STOOR /The Eastern Swell / St Christopher Medal – The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh – Friday 3rd March 2017
Like the trip to see Kristin Hersh it was another uncomfortable journey through to Edinburgh. This time I managed to stay ahead of the psycho Stagecoach driver but still got stuck in traffic on Palmerston Place. I did think that my luck had turned when I got a parking space right next to the traffic lights but the implications of that would be revealed later.
More seriously after the hold-up I still arrived expecting St Christopher Medal to be in full swing. Fortunately they weren’t and in fact it was a wee while before they actually took to the stage.
Apparently only their second ever gig, the band really had assembled from all points of the compass with band members arriving from Dorset and New York due to the opportunity to play a show being combined with recording for a second Medal LP.
We’ll have to wait for months I guess to hear the album but in terms of the show, the set mixed new songs with highlights from the superb debut ‘Sunny Day Machine’ (point off though for omitting ‘Satchel Bag’!). But I’ll give them it back for the quite wonderful rendition of new single ‘Wayne Moon Pilot’ which closed.
All in all it was a relaxed and quality start to the evening’s proceedings.
St Christopher Medal
The next act initially confused me as it had been billed as STOOR. Instead three guys who definitely aren’t in STOOR took to the stage. Which was a bit perplexing as the other band on the bill, The Eastern Swell, have a female singer (Lanie Urquhart) in their line-up. The mystery was solved though when it turned out that aforementioned singer was unwell but the remaining 75% of the band had vowed that the show would go on.
In that context they deserve a lot of praise even if the set was a bit removed from what I’d expected. In fact had I come in during the opening number, I definitely wouldn’t have thought it was the Eastern Swell. Certainly some of the variety of the record was missing and it was at time quite abrasive seventies rock sounding. But there was enough of the vibe of teh record to get through and they still managed to finish with one of the album’s highlights in ‘Run Down Country Palace’ delivered by Chris rather than Lanie.
Oh they also played some new songs. These Stereogram bands don’t rest on their laurels.
I guess I’ll have to try and see the band again in the near future when restored to a four piece!
STOOR of course are a regular fixture on these pages but it was good to see them performing out of Dundee for once. All of the events of the last couple of years seem to have instilled a real belief in the band and this wsa further was illustrated by a confident set. Much of their on stage time was devoted to songs from album number two as a strict curfew meant that some of the old favourites at the end of the set were skipped.
But the show really gave strong evidence that the second record is going to, at least, match the debut. Their knack for insistent melodies remains intact on the likes of ‘Arc’ and ‘Atrocities’ whilst new songs such as ‘Pain’ also develop and expand their sonic palette.
Despite the reduced running time, there was no doubt that the band had made new friends in the capital.
More photos from the show here.
P.S. The price for getting the parking space before the show became apparent afterwards. Having just got into the car I was rather taken aback when the passenger door opened and someone, rather the worse for wear, asked if I’d mind giving him a lift home. Fortunately he was quite polite and did take ‘no’ for an answer but that might in part be down to the fact that a couple of cops were walking in the direction of the car at the time!