Cathal Murphy in Edinburgh

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
17th October, 2022

A dreich Monday in Edinburgh in late Autumn would have most punters plotted up slippers on with a Cup-a-Soup. Yet Sneaky Pete’s this evening is rammed. With a jubilant crowd there to see Norn Irish Nu Jazz troubadour Cathal Murphy.

One time of Irish folksters Cúig, the Newry fella has taken advantage of the air miles garnered from the Aer lingus advert he scored and moved to the Scottish capital. Thence to Montreal to record upcoming EP, the imaginatively titled ‘Montreal Sessions’. Produced by touring comrade and slide guitar specialist Ariel Posen.

The small but perfectly dingy Sneaky Pete’s is a stalwart of Edinburgh music. Featured in Rolling Stone’s top 100 small venues, it’s the bar where ‘some c**t got skelped with an ashtray‘ in Trainspotting  and one of the few survivors of Edinburgh Council’s ongoing calvinistic footloose style campaign against the kids having a good time by shutting venues (see The Venue, Calton Studios, New Street Bongo, the Phoenix et al, the list makes for grim reading))

Where was I…

oh yeah…

After some noodling…

…’Lets do it’ shouts Cathal ….and the band rip into it. The set skips genres like the light fandango (Eh? Ed) promiscuously flitting from jazz to pop to punk and all points between. The linking thread being virtuoso musicianship and Frank Carson style crack between songs.

The super tight four piece create a sound beyond the sum of their parts. Slamming Bass courtesy of Lewis shaw with the keys/gitar/weirdness provded by instrument creator Dave Scobie bringing the flavour. Frontman Murphy tops it with top notch rocking on what seemed to be a Rickenbeckauer with a six string neck, topped with some David Byrne style grooving to boot 

They recruit a fifth member in the shape of the crowd asking us all to whoop up an E. The note that is, stop laughing at the back there, jesus..some people. After a few attempts/rehearsals the resulting cacophony is sampled and incorporated into the track.

Engaging affable and accomplished. The wee man is going places. A top night.

Adam McCully

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