Neu! Reekie 29

Neu Reekie 29


Starting twenty nine minutes late-although I had been waiting fifty minutes by this time- allegedly in homage to it being their twenty ninth show Neu! Reekie swept into action pretty much from the get go and didn’t really let up all night; in the best way imaginable, of course.

First on the agenda were three animated films from Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Denmark. First one up was fast paced, symphonic and symbolic whilst the second a dark brooding piece’7 Days in Warsaw’ was moody, monochromatic and brooding. The third film however was almost light hearted and more vibrantly colourful depicting a love story with a difference set against some amusing synchronised swimming and a Strauss soundtrack.

Barely pausing for breath it was swiftly onto the first of the night’s spoken word sections, Ron Butlin. Assisted by a jazz duo- Dick Lee and Ann Evans- to give his poems more structure he entreated us to his world view of Edinburgh as seen through Edinburgh’s Poet Laureate’s unique vision.

‘Gondolas OF Edinburgh’ was a witty detailing of the seeming incessant and unstoppable rains of last year which almost turned our fair city into not so much the Athens of the north but more its Venice. Second poem ‘How Can the Words I Love You?’ was the result of an auction where a specially commissioned poem was the main prize and was rendered especially poignant by the fact Butlin had to write a poem declaring love for and to a woman he had never actually met. Third poem was about the infuriating debacle formerly known as ‘The Trams’ which engenders an almost instant feeling of rage amongst the denizens of Edinburgh.

The musical accompaniment was, to these ears, superfluous however and often stumbled into seventies sitcom land but at times it did emit a bit of light relief and dramatic flourish.

Next up was more animation in the form of Bafta winner ‘I Am Tom Moody’ by Ainslie Henderson which was skilfully executed, amusing and well thought out-hence the Bafta perhaps- and as a recent convert to the joys of animation must admit I thoroughly enjoyed this as I did several months ago when first seen when it was shown at an earlier Neu Reekie.

More spoken word followed with Miriam Gamble who introduced us to her world of feral cats- as opposed to domesticated ones- and other wholesomely random topics before making way for the first of the evenings musical interludes; Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison making a solo appearance after a successful outing for his band the previous evening in Glasgow.

Elements of Damien Rice and the more acceptable end of Van Morrison wound their way into this set and the standout track was one opining ‘Blood is thicker than concrete’. It was a short, concise and sharp set performed totally ‘unplugged’ without even a microphone for company. That it was emotionally raw and heartfelt and able to reach a whole roomful of people only added to how impressive this set actually was.

Final act of the evening was the legends that are indie stalwarts The BMX Bandits who turned in a whimsical and amusing set which although occasionally teetered on the precipice of twee somehow always managed to pull itself back from the edge just in time. A summery vibe permeated their numbers and on what felt like to many the first day of spring they could not have streamed the zeitgeist better if they had tried to do so. Standout track was ‘Fireworks’ which was penned by Teen Canteen- playing at next month’s instalment incidentally- Diva, Carla Easton, which suited their sensibilities down to the ground.

That wrapped up another instalment then of Edinburgh’s most consistent night out. As noted before the next edition is on the 29th of March and features live music from Teen Canteen as well as a host of other surprises which have yet to be announced. Also on the agenda is an appearance at the Poetry Club in Glasgow on April 13th which will host the first full live set by Edinburgh super-group led by former Fire Engine, Davy Henderson. That is a date definitely not to be missed!

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