Martin John Henry and the Permanent Skelf / Kill The Waves / Michael Cassidy – The Third Door, Edinburgh – 17th March 2012

Another Saturday night, another Martin John Henry gig, this time at another new venue for me, the Third Door in Edinburgh.

First impressions were that it’s an extremely odd shaped venue – sort of H shaped with the stage and a pillar providing something of a choke point in the middle of the room.

But any worries over the sound (in part caused by the sound guy wandering up to one of the speakers and cocking an ear at it for some time during support act Kill The Waves) proved to be unfounded.

It was a clear sound without the level of distortion at the Captain’s Rest last week and that served Martin’s set very well.

So what was different from last week? Well, first up, Martin was as relaxed as I’ve ever seen him on stage. Whether or not that had anything to do with the fact that he’ d pulled his hoody up before taking the stage is unclear but the effect was that he kid of slipped into the persona of one of the ghouls from the ‘Ribbon’ video.

The clarity of the mix emphasised what a wall of sound that the two guitars manage – yet with the electronica still audible underneath. It was a night then for the massive tunes – a mighty ‘Span’ and an epic closing ‘Choose Your Words Carefully’.

‘Breathing Space’ continues to mutate and last night’s version was revved up like never before. But unlike last week it had a slightly ragged finish and didn’t merge quite so seamlessly into a brilliant ‘First Light’.

I’ve said it before but this current band rocks as hard as anything I’ve heard Martin do before. Indeed it’s just as well I wasn’t drinking or the audience might have had to endure the unedifying spectacle of a middle aged pogoer during ‘Choose’!

I enjoyed this so much, I’d have little hesitation in going to see Martin and his Permanent Skelf again very soon indeed.

Michael Cassidy

The evening was opened by Michael Cassidy, one man and his guitar. Rather bizarrely he started his set with a dash of flamenco guitar and an intro in what sounded like Spanish but returned to slightly more familiar territory quite quickly. With an interesting voice and a good stage personality, Mr Cassidy passed the time quite quickly.

Kill The Waves

Kill The Waves describe themselves as electronic dream pop, so their opening up tempo number was a way of playing against type. Thereafter though the pace slackened a bit but, even despite the fact that they played a couple of newer numbers which seemed to be experiments carried out in public, they were never less than interesting. And quiet often rather good. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Martin’s new single ‘Span’/’Only Colour’ is out now on Gargleblast Records and is available in all good record stores and online here.

Here’s a live version of ‘Span’ not from last night but rather from the Glasgow show last week. It’s slightly distorted but still listenable:

Setlist:

1. Breathing Space  2. First Light  3. New Maps  4. I Love Map  5. Span  6. A Perfect Landing  7. Only Colour  8, Ribbon on a Bough  9. There’s A Phantom Hiding In My Loft  10. Choose Your Words Carefully



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