Book Group / Kid Canaveral / eagleowl / Jamie Sutherland – Thomas Morton Hall, Leith, Edinburgh – Friday 20th April 2018
First trip to the Leith Theatre complex for us on Friday even if it was only into the smaller Thomas Morton Hall rather than the main theatre itself. That will have to wait until Hidden Door next month.
The event was a fundraiser for the theatre and apparently the Morton Hall is showing the benefits of the money spent on it since the complex was reopened. It was quite a large room for this event as it’s probably capable of holding between 300 and 400, although its suitability as a venue for live music is restricted a bit by the size of the stage, which is a little on the tight side for a full band, never mind any supports.
We arrived during Jamie Sutherland’s opening set. I’d been expecting solo version of Broken Records tunes but instead we got songs destined for Jamie’s forthcoming solo LP. In large part it was a hushed set which is quite a contrast from the current Broken Records material but the distance between performer and the audience did create something of a surreal atmosphere.
Next up were eagleowl again performing as a duo. Dispensing with the Christmas cheer of their Baubles appearance, the songs in a soothing set were largely drawn from the album and made me realise that it’s been too long since I listened to it.
The Kid Canaveral set was fairly unique as it comprised two separate solo performances from Kate and David before the pair finished off with a couple of songs together (“Just to prove that we don’t hate each other” according to David!)
Solo appearances from Kate are something of a rarity but it was interesting to hear Skeletons’ recast as a stripped back ballad to good effect whilst it was also nice to hear ‘Quiet Things’ again. On replacing his bandmate, David’s trio of songs were all drawn from recent solo shows. On fine form, his performance seemed to be taking him back towards his sweary best before Kate joined him to perform ‘And Another Thing!!’ and ‘Low Winter Sun’.
In an odd role reversal, it was Kate who nearly put her foot in it between songs whilst she later opined that David’s banter had been good! Strange times indeed.
In contrast to the other acts, Book Group, were full electric and loud. Perhaps not surprisingly they dialled back on the new songs although their main set was still split 50/50 been old and new.
Last month’s outing, despite a dodgy sound, had given notice that their new batch of songs is very strong indeed. But on Friday night, with Graeme’s vocals well up in the mix and Michael’s guitar restored to its rightful prominence, they delivered on that promise and dispelled any notions that their next record will be drum’n’bass.
‘Better People ..’ was probably the pick of the new ones although ‘Tongue Bit Cheek’, the one that departs the most from the 3 minute pop song format, is shaping up very nicely as well. If marginally behind those two on the night then ‘On Post’ and ‘Cheer Up Love’ also sound like they’re going to be good ones.
Best surprise of the night though was a very old tune – the return of ‘Summer of Lunches’ after way too long. Its disinterring was to mark the extremely limited edition RSD reissue of the first EP ‘Homeward Sound’ with new artwork, but it’s always been one of my favourites and in truth would have just about made the journey worthwhile in its own right.
A well deserved encore of ‘Victory Lap’ brought proceedings to a close nicely and hopefully the night will have made a contribution to the ongoing work to bring the theatre back to life.
Book Group played:
1 Cheer Up Love 2 The Art of Underachieving 3 On Post 4 Tongue Bit Cheek 5 Better People Have Lived Here 6 Rough Wooing 7 Summer of Lunches 8 Here Is Too Near
9 Victory Lap