All posts by yodamo

Westerman


Broadcast, Glasgow
Oct 26th, 2022


There was a good atmosphere in the Broadcast venue in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall St, it’s a smaller venue in the basement and is host to new music every week or so. The night’s set up was of three acts first up was Cyrano who lit up the room with some fresh coloured lighting, a voice and a keyboard.

He played for about a half hour to a warm reception and enthusiastic applause. It was good to once again experience live music in all its aspects and tune changes. Second up was the magical Laura Misch who is an amazingly successful song writer using her talents of jazz in particular. For this evening she teamed up with a harp and a guitar sounding off her beautiful vocal and her skills on the Saxophone.

And once we were warmed up and had moved closer and closer to the stage on came the prolific Westerman who is celebrating life since his 2020 studio album having begun as a writer when he was in his twenties in London. His journey has taken him from open humble open mic nights, where he outshone much of the talent there, to this band that were made of keyboard, electric bass, guitar and thumping drums.

There was no aggression to the sounds they played but he was free with his lyrics, unafraid to strike topics or talk about love; his love, our love, mixing gentle guitar liken to Joni Mitchell or some other artist who played as softly as they could; but backed it with that drum that really mesmerised me even as I stood I went in and out of some kind of meditation or hypnosis.

The Westerman front man was seated for the show; I thought this was a very nice touch, a little difference that helped the general mood of the gracious audience, but it had come about because he had hurt his leg. Sometimes these things happen for a reason, something like he was supposed to be sitting and giving that extra peek into the band, their music and their act.

Nicely fitted into his songs was a relaxed emotion, a care and confidence in the power of music to set you free spoken of in the lyrics and the mellow attitude! Coming forward like this was appreciated and very much enjoyed. So many genres were fused by the band and shaped into a character up for it and fit for the stage.

Their 2020 album ‘Your Hero is not dead’ had come out with folk music being put on fire, his sultry tones confidently strove into the room and admirably led the music with octaves high and low. Very heartfelt, peacefully finding their way through issues past and present and journeys taken far and wide, folk music with a killer beat in a swirl of energy enjoyed by all.

Daniel Donnelly

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

Beth Orton in Glasgow


The Classic Grand, Glasgow
13th October, 2022


Opening up to nothing less than a picture-perfect venue, The Classic Grande has a more than illustrious history, fascinating to look at. So on the eve I go in for the first time, climbing happily to the fourth or fifth floor. I’ve always wanted to go in this building and found it resplendent.

Beth Orton is an incredibly prolific artist, recording multiple albums since the 1996’s acclaimed ‘Training Park’, she has brought her tours to fans across the world, collaborating with major performers who helped set a new and brilliant scene for music lovers. She brings this new scene into a focused play with her marvellously admirable music so amply filled with new songs cut and dry.

The music began with an interesting ensemble of three; playing bass, vocal and guitar. They were kind of far out which I liked, it also sounded like a transient progression where each song was a step into musical complication. Then followed a solo act who gave the room a meditative quality, both warm-ups used a lot of sustained notes liken to enlarge us into a musical, spiritual, softy spoken atmosphere.

The three acts are touring together bringing Beth’s new album ‘Weather alive’ to excited fans and admirers. The smooth and thriftily played double base oozed that sound, holding hands with Orton’s keyboard work, of touching sadness though. She was so endearing wearing one of the most beautiful sequined frocks.

She went through old and new material; I was a fan in the 1990’s when I picked up her album ‘Central reservation’. Following her through the decades (if you can believe it) there was always a remarkable turn of phrase and two-way discussion found in her lyrics. One of the most powerful of which is the line ‘it’s like catching snow on your tongue, you can’t pin this butterfly down’; strong lyrics from a unique act, exploring endearingly by singing about a whole mountain of feeling.

The room was pretty, the crowd attentive, inviting us into a fusion of folk and electronic she stirred the hearts of all. There was such a great grace of love present and indeed an abundance; for what senses weren’t brought to life by music in the name of beauty. From the beginning her naturally gifted presence has given her one of the most thrilling, and wildly sensitive heart, we could see the look on her face as she smiled or frowned.

