After a recent stint at T in the Park, the four best up-and-coming bands played
a gig at the Liquid Room at T on The Fringe. Each band had a different stamp
and it was possible for different reasons to see exactly why each had been selected.
The band with the hardest job was undoubtedly Yashin, a Glasgow-based band,
who came on first and had to warm up the crowd. Yashin play heavy metal and
perform their own material. The line-up is: Michael Rice on vocals; Andrew McShane,
bass & vocals; Paul Travers, guitar; Lewis Millen, guitar; David Beaton,
drums & vocals.
The Liquid Room gig presented a learning curve for this band. It is a small
setting and their performance was amplified for a much larger venue. As a result
Michael Rice had to shout rather than sing to get over the volume and much of
the musical technique of the band members was masked. Having said that, in quieter
moments, the quality of their musicianship did come through and Rice's voice
sounds really decent when there is allowance for him to sing. As performers
the band were energetic and enthusiastic. They were well-rehearsed and very
attuned to one another. Their musical integrity came across clearly. Their philosophy
as a band is not to commercialise themselves at their audience's expense and,
as a result, they somewhat undersold themselves. By not introducing themselves,
announcing their numbers or mentioning their current CD (which is rather good),
the audience did not have any hooks to remember the material they heard.
Heavy metal is not everyone's cup of tea but there is no doubt that these boys
are very good at it. If they can get the amplification right and project themselves
as a band a little more then they have every chance of doing well in the future.
Three stars for this performance with the definite potential for more.
Theatre Fall ****
It's good to know that the Scottish rock scene is not confined to the Central
Lowlands. Theatre Fall are four lads who hail from Inverness and perform vocals,
drums, bass and two guitars. They gave a lively vocal and instrumental performance
and engaged their audience well. Their use of synthesizers at times seemed to
make them hover between two musical genres. They have yet to settle properly
into their own niche but have a bankable sound. It is accessible without being
trivial. The singer was good and clear and the musicians were very competent.
They had an honesty and freshness about them and, particularly with songs like
Beta Block have a few numbers which already, with the right promotion,
could be commercially successful.
Chutes had a well developed and distinctive sound which was sufficiently mainstream
to have crowd appeal but still highly individual. They created an instant rapport
with their audience. This was in part because they seemed better known than
the other bands, in part because they began with a very engaging number but
it was largely because they were just so good. Theirs is a stylish band, full
of music with energy and enthusiasm. The singer was the perfect front man having
both personal charisma and a good voice. He was also made to sound good by the
terrific backing from the other members of the band. Their performance material
was varied and well-crafted. With a favourable wind in their sails, this band
could find themselves well on the road to the big time.
Broken Records *****
There was no doubting the musical pedigree of this seven piece, Edinburgh-based
band. They came on stage with a huge variety of instruments which, in addition
to drums, guitar and keyboards, included an accordion, an electric mandolin,
a trumpet, a cello and a violin. Broken Records did not have the immediacy of
Chutes but won the audience over by the sheer quality of their music and musicianship.
It would have been all too easy for such a variety of instruments to create
a very muddled sound but their inclusion was skilfully embraced and really quite
mesmerizing. The lyrics were serious in content - even when the rhythm was upbeat.
The impression of seriousness was intensified by the broken quality of the singer's
voice. Without being an imitation of earlier bands like 'Family' and the 'Incredible
String Band', both he, and the rest of the band seemed reminiscent of that era
and atmosphere. Their performance was one of genuine quality and they deserve
their five stars.
Concert date: 18 August 2007
© Ruby Soxer, 19 August 2007. First published at www.EdinburghGuide.com.