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Edwyn Collins

Queens Hall, Edinburgh
4 stars
The original Sound of Young Scotland is in a fascinating place just now. As ex Josef K frontman Paul Haig discovered the other week playing his first show in nineteen years, second comings can be fun. In Edwyn Collins’ case, such a move is literally life-affirming. Given that the man who pretty much invented indie-pop as we know it has come through two brain haemorrhages and MRSA, just seeing him walk onstage is worth the hero’s welcome he’s greeted with on the first of two Scottish dates. Rattling off an opening salvo of Orange Juice’s greatest shoulda-been hits too would be an emotional experience by itself. Combined, the pure joy of Falling and Laughing, Poor Old Soul and What Presence?, are injected with a fresh poignancy which Collins’ cheeky-chappy of old would have cocked a sarcastic snook at.

Perched on a stool before a lectern full of lyrics, and surrounded by a devoted band led by Aztec Camera front-man Roddy Frame, Collins eases his way into a 16 song set, working hard to deliver, but comfortable enough to let the wag of old stumble through. Frame could no doubt play the entire Postcard Records back catalogue blind-folded, and he and Collins trade wry looks at some of Frame’s more rockist licks.

It’s Collins who is rockin’, though, and if he doesn’t always reach the high notes beyond triumphal takes on Rip It Up and A Girl Like You, it’s only because he rather wonderfully never did. Following a velveteen new acoustic number, even they are topped by Blueboy and a glorious Don’t Shilly Shally. Collins’s Glasgow show, tonight at Oran Mor, is compulsory for anyone with a soul.

The Herald, April 22nd 2008

ends

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