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Concert in the Gardens 2012

Ross Bandstand, Edinburgh
4 stars
Some bands really do have all the luck, as the line-up to see in 2013 in Edinburgh proved with an anthemic flourish this year. Local wannabes Bwani Junction kicked things off with a brand of intelligent and infectious African-tinged power-pop that was puppy-dog eager to please, but which in the end sounded more Big Country than Fela Kuti. The View too kept things straightforward, sounding somewhere between The Kinks if they'd sang about the Tay rather than the Thames, and 1960s novelty-jocks, Lord Rockingham's X1.

It was left to a rejuvinated Simple Minds, though, to capture a full sense of triumphalism. Entering to their synthesiser dominated instrumental, Theme For Great Cities, original members Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill set the tone with a rapid-fire pre-bells triple whammy of Waterfront, Love Song and Celebrate. With Kerr basking in the shape-throwing beatific greatness of it all, it was a fabulous opening salvo for a widescreen greatest hits set that recaptured a lost of era of neon and chrome-lined aspiration.

I Travel opened the new year with a form of electronic motorik metal that still sounds like the future, while Don't You Forget About Me remains the band's defining moment they never wrote. Kerr gets the crowd to sing along, scatting and extending things like the sort of 1980s twelve-inch remix they simply don't make anymore. Designer lager ads too are recalled on the closing Alive and Kicking, a song overblown with false optimism, but which, like the dad dancing Kerr indulges in to Brian Ferry's Let's Stick Together before he leaves the stage, for the moment, is perfect.

The Herald, January 2nd 2012

ends

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