Randolph’s Leap / David MacGregor / Moonsoup – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh – Friday 30th March 2018

Randolph’s Leap gigs seem to fall into two categories – the helter skelter frantic ones (which tend to be most of them!) and, every now and then, the more restrained, textured shows. Friday’s show at Sneaky Pete’s definitely fell into the latter category.

Not that I’d have predicted that beforehand – if ever a venue seemed perfect for a Ramones Leap show, then it’s surely Sneaky Pete’s. Yet this was the best sounding Leap gig I’ve attended in several years with every part of the line-up audible, even more impressive since the show was the first in a while to feature the full, full band with the return of Heather on violin.

Initially you did wonder if they’d committed too early, starting with ‘Hermit’ and dropping in ‘Light of the Moon’ early on too. Yet the standard never dropped throughout the hour that they were on stage and they still left out several tunes I’d have loved to have heard.

There were a couple of new tunes included, the first for the full band in a while. ‘B.M.H.’ is the latest in a long line of classic up-tempo Leap pop songs and sounded like an instant classic.

I’d heard Adam play the other new one ‘Hoping’ (aka the sexy optician song) before but the addition of the full band helped swell the mood. It also inspired the unlikeliest audience singalong I’ve heard in a long time – I mean, who does sings along to new tunes?

Then towards the back of the set, Adam announced that this was “where the mosh pit starts” which was responded to with querulous looks from an audience that wasn’t exactly mosh pit material. But even when the tempo did get raised it never became a racket – even as Adam 2 drove the band faster and faster.

At the end, after a closing ‘I Can’t Dance …, even with the curfew fast approaching, the audience weren’t prepared to let the band go, even if the band debated what they were going to play for longer than the actual encore (a sprint through ‘News’) lasted.

Randolph’s Leap played:

1 Hermit 2 Not Thinking 3 Indie King 4 B.M.H. 5 Isle of Dogs 6 Light of the Moon 7 Hoping 8 The Foolishness of Youth 9 Like A Human 10 Nature 11 Real Anymore 12 Microcosm 13 Counting Sheep 14 I Can’t Dance To This Music Anymore

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David MacGregor also put in a comparatively restrained performance allowing the strength of the Kid Canaveral songs to shine through. ‘First We take Dumbarton’ in particular was little more than David’s voice, the guitar backing mostly hushed, but it was a performance that threw new light on well known songs.

David played:

1 What We Don’t Talk About 2 And Another Thing!! 3 Pale White Flower 4 First We Take Dumbarton 5 Low Winter Sun.

Moonsoup were a new name to me and the surprise of the evening. Granted, that was pretty much inevitable given the rest of the bill!

The guitar/drums duo initially seemed quite nervous but seemed to grow into their set the longer they played. The songs tended to be short but the impressive thing about them was the varied playing of the guitarist which helped the songs to stand out from each other.

And that goes part of the way to explaining how impressed everyone seemed to be with them – the rest was down to some terrific songs. To be honest, not everything was quite to the same standard as their best material but we’re only talking about a couple of songs where the standard dropped. Well worth tracking down.

The stage show ‘Isle of Love’ based on the songs of Randolph’s Leap tours Scotland in May and June. More info below and here.

The Glasgow performance at the CCA on 9 June will be followed by a full band Leap performance.

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