Neu Reekie 39 Sublimely Sliced


 Arriving slightly late-not my fault- we thought it best not to enter the show, disturbing others in our quest for a seat, whilst it was still in its early animation stages therefore repairing to the bar for a relaxing drink to wait for the first break in proceedings before making our entry. Unfortunately by making this miscalculation and due to a change in the format of the evening we also missed the set by Pumajaw who I had been hoping to catch.

 Meandering up the stairs the drifting sounds of the Nancy Sinatra classic ‘Bang Bang’ delivered in the hauntingly husky tones of Pinkie McClure delivered over an ambient wash by John Wills it became clear that this was the end of their set and unfortunately we were just in time to hear their last number. I wish I had caught more of their set however as what I did catch was highly impressive. Fortunately most of what came up next-we arrived in time for the first break-was also highly worthwhile.

 Janette Ayachi opened the next segment reading from her acclaimed collection ‘A Choir of Ghosts’ in her inimitable and individual style. This was followed by the Kaspar Jancis  animation piece ‘Crocodile’ from 2009 which told the tale of a down at heel opera start who is forced by circumstance to work in a crocodile outfit before  a more surrealist turn of events take control and a more moving tale takes shape.

 Following this was Billy Letford who rendered what appeared to be a freeform piece about the late night bus journey of your worst nightmares. In truth the work was far too structured to be spontaneous but he delivered it without prompting or notes and made it seem totally effortless whilst his confidence in what he was doing was blatantly apparent  providing a highlight of the evening.

 The first musical segment of the evening- at least the first full set I caught- was by the Wellgreen who with their stunningly beautiful harmonies and immaculate pop sensibilities came across as  Simon and Garfunkel meets the Monkees and in the best way imaginable. The two piece had a sound that was distinctly pure but also strayed away from being overly mawkish. From then it was straight into the closing musical act Linden which I felt was more of the same-including band members- slightly bulked out with more musical muscle but somehow without the potency of what had gone immediately before. Perhaps it was too similar to come on immediately and suffered in comparison  but it didn’t really register with me as much as I felt it should have.

  This was however the penultimate Neu Reekie of 2013 at Summerhall and with Withered Hand and Teen Canteen lined up for the next one I felt this was more of a low key and relaxed affair than some of their more recent outings. It still had its highlights- Billy Letford Janette Ayachi and the Wellgreen maintained the high Neu Reekie standards expected- and the change of format indicates that shaking things up is still high on the agenda and this already has me looking forward to October’s edition.

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