It was a difficult time for dogs during the 1700s as a result of an Edinburgh butcher’s pet pooch going mad. Magistrates ordered the slaughter of all such animals, even those dogs which led the blind. Fortunately times aren’t so tough this year, with the only issue plaguing Edinburgh during the month of August being the inability to get anywhere quickly due to the influx of visitors in their hundreds of thousands.
Don’t let this put you off visiting the capital, though, because over the next three weeks the annual Edinburgh International Festival will be showcasing thousands of shows, including some pretty awesome live music gigs throughout various city venues. So step away from that mammoth Fringe programme you’re frantically circling in Biro and let me do all the hard work for you in my first post as the new Pop Cop. After all, you wouldn’t want such difficult decisions to drive you as mad as those poor canines…
Your festival frolics can start nice and early from noon on Saturday, August 4. The Scottish Independent Music Fair is returning to Summerhall, with labels such as Chemikal Underground, Rock Action, Song, by Toad, Gerry Loves and Electric Honey offering Fringe-goers a taste of the local music scene. The lovely Dan Wilson, aka Withered Hand, will be popping along to play at 2pm before his full-band gig at The Queen’s Hall later that night.
If you want to sample 10-minute tasters of some of the most promising local musicians to be found at the Fringe, head to Born To Be Wide’s Edinburgh Night at Electric Circus on August 5, when you can witness short but sweet sets from Fatherson, Fat Goth, Hector Bizerk, Homework, Paul Gilbody, Kid Canaveral (acoustic), Plum, Siobhan Wilson and TeenCanteen plus a host of guest DJs.
The weekend is going to be a long and, I would imagine, very boozy, so I recommend giving yourself a couple of days to prepare for the chaos that will be descending on Auld Reekie for the next four Wednesdays in August. This is entirely the fault of Detour and collaborators Fresh Air and their Electric Circus Fringe club night, CIRCA. Each event will begin at 10.30pm and last until 5am with two main bands, DJ sets from the biggest names in Scotland and, being Detour, there are sure to be a few surprises and special guests. A word of warning – don’t expect to make work on Thursday, or in fact get any sleep at all over the coming Fringe Wednesdays.
Glasgow-based PAWS, recently signed to FatCat, and Lady North kick things off on August 8, followed by a DJ set from Errors. August 15 will feature hometown heroes Bwani Junction, the incredible crowd-pleasers The LaFontaines and a DJ set from the ridiculously cool Count Clockwork. August 22 brings the unstoppable CHURCHES, who need no introduction after the hype they’ve managed to generate almost overnight. We Are The Physics are also on the bill, followed by The Twilight Sad, who will take over the decks to keep you dancing until the early hours. If that wasn’t enough, August 29 will see Three Blind Wolves close the CIRCA party and, if you can muster enough energy to stay alive, stick around for the DJ set from We Were Promised Jetpacks as I reckon it’ll be an absolute riot.
My only advice for surviving CIRCA is to make sure you stock up on Berocca and Alka-Seltzer (mixed together for the ultimate hangover cure), and some frozen Greggs from Iceland for those days when you physically cannot leave the house. Also, remember not to freak out when you go to the bathroom – Berocca turns your piss bright yellow (you do not have some horrid STI). Then again, if you can’t remember how you got home last night you might want to get yourself down to the clinic.
As well as Detour’s shenanigans, make sure you check out Happy Particles at Sneaky Pete’s on August 10 and fellow SAY Award finalists Remember Remember at Electric Circus on August 24. The fascinating Conquering Animal Sound will also play Electric Circus on August 26 – fingers crossed they air some tracks from their forthcoming album On Floating Bodies which is being released through their new home, Chemikal Underground.
I hope Pictish Trail and fellow Fence founder King Creosote have recovered from Away Game – Johnny Lynch is due to play Electric Circus on August 11, while Kenny Anderson has a date at The Queen’s Hall on August 23 where he’ll no doubt be playing material from his Domino-released EP, I Learned From The Gaels. One gig I’m particularly excited about is the brilliant Kid Canaveral, also on Fence, who will be playing their rescheduled show (after lead singer David MacGregor fell sick back at the start of July) at Electric Circus on August 25. They are so much fun live and I’ve heard that their new material is dynamite, so I can’t wait to give it a listen.
Also worth checking out are Gav Prentice at Sneaky Pete’s on August 15, Dundonian rockers Fat Goth at Electric Circus on August 16, and returning to Sneaky’s on August 18 for the ridiculously talented Miaoux Miaoux, with support from new favourites TeenCanteen.
Finally, get your tweets at the ready for #UNRAVEL Live at The Queen’s Hall on August 15. FOUND and Aidan Moffat are performing, with the twist being that audience members can influence what they here in real-time by tweeting their opinions throughout the concert. The night also includes several of their collaborators plus a very special mystery guest. #UNRAVEL Live has the potential to revolutionise the way in which we experience live music in the future. Watch this space.
I’ve made up a wee Festival-themed playlist for you to listen to on your way to the chemist/supermarket/doctors/etc. Enjoy!
Miaoux Miaoux – Is It A DreamIs It A Dream