Comedy and theatre are the mainstays of the Edinburgh Festival, with precious little organised musical content since the days of Planet Pop, T on the Fringe and Tigerfest. However, with a couple of mini-festivals and a whole slew of individual gigs and performances, there is enough to keep music fans amused through August – if you know where to look. Read on…
First up, former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock is doing a talk in George Square Gardens. The bassist and founder member of the punk legends will be talking about his book I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol on August 6th.
Speaking of proper pop stars, Andy Bell of Erasure has his play ‘Torsten The Bareback Saint’ at the Assembly George Square Studios from the 5th until August 16.
Edinburgh’s sainted Song, by Toad offers a slew of musical alternatives for the month of August – their Pale Imitation has shows from Meursault, The Yawns, Deathcats, Jonnie Common, Rick Redbeard and LAW.
The Queen’s Hall has Del Amitri frontman Justin Currie, King Creosote, and veteran English singer-songwriter Richard Thompson, Scottish singers Karine Polwart, Rachel Sermanni and Dougie MacLean, Broken Records and Withered Hand, plus folk veterans The Battlefield Band and Scottish album of the year winner RM Hubbert in its programme.
Tangentially musically-related perhaps, but a comedy entitled Cutting Off Kate Bush is at the Gilded Balloon.
Glasgow club night MILK decamps to the capital for a one-off show at The Electric Circus with Fat Cat signings PAWS plus noisy Edinburgh trio Lady North on the 24th August. And – of course – bespoke MILK-themed cocktail menu and DJs until 5am.
The Electric Circus has a full and eclectic programme – Leon Jackson, who was in some reality TV thing in the past, will show off his voice on the 7th, backed by Ernie Halter.
The following night, Aberdeen indie types The Little Kicks headline, with support from Redolent and Gold Islands.
Other highlights include, on Thursday 21st, Jeffrey Lewis and the Jrams; Saturday 23rd has Randolph’s Leap, and on Friday 29th August Jesus H. Foxx / Battery Face.
The Market Street venue (that’s just beside Waverley Station) also has a comedy club – the PBH Free Fringe Club Night with Phil Jupitus, Paul B. Edwards and Miranda Kane.
Edinburgh bluegrass act Blueflint play at The Village on Friday 15th August in what will be their last show before beginning work on their new album with Paul Savage. Last chance to see them until the launch tour in Spring 2015.
No Edinburgh Festival would be complete without at least one show from John Otway – but this year there’s a complete run of them. From 2nd – 22nd August, at the Jam House and part of the Free Fringe.
Sneaky Pete‘s also has a full programme of music – the LuckyMe Annual Festival Party takes place on the 17th; hotly-tipped indie combo Holy Esque are there on Tuesday 19th August; psych-folk combo Trembling Bells are on the 20th, and former Herman Dune man Stanley Brinks reunited with The Wave Pictures on Fri 22nd August.
On 10th and 11th August (11 – midnight) see former Membranes and Gold Blade man, www.louderthanwar.com founder and sometimes TV talking head John Robb in Conversation at Heroes @ Bob & Miss Behave’s Bookshop (on Holyrood Road).
The two chatshows split into, well, female musicians pretty much for the 10th – Rezillo Fay Fife, Rachel and Gayle Bell from The Twinsets, members of Teen Canteen, The Trama Dolls and She Makes War, while on the Tuesday it is an all-male cast but the focus maybe being Scottish indie rock of a certain era/persuasion – Doug Macintyre of Creeping Bent / Sexual Objects fame, journo Neil Cooper, Roy Moller, The Merrylees and Neu Reekie.
Other literary events in the Book Festival thread, all at Charlotte Square, include Viv Albertine, Julian Cope, Zoë Howe on the Jesus and Mary Chain, Gruff Rhys, and Ian Bell on Bob Dylan.
There’s plenty of African music on show in the capital in August, but the pick must be from Samba Sene (Diwan) and former Bhundu Boy Rise Kagona in Africa Live, on August 15th and 22nd at the New Town Theatre
A Band Called Quinn will be performing their touring musical play ‘Biding Time (remix)‘ as part of this year’s Made In Scotland showcase with a run at Summerhall from the 7th – 23rd of August.
Eclectic and hard-to-categorise quartet The One Ensemble, have a show on 11th Aug.
Also at Summerhall, more is this music? faves in Pumajaw‘s Song Noir runs from 18-24th Summerhall
Further afield in many senses, there’s an exhibition sunning at Summerhall until September 26th – ‘Life as a Cheap Suitcase (Pandrogyny and a Search for a Unified Identity)’ by Genesis and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, (yes, that’s GPO out of Throbbing Gristle).
Former Dawn of the Replicants frontman Paul Vickers continues his series of surreal musical sketch shows with Twonkey’s Private Restaurant. Taking place at Venue 183 – The Mata Hari room at Espionage, it runs daily at 20.45 until August 24th.
Former Felsons frontman Dean Owens plays a show at The Hat Pack, in the New Town Theatre on Thursday 21st August @ 10.30. It’s a solo gig, though he’ll be joined by Amy Geddes on fiddle.
Roy Moller is also doing his Lou Reed-based musical, ‘My Week Beats Your Year’ during the Fringe – featuring original songs and also aided and abetted by anti-folk legend Lach. http://www.roymoller.com/my-week-beats-your-year/ at The Whole Works on Jackson’s Close – on Sunday 10th and 17th August from 8pm – 9.30pm