But as in any great entourage in music there was no little joy, no little happiness in music, life and people coming together for the majestic cause of music. The beauteous, shapely, protectively aware performers eluded to have pain in their songs, of a vulnerability coming together from the super strong Beth, whose name and presence filled the room in style, and mesmerising quality.

Back at the live shows we were reminded how pleasurable it can be where so many fill a room to someone quite as capable as Beth appeared to be. She will draw you in, she will make points and allusions favouring compassion brought sweetly into immeasurable proportions, putting music together has been a life’s joy for Beth, whose journey’s we follow with unmissable interest and respect.

Daniel Donnelly

An Interview with Cathal Murphy


Hello Cathal – so, where are you from & where are you living today?
I was born and raised in Camlough in Ireland – a classic tiny Irish village. I then studied for three years in Belfast (to get a physics degree I’ll never use) and then moved to Edinburgh in the midst of lockdown! Absolutely loving Scotland and the people, I feel like the Scottish and the Irish are very similar people and we share a sort of camaraderie.

Why the move to Edinburgh, & how do you find its music scene?
It’s funny to me when people ask why I moved to Edinburgh and not Glasgow because Edinburgh is a bit more of a tourist city. When you think of it though I really am just a tourist that refuses to leave. I think it’s just the most beautiful city and from a tour, coming back to this city just still makes me so excited! The music scene is great – it made it really easy for me to get back to being a full-time musician after lockdown.

What is your first musical memory?
I have too many first musical memories I think this is the problem. I come from a large family that’s steeped in Irish music… drowning is probably more accurate. We all play music and growing up, music was always playing and heading off to concerts every weekend. It was amazing being the youngest too because it meant I got to learn a lot from my siblings. My brother taught me guitar and was the first person to teach me songs that were outside of Irish music which is what led me to my sound today.

What instruments do you play & how did you pick them up in the first place?
Guitar and Kit mostly – I play drums for a band that I’ve been in for years now, Cuig. I started touring with Cuig when I was 15 / 16 years old and from then on I knew music is what I wanted to do with my life. My brother taught me guitar but picking up music initially was when I was maybe 8 years old or younger maybe. I was Irish stereotype of playing the tin whistle growing up.

Who has been your greatest musical influences over the years?
My influences are constantly changing, I think a huge moment for me that changed that way I heard music was discovering classics from Chet baker and Ray Charles and a lot of Randy Newman tunes. I remember noticing they all approached their recordings in a ‘less is more type of way’ and just really thoughtfully choosing the right voicings and inversions in their piano parts. But subconsciously I think people from my childhood like Cara Dillon and Jarlath Henderson are always going to have an influence on my playing, because that’s what my musical understanding was built on!

Desert island, solar power’d CD player, 3 albums – what are they?
It’s got to be;
Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Chet Baker – Chet Baker Sings

In 2022, what are the essence of, & the ingredients to, your music?
I feel like my music is very guitar-centric and so writing for me always starts with something new on guitar wether it’s a new chord voicing, a new tuning and a new guitar tone and makes me feel like I’m treading on new territory.

Can you tell us about Montreal Sessions?
First of all… it’s out on the 21st of October! In February of this year I flew out to Montreal to work with one of my absolute heroes, Ariel Posen. It was off the back of coming out of lockdown and I went through period of feeling like I was making any progress and wasn’t happy with where I was at in my music career. Naturally when someone of Ariel’s caliber invited me out to record some music I was booking flights before the call was over. It was incredible – Ariel was able to call on some top class musicians to really nail down the vibe we were chasing.

