Neu! Reekie 27


Their final hurrah for 2012 saw Neu! Reekie pull out all the stops with a show which must rank alongside their best yet. A great line up and a fantastic atmosphere allowed for an amazing night which went from strength to strength although it started off with being kept waiting in the foyer whilst The Pastels soundchecked but the busking debut of Roy Moller dulled the pain somewhat-queuing in any form is not a personal favourite pastime of mine- and once we were allowed into the hall matters started looking up almost immediately.

Starting with the usual animation sequence the first piece was a Picasso collage accompanied by the classic Jonathan Richman tribute to said great artist. Next up was ‘The Match’ –a football theme ran through the evening due to founder Kevin Williamson taking part in a Scottish writers versus English writers match the following day- which was interesting for about the first ten minutes but after this it admittedly began to drag a little for me.

The word drag or phrase going on too long could not however be applied to the next act; Emer Martin. Apparently given a rigid timeslot she had to adhere to she therefore more than made the most of her allotted spot opening with a poem about Varian Fry. Her second piece was a hilarious listing of all the diets which so many women- and men- turn to in the hope of attaining the perfect body through suffering and weight loss. Rounding up every failed attempt with the line ‘Nothing made me thin’ only highlighted the problem with diets in that they are destined by their own design to fail. It was particularly amusing for me as I know several people who have tried nearly every diet Martin listed- from cabbage soup and downward dogging through to  acupuncture and avoidance of wheat- and collectively still  bemoan ‘nothing made  me  thin’ with the realisation that perhaps nothing ever will. Concluding with a last poem which was essentially the history of Ireland in four and a half minutes Martin’s time was up and she followed that old showbiz adage of leaving us wanting more.

More animation was up next in the form of the surreal classic ‘The Hand’ before George Gunn gave a thought provoking and evocative reading of ‘A Walk in Strathnaver’ to a lilting musical accompaniment by Iain Copeland.

It was then onto the first of the evening’s musical acts, and what is probably now my favourite band of the moment, TeenCanteen. Coming on like an amalgamation of The Shangri-Las meets Arcade Fire then topped up with Beach Girl Harmonies delivered with a Scottish lilt they had the audience in the palm of their hands from the off. Their sound was only complemented by the vintage George Best footage which played as their backdrop. I have missed this band on the occasions they have performed before and now know what I was missing and will ensure there is no way I will miss them again. A great set which only drawback was that it was too short. It was however enough!

As if this highlight was not enough the evening finished off with a climactic performance by The Pastels. This Glasgow based band  turned in a set of nuanced performances of mini symphonies which showed the band members communicating through their dextrous musical abilities to create a blisteringly hypnotic and intense wall of sound which could hardly fail to impress. Their last number ‘Baby Honey’ was one of the most intense live outings I have ever heard and as it decelerated from an almost trance like primal peak to a juddering conclusion the tension in the room was quite palpable.

That then was it from Neu! Reekie for 2012, a year which has seen them grow from strength to strength. They are having a month off in December and will be back at the end of January which allows them time to galvanise their resources and attempt –as they have throughout the last year- to best their last show.

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