Electric Circus. Lovely, Edinburgh band with new album out.
10th Viv Albertine of The Slits is at the Book Festival promoting her memoir. Great band, great story, so should be good.
10th Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap has written a CHILDREN’s book! It’s bound to contain swearing. It’s called The Lavender Blue Dress. For kids. (and grown ups with their kids)
11th There’s Autumn Fallin’ From Friday the 1st until Saturday the 23rd. This is a New York love affair based on the album by folkster Jaymay (Pronounced Jamie). 50mins of musical theatre. The director asked the shop for a loan of Subterranean Homesick Blues, Astral Weeks and Blood on the Tracks as props. So that’s an idea of where it’s coming from. A great start. Well worth investigating.
12th Wounded Knee (12, 13, 14th). Drew Wright AKA Wounded Knee and Daniel Padden present a striking new song cycle celebrating the seasons, inspired by Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills. This special performance centred around Wounded Knee’s distinctive vocals, features original compositions and bold new arrangements of traditional material, performed by a group of adventurous players. Drawing on diverse influences including African guitar minimalism, cosmic jazz, and experimental and folk traditions, Wright and Padden create a sonic patchwork bound by prose and poetry: a Scottish Summer Symphony. Presented in collaboration with The Glad Cafe.
12th Martin Carthy -A must see show at St Brides. A truly legendary folk musician that famously influenced Paul Simon and Bob Dylan.
13th Meursault and Plastic Animals at the Queen’s Hall The last ever Meursault gig!
13th Vic Galloway and Friends (Adam Stafford, The Hazey Janes, Andrew Mitchell and Ella The Bird (Siobhan Wilson) and book readings) It’s late but it’s FREE
14th John Renbourn and Wizz Jones -Pentangle guitar wizard and fellow long time acoustic folk guitarist in a rare show. Both are legendary acoustic guitar genius (especially Renbourn). Ask any folkie or Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. (also playing the 13th)
14th Pale Imitation Festival -Deathcats, Garden Of Elks, Passion Pusher
14th Kevin MacNeil & Willie Campbell
Long-time friends and artistic collaborators, Kevin MacNeil and Willie Campbell last year produced the album Visible From Space, and they’ll bring together their songs and stories for a special night of Jura Unbound. Kevin is an acclaimed novelist, poet and playwright born and raised in the Outer Hebrides. His works include The Stornoway Way and Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides. Willie was lead singer and guitarist with Astrid. He still tours both as a solo artist and as a member of The Open Day Rotation.
14th (+15th and 16th) The Black Diamond Express -High energy 9 piece Edinburgh blues band. Highly recommended.
15th King Creosote plays the Queen’s Hall -New album, From Scotland With Love out now and in the shop. These will be snapped up fast. Get in quick! Sadly, on the 15th SLINT play Glasgow… Sadly I’ll be in Glasgow.
15th Julian Cope is at the Book Festival promoting his new book One Three One. It’s his first book of fiction. His autobiography, Head On/Repossessed is one of the best rock memoirs ever written.
16th Pale Imitation Festival – Garden of Elks, Jesus H. Foxx, Andrew R. Burns
That’s just a tiny amount and I’ll have missed out loads, but if the Fringe guide appears too daunting to look through, the above are all nice ways to spend an evening.
More to come…
It’s kind of nice. The VoxBox Vinyl Show returns too and the Fresh Air studio is at The Pleasance where there is a lot going on. It’s every Thursday from 2000-2200. You can listen online at FreshAir.org.uk. Dom and I will be putting together 3 two hour specials. The History of Decadence in Music/Musical Badasses. A Referendum Special. And a mysterious one we haven’t decided on ye(S)t.
If you’ve never seen it before, see La Clique. It’s probably the best show at The Fringe. Seriously good! But get tickets early -as it always sells out- and arrive and queue at least half an hour before for decent seats.
See something stupid. Seriously. Take a punt on something. Wander up the Royal Mile to get flyered. If you like the speil, give it a go. It’s once a year and the vibrancy is infectious…
PS. Get in touch if you know of a show that would interest the shop/Edinburgh music fans. Edinburgh bands and venues with gigs in August haven’t been missed out on purpose. Get in touch, we’ll try to pass it on.
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