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The Bottom Rung Big Beat Festival – Forest Cafe, Edinburgh

May 3, 2011 Gig, Reviews 2 Comments

April 30, 2011

Due to a logistical error (the word “upstairs” being rather too small on the event poster and missing from other communications), I’m completely unable to report on the first night of this so you’ll need to look elsewhere for blow-by-blow accounts of The Men From Uncle Dad, Charles Randolph Rivers Slim Rythym Revue, Keith Douglas & The Corps of Discovery, Hidden Masters, The Fnords and The Thanes but I’ve been assured by a trusted source that at least the final third of the night was “pretty good”. Undeterred by this set-back though night two is faithfully attended.

Thee Phari'I-sees (Photo by Kenny McMurtrie)

First viewed then is, to all intents & purposes, a mystery group. The Leith Links are for reasons unspecified unable to play but co-organiser Big Gus is stood on stage with three blokes playing rather good surf guitar so whatever this combo are calling themselves on the night they deliver the tunes that were expected including a rousing version of ‘Please, Please Me’ with tighter than tight playing throughout.

The grass isn’t growing under anyone’s feet here tonight – changeovers are swift to say the least so in the space of about five records Glasgow’s Thee Phar’I-sees have taken to the stage. A great trio playing a post-punk edged brand of garage-a-billy they are unfortunately let down by a rather unclear vocal mix through the PA (an issue that is to dog all the remaining groups to one degree or another). You can’t though fault their energy though and with a less laid-back crowd they’d have torn the place up. Sticking with the west coast The Brutes, another trio, are equally quick about the business of plugging in and playing. Undaunted by the one drunk who wants to be everyone’s mate whilst in his own mind being the greatest dancer since Travolta (& his Porsche jacket wearing mate) they whip through a set of good original material like a souped up hybrid of The Smoke & The Creation with a pinch of The Monomen then leave the stage as if they’ve remembered the gas is still on back home.

Due to another commitment the penultimate performers of the night are the last band I am able to see so apologies to Les BOF! as it’s usually a pleasure to see Scotland’s only French language garage band strut their stuff. Prior to them closing the event out though it is Beat time with Janey & The Ravemen. Given that the band are basically the legendary Kaisers augmented by one of The Rapiers this is a performance so authentic it hurts. The crowd agree too and for the first time in the night the dancefloor is heaving.

A generally excellently put together event then and one hopes that the secondary aim of aiding the venue’s fight to stay alive is helped to a good degree as it’s loss would be keenly felt in the city. The bands are all on MySpace (as are the hotly tipped Prairie Rose & The Wildwoods who escape my attention) and as a warm up for July’s Big Stramash you couldn’t really have asked for better.

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