The First Catastrophe – Neu! Reekie!


Neu! Reekie! – Pulse My Penumbra / Spook Oot– Pilrig St Paul’s Church, Edinburgh – Friday 30th October 2015

I woke yesterday and decided that if I didn’t go to see FOUND at Neu! Reekie! last night, I’d regret it. So I went and instead ended up regretting going.

That opening statement is a little bit contradictory because I enjoyed most of the evening. The first two parts of the show incorporated poetry, spoken word and animations most of which were excellent. A special nod though to author James Robertson and poet Caroline Bird whilst the Estonian animation was rather good too.

The music was entirely contained in the third part of the evening. Be Charlotte hails from Dundee and her set was inventive and skilfully constructed merging vocal loops, acoustic guitar and even rap. Indeed the range of the five songs was almost bewildering. But, no matter how impressive the performance was technically, unfortunately the music didn’t make much of a connection with me. And that’s fine because I’m pretty certain that I’m not remotely close to being her target audience.

Setting aside personal taste, I do suspect that we’ll be hearing rather a lot of Be Charlotte in the next couple of years.

Next up was the Hector Bizerk film, ‘The Bird That Never Flew’. It was tremendous and I’d thoroughly recommend seeing it. After last year’s Baubles performance checking out the records is probably overdue (although equally I’m pretty certain I’m not part of HB’s target audience!)

So to the main reason for attending. And things went tits up rather spectacularly.
Not, I hasten to add, in any way due to FOUND but rather to an infuriatingly discourteous audience who talked relentlessly through their set (although the Pavlovian response of applauding at points between songs remained intact).

This was all the more surprising given how respectfully everyone else had been heard and matters certainly weren’t helped by a woefully underpowered PA. Just how underpowered hadn’t been clear during Be Charlotte’s set with a well behaved audience. But for large parts of their set FOUND struggled to make themselves heard over the general hubbub.

To be fair the FOUND electro set isn’t going to necessarily grab you visually so they do rely heavily on the music. And what little I heard sounded great but things were so bad I was seriously tempted to leave early because it all felt rather pointless. I’ve never ever had a performance ruined so much for me by a rude audience as last night was.

Which rather colours my view of the whole event, not least because the show was billed as a launch for the new album. So I will try and remember the many positives but I doubt that I would ever go to another Neu! Reekie! show just for the music.