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Neu! Reekie! #1 - Michael Rother, Lydia Lunch, Fire Engines, The Honey Farm

Light on the Shore @ Leith Theatre
Five stars

A gnomic Michael Rother is sitting in the balcony when Dunbar-based all-female trio The Honey Farm open the first of two nights at Edinburgh International Festival’s Light on the Shore strand curated by Edinburgh’s premiere multi-arts night Neu! Reekie! with a set of potty-mouthed hip-hop. What the veteran pioneer of German kosmiche music makes of them is anybody’s guess, though the entire evening must be pretty bewildering for him. Rother confesses later that the night’s name being inspired by Neu!, the duo he led over three albums in the 1970s alongside drummer Klaus Dinger as being “slightly strange.”

Neu! Reekie! co-founder Kevin Williamson has even learnt German for the occasion. The effect of this as Williamson and fellow mine host Michael Pedersen tag-team their introductions is a little bit Eurovision. With Rother headlining a night that also features New York’s punk spoken-word provocateur Lydia Lunch and the allegedly final reformation by Fire Engines, arguably one of Edinburgh’s most influential bands, this is Neu! Reekie! showing its roots while remaining majestically in the moment.

“Hello, teenage Leith,” says Fire Engines frontman Davy Henderson by way of greeting. Henderson is wearing a silver anorak and not much else, as if he’s survived a marathon and now needs to cover his modesty. Fire Engines’ core quartet is joined in the second of two ferocious fifteen-minute sets by former Josef K and Orange Juice guitarist Malcolm Ross. Playing either side of Lunch, this forms a conceptual bridge between auld reekie and the New York No Wave primitivism that sired Lunch’s angry litany.  

Rother is accompanied by a drummer and a second guitarist for almost ninety minutes of
propulsive sci-fi proto-techno melodies to dance, drive and disco to. There’s an infectious warmth to the hypnotic motorik rhythms that may be old, but sounds forever Neu!

The Herald, August 14th 2018



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