City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Pop Group & Finitribe, The Voodoo Rooms, Review

By Euan Andrews - Posted on 24 October 2014

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The Voodoo Rooms

I am having a weird altered states flashback to an evening in Sativa circa 1995. My states altered purely by the conflict between nostalgia and the aged reality both within and around me. Finitribe are onstage in a tightly crammed Voodoo Room, the recently reconstituted now-duo serving up a deliciously intoxicating blend of shredded breakbeats while garbed in either kitchen porter or surgery assistant whites.

Far from the usual studied aloofness that seemingly comes with performing behind banks of Apple Macs, Finitribe are clearly having a ball as they mix jugs of cocktails and beam infectiously joyous smiles into a reciprocating audience. Once a John Peel favourite in their 1990s heyday, it genuinely feels good to have this Edinburgh band back.

While Finitribe could easily pack out an Edinburgh venue of this size themselves, the main draw tonight is another group of comebacks, The Pop Group. They were one of those bands who virtually defined a genre in themselves and the seemingly endless panoply of acts in the past ten years combining punk attitude with funk rhythm owe The Pop Group a massive debt whether they know it or not.

Singer and fierce prophet Mark Stewart looks grizzled and paunchy, but swiftly casts aside any doubts by vigorously hurling himself into this explosive hour-long set. Billed as The Pop Group performing their never-quite-properly-released third album We Are Time, they completely ignore any such plan and set about gleefully eviscerating their back catalogue with wide-eyed manic fury.

And, man, it is LOUD. Drums detonate like mortar bombs, razorwire rhythm guitar rips nervous systems, dub processing mixes carry Stewart’s demented vocals into deranged echoing chorales. At times the sheer furious energy of it tips over into ecstatic free jazz proportions.

“She Is Beyond Good and Evil”, “Genius or Lunatic” and a final infernal burn through “We Are All Prostitutes” prove beyond doubt that The Pop Group are well aware of their legacy and determined to live up to and beyond it. Stewart, ever the provocateur, thanks the Voodoo Rooms for being “the best venue in England”. His acolytes gathered here tonight would let him off with murder. Tonight, he and The Pop Group have allowed them to believe again.