Skip to main content

Lilly Allen, Soul II Soul, Young Fathers - Concert in the Gardens

Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
Four stars

Lily Allen wasn't the obvious choice to headline this year's
Edinburgh's Hogmanay, even with her third album, Sheezuz, coming after
five years out of the musical loop. From the moment this most
gloriously contrary pop star bounds onstage sporting a sparkly hooded
baseball top with a giant A on the back on a stage set of oversize
illuminated babies bottles against a pink and purple backdrop, however,
Edinburgh is hers.

Prior to that, on the Waverley Stage, Scottish Album of the Year and
Mercury Music Prize winners Young Fathers kick the night off with a
manifesto-like cacophony of synthesised sirens, projected slogans and
martial drums that ushers in a darkly intense set of righteously angry
twenty-first century hip hop.

Joined by chanteuse and kindred spirit Law, the band's frontline trio
of Kayus Bankole, 'G' Hastings and Alloysious Massaquoi let loose a
fitting antidote to the City's archaic rules on live music provision
which they've spoken out against. Only when an abrupt halt is called
after Massaquoi spots his family in the audience apparently being asked
to move do things turn awkward. Young Fathers take the city by storm,
anyway.

At the Ross Bandstand, things are infinitely mellower as Soul II Soul
remind audiences where the roots of British hip hop come from in a
manner so chilled you almost want to call out for a cappuccino. With
twelve people onstage, the core duo of Jazzie B and Caron Wheeler drum
up a well-choreographed feelgood vibe that goes beyond 1990s nostalgia.

Allen is the final link in the chain of multi-cultural Britain's
musical joys, as she applies her estuarised slang queen couplets to
ska, calypso, cajun and African highlife, so rich is her pick and mix
tray of musical confections.

Allen's growing up in public is plain, be it on the candid country
hoe-down of  It's Not Fair, several homages to her husband or else a
paean to her ex's undersize manhood.

After the bells comes Smile, which also makes for the first well-placed
cuss of the year. Finally, Allen gets a young man called Kevin up from
the audience to sing a duet on what might be the most joyously sweary
pop song ever. Both Kevin and the thousands of revellers before him
rise to the occasion, seeing in the new year with a four-letter
singalong of devil-may-care joy.

The Herald, January 2nd 2015




ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …