The Burns Unit – Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh – 24th August 2011
Last night was our second Burns Unit gig of the year. After the January show at the Fruitmarket, which suffered a bit from a number of technical difficulties, last night’s show was thankfully glitch free. Indeed the Queen’s Hall lived up to its reputation as one of Edinburgh’s best venues with excellent sound.
Since that show however there seems to have been a significant change within the band’s ranks as rapper MC Soom T appears to have departed the fold. Although, as Mrs MPT pointed out, Soom T almost seemed like a guest performer at previous shows, her influence was nevertheless far more wide ranging. Without her and her songs, the genre hopping of previous shows was almost entirely absent and some of the party atmosphere departed at the same time. I’m certain that’s a loss to the band but on the flip side this was also the most cohesive set I’ve seen the band play.
There also seems to have been a wee bit of a clear-out within the some of the songs and two of the highlights from the album were rearranged to stunning effect. ‘Since We’ve Fallen Out’ opened the set and the band were only introduced gradually throughout with the first half of the song largely focussing on just Kenny and Karine. But it built to a satisfying conclsuion with an elegant, extended instrumental coda. And if that was good it was still just a hint of what was to come.
‘Helpless To Turn’ has always been my favourite Burns Unit song and last night’s version was completely spellbinding. The rhythm section were given the song off and as a consequence, the arrangement was sparse with Michael’s piano the only backing for the first verse. That was joined by Kenny’s acoustic for the second and finally Kim’s keyboards for the conclusion.The end result was an utterly captivating and spine tingling few minutes.
As ever the set was peppered by newer tunes although the only completely new one was ‘Closed for the Season’. On previous occasions I’ve felt that maybe a couple of the new tunes have been filler to pad the set out but that was emphatically not the case last night as every one stood comparison with the songs from the debut. In this regard both the epic final encore ‘Round and Round’ and Kim’s extended set closer ‘Crawling Back’ merit special mention.
Whilst the show may have lacked some of the party atmosphere of previous shows there was nevertheless a very up tempo feel to the show as a consequence of the good hearted banter amongst the band. With Michael was perhaps not quite his usual self due to a throat infection it fell to Kenny to step into his shoes and keep the party going.
Indeed he seemed in a particularly impish mood. He announced that he usually dreaded doing ‘Tupperware Pieces’ but it is perhaps Emma who should dread it more as KC seemed to spend the entire song trying to get his co-performer to crack up – and with a fair degree of success!
So all in all it may have been something of a different Burns Unit show but last night was still a fantastic evening.
1. Since We’ve Fallen Out 2. Majesty of Decay 3. Running Through The Fields 4. All Of This In Writing 5. Blood, Ice and Fire 6. Never Wanna Be That Girl Again ? 7. Helpless To Turn 8. House on the Hill 9. Tupperware Pieces 10. Sorrys 11. Closed for the Season 12.Future Pilot AKC 13. Trouble 14. Crawling Back
15. The Only Living Boy in New York 16. You Need Me To Need This 17. Round and Round
Some official photos from the show here.
A performance of ‘Since We’ve Fallen Out’ from Later which is very similar to last night’s version: