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Emma Pollock / Hamish James Hawk – The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh – Thursday 3rd March, 2016

It’s something of a curiosity but, despite having seen Emma Pollock perform at least half a dozen times since the Delgados split, Thursday night at the Voodoo Rooms was the first time I’d actually seen her play a full headline set with band. And it left me wishing that she played live far more often because this was a simply marvellous show.

Showcasing the best of her songwriting, the show was more or less split in three with full band guitar pop bookending the set with quieter, more introspective numbers somewhere in the middle.

Of the guitar tunes the standouts included an early ‘I Could Be a Saint’ and a fantastic ‘Parks & Recreation’.

But it was the quieter tunes that really showcased Emma’s voice and produced some spellbinding music beautifully respected by the audience. The highlight of the set was in this middle section in the shape of an utterly beguiling ‘House on The Hill’ with Jamie Savage accompanying the boss on piano.

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A planned appearance of regular collaborator R.M. Hubbert for a couple of tunes was scuppered by illness but Jamie bravely stepped up to take on ‘Monster In The Pack’ although he drew the line at the next planned song ‘Half Light’. Which left the rather amusing situation of the band sitting beside the stage assuming that was what was next whilst Emma assumed that they would realise that she couldn’t do the tune without Hubby!

This was one of the shows that I did take photos at (they’re here) but on reflection there’s one glaring omission from the photos – there’s not a single smile from Emma in any of the shots. Which is a shame as she was garrulous throughout and very funny with it.

A terrific performance and hopefully it won’t be too long before we get the chance to see Emma play again.

Support Hamish James Hawk also contributed to the evening’s entertainment with a charming solo acoustic set peppered with offbeat humour and some darker moments too. Like Emma’s the audience listened attentively throughout his set and he earned no little applause by the end of his performance.

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Emma played:

1. Cannot Keep A Secret 2. Don’t Make Me Wait 3. I Could Be a Saint 4. Confessions 5. Alabster 6. Clemency 7. House on the Hill 8. Intermission 9. Monster In The Pack 10. Red Orange Green 11. Parks & Recreation 12. Hug The Harbour 13. Old Ghosts

Encore

14. Dark Skies 15. Paper and Glue

 

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