Light on the Shore @ Leith Theatre
“You all look too young to remember the sixties,” says Jeanette McKinley, standing beside Emma Pollock as she announces their duet of Sweet and Tender Romance, one of 1964’s great lost pop classics when Jeanette and her sister Sheila released it as a single under the name The McKinleys. It’s one of many high points of this lovingly curated celebration of some of the unsung female pioneers of Scottish pop that forms part of Edinburgh International Festival’s Light on the Shore live music strand.
The night acts as a trailer of sorts for a documentary film being made on the subject by Carla J Easton and Blair Young. As initiator and driving force behind the night, Easton’s tenure fronting Teen Canteen and as a solo artist now sees her fronting a house band made up of members of Randolph’s Leap, Lola in Slacks, Kid Canaveral and The Moth and the Mirror.
The night opened with the sassy power-pop-punk-a-rama of The Van Ts followed by a joyous four-piece version of Sacred Paws. Following a collage of clips from the film, Easton and co zigzag the decades with various guest stars, beginning with Gaye and Rachel Bell of the Twin Sets, whose glorious harmonies reinvent sixties girl-pop for the post-punk age.
Anne and Tash from original Edinburgh punk band Ettes follow, before former Sunset Gun chanteuse Louise Rutkowski glosses things up. Jane McKeown of Lungleg adds some 1990s punk, before Pollock takes the lead on joyous renditions of His Latest Flame’s America Blue and Courage by Sophisticated Boom Boom before being joined by McKinley.
To finish, ex Strawberry Switchblade vocalist Rose McDowell and Adele Bethel of Sons and Daughters join forces to play the song that gave the night its name. The night ends with Bossy Love performing a euphoric electro-funk-disco finale to a cross-generational show of musical strength to cherish.
The Herald, August 27th 2018