Last Updated on Sunday, 26 August 2012 22:39
and a half
A cappella bands are ten-a-penny at the Edinburgh Fringe. There are classical outfits, jazz and pop impersonators; almost any variety you can think of and yet despite this I’ve never personally felt the urge to watch any. Judging by their popularity I appear to be part of a scant minority, but nonetheless this gig filled me with a dubiety that even the words “Epic, Finnish and Electric” could not console. My pessimism was further compounded upon finding that the venue was, like my metaphoric pint glass, at least half-empty. It tends to be that shows of such a theatrically grand nature demand an audience of similar proportions and on this front the team had their work cut out for them.
Last Updated on Friday, 24 August 2012 20:43
Anne Edmonds, accompanied by keyboard, starts off the show with a musical number mocking the size of the venue, the time of the show, and the size of the audience. Rightly so; this woman needs a bigger venue at prime time during the fringe because she is fantastic. Her fringe debut is full of brash Australian energy that doesn’t waver and she has every single person in stitches by the middle of the show so that, even though the numbers are few, the atmosphere in the room is big enough to compensate.
Holy Moly and the Crackersss have come to Edinburgh to do their favourite thing - play music, and amazing I-can't-help-but-stomp-my-foot-and-smile music it is too.
As a first timer the to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo I knew too vaguely what to expect: military fanfare, and with the rain pouring down and all the seating being outside, in honesty, I wasn’t in the best of spirits when heading to the Castle. However, all this changed once we arrived at the top of the Royal Mile. The crowds swarmed the streets and you could feel the excitement and anticipation from the thousands of tourists and locals alike. It was a military operation getting the crowd into the stands in itself!
How do you make a one man beat box show last a whole hour? Tom Thum’s unique mix of comedy, singing and of course beat boxing shows you how and will leave you awestruck.
Veteran of the Fringe having toured with the Tom Tom Crew, Thumb’s first foray into a solo act is a resounding success. Do not be put off by the beat box banner; the mixture of music in this show has something to impress everyone.
Strange noises and percussion are set to be the stars of this year's Fringe and aficionados of the genre will find plenty to keep them entertained. Words Fiona Shepherd
If 2011 was the year of the a capella performance, this year's Fringe looks set to shake to the sound of beatboxing and other displays of vocal gymnastics. As well as the return of Michael Winslow, aka “the man of 10,000 sound effects”, Des Bishop will be indulging – or at least referring to – his love of hip-hop and beatboxing in his new comedy show Des Bishop Likes To Bang. But there are a number of shows that aim to take the art of vocal percussion beyond its basic function of creating rhythmic sounds without the aid of a drum or a sampler into more inventive theatrical territory.
The prince of Fringe beatboxers is Shlomo, who has been dubbed “the Harry Potter of beatbox” by hip-hop DJ Tim Westwood. This year, in addition to performing his own shows, Ministry of Mouth and Shlomo's Beatbox Adventure…For Kids!, the vocal wizard will direct the Fringe debut of The Vocal Orchestra, a seven-piece beatboxing choir who manipulate their voices to interpret popular hits by the likes of David Bowie, The Jackson 5 and The Prodigy. Sounds a bit like a hipster Swingle Singers.
David Hasselhoff may be nearly 60, but he’s as over the top as ever. His show is billed as intimate, but chances are, it won’t be. Words Isobel Palmer
He’s a legend in his own lifetime, and certainly in his own head. David Hasselhoff – actor, singer, star of musical theatre and reality TV; consummate professional of the old-school variety – is never, no never, known to underwhelm an audience ... or anyone in his vicinity. If he seems larger than life in a shouty 'I HAVE NO SECRETS' way, then take your preconceptions and multiply them by 100. The Hoff is a one-off.
Mud, mud, glorious mud,
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood!
So follow me, follow-
If you are already singing heartily along, then this hour of Flanders and Swann songs will be right up your street. Cobbled together by multi-award-winning comedian Tim FitzHigham and BBC Radio 4 ‘Showstopper!’ star Duncan Walsh Atkins this hour of legendary songs is good, old-fashioned fun for everyone.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 August 2011 09:21
Crowded into the HMV Picture House, excitement hung heavy in the air. The night was kicked off by the energetic Woodenbox with a Fistfull of Fivers, whose upbeat folk accentuated by an incredible horn section managed the often difficult task of grabbing and keeping the attention of an audience waiting for the main act: Gomez.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 August 2011 09:22
I had the pleasure of seeing a multi-culturally-inspired a cappella group called Voices last night in an underrated show at New Town Theatre.
