Monday 8 March 2010

The Red Stripe Music Awards - Cabaret Voltaire Edinburgh 3 Feb 2010

A version of this review is also published in The Journal.

The winners of the Red Stripe Music Awards will get to play at The Great Escape festival and get a load of Fender equipment, so it’s not surprising some of Edinburgh’s finest bands signed up for the Edinburgh showcase. The evening starts with Carrie Mac, a singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitarist accompaniment. Carrie’s songs might start from folky roots, but grow into pop saplings with branches into funk and R&B. Her voice is unbelievably powerful and pitch perfect throughout. Let’s pray we can enjoy her raw performance for a while longer before the big record label bosses can turn her into an over-produced pop princess.

The Fire and I’s lead singer/bassist Gordon is joined only by drummer/ backing singer/ keyboard fiddler / drumstick twirler Hooligan. The duo create dirty, rough grunge/rock with angry Scots vocals. The fuzzy distorted bass sound never fails to make guitars seem obsolete, and Hooligan fills every space with drum fills or cyberpunk synth noises. With a never ending supply of energy, they are the Irn Bru 32 of bands.

Pose Victorious prove the least innovative band of the evening. With their traditional five piece line-up, their Brit-pop inspired songs of laddish antics, equal parts Oasis, Stone Roses and Kasabian, are paths that have already been re-tread by every indie band around since the early 90s. Donning scarves and skinny jeans, their show may be stylish but lacks spirit.

Rather unusually, power trio Come On Gang's lead vocal comes from the girl behind the drum kit. Sarah’s voice is folksy, which is something of a juxtaposition next to the dance-tempo rock music the lads play. Guitarist Mikey plays chiming trebley riffs while bassist Trev plays a thick, slightly distorted bassline.

Strangest yet are funky, hippy-pop ensemble The Banana Sessions. Their lineup is made up of female vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, tuba, and brushed drums. Their songs include an ode to the favoured drink of neds (‘Buckfast Gets You ****ed Fast’), but their party piece is a 10 minute Prodigy medley, turning songs like ‘Out of Space’ and ‘Smack My ***** Up’ into psychedelic summer meadow romps.

Myke Hall

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