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Paul Haig

Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
4 stars
Almost thirty years after Josef K split up, the return of the band’s singer in his first full live solo show for nineteen years is a major event. With Haig’s old band finally acknowledged as a major influence on a new generation of artfully inclined guitar acts, it’s a chance too to see how the original songs have survived. Following recent guest slots with Nouvelle Vague, there remains a worry that Haig might be upstaged by the indie disco that precedes him. As it is, the flamboyant salute he opens this first leg of a mini tour that takes in Glasgow and Dunfermline next month with is a healthy sign of nerves and dry self-deprecation.

Wielding a fire engine red guitar and sporting tinted shades and the skinniest jeans this side of Kate Moss, Haig and the band who accompanied him on last year’s Cathode Ray project launch into the punk funk of Trouble Maker, opening track of the just-released Go Out Tonight album. In a set split fifty-fifty, old material oddly sounds fresher than the new songs, which sound cryogenically frozen in some parallel universe hit parade.

Inbetween songs, Haig confesses nerves, throwing in comedic silly-voice none-sequiters purloined from Al Murray and Harry Hill. “You’ve gotta do something to break the tension” is his excuse. He needn’t worry, even if he accidentally adds to the levity by standing with hands on hips a la Rigsby or Frankie Howerd, then gurning his way through new single, Hippy Dippy Pharmaceutically Trippy. Hearing his holy trinity of It’s Kinda Funny, Sorry For Laughing and Something Good, however, remains a quietly awesome experience.

The Herald, April 15th 2008

ends

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