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Kid Canaveral’s Christmas Baubles IV – with Edwyn Collins, De Rosa, Pictish Trail, This Many Boyfriends, Rozi Plain, Tuff Love and Siobhan Wilson – Portobello Town Hall – Saturday 14th December 2013

Nigh on impossible to review a Christmas party but the fourth installment of the Canaverals’ Baubles Yulefest was every bit as enjoyable as previous editions.

Edwyn Collins was the ideal headliner for the event. Performing in a room full of love, his et was a series of highlights from his back catalogue but with the newer songs like ‘Losing Sleep’ and ‘Understated’ every bit as good as the oldies. The sequence of ‘Rip It Up’ and ‘A Girl Like You’ inspired probably the greatest outbreak of mass dancing I’ve seen at a gig. Truly joyous.

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As indeed were the hosts, Kid Canaveral, joined for the occasion for much of the set by the Cairn String Quartet. The strings added a lot to the later tunes but none more so than to a simply magnificent ‘Low Winter Sun’ such that one of their best songs was given a whole new extra dimension.

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Preceding the Canaverals was the return of De Rosa – probably THE musical event of 2013 for MPT. I’m going to write more about their set later in the week but for the meantime seeing them back on stage and sounding so great was just phenomenal. Hopefully more to follow in 2014.

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Glasgow three-piece Tuff Love were a completely new act to me but on this evidence are very much a band to watch out for next year, sounding very much like what you’d imagine that Veronica Falls would do if they’d recorded for Flying Nun in the 80s.

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Dialling back to the start of the afternoon both Siobhan Wilson and Rozi Plain had provided a gentler opening to the event.

Siobhan’s short set of dreamy folk-infused pop was fleshed out with additional piano and guitar and was quite lovely.

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Meanwhile Rozi, backed by a 3 piece band which included Bart and Owen from eagleowl, stepped things up a notch. It was more downbeat than my memories of part of her performance at Homegame would have suggested but beautifully constructed.

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Following on from the two gentler opening acts, Leeds’ This Many Boyfriends turned in an energetic set of punk-pop adding a welcome jolt of adrenaline to proceedings.

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Last, but certainly not least, was the unexpected sight of the Pictish Trail blasting out his set backed by a hard rock-trio. With long hair flying all in all directions, I half expected Johnny to unleash a mane of his own from underneath his bobble hat. But, sadly, not on this occasion.

As unexpected as the approach was, it was not only thoroughly enjoyable but worked completely, and was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the whole show. Judas Pictish anyone?

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