Monday 28 February 2011

Ginger Music - Maggies Chamber Edinburgh 11 Feb 2011

Ginger Music Promotions has been gathering real momentum over the last few months, and on the 11th of February kicked off a residency at similarly up-and-coming venue Maggies Chamber with local songsmith Steve Heron; naturally, was in attendance. Before the first act had even taken to the stage, a considerable crowd had built up, and the stage was set for a strong opening night for Ginger.

Openers The Shenanigans (photo by Towserout Photography) kicked things off with their spiky indie pop. As far as the songs went, they delivered more or less the usual jangling acoustic guitar-driven "verse-chorus-solo" fare, complete with lyrics about girls and getting wasted; so far, so harmless. Of course, this style, however done to death it may be, always has its high points. In this instance, when The Shenanigans aimed more for Oasis and less for the Kooks they ended up coming out with a couple of pleasant ballads that were definitely the highlights of a set that was otherwise little more than a fun wee appetizer. The Shenanigans do, however, get points for sheer confidence, and brought along an impressive crowd. For those who are into that sort of thing, their new EP will be out soon.

The Last Knights followed up with a different colour from the same spectrum, with their pleasantly diverting pop drawing from a distinctly more American sound than The Shenanigans. The band originated as a pub covers band, and there was a certain shyness as they took to the stage, but they got it together surprisingly quickly, and cruised calmly through their set. Their songs featured melodies with elements of pop-punk, but the overall sound was delivered in a mainstream pop rock fashion; not anything totally new, but inoffensive and certainly crowd pleasing.

Main support act Sebastian Dangerfield were a man short for their set, with vocalist/guitarist/banjoist Dave Thompson away in New York, and were joined by his brother, Adam Thompson of We Were Promised Jetpacks, for a dependably solid set. Although Sebastian Dangerfield's ascent has been somewhat slower than the impressive breakthrough of Jetpacks, they have always remained true to their softer, country-tinged sound; always yielding moments of real beauty, and gorgeous songs like ‘The Sycamore Tree’, which is available on their MySpace. Though often softly spoken and understated, the band have a Wilco-like sensitivity and grasp of dynamics that makes them a real pleasure as a live act, fuelling mature songwriting with great musicianship. Their new EP is in the works.

Finally, Steve Heron modestly took to the stage. Heron's appeal, for me, has always lied with his image as a reassuringly down-to-earth, unglamorous bloke, and this has always come through in his quirky brand of indie rock; straightforward, driving and distinctly British rock in the vein of artists like The Jam and Dr Feelgood, with confrontational lyrics delivered in a way that brings Morrissey, Cursive's Tim Kasher and yes, Weller, to mind. The tunes themselves are generally as good as that sounds, with some fantastic hooks prevalent throughout, aided by the tightness of Heron's rhythm section. ‘Lie To You’ was an early highlight of the set, a studio version of which is available on Heron's Soundcloud along with numerous others. Impressively, however, the best songs of the set were all from Heron's upcoming new EP ‘Domino Mask’, which is definitely something to be excited about; ‘Marionette’ was without doubt the best song in the set. Creative drumming and some of his catchiest hooks to date were prevalent, giving the impression that Heron's best is still yet to come.

Stewart McLachlan


  1. Aw I've not seen the Last Nights in ages! Gotta love an RHS band. Last I saw they were playing Mathers and doing all covers so it'd be cool to hear them now.

  2. Well done to my friend Gary for coming so far!

  3. Just felt I had to put the record straight about The Shenanigans. If you were at this gig you would have seen that most people at the event were definitely into, ‘ that sort of thing ’. The Shenanigans burst onto the stage with an explosion of energy, their music zinging with impeccable timing, incredible musicianship and a totally original creative sound. As for their lyrics, some of them do encompass the universal themes of love and existential angst, which have preoccupied humankind since time began, but their songwriter is a true poet, whose refreshingly unique viewpoint is eclectic and compelling. The Shenanigans’ tight and edgy set was not just crowd pleasing, but crowd lifting, to a place called sublime. This is a band to watch!! karrie d

  4. thanks for the nonbiased feedback Karrie. Unfortunately it seems you were either at a completely different gig, or you have a really weird way of spelling "Oceansize"- who knows. Whatever you're talking about sounds quality though.

  5. Why do you imply this feedback is biased? The only bias I have is towards good live music. You have given your opinion and now I want to give mine, but you seem to think that your opinion ( as a would be critic) is worth more than mine (as a mere music fan) . My view, however is more representative of the appreciation the crowd felt for this band. This site styles itself as a musical forum for Edinburgh, but seems more like a dictatorship than musical democracy. In the end, it is not you or I who will have the last word, it will be the Shenanigans, through their music.karrie d