Friday, 3 January 2014

Kid Canaveral and Edwyn Collins

Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles IV

In September Mandy got two tickets to the fourth Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles event on the 14th December 2013.

Details here:

This time the headline act was Edwyn Collins, ex Orange Juice front-man, probably best known for his post Orange Juice hit "A Girl Like You". Nostalgists click here:

So the tickets were put away safely, but as the date approached there was a cloud on the horizon - Mandy's Mum Ivy was going through a tough time in and out of hospital, and Mandy was spending a lot of time down in South London. The week before the gig, it looked like Ivy was not going to make it through Christmas, so Mandy had to abandon her ticket and fly south again for 10 days.

Fortunately Ivy did improve, and is now in a nursing home, but this meant that Duncan was drafted in to use the spare ticket on the 14th Dec.

The day kicked off at 14:30 in Portobello Town Hall, a lovely little venue down by the seaside (opened in 1914) that holds about 550-600 people.

Porty Town Hall
There was a make-shift bar at the back, under the balcony, selling yer basic cans of various beers, and a couple of long tables opposite selling various pastries from the local bakers Fisher and Donaldson.

First act on was Siobhan Wilson from Glasgow. Unexpectedly good writing and a some haunting songs. Well worth a listen here:
Siobhan Wilson
Next up was Rozi Plain,originally from Winchester. She was skilfully backed by some members of the band EagleOwl. Rozi was quirky, very entertaining and again some really good song-writing. Example here:
This Many Boyfriends
Leeds indie band This Many Boyfriends were on next. A kinda punk-pop outfit, they cranked things up and added a happy burst of adrenaline. They definitely have potential, but their set was marred by poor sound. Need to review some of their material on-line for a better review I think.

Last in the pre-break set was The Pictish Trail. Johnny Lynch is the man who runs Lost Map Records (co-host of the Xmas Baubles IV event along with Kid Canaveral) and performs under the pseudonym The Pictish Trail. On this occasion he was backed by the heavy-metal band Massacre Cave (named after the geological feature on the island of Eigg). The combination of Johnny's songs and the quality of Massacre Cave's backing was really excellent - they sounded like they'd all been playing together for years.
Pictish Trail
Johnny, still wearing his Lost Map Records bobble hat, finished up his set with a hilarious solo version of the popular Christmas carol, Little Donkey. Sadly no web footage appears to exist thus far :-)

There was a 75 minute break for beer and some food, so braving the winter stormy weather, headed out to the local fast fooderies for a pizza, grabbed a beer on the way back (Duncan was asked for ID - lol) and settled into our seats for part 2 of Christmas Baubles IV.

Kicking off part 2 was Glasgow three-piece Tuff Love. New to us both, they were quite impressive and started things off nicely.
Tuff Love
Next up was newly reformed De Rosa. Originally from Bellshill, De Rosa released a couple of albums in 2006-2009 before breaking up in mid 2009. They recently re-formed and this was their first outing in a long time. It didn't show though, they were slick and well rehearsed. Though Martin Henry did say at one point "F*ck I'm getting to old for this. Is there anyone else out there who's baldy, bearded and wears glasses?" to which a large proportion of the audience, who were probably ages with Edwyn Collins, cheered and put their hands up!
De Rosa
Co-hosts Kid Canaveral were on next and they were GREAT. Originally St Andrews based, they now hail from Edinburgh and have been hosting the Christmas Baubles events for four years in various venues around Scotland.
The Kids
They were a joy to watch and listen to. David MacGregor is the ideal front man and lead vocalist, keeping the crowd going in between songs, hitting all the right notes and cranking out some lovely rhythm and lead guitar. Kate Lazda on backing (and sometimes lead) vocals is the guitar-riff-queen for almost all the tracks. I think the dancing started about track two of their set. Tracks which were particularly good were: the Wrench, You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night, And Another Thing!! and many more. The audience were well pleased. The Cairn String Quartet joined them for the next track “This is our Christmas song,” David MacGregor explained, apparently getting into the seasonal spirit before saying “It’s not really a Christmas song. It’s about how sh*te it is to be Scottish between the months of September and March.” The track was Low Winter Sun. With the Cairn String Quartet the song sounded really full, and with their backing on several other tracks they added a real depth to the KC set list. They're on the right in the picture below.
(Duncan and Scott can be seen in the picture above - edge of the left-hand balcony just above the stage)
Finally, after extensive stage resetting, it was time for Mr Edwyn Collins. His band came on, and plugged in, checking monitors and levels, then The Man himself. Walking with a cane he gingerly made his way to an amp placed middle stage and sat down on it, to massive cheers from the crowd. This next bit is unashamedly plagiarised from the gig review in the Independent. "It becomes impossible, as the concert goes on, to separate an appraisal of Edwyn Collins’ performance from the sheer emotional weight of seeing him before us. Eight years ago, as has been well documented, the sometime singer of arch ‘80s Glasgow indie-pop group Orange Juice very nearly died following two brain haemorrhages and an infection picked up during his treatment. Now the fact that what he’s been through is still apparent in his demeanour only adds to the joy. His speech and movements are hesitant, and he walks with a cane, but he performs with a smile on his face and his signature baritone is as rich and sonorous as ever."

Perched on his amp-come-seat, he opened with versions of Orange Juice’s Falling and Laughing and the sax-laden What Presence?!, before guiding us on a tour through the easy-crooned jangle of his mid-career solo years, from the ‘90s’ Make Me Feel Again to the recent 31 Years. “All of these are goodies, yes?” he enquired at one point. That the answer was from the audience was "Yes!" and when he and his excellent band moved onto Rip It Up, A Girl Like You and Blue Boy the Portobello Town Hall balcony emptied and everyone was down on the dance floor giving it their all.

Edwyn and band
The Baubles IV finished at about 12:30am and the crowd left in high spirits. 

“Christmas Baubles started because we wanted to have a Christmas party and get lots of bands we liked to play,” says Kid Kate Lazda. “Luckily everyone who came along seemed to enjoy it too. Even after the first year it immediately seemed like something that almost had to happen every Christmas from then on. We’re keen to stick to the original concept – a relaxed party in our home town, and hopefully a celebratory end to a successful year. It’s the one thing that people ask us about all year round, I don’t think there’s any way we could not do it now.”

(Some pictures courtesy of manicpopthrills, Stephanie Gibson and Darren Carle)

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