Fresh are one of the city’s newest music promotion outfits, aiming to give the best of Scotland’s music a platform to play – and taking no cut in ticket sales in the proceeds. They’re in it for the music, in other words.
Tonight was billed as a ‘video promotion’ gig, meaning the entire night was being filmed; as well as recorded, photographed and reviewed (guess that’s us then…)
Each of the seven bands playing were given a half-hour slot and the £2 door charge meant this was a great-value way to see half a dozen groups you might not otherwise be exposed to.
First up were November Orchid, a female-fronted four-piece baptising themselves with fire in this, their first gig (a band so new they don’t even have a MySpace or a Facebook to link to). Things were understandably a bit loose and the band’s nerves may have got the better of them: their short set of covers and a couple of original numbers showed some promise though, particularly with their own material. November Orchid should keep on growing and – once they find their sound and have a couple more gigs under their belts – could well blossom into something pretty nice.
Kill Code Red blasted onstage next, with a powerhouse set which created a great big slab of sound which filled Maggie’s Chambers to bursting point.
With solid tunes and a sound which steals from the best bits of Feeder, Stereophonics and Green Day, the four-piece band went down well with their incendiary set, soaring vocals from front man Darren and a skintight rhythm section courtesy of Chris & Dave on drums and bass. They got the crowd behind them within the first few bars and kept the power pumping right up til the last chord crash.
people, places, maps were up next, a ragtag collection of folksy punk hooligans from over the Forth. Frontman Dan flew the punk flag proudly, jumping around and screaming in front of the other five members of the band as they spun out a collection of powerful and tuneful numbers.
The boys have a satisfyingly unique and chunky sound that shoves the likes of the Waterboys and Idlewild in a blender and creates some pretty tasty folk-flavoured soup in the process. Definitely a band worth catching if they bring their rabble-rousing chaos to your neighbourhood.
By now, the sometimes troubling habit of Edinburgh gig audiences to drift in and out of gigs once they’ve seen their mates’ band was beginning to become apparent. Come on kids – how about staying for the whole night – you never know, you may just end up seeing your new favourite band if you just take a chance…
And if you like alt-rock pop metal with an energetic edge and a fiesty frontwoman in the shape of flame-haired Megan, Two Steps To Envy could just be that band. Guitars and bass whipped up a headbanging hurricane at points during this entertaining band’s set, and their sound mixed Garbage, Skunk Anansie and the fine vintage of Guns & Roses, all laced with some damned impressive and intricate riffing.
The metal direction of the evening was taken further by Back Alley Romeo, whose collision of glam, death metal and thrash stuck out proudly like the stake in the chest of a vampire. With song titles like ‘Voodoo Sex Doll’, you know pretty much immediately where these guys are coming from – dragging crunchy big metal riffs out of some Louisiana swamp whilst swigging JD out the bottle. Good old sleazy rock and roll with a bit of screaming throwing in for good measure – never did anyone any harm.
Some of our favourite bands are those who don’t give a toss about genres and – whilst they make a reviewer’s life difficult – create something new in the process. Casino Queen are one of those bands, a two piece guitar and drums outfit who take note of where fashion and trends are going, then speed off in the opposite direction.
Connor’s vocals and guitar create sonic shapes and moods whilst Stew does what Stew does best – goes non-stop ape on the drums behind him like some avant-garde Duracell bunny. In the process, they carve out some quite mesmerising music – tunes and refrains floating in and out of their sound cloud in a hypnotic and compelling set. Unique, original, the kind of band you have to see and hear for yourself…see? I told you this lot made a reviewer’s job tricky.
Bringing the night to a close were The Harlets. Dripping with onstage charisma and having more energy than is proper at this time of the evening, they blasted out a rock heavy set coloured with blues. Drummer Holly Butcher is aptly named, as she slaughters the kit whilst the rest of the band rock out in front of her. Their energetic and ribcage-rattling sound is a crackling end to a varied and enjoyable night.
We love these kind of gigs: even if death metal makes you want to kill somebody, or folk inspires you to punch yourself in the face and run away, the sheer variety of talent on offer here is hard to ignore and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see something you *do* like. We’re also impressed with what Fresh are up to: whilst they’re new on the scene, they’re in it for the bands and in it for the kids.
But no-one here’s doing it for the sake of their health. It would be great to see gigs like this packed with people like a tinful of moshing sardines: so next time someone puts on a gig like this, why not resist the lure of the cheap Jagerbombs in the pub down the street and stay for a bit longer? You never know, you might actually enjoy yourself…