It’s that time of year when you’re inundated with Christmas parties whether it be with a lot of people you spend more than your fair share of time with at work or at the increasing proliferation of music parties.
For me though, one festive gathering stands out from the crowd – Kid Canaveral’s Christmas Baubles. Each bill seems to be guaranteed to be packed with some of my favourites acts and this year’s edition, the third, was no exception.
Whereas the original 2010 show largely comprised unsigned acts, this year’s featured many established acts. And it was an absolute joy from start to finish.
The day started in the Rowantree with comedy from Josie Long, Elaine Malcolmson and Eleanor Morton. All good fun but the best joke was undoubtedly about building Aberdeen in North America.
The music, in the main room, got off to an auspicious start with RM Hubbert. His set was completely different to the one supporting Wells and Moffat in Perth a few weeks ago with a number of shorter songs rather than a couple of long pieces. He even sang a couple of tunes himself before bringing Alasdair Roberts on for the last number.
Next up were FOUND, who may have been lacking the billed KC, but who still IMHO edged the best act of the day. Not having Kenny was disappointing in terms of not getting to see the Bits of Strange set but it actually probably made the show even more unique given that they were joined by Pictish Trail for the second half of the set and, briefly, by David Canaveral.
With a drummer in tow for the first time in 3 (?) years, FOUND were nothing short of sensational. Half of ‘factorycraft’, a couple of new tunes, a couple of KC covers and perhaps best of all, a revival of their Cate Le Bon cover ‘Eyes So Bright’. To conclude they then backed Pictish on ‘Michael Rocket’ for the final tune. Fantastic.
Following that was going to be tough for anyone but Malcolm Middleton managed it by simply being Malcolm Middleton. It was essentially a ‘greatest hits’ set as he wheeled out virtually all the solo singles with a couple of new ones thrown in. A reminder, if any were needed, just how many great songs Malcolm has.
One dinner break later Meursault opened the second half of the show. The only act that Mrs MPT had no real experience of, she thought they were fab. Opening with a cover (‘What Have You Done to Meursault My Song?’) we got some of the LP highlights as well as a couple of new ones and ‘The Dirt and The Roots’. As impressive as ever.
Randolph’s Leap were next with an energetic set of raucous folk/pop. They even threw in a couple of Christmas standards including a punked up ‘Jingle Bells’ . They seem to get better each time I see them. Not sure though that Adam’s going to sell ‘Christmas Is Shit’ to anyone!
Despite the range of quality acts on display throughout the day, it says it all about Kid Canaveral’s new material that it was these tunes that were in my head when I woke up the next morning.
The likes of ‘Low Winter Sun’, ‘Breaking Up Is The New Getting Married’ and ‘Without A Backing Track’ (a future single surely) all sound like classics already. And there’s a live debut for another track from ‘Now That You’re A Dancer’ –the earsplitting ‘The Compromise’. Completely atypical in approach it was nothon less than a feral guitar assault aided and abetted by The Bad Books’ Michael Morrison. Bet there’s a tune in there as well though.
The set nicely balanced the new with the old and there were increasingly rare outings for the likes of ‘Couldn’t Dance’ and ‘Left and Right’.
It’s difficult to imagine that 2013 isn’t going to be a huge year for the band – I’m looking forward to watching them soar.
An On The Fly live set provided the bridge between the live music and the club night but, whilst we lasted longer than many who left after Kid C, we didn’t tarry too long.
So, for my money, the Baubles remains the yardstick for the Scottish music scene’s Christmas parties – but in 2012 Kid C have set a ridiculously high standard to top next year.
Look out for more Kid C tomorrow when Kate and David take on the MPT Inquisition 2012.
A reminder too that, a few weeks ago, David previewed the Baubles and talked in general terms about the new record here.
Photos from the Baubles will continue to be added here over the next few days.