After Ralph having blogged the 10:04's recent 'Throes' EP release, what better than to send in his man in Scotland Malcolm Parry to check out the second Haddowfest Presents night in The Electric Circus that The:1004's headlined. Many thanks to Julia Nicolle for the photographs I pinched for this blog.
Haddowfest Presents as a much anticipated sold out affair, this time at The Electric Circus. The last full capacity gig I witnessed at this venue was for the now well known Lucy Rose, which leads me in to tonight's opening act, singer /songwriter Charlotte Black, introduced by the big voice in Scottish music Jim Gellatly. (She can also be seen in The 10:04's new video- 'Throes')
Charlotte Black is lovely Petite blonde with confident vocals, at first dropping a few mistakes in her guitar playing but nothing she couldn't handle. She takes us through a few covers and her own summery pop sing along tunes which would hit the Ed Sheeran and Lucy Rose market. Music made for young adults but can also be enjoyed by the more mature music listener. At the end Jim tells us it was her very first gig, an impressive start to her career and we can look forward to catching her live a year down the line to witness her progression in the acoustic pop genre.
The next act up is another local singer/songwriter Greg Pearson. His music was introduced to me a few months ago but this is the first time I have had the pleasure to catch him live and this boy has it all! The looks, the moves, confidence and lot's of musical talent.
Tonight he is joined by a band and in a very brief interview afterwards he tells me that he has worked the circuit playing solo for a couple of years now but decided to beef up his performance with a fuller sound. Instantly the way he works the intimate stage and handles his guitar reminds me of a Scottish Frank Turner.
He banters between songs asking “Any Dancers in?” before playing a perfect slice of rockabilly pop, I notice a lot of punters dancing, including big Jim G. He introduces the next tune with more friendly banter telling us “My music teacher is in, if I’m terrible, it's his fault” He needn’t have worried, the lad has been taught well.
Time to bring the mood down with a bit of early 90's inspired post punk/rock in Birmingham's band Dumb. They start their set surrounded by a swarm of guitar reverb, at first reminding me of The Pixies with huge energy coming from the stage with their spiky tunes, tight rhythm section, moody guitar and a very unhappy lead singer who at times caresses the mic like Ian Curtis.
I hear early Smashing Pumpkins, Jesus and Mary Chain with it's dark and melodic vocals, also very similar to Peace to bring their sound up to date. The band are loud and exciting, finishing the set with their very good new single 'Dive' it's shouty, catchy and gelled together with early Manic Street Preachers guitar riffs. Young, miserable, misunderstood and very promising.
Opening track 'Light's out' main man Steven Bolton sings in his brooding post/punk like vocals. I imagine him just been released from a blacked out room condemned only to listen to Joy Division's 'Kitchens of Distinction' and Interpol records, this reviewer tunes in to his darker side. The lead man baton is then given over to the equally talented though very different vocal style of Danny Scrimshaw for 'Pull it Apart'.
I spoke to him prior to the gig talking classic Scottish bands and he tells me - "Yeah I was taught guitar by Big Country's Stuart Adamson." Well tonight Matthew he definitely could be the legendary singer/guitarist' - echoes of the great man's fretwork style shining through and lessons well learnt.
Next track 'SOS' is a perfect litre bottle of Libertines indie pop, mixed into a cocktail of frantic guitar and big ballsy sound's of The Macabees. I like their let's move up to the big room attitude in their newer tunes and can hear many influences coming through.
There's shades of The National on their track 'Glass House' and Fleet Foxes in the new single 'Throes' with it's folk/rock beginning to it's epic guitar driven climax. Their back for an encore deciding to play a full on Pete Doherty style indie tune with just the original line up. Steven tells us “This is the last time we play as a four-piece “ The packed house sing along in unison with many arms aloft all enjoying the show, even the band with faces beaming are clearly having a blast. Tonight the roof and bar was raised in this small Edinburgh venue.
Afterwards I get a small interview upstairs with main men Steven & Danny. I ask if they had fun? Steven: “Yeah it was nice to be back headlining a Edinburgh gig again, we're also in the middle of a transition, changing the sound and the set.”
Me: “It sounds like your moving more in to The National and The Macabees bigger sound? Steven & Danny : “Totally! We've new songs ready to go with a fuller sound”
We talk about our favourite blogger Ralph and the impact people like him have on the music scene : Steven: "Yeah we definitely notice more on the scene, a great help and a worthwhile thing” I comment how much Facebook helps bands : Steven “It can be a double edged sword because it's saturated at the moment with loads of bands but if your good you'll get heard"
Explain a bit more about the origin of Haddowfest? Steven & Danny : “Ourselves & our manager wanted to start a festival mainly to put Edinburgh and local bands on the map. It started in 2010 with Idlewild headlining, Razorlight then The Cribs. We'll be announcing another one very soon.”
Danny: “The idea was to get bigger acts to attract the punters, and in turn they will also get to see the smaller newer acts” Steven: “at the moment the events will be monthly but we don't want to jeopardise the quality so if need be we'll space them out.” Danny: “We championed Kassidy putting them in a small venue, obviously they’ve gone on to be a bigger name”
Can you remember your first gig as The 10.04's? Steven: “We can! It was The Mitre on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh supporting Ok Social Club”Plans for the year? Steven: “Playing a couple of gig's in the Edinburgh Picture house supporting The Cribs and another big name band. A real honor supporting the band that influenced us ( the cribs )”You don't have any E.P's or album's out? Steven: “We have around 6 songs finished for the upcoming album. Me and Danny used to write separately but are now working together on the songs. We pride ourselves on the melody of our music, which stands out acoustically or as a band. No E.P because we would like to hold off for the album and hopefully surprise people with the sound”Any festivals planned? S: “We just played one in Whitehaven (at the playground) with The View headlining the day we were on” D: “We're not going to do many this year, as we want to concentrate on the album”Where was the video (Throes) shot? S: “The Pentlands in April” D: “Everyone felt sorry for Charlotte, but I was freezing, she got to wear a big bubble jacket off camera (Laughing) as I was still wandering around..all day!!. Though it was worth it for the finished product”Why the new beard ? D: “I went travelling to South America, so thought I would grow it while away”Right! Quick fire questions: Joy Division or Interpol? S: “Joy Division”Favourite Scottish Venue to play? S & D: “Picture house”What festival (stage) would you like to Headline? S: “King tuts tent at T in The Park” D: “ Pyramid Stage at Glasto (Laughing ) but would agree with Steven”Dream Head-liner for Haddowfest? S& D “The National, The Macabees and Arcade Fire”Fingers crossed for those big guns, but with the every increasing popularity of this Quality festival, who knows!