Put on as part of Haddowfest, even before a note had been played, on paper this was a fantastic gig featuring three of Edinburgh’s finest acts. And given the profile that both Meursault and Withered Hand now have – having headlined the much bigger Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh in their own respective rights- at this point in their respective careers it could be argued that this was an intimate gig.
Doors were at seven so I was aghast to arrive at twenty-past seven to find Dan Willson and his band well into their set. Focusing on new songs, they sounded brilliant, and when the long-awaited follow-up to Good News appears, don’t expect it simply to be part 2 on the evidence of tonight.
‘Hi, we’re Found…we think.’ Found have parted company with bassist Tommy Perman, but the new look, two-piece band are now trading in rather fine analogue electronica. Their most recent album, 2011’s Factorycraft saw them reaching new heights critically and commercially, so let us hope that they continue. ‘Bangin’ has been the description of their recent shows -and I would agree.
Neil Pennycook and his merry men take to stage with a reminder from the compere that they have been longlisted for the Scottish Album Of The Year Award, alongside obvious pals like Paws, Errors and RM Hubbert and commercial heavyweights like Calvin Harris and Emelie Sandé. To my shame, I hadn’t seen a full band show from Meursault before, but I’m in quite a hurry to see them again. If their third album, Something For The Weakened demonstrated that they had evolved from folk-meets-electronica (don’t you dare call them folktronica!), then live this is one step even further. Opening with ‘Flittin’ they show that actually they can rock -but on their own terms.
This is perhaps best demonstrated by ‘Crank Resolutions’ which live is more in keeping with the magnificent melancholia of The Blue Nile or Mogwai. It’s not to say that Meursault are a miserable band -live on stage Neil Pennycook is on fine form, and quite the cheery bloke. He even dedicates ‘Dull Spark’ to Oskar ‘who is four today!’ Between their first album in 2008 Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues and the present there’s an impressive trajectory, and it will be interesting to see what Neil and co. do next. There will be an ever-growing crowd of observers waiting, too…