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Book Group / Adam Stafford / Carbs  / Gav Prentice – Victory Lap single launch – Teviot Underground, Edinburgh – Friday 29th November 2013

Since I couldn’t be in three places at the one time, Friday night produced one of the hardest musical choices that I’ve faced.

Ultimately the chance to see Book Group play a longer set and the presence of Adam Stafford (surely the most innovative solo artist in Scotland) persuaded me to let down both Mrs MPT (Vic Galloway, Kid Canaveral & Withered Hand) and Mr Wood (June Brides, the Hugs and the Wildhouse) in favour of a trip to Edinburgh.

And Book Group didn’t let me down, because over the course of a 10 song set covering 50 minutes or so they were utterly magnificent.

The longer set allowed them the freedom to play not only both sides of the single and the first E.P. in its entirety (which doesn’t happen often these days) but also four unreleased songs ranging from long term set mainstay ‘A Rough Wooing’ to newcomers ‘Best Regards’ and ‘Wake Up and Go Go Go’. There was also room for the occasionally aired vignette ‘Fractures’.

And whilst, sure, everything they do can be classed as rock – indie rock if you must – the longer set illustrated the diversity of the material. Frankly a six or seven song set is going to sound not just too brief but also incomplete after this.

Certainly the band were as pumped as I’ve ever seen them and that was undeniably a good thing. Musically much of it was familiar but there some noticeable differences. Scott’s backing vocals were fairly high in the mix for a change, ‘Wooing’ was unusually keyboard led and the two new songs sounded less heavy rock than they had in Aberfeldy.

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Balcony megaphone action

By the time they reached the two songs from the single, the air was celebratory. ‘Lowdown’ was simply massive whilst ‘Victory Lap’ itself stretched out to epic proportions with Graeme unable to resist the opportunity to take his megaphone onto the balcony.

The only problem with finishing with ‘Victory Lap’ is that there’s really nowhere else to go after it for an encore. It would of course be completely bogus for a band in their position not to play their best songs in the main set, but there’s no doubt at all that, had they been prepared to do so, they would have got an encore (or two).  So perhaps they need a cover version of some kind for the next E.P. launch.

If I was being greedy I would have liked another couple of tunes (‘Everyone’s Going To Be OK’ and a new one). But, well, that would just be …  greedy and otherwise it was a perfect night.

Book Group did play:

1. Year of the Cat  2. Seedlings  3. Fractures  4. Best Regards  5. Wake Up and Go Go Go  6. A Rough Wooing  7. Summer of Lunches  8. BOP  9. The Lowdown of a LOUD Sound  10. Victory Lap

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Adam Stafford

Neither did Adam Stafford let me down. Even though his set was slightly truncated he showed a good portion of his range in just five songs from the pop of ‘Vanishing Tanks’ to a far more oblique instrumental, the name of which I can’t, for the life of me, remember.

And he was definitely in the most talkative mood I’ve seen him dedicating his last song to a group of women chatting to the side of the stage but who seemed totally oblivious to what was happening on stage! I look forward to seeing him play a longer set at some point in the near future.

Adam played:

1. Vanishing Tanks  2. Cold seas  3. Instrumental  4. Please  5. His Acres

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Carbs

Carbs (Jamie, Jonnie and Jay) were hilarious. I’m sure that a lot of street culture references passed me by but the humour I did get made up for the fact that their backing wasn’t something I would normally listen to. They want photos of your pizzas!

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Gav Prentice

The show had been opened in some style by Gav Prentice mixing up his own solo stuff with the odd Over The Wall tune (including Gerry Loves Records single ‘Tell Her I Love Her’). Playing most of the set with just his acoustic the couple of tunes which he beefed up with beats from his keyboard certainly had extra oomph.

He spent most of his set looking for a joke to match one of his keyboards samples oblivious to the fact that he’d already unknowingly managed the best joke of the night.  Andy Loves was about to come on stage with a birthday cake to mark Gav’s birthday after the third tune – except Gav launched straight into the fourth song without a break. Well, the audience all thought it was funny even if Andy didn’t!

Big gallery of photos from the show here.

The double A sided single ‘Victory Lap’ / ‘The Lowdown of a LOUD Sound’ is available from Gerry Loves Records now.

Previously on MPT – Book Group interview (November 2013) as Graeme and Michael mix Benilyn and whisky cocktails in Aberfeldy.

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