What was the creative impulse that began the project & how did it evolve?
I wrote the songs back in Edinburgh and sent through some demos to Ariel and we just jumped on a few zoom calls and talked a lot of about the production side of things and references other tracks, we ended up with a solid idea of how the tracks would sound. We first got drums and bass drafted in from two guys from Winnipeg Kieran Placatka and Roman Clarke. Once that was done we headed back into the amazing ToneBender Studios in Montreal and recorded guitars and vocals. I just loved recording in Montreal and I think this could a theme I keep up for recording – heading somewhere completely new and getting out of my comfort zone. The tracks were mixed and mastered by Otis McDonald in New York, I first came across Otis in some videos from the band Scary Pockets, he is an incredible producer and multi-instrumentalist and it was dream to have him on the tracks!

What is your personal process, from writing a song to recording it in the studio?
I usually start with a small musical idea but a very strong sense of production in mind. I track the idea and produce around it to get the production elements around it. This helps me get inspired and to hear where the song could go next. In terms of lyrics – this is always something I do last once I have a basis of the melody. I take myself away from my guitars and everything distracting and focus on the lyrics separately.

You’ve just been touring the Montreal Sessions around Britain – how did it all go?
The tour has been amazing. Some of the biggest solo gigs I’ve played yet. One of the highlights was playing Londons O2 academy in Islington – because of the nature of Ariel’s fans being musicians, the audiences were so respectful and engaged. Half of the rooms were always guitarists. You would have a room of 500 people really listening and not making a sound during the set – it was really special!

You’ve got another gig coming up in Edinburgh this Monday, can you tell us about it?
The gig on the 17th is in Sneaky Petes and it sold out last week! It’s my first headline in Edinburgh. I’m bringing my band through for it also! It’s going to be a pretty special one for me. I just can’t believe it sold out so soon.

www.cathalmurphy.co.uk



An Interview with Paul Devlin


The Gilhoolys are back, riding the Indie Renaissance, with some bangin’ new tunes


Hello Paul – so, where are you from & where are you living today?
I was born in the East End of Glasgow but grew up in Hamilton and now live in Motherwell.

What is your first musical memory?
My first awareness of music was literally as a baby possibly 2 years old. I used to play all my sisters records and learned the words and albeit often named the songs myself with my comprehension of what they “might” be called. My father used to show off to family and friends by having me name of those records before I could read or write. I think at that point everyone knew I might do something musical with my life.

What instruments do you play & how did you pick them up in the first place?
I play lead guitar and some harmonica. I guess I heard Paul Weller many years ago and wanted to replicate his energy and passion. My sister gave me her old acoustic guitar. I had two guitar lessons and didn’t quite have the patience to wait for a lesson each week so learned myself.

The harmonica was different. I heard a guy called Larry Adler play and immediately wanted to learn that wonderful instrument. I’m certainly no Larry but can get by.

Who has been your greatest musical influences over the years?
Such a hard question to answer really as I have admired and learned from loads of wonderful musicians and writers. I’d obviously have to say Paul Weller but people like Ray Davies, Pete Townshend, and of course David Bowie from those eras but band such as Echo & The Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, The Cure, The Icicle Works then onto Bands such as The Manics, Feeder, Placebo, Pixies etc. I guess looking at those bands there is an interconnection with the way they all play. Very passionate and energetic.

Desert island, solar-power’d CD player, 3 albums – what are they?
Setting Sons – The Jam – The Holy Bible – Manics – Ocean Rain – Echo & The Bunnymen – soooo difficult to answer

www.thegilhoolys.com

Can you tell me about your band?
Yea… we started off way back in 1990 when myself and Hoss Kane (original bassist) started the band. We recruited Fitzy (guitar/vox) and Stevie McBride (drums) and started to play dates throughout central Scotland and creating a decent fanbase and reputation. We had strong melodies and I guess our two single releases “The Story of Maggie Malone” and “ You Bring Out The Devil In Me” sort of amplify those melodies. Some darkness in there, but strong melodic rock.

Tommy Shaw later replaced Fitzy on Keys and we brought in John McPartlin to strengthen the harmonies after Fitzy left. We went a little more rockier at that point, with a border on slightly grunge. It gave us a harder core fanbase and there were some excellent gigs to remember back then at King Tuts, the Motherwell Civic Theatre and the Glasgow SEC as supporting act.

