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  • Alistair Braidwood

Edinburgh Preview No2: Music…

The second of my Edinburgh Fringe previews looks at what is on in terms of music at this year’s festival. It is perhaps understandable that new music is not as prominent a part of Edinburgh as it once was. Firstly, it would be difficult to find a venue that’s not filled with comedians, and secondly, every week’s a festival in the summer these days, and you’re dance card will be full if you’re even a slightly well known artist. But there are a few highlights that I’ll be trying to catch.

One act that actually do a full Edinburgh season, and who are one of the first tickets I buy every year, are The Tiger Lillies at the Pleasance Courtyard. I first encountered their music when they did the accompaniment to 1998’s musical Shockheaded Peter, a brilliant adaptation of Heinrich Hoffman’s children’s nursery rhymes. Their soundtrack was perfect for the gory Victorian tales that were unfolding on stage. They’re like no-one else around, the closest I can think of is mid-period Tom Waits, and I love their gothic nightmares.

The next band are one I saw earlier this year, and they are Rhode Island’s The Low Anthem. If you haven’t heard them then they are a little bit Bonnie Prince Billie, a little Lambchop, and a smidgen of The Handsome Family. You can catch them as part of the Edge Festival at The Queen’s Hall on August 30th, and as a taster here they are with a plastic goose singing To The Ghosts Who Write History Books:

Also appearing as part of the Edge festival are The Phantom Band, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Pheonix and Modest Mouse, and it is the place to find the best bands at this year’s Fringe all in one place, but beware; also contains Mika. However the highlight for me is Eels, who have just about the greatest back catalogue of any band ever. From their newest release End Times here’s E singing Little Bird:

Folk is all over Edinburgh this and every year, both trad and nu, and someone who inhabits both worlds with ease is Eliza Carthy who plays The Queen’s Hall on the13th Aug. Here she is singing Kirsty Macoll’s All I Ever Wanted:

Other bands that I can highly recommend include Avi Buffalo who are playing the Capital on the 30th Aug, and The Besnard Lakes, who I have written about previously, (see The Besnard Lakes are Coming to Glasgow…)and who are at Sneaky Pete’s on the 17th Aug. As you can see most of my recommendations are in town for one-night only, however there are lots of sessions running over the Fringe, such as Acoustic Edinburgh, the Black Lantern Cabaret at the Zoo Roxy and the Free Music Nights at The Royal Mile Tavern which are on every night.

I’ll leave you with a couple of more left field suggestions, but which are at least there for the whole festival. There is a musical version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which could be described as a German Rocky Horror Picture Show, but is actually so much more, and you can find it at C Plaza at the George Square Theatre. And if you thought that what Shakespeare was missing was a disco soundtrack, Baz Luhrmann style, then the musical Studio 54, which is apparently based upon Othello, must be worth a look. It’s on at Chambers Street theatre from the 4th Aug – 30th. Next week; theatre.


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