Young Fathers were on thunderous form when we walked in on the second song of their first Great Escape set. Since I last heard them a couple of years ago these four guys from Edinburgh have taken on a darker sound but this makes their performance all the more compelling and the energy that they attacked this gig with was so gobsmacking that no other artist we saw at the Great Escape festival over the three days came close to this sort of intensity. Tribal beats, super tight rapping, sparkling almost boy band-like harmonies and powerful lead vocals made this set genuinely exciting and even unexpectedly moving.
If you look at the picture that come with press pack the untrained eye can spot a few tell tall signs that the band like to party. Beer in hand, an emptied glass on the floor, a discreet hip flask. All the band are smoking and I think one of them might be wearing a fur coat with not much else on. I am not sure if this is a pre-party shot are this is how the guys look after a 24 hour bender, cause I know Pirate Sons can play hard. I think they can party hard as well.
They have built up a solid reputation since they formed in 2012 and although they have had a few changes in line up they are settled with the current team of Guitarist and Vocalist Ceallaigh Corbishley, who moved over from New Zealand in October 2011, Drummer Angus Ross joined in january 2012, and new addition Bass player Tom Diaz who joined Pirate Sons after living with the other guys for 6 months in a flat they shared..
This flat is the inspiration for their E.P and with songs like Dirty Dirty Rascals I can only shudder to think of the kind of crazy s**t they got up in their time. The E.P. is jammed packed with rock n’ roll tracks inspired by the likes of the Blacks Keys, Iggy Pop and the White Strips and with the songs being recorded on 2″ tape and Chambers Studio, and the restriction of 24 tracks (compared to the unlimited tracks available in the digital age), has helped the band print a tight sounding record. They are already making a name for themselves north of the border and moving in the same circles as the likes of Glasvegas and Wet Nuns, Pirate Sons are serious rock n’ roll players with an attitude to match.
Acoustic/Folk singer songwriter End of Neil stopped in at Edinburgh College’s SSL studio’s lately to record his track ‘Crossing the river in my sleep’ and shoot a session video with Edinburgh Undersound.
The highly talented Stirling based artist is a prolific gigger, usually a date every week or so in his home town or Edinburgh. Check his diary out; he has dates up until the end of December so I’m sure you can catch him at some point! When playing live he has a stripped back set usually, but for this session Neil played all the instruments, drums and vocal parts.
After initially hearing Neil’s music I was hooked, he has a natural ability to write clever, catchy songs with solid tight instrumentation behind him. Be sure to check out his latest work ‘My Games’, it’s an awesome piece of work.
For the release there will be three tracks and a Session video (shot by UndersoundTV). There will be the original song, an arrangement with added Piano/Cello overdubs and a track with the addition of Scottish emcee ‘TF’ currently working with Undersound Records. Neil has created some unique, beautiful artwork specifically for the single release also.
Neil is very creative, naturally talented musician who was great to work with. Be sure to check out his page for the upcoming release.
Check out his work @
Undersound Sessions at www.youtube.com/undersoundtelevision
Check TF’s debut EP out at www.undersound-records.bandcamp.com
Tracks recorded, Mixed and Mastered by James Bowie + Darren Knox (Edinburgh College)
TF feature Track mixed and mastered by Undersound Records.
Glad to have caught Fatherson at TGE. Saw them at the Dome Theatre in the afternoon and then the more intimate Prince Albert at night. Different size venues can affect the power and effect of a song meaning that some bands are often only suited to one type/size of venue. However, no such problems for Fatherson. The smaller venue adds more intensity to their songs whilst the larger venue allows more space to appreciate the dynamics and the emotional impact of their set. Their power and intensity remind me of the wonderful Swervedriver and lyrically I’m reminded of the writing of Iain Banks.
Two of the most authentic examples of the garage rock oeuvre appeared at this year’s Great Escape. Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs fresh from recording their debut album with Edwyn Collins, and their Californian counterparts, White Fence whose recent collaboration with Ty Seagall (Hair) is a favourite of FEAST’S.
Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs are playing in The Courtyard, literally. It’s the space that belongs to music distribution company Republic of Music and is the perfect ‘garage’ setting for them. They look and sound like 60’s greats, The Young Rascals. Their set is fast, loose and raucous and pleasantly a bit more random than the album. There is an edge to them which makes their impact powerful and immediate. I like the fact they just batter the songs out one after another keeping the momentum going, never stopping for langurous and tedious tuning of guitars between every song. Great album, even better live band.
Love this proper old ballroom, more suited to Bach recitals but used today by Hype Machine to promote Blue Hawaii amongst others. Best show so far after Young Fathers. Blue Hawaii combine emotional lyrical content,looping vocals and deep Detroit style techno with a European dance aesthetic. Like combining Deepchord with Grimes. Really groovy.
Sometimes its best to just walk in on a band with no preconceived ideas about what they look or sound like. And so we happened upon Thumpers. Funny how a band can lift your spirits whilst another band can leave you despondent. We approached Komedia with dampened spirits but Thumpers picked us right back up with their tight vibrant groove mixed with catchy five-part harmonies. A brilliant drummer almost navigated each songs path, invigorating and infectious. Great. Komedia Downstairs is a great venue and the best at TGE.