Ultimately different influences took their toll and after a rejected offer to visit the US on a college tour, we went our separate ways. 20 odd years later we’re back making brand new music and have to say, better than ever.

Paul Devlin

How does it feel being part of the band’s renaissance?
Amazing!! It was unexpected, spontaneous and so surprised to have the success we have experienced so far. A new lease of life for us all.

What are your greatest memories of the 90s?
The music. Discovering bands like the Manics , Stone Roses, Teenage Fanclub, Placebo and the Britpop bands was phenomenal. This truly was a golden age for music and those band have stood the rest of time ever since. I believe this era enhanced the music industry and redirected proper music back into the correct lanes.

What are the reasons, do you think, for this new wave of interest in the Gilhoolys?
I think we have connected with people who still hold the Indie candle high. To see loads of young people connecting to the 90s indie music and reinvigorating it, has been the key. I also think our live performances have never been better and our new songs are stronger than ever.

You’ve got Cosmic Rough Riders ex bass player, James Clifford, on board – how is he fitting in?
Just Superbly. We’d known Cliffy all our musical career and he would be at our gigs back in the day and vice versa with his bands. The body he supplies the music has elevated the entire performance of the songs and band as well as the fact he “Gets” my ideas with the compositions and that is a massive game changer. As well as being a top, top Bass player, he is an incredible performer and that bodes well with the aforementioned passion we try to create live.

What is the true essence of the band’s dynamic?
I think we have originality, but also recognisable traits and people have surprised us with who they think we sound like. Our aim is to give “EVERYTHING” to the audience by the time we leave the stage.
Live performance is everything to us but we work so hard on having a “Quality Control” on our output of our songs.

How is the band’s songwriting going in the 2020s?
As much as you may expect to hear it, it’s as strong as ever and our new songs that we are currently rehearsing for the new album are truly the best we’ve done. We stripped back the music and took some really good advice on some “Distractive” elements we used to think made us good, and dropped that way of thinking. For me, it’s been our most constructive elements of our new material.

You tour’d Scotland this year, how did it feel to be back on the road again & what was the biggest fuck-up on the road?
Amazing to be back out there. Some brilliant shows in Stereo Glasgow, Room 2 Glasgow and Drummonds Aberdeen spring to mind. As already mentioned we put everything into our live shows. No real major catastrophes on the tour so far (touching wood) although Some over-indulgence on the alcohol meant we had to lean a certain band member against the wall during a gig in Aberdeen to keep him upright 😂

Tell us about Main St Records & your deal?
Main St have been great and Andy Anderson is currently working with us on our new Album / Single etc right now at Main St.
We had a Chat with Brian Imrie at Main St back in late 2020 just after we got back together and he was very supportive in getting our new material back out there and of course getting us on the Bills at the “Soundwave Alldayer mini Festival”.

Both these guys as well as Natalie Gillan have helped us promote and get these songs back out in the mainstream and radio stations again.
After the next album we can reflect back on what we’ve done since all meeting up again, but we think the new album will be pinnacle of The Gilhooly’s achievements so far.

You’ve releas’d two singles so far from your forthcoming album – can you you tell us about them?
Yes… Star was our first release back in June 2021 and went to No 1 overnight on 26/6/21 on the Amazon Indie Chart. That completely blew us away but to follow it up with a number 2 in the same chart 6 months later with our second single “Will God Forgive” was just mind blowing. So unexpected and our appreciation of our followers will live with us forever. Slightly different type of songs – Star being a slightly Punky song with a stomp type undertone. Will God Forgive has more a melodic hook chorus that encapsulates the melancholy of the lyrics. I think both together give a fair indication of our flexibility and versatility.

