You may recall that at the end of last year, my two favourite singles of the year were by Kid Canaveral and Thee Single Spy.

Last night’s Ides of Toad gig at Henry’s Cellar Bar would therefore have been pretty essential had it only featured the Edinburgh debut of the renamed These Single Spies. But add in Kid C and it was unmissable.

First up though were Monster Island from Manchester and you rather suspect that they get compared to fellow Mancunians the F*** pretty often. Certainly there’s a  ramshackle energy that recalls very early Fall but they quite often draw things into focus. I confess on the strength of the one  video that Matthew had flagged up ahead of the show, I was a little sceptical, but I ended up enjoying Monster Island a great deal.

As was the case with These Single Spies. Of course expectations were raised by the brilliant debut single ‘OK Corral’ last year but you always worry that a band may just have one great song – particularly if the album seems to remain unreleased for ages. Fortunately any such worries were quickly dispelled.

Naturally they finished with a stunning ‘OK Corral’ but on first listen their first song (‘Ahab’, I think) seemed every bit as good as the single. The rest of the material played from ‘Shipwrecking’ did more than enough to suggest that the album will comfortably live up to 2011’s established standard when released.

It was perhaps a little surprising that they included a couple of new songs mid-set that aren’t on the album but that suggests a band impatient to push forward.

Hopefully they made a few new friends last night and we’ll see them back up here in the autumn.

Compared to the two bands from south of the Border, Kid Canaveral were very much more familiar territory. And when you see a band as often as I’ve seen Kid C there is always the danger that you can get over familiar with the songs.

Yet  I never  fail to be amazed at the enthusiasm they bring to their shows and if I AM  ever going to get bored with them, well, I’m some distance from that at present.

Having said that, since it’s been 6 months since the last addition to the live show (KC’s ‘Missionary’) their capacity to surprise has diminished (unless they give in to my ceaseless demands for the reinstatement of ‘Teenage Fanclub Song’!)

Hopefully it won’t be too long therefore before Kid C don’t just dazzle with their performances but also produce the unexpected every now and again.

Kid C played –

1. Stretching  The Line  2. Good Morning  3. Left and Right  4. Smash Hits  5.   6.  Her Hair Hangs Down  7. Second Time Around  8. And Another Thing!! 9. YOWOTGDLN  10. Couldn’t Dance