Happy Meals / De Rosa / Wunded Knee / Matthew Collings – Benefit for Edinburgh Foodbanks – Summerhall, Edinburgh – Friday 31st July
I’ve seen some diverse bills in the past but it’s fair to say that Friday night’s Braw Gigs show at Summerhall in aid of Edinburgh Foodbanks takes some beating.
Matthew Collings kicked off proceedings with electronics and a guitar to create 3 somewhat abstract pieces which must all have been approaching 10 minutes. It certainly wasn’t formless but neither was it easy to get a handle on.
Next was Wounded Knee, who we’d seen before performing traditional folk songs drawn at random from his “baw bag”! This couldn’t have been more different with the set comprising one long piece consisting of vocal drones built up using loops. Technically impressive but unfortunately for this listener at least not entirely engaging.
Which all meant that, when De Rosa took the stage for their second gig as a four piece, they were the first act to rely entirely on traditional song structures.
By this time a respectable crowd was present but there was a veritable no man’s land in front of the stage with the audience conservatively placed in the back half of the hall.
The band seemed less nervous than at the Oran Mor and this time around, with one less guitar, the extra space in the sound was noticeable particularly for the ‘Prevention’ era songs.
They played the same set as last month which meant that there were just the two new songs but ‘Spectres’ has already slipped effortlessly into the closing song slot and was once again the highlight of the show.
De Rosa played:
1. New Lanark 2. The Mute 3. Tinto 4. The Engineer 5. In Code 6. Nocturne for an Absentee 7. Pest 8. Spectres
Prior to Friday other than being aware of their SAY Award nomination, I knew nothing about Happy Meals. And in response to my query about what they were like James’s suggestion of “French” didn’t help awfully much.
They turned out to be an electro pop duo in a not dissimilar vein to Conquering Animal Sound but a bit more direct. Clearly this was the band most folk had come to see so nor only did the no man’s land disappear as the audience encircled the stage but there was even some dancing. I did enjoy them.
Slightly bizarrely, given who’s played the Nothing Ever Happens Here shows, this was the first time that I’d managed to make it to a Summerhall show.
On the positive side the sound was great throughout but I do have reservations about the room’s layout for a busy show since the stage is tucked round the corner from a sizeable area of the floor space.