There’s a third single being releas’d soon – can you tell us about it & the launch?
Yes. The Score is most definitely the first of a new batch of songs with our new way of working. So far, we’ve had various brilliant feedback from this. Definitely shades of our 60s influence shining through. We are so excited with our new stuff that collectively we decided to work very hard to get as many of the new songs into our set asap.

The Launch at Room 2 Glasgow on 29/10 will see us play the song live 24 hours after it’s release on 28/10. We have very special guests on the bill with us – DIGNITY ROW and LONEHEAD so really looking forward to sharing the stage with these brilliant bands.

How is 2023 looking for the band?
Very good to be fair. We’ve got some help now in the form of Lisa Clifford helping arrange dates and elevate our status. We do really want to get a reaction from our new album which we think will be ready around March 23 for release. After that we can take stock and sit down to see where we can take the Gs in 23 and beyond.


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Luke Sital-Singh in Glasgow


King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
5th October, 2022


Being back at the famous King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut for the first time in many years the venue hadn’t changed at all. It has long been a major hot spot for music of bands coming from the UK and abroad. So on a dark early October evening we stepped into the light of the bar you go through up the almost iconic stairs to the venue. There was a quiet sense as we waited for the three act show with Rick Leigh to kick off the small but vehement gig.

Second on was Joni, then the evening’s headliner Luke Sital – Singh who would conclude the musical evening. Ricks songs consisted of vocal and keyboard all of his own writing. His vocal range was impressive as he held the room in a very relaxed way; it felt a little like a 1990’s sound with modern reflections, songs about love and pain.

Joni was also a solo act just her and her guitar. There was a shared mood between their music that gave a sense of structure we could revel in. Her tones verved into the room as she stoically stood telling her tales. Appearing as a folk artist there were flashes of the 1960’s in her act, her choice of song writing, her voice and the sound of her guitar, very nice, the evening builds.

So as Luke took to the stage the crowd (who now filled the room) were ready for more softly melodic tones. His first EP called ‘Fail for you’ was brought out in 2012 which is a long time ago to critical acclaim. The last nights gig was from his new album ‘Dressing like a stranger’ music that is far from being a novice. We felt that and it was clear that most if not all of the room were staunch fans.

And I can understand why his soul was laid out in his writing in a kind of courageous way. And his skill made sounds that could only come from the soul and obviously his life’s more painful experiences. He switched between guitar and keyboard and had the crowd mesmerised just standing to listen, relate and offer supportive cheers and whoops when he in kindness joked a little during his sad tones.

I think his realisation of music after so many years playing is one that he can more and more talk about anything he likes, really drive the music into his own direction. But also my feelings are that his natural ability for music has always been present with a touch of darkness made beautiful by his personality.

The three acts were like friends sharing an evening, which was put together very well. As I have said the steps were in place from 1st to 3rd to help make a smooth transition based on hearts, skill, confidence and revelry. They cemented this at the end when they covered the very last song Tom Petty‘s ‘American Girl’. This was a dedicated evening for music lovers past and present.

Daniel Donnelly

Deux Furieuses / War On Women


August 21st
Garage Attic, Glasgow


There is currently a tour happening in the UK of the most refreshing candour. Deux Furieuses (Two Furious Women) are supporting War On Women in a quality reverie of Arthouse Punk. Both bands craft melodic whirlpools of angry energy which suck you in, make you pogo, want to change the world. Last night they reach’d Glasgow & the Garage Attic.

Deux Furieuses are a two-piece; Scottish vocalist/guitarist Ros Cairney and Greek/London-based drummer Vas Antoniadou. The band are currently making a stand for anti-violence against women with their poignant new single ‘Know The Score.’

As Ros sings, she also performs some master guitar-work & fills out the musicality of the band’s sound magnificently, while Vas commits to her cannon-shot snare & rumble drums with flair & confidence. It was a real fucking pleasure to watch them – they really do maintain a sophisticated intensity all the way through their short but vitally snappy set. This is elite level punk.