Not all musical conglomerations can live up to the tagline of ‘supergroup’. However, this is not at all the case with the Burns Unit, and tonight’s Queen’s Hall gig proves this Scottish/Canadian group is a super one for certain.
Seeing Soweto Entsha perform is a truly uplifting experience for two reasons: firstly they are living proof that talent and dedication can get you anywhere, and secondly they are quite simply superb at what they do.
I’ve been a fan of Amanda Palmer since I was about 13, following her through the days of the Dresden Dolls, Amanda F****** Palmer and now Evelyn Evelyn. I’ve been to just about every gig she’s done in Edinburgh; I saw one years ago in Cabaret Volitare when Jason Webley was her support act. I’ve spent Edinburgh Festivals since spreading the gospel of The Drinking Song, when he got the audience to raise a glass and spin 'round and 'round.
Just as her introduction tonight puts it, this is not a serious show, but it is a quiet one.
Kristin Hersh, of 80s alt-rock group Throwing Muses, emerges onstage dressed simply in a white T-shirt and looking years younger than forty-five. The murmurous crowd halts to a complete hush as lights disappear and the mixed-bag of an audience prepares to listen up.
Nestled beneath the Fringe-filled streets, Cabaret Voltaire served up a fine, indie-rockin' bridge between Edinburgh and Seattle in the form of Blank Canvas and The Cave Singers.
When seeing a band for the first time, I always try to work out if it will appeal to me by looking around at the rest of the crowd. In this case, it was virtually impossible as their fan base is entirely mixed – an across-the-board range in age and demographic. It is exciting to see a band that can literally appeal to everyone.
The Twoks are pretty unusual, pretty and unusual. Xani Kolac plays the electric violin like a siren. I mean, she’s a siren, like bohemian Karen O meets Joanna Newsome. She writhes around the stage in a one-piece bodysuit, howling out enchantment. She’s a maverick, playing her instrument with a looping pedal she controls with her toes, swelling the melodies into rhapsodic choruses. Mark Leahy’s drumming is dotingly merged into the rapture. I joked, “Jeez, he’s good to be able to work with that” because Xani can go off on an impromptu detour, but he really is.
Last Updated on Saturday, 06 August 2011 02:12
With eerie blue lighting, minimalist props and a dark-suited orchestra poised for the performance ahead, there was a real sense of atmosphere and anticipation as the audience took their seats for this double helping of chamber opera. Expectations were raised further with the experimental electro-acoustic score and lyrics being dubbed ‘challenging’ and ‘unconventional’. Unfortunately with such promise, came much disappointment.
Last Updated on Friday, 05 August 2011 23:57
It’s hard to know what to expect from Scandinavian a cappella group Fork. I’m certainly expecting a decent performance given the busy venue, not to mention the good things I’ve heard. My initial confusion comes from the music blaring out as the group bursts onstage – if you were expecting unaccompanied harmonies think again: there's a backing track playing throughout. Secondly, I wonder how seriously this group really takes itself. ‘Sit back’, whispers the blonde male vocalist, grinning. ‘ We are professionals!’
Last Updated on Friday, 05 August 2011 23:41
Centre stage within the vintage walls of the Bosco Theatre stands a songstress ready and more than willing to bring you back to the bygone days of glamour, with her nightingale vocals and penchant for everything delightfully yesteryear. Indeed, Miss Lili La Scala not only promises to entertain this festival season, but promises to slap a smile on our forlorn faces, too.
The tragic death of his E.S.T. bandmate made Swedish jazz musician Magnus Öström all the more determined to keep his vision alive.
Magnus Öström likes visiting Edinburgh. It was just after they played their first Edinburgh gig, at Henry’s Jazz Cellar in May 2001, that E.S.T., the group he played drums in at the time, became jazz’s hottest property in the Noughties.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 08:48
An eight-piece brass ensemble straight from Louisiana bring their own savory brand of New Orleans jazz to the Spiegeltent tonight with the mission to ‘blow the roof off this tent.’ What seems to be the whitest audience they have probably ever performed to happily consents to stand up, put its hands up and ‘get ready to party.’