First band to see @ The Great Escape are the vibrant and uplifting Elwins. Thursday afternoon and the band and audience are up for this Toronto band’s angular take on pop. A bit like Vampire Weekend meets Orange Juice. Great start to the festival. Will look out for them when they come back in October.
I arrived during the opening set with a confused look of wonder on my face. The dark stage was lit up by a few spotlights, setting an ominous atmosphere. My ears were alerted to the ambient instrumentation of the opening act delivered by the shaking bass vibes that shot up my spine. I had previously heard of the Dark Jokes but until now was unfamiliar with their sound, maybe even guilty of judging a book by its cover and pegging a band because of the connotations the name had. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they weren’t what I had bargained for but exceeded all expectations I had previously.
The instrumentation they used really separates this band’s sound from most bands in the local scene. Their sound is truly captivating; it is wide and ambient with a real energy and depth but at time’s can be darker and heavier whilst maintaining the elements that are synonymous with their ability to engage with their audience. The string section rolls off the back of the soft and beautifully delivered vocal melodies. This opens up the sound of the band’s diversity gripping the attention of the listener and forcing them to take notice, something I felt as soon as I arrived at the gig.
The band played to a fairly empty room however they were able to fill out the fallow space with their powerful sound, so much so that I was unaware of the crowd gathering throughout the set. I still had no idea who this band were and felt hypnotised by their energy. They had a dark stage presence which fits with the sound and really sparked my interest. So much so that I had to ask a random person next to me; “who is this band?”, I was met with a sense of agreeable surprise. The penny just dropped. In a way, I was regretting not listening to this band before now but also felt a stronger connection with them as I first experienced them without any pre-existing judgements or expectations, which may have influenced my decision on them.
Next came the cheers of; “BIG FAT PANDA, BIG FAT PANDA!!” as the Ska outfit took to the stage. I have always been sceptical when it comes to traditional Ska bands as a whole really, it’s something I feel has been done for a long time, there’s lots of similar bands out there and in my opinion they all stick to a similar structure. Big Fat Panda however are at the top of their game and delivered a wild, upbeat set to a growing crowd in The Liquid Rooms, they put on a fantastic show. Although, sticking to the traditional sound of Ska I think the tightness and stage presence of the band make them stand out as THE Ska band to take notice of in the city. Comprising of a brass, keys, guitars and a larger than life lead vocal… in all manners! This band will, without a doubt, get you moving.
Having watched the second act’s full set I felt VTC would have to really up the game to follow such an energetic, tight support act. The emotions on stage were visually strong; one thing that stood out to me was the bands enjoyment whilst playing to the crowd. They looked like they were having just as much fun as the fans, charming the mob with their set.
The venue filled out for headliners The Victorian Trout Conspiracy, there was ten band members in total! It was clear who the fans had come to see this evening. I had never before experienced The Trout’s; the reputation the band has in the city was enough to excite me for their performance.
You cannot put this band into a category, what if a friend asks; “What kind of music is it?” You have two choices; find a new friend or get into a ten minute discussion on how a band with so many members and varying influences can be pinned down by one genre. There is a clear heavy Ska influence; however, this is not a straight up Ska band. The complex song structures are reminiscent of some Punk, Rock and even Surf music. They use various melodies within one track, different sections that other bands may use to write various compositions, giving me the strong impression of musical dexterity within the collective. There are elements of Reggae and Blues in places you just would not expect. One attribute to the band I can highlight is the unbelievable crowd participation they have whilst on stage. The Trout’s had the crowd energetically thriving from start to finish mouthing lyrics to favourites ‘Cider bam’ and ‘Super Duper Electric Scooter’.
After a storming set the band returned to the stage for a well-deserved encore playing a medley of ‘Tarantula’, ‘Slam’ and ‘Propane Nightmare’s by Pendulum. The place literally went off. The energy in the room was elevated back up to a higher level than before as the crowd went wild for one last dance.
As the lights came on and the crowd dispersed it was clear that all these different people from various walks of life were mutually united under one roof to experience the captivating sound of The Victorian Trout Conspiracy.
Do not go and see this band… Don’t do it! Unless you want to find yourself totally obsessed, scouring the net for the next month for material and upcoming gig dates! Once you have experienced a live show from the VTC you may find yourself at a loss next time you find yourself at a local venue. Unless they’re on the bill of course!
Mon the Trouts’
Edinburgh Undersound. X
Yes as the great Neil Young said, tonights the night as we host an extravaganza of musical delights as 7 new labels launch their debut singles from their first artists. Chaos may ensue but hopefully everything will go to plan or thereabouts (fingers crossed). Should be a great night.
The Cosmonauts with their energetic guitar riffs, atmospheric cello and lyrics that resonate, bringing the passion and excitement of a bygone era bang up to date with a heart pounding crash.
The Well Rested – music made by Oliver Ninnis, James Albon and Tim Davey with a mic tied to a cymbal stand by a sock.
Hotel India and their pop/rock/psychedelia/indie groove
Onetzu – after his childhood, raised by wolves and fundamentalist protestants in the wilderness, Onetzu arrived in Edinburgh, made himself a microphone out of tin cans, old shoes and bits of discarded furniture. He’s never been the same since – rapper’s delight!
The Maybes – a guitar based band from the South Side of Glasgow
Silvertongue – 22 year old emcee, born in the Highlands. Now lives in Edinburgh.
Panda Trap – Alternative rock band from Perth
See you at the bar for a few shandys!!