Good luck to us all as we’re on the same fucking team about this shit
Shawna Potter

Baltimore’s War On Women are led by Shawna Potter, her hair ​dyed brunette & blonde – half one side, half the other – & she flings & shakes it into the audience almost like a weapon, an absolute hypnotizing & psychedelic sight! Behind her are the band – a male drummer, a male guitarist, a female bass player who sneers with menace & a female guitarist with a constant glad-to-be-here grin on her face.

Happy Fans

Both bands’ song-subjects are important & profound; riotous, visceral in-your-face feminism that makes your hear the scream of the countless centuries of patriarchal dominance womenkind have had to endure. OK, I didn’t quite manage to catch every lyric, perhaps one in ten, so powerful were both bands music, but its definitely making me want to listen to both band’s oeuvres, & their inimitable talents, starting right here…

Damo

Soundbone @ The Pianodrome


Pianodrome, Edinburgh
16/08/22


Quite a few attempts have been made to piggyback onto a successful band by covering their music in an ironic genre. Dredd Zeppelin, Hayseed Dixie, those fannies that did a dub Dark Side of the Moon and John Martyn’s hip hop LP, which while not strictly relevant is so appalling that it should serve as a warning to all who attempt this sort of musical miscegenation.

Clearly Chris Greive and co didn’t get the memo and decided that reworking a few Zeppelin classics as a three piece jazz ensemble was a good idea.
Annoyingly it turns out it was.

In the so achingly hip it needs replacing uber groovy Pianodrome, Chris, with accomplices Graeme Stephen (guitar) and Davide L. Rinaldi (on drums)launch into ‘Black Dog’.

Mr. Greive manages to get the bass line and Robert Plant’s vocal histrionics down pat. They rocked it. ‘Communication Breakdown’ and the ‘Immigrant Song’ follow.
Then, Grasshopper, the student surpasses the master.

‘Going to California’. Reimagined as an instrumental Miles/Louis lament had the audience brimming up. It is an alright puff addled bleating match from Zep 4 but these chaps grabbed the melody like a snapping turtle and extracted a plaintive ‘is it a bit smokey in here’ heart wringer. The essential oil of the tune if you like that sort of bollox.

Imagine the sound the last wallaby in Penrith made when after a few years happily stoating about the Snakes Pass he was kidnapped by some fucking hippos in a helicopter and dropped onto an island in Loch Lomond there to join a colony of arsehole vegan wallabies.

I’m only making some of that up.

A double funky Heartbreaker is Niles Rogered to fuck.

‘Kashmir’ and ‘Livin’ Lovin’ (she’s just a Wendy)’ follow with only the minimum (still too much ed.) of jazz noodling.

The trombone in the right hands lends itself to Plant’s ‘Steve Irwin getting spiked in the distance’ vocals and doubles for the bass and all.

Filling in for Jimmy Page or John Bonham is a bit of a reach but these boys manage. Chris reckons he was lucky that Zep didn’t have a trombonist. I reckon it is Robert Plant and John Paul Jones who were lucky Zep didn’t have a trombonist or they’d be playing in the Royal Oak.

Adam McCully

Focus On… The Pianodrome


An overview, interview & review

Of the coolest venue at the Fringe


Well, well, well, what the hell is all this about, eh? It seems Edinburgh has created its own mini festival on the very edges of the Tesco Fringe, perched high on the slopes of Calton Hill like a Norman castle overlooking the conquer’d. The name is the Pianodrome, & the aim is to bring Edinburgh’s finest musicians together under a single roof – supported by a brewery from just down the road – & just, well, jam!

My mate Tam had told me about both it & his gig there last Friday. So rustling up some of the Mumble team we all wenmt along & were completely wowed by the vibes – its so well laid out – bars inside & outside, tasty food, top beers & a shabby-chic vibe which is just pure Edinburgh – the quintessence of the city one could say.