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 13:40
Anticipation is high at an expectant Queens Hall for the welcome and overdue return of Edinburgh's very own Niki King to her native city. With a critically acclaimed new album and a stonkingly hot band, The Elements, behind her, the buzz surrounding the Scottish songbird with the extraordinary soul voice sees the venerable venue packed and on tenterhooks.
Last Updated on Friday, 27 August 2010 10:25
The Ukelele Project’s clear love of making music is deeply refreshing, although, of course, the ukulele would perhaps be the least appropriate instrument to play reluctantly.
The Fringe can sometimes seem to be a bit of a desert where music is concerned. Between the tawdry titillations of cabaret singers and the earnest folk of, well, folk, there stretches a wasteland only enlivened by The Edge Festival’s big name, one- or two-night acts.
That’s where The Magnets come in, a welcome burst of colour and fun in the big purple cow.
Imagine a group of Oxford choristers locked away with only MTV and a very talented musical arranger for company. Tenuous image, I know, but the result is entertainment genius.
South Africa’s world famous gospel choir descend upon Scotland to perform a combination of traditional African, gospel and reggae songs with all the gusto and magnificence that have made them so famous. Formed from singers from the churches of South Africa’s largest township, their joyful music has led them to some of the world’s greatest stages, and Edinburgh was lucky enough to be one of them this year.
Don’t fooled by the greys, this sister has still got it. Hoowee, she does. With a voice that ‘don’t play’ and a saucy ol’ story to back up every song, Miss Morrison has her audience eating right out of her snappy little fingers.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 August 2010 14:40
Camille, the Irish-French cabaret phenomenon, was at her effervescent best as she melted everyone’s hearts with her perfectly crafted songs. Reviving the fiery cabaret acts she discovered in Berlin, she added her own tantalizing and very real edge to mostly dark and traditionally masculine songs. Her set took us on a journey through some of her favourite artists including Jacques Brel, Radiohead and Tom Waits.
Last Updated on Friday, 13 August 2010 13:48
As a virgin to Jack L’s music prior to this engagement I found myself
lured instantly by the charm of the occasion and this smooth charismatic
performer, supported by an equally compelling band. His voice and
alternative bluesy style offers a unique musical tool to revisit some of
the classics like The Port of Amsterdam, which he performed last night
to perfection to a captivated audience. Lukeman performed to an almost full crowd of movers and groovers, who all enjoyed a mixture of his original songs as well as soulful interpretations of tunes by musicians like Randy Newman.
Take note: some of the world’s best musicians will be in town for the festivals. Mark Fisher conducts a tuneful investigation into who’s top of the pops.THE BALA BROTHERS
Assembly @ Princes Street Gardens
9 & 16 August, 8pm
Infusing western classical music with the traditions of African song, the award-winning trio create an easy-listening “popera” hybrid that goes down a treat.BEIRUT
HMV Picture House
22 August, 7.30pm
Put on your Sunday Smile as Zachary Condon and his band turn out their singular mix of Balkan, European, Gypsy and Mexican influences.
Last Updated on Monday, 19 July 2010 11:37
There’s something special about the students of RSAMD, which is why producers and writers fly in from all over the world to work with them.
Read the credits for Rocket Science, a musical doing the rounds in New York City, and you’ll see an unexpected name. The show, which won this year’s Richard Rodgers Award for talented composers, owes a big debt to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD). If it strikes you as odd that a Glasgow theatre school should be considered a player on Broadway, it does not seem so to the Great White Way composers who want to get their shows off the ground. They have discovered that the RSAMD’s commitment to training actors and singers – and to giving them experience working on original material – allows them an invaluable opportunity.
Last Updated on Monday, 31 August 2009 09:27
Acoustic Music Centre
August 29th , 18:30
With more than a hint of the epic bard’s tales about them, Cheyenne Brown and Seylan Baxter arrived at the Acoustic Music Centre. Using Cello and Harp to full effect, the sounds produced evoke images of Hobbits trudging across snowy mountains, Ivanhoe setting off on crusade, and your reviewer battling rain and wind whilst trying to find the Fringe outpost that is the Acoustic Music Centre.
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 August 2009 09:46
C Chambers Street
5- 31 August 20.55
The Rat Pack: Sammy Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin- men synonymous with old Hollywood, imbibing, the tuxedo, and real and far reaching talent.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2009 10:56
New Town Theatre
5-30 August (ex.17) 20.15
A spark of the 50s that has never faded, born a black American in Ohio in 1945, Melvin Brown can