We went to watch the Tinderbox Orchestra, with all their youthful bohemia & unusual collaborations, in what was once going to be the debating chamber of the Scottish parliament, but was usurped by the modernist monstrosity of Holyrood. As an arena its stunning – a colosseum of seat around an oval floor into which the orchestra ducked & dived & swooped & skirmished as they played the scruffy-scraggly, tight-as-fu£k Baudelair bop, The ‘Fleur de Mals, erupting from every squatting gargoyle.

The Tinderbox Orchestra have all the instruments, have all the style & work wonders for the for the local community. In fact, one of their last numbers was sung by an adult lassie who’d been working with their outreach programme since she was 10. Watching them is quite an adventure as you scitter-scatter eyeballs from play to player. They also made people cry, such is the brilliance of their music including one of the Mumble team who had to catch some fresh air for a while after seeing such a wonderful family vibe among musicians.

After Tinderbox I got chatting to Tim Vincent-Smith, a remarkable fellow who just happens to be the director for the Pianodrome.

Tim Vincent-Smith

Hello Tim – so how did you end up living in Edinburgh?
My first experience of Edinburgh was as a boy in a Fringe show with the National Youth Music Theatre. I was entranced. As an adult I moved here from London to be with my partner. That was fifteen years ago and I have never regretted it.

Can you tell us about the Pianodrome project?
The Pianodrome is a state of mind. In subtle and unsubtle ways we are inundated these days with messages that say do this, don’t do this mostly relating to consumer culture supported by capitalist government. Pianodrome hopes to open a space where people are encouraged to ask questions and to express themselves. Human’s are inherently communal and creative. It actually takes a lot of work and money to convince us otherwise. This is why when a space is opened a spontaneous outpouring of creativity occurs. That people find this surprising is only a testament to how all consuming the currently dominant ideology is.

How did you secure the building?
St. Mary’s Music school invited Pianodrome to be part of their bid to secure the lease of the Old Royal High for the coming National Centre for Music. It was their development manager Peter Thierfeldt who championed Pianodrome through this process. He stumbled across the first Pianodrome in the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2018 and has supported us ever since.

Experimental, acoustic improvisation trio S!nk (Daniel Dumnov with Pianodrome creators Matt Wright and Tim Vincent-Smith) perform their new piece ‘Trio for Unprepared Piano’ at the Hidden Door Festival in the Pianodrome at the Old Royal High, June 2022. – Photo credit: Chris Scott – S!nk: Return to the Source
August 19, 21 @ 3pm, 26, 27, 28 @ 7pm
Tickets @ pianodrome.org

What is the main ethos behind the Pianodrome?
“Use what you have to make what you need.” If you have a seemingly endless source of discarded pianos and you need a bespoke amphitheatre for experimental, acoustic, improvised music performances, make a Pianodrome.

How is going so far?
Great.

What plans have you got for after the Fringe?
We are hoping to have a Winter Resonancy at the ex Debenhams, now a collective of community organisations called The Wee Hub, in Ocean Terminal in Leith

The Mumble’s Amar, playing one of the many pianos positioned for the use of the public
Tam Treanor

While we were chatting, it was Time for Tam Treanor to strut his electro stuff in the bar. I’m a big fan of his work, he jams different versions of his songs out every time, no two sets are the same, & can yo-you between uberchill’d & megatechno at the drop of a seamless hat. After that came a reopening of the debating chamber, renamed the ‘Tinderbox Grand Hall’ – for a donation – to watch some acts play including this cool duo called the Ugly Royal which were just making some proper dancey tunes – a great & wonderful evening that finished about 1AM – I think.

Having a dance to Ugly Royal

Was that the best time I’ve had this Fringe? Dya know, I think it was!

Damo


REVIEW: Dowally and Daniel McGeever (14/8/22)

Daniel McGeever

Pianodrome. an ‘iconic symbol of community and cultural resilience in Scotlands Capital’ even if they say so themselves, have set up at the New Parliament Old School buildings up on Calton. Hill.  The forty something up cycled piano amphitheatre that is Pianodrome fits cosily into the old debating chamber. The mini colosseum lending an apt intensity to the quiet drama of Daniel McGeever’s pianoing and Dowally’s choice meanderama about the range of their musical mapo mundi.

Daniel McGeever  (Portobello Chief Rocker and all round good egg) gives it plenty, solo on the piano. Charting his journey from Paul Rodgers to Paul Weller via the barbers. Hold tight for new Delta Mainline LP ‘Unicorn Connections’. (Don’t laugh). In the man himself’s words ‘Reality fantasy and everything in between’.

Speaking of the in-between straight outta Nashville Welsh chanteuse Jasmine Power stepped up in the interval and belted out two tracks. With a voice that resounded round this excellent intimate venue and some nifty keyboard skills is it easy to she why she is making waves accross the pond. 

Dowally’s core duo (they are keen collaborators) comprises Sheffield’s Finest Daniel Abrahams on the geetar and Edinburgh based Weedgie exile Rachael Walker on the fiddle. And they are joined this evening by Normandy groover  Phillipe Boudot on drums. And some chap on the accordion who prefers to remain anonymous.

Despite only having rehearsed in the main via you tube they keep it proper  tight. With a set that veers from the Highlands and Islands to Mexico via Morricone and Normandy they barely put a foot wrong. Picking and rocking on a Gibson F hole, plinking and soaring on the violin with a drummer who gets it. vThe pulsating sounds created in this reverbulous space could be the soundtrack to a home movie featuring Miles Herbie and Sabbath getting plastered in an Orkadian bar. The musicians seemed to enjoy it as much as the crowd.

Great stuff

Listen carefully and you can hear the ghosts of the pianos past

Adam McCully

http://www.pianodrome.org

The Dolly Parton Story


theSpace @ Symposium Hall
Aug 14-28 (12:15)


Not so long ago I was in my bookshop on Arran listening to the best of Dolly Parton CD, & for the first time I heard the wonders of her Love Is Like A Butterfly. Oh my god that’s one sexy tune, in a sweet non-sext way. I’ve even put it as the ballad in my disco hip-hop set is that fuc£in’ good. Anyways, the Fringe arrives in my life, in one corner of which are the Night Owl Shows at the superb arena that is Edinburgh’ Symposium Hall.

Of course I was gonna see the Dolly Parton Show, which contains two of the Night Owl team – a young bonnie singer & an exceptional acoustic guitarist in a cowboy hat. They’re a busy bunch these Night owls; the singer, Hannah Richards, does 4 shows a day for example. Anyways, it was well wicked, a blend of wonderfully sung & play’d tunes mixed with wikipedia style narratives & projected images detailing Dolly’s fascinating life story. Learning that Elvis wanted to sing her I will Always Love You in return for owning half the song, a proposal swiftly rejected, would be an act karma would have mischievous fun with, for the royalties Dolly got from Whitney Houston’s version gave Dolly the money with which to buy Graceland.

All the classic were there – Two Doors Down, 9-5, Jolene, Islands in the. Stream. But one tune was missing – Love is Like A Butterfly. After 9-5 & Jolene its literally the third best Parton tune & I was like wtf! Anyways, I don’t normally do this, in fact never, but being the last to leave the arena I walk’d up to the guitarist unpacking his pedals & I said, ‘hey mate, one quick question.’ ‘Yeah,‘ he replied. ‘What happen’d to Love Is Like Butterfly, its the third best tune,’ I replied to his reply. For a moment he was taken aback, but warmly, & proceeded to tell me that they do know it & perhaps it would be OK to mix the set up a bit. My answer was;

‘Do it – drop that tune yer play after 9-5 & put Butterfly earlier on in the set,’ & with that I left the Symposium Hall singing all sorts of country ditties. The Dolly Parton show is a triumphant blend of music & memories is a Night Owl Show, & when they put Butterfly into the Parton Story it’ll be the best show at the Fringe, but until then I can only award them 4 stars. Its like leaving Figo out of the 2003 Real Madrid Galactico team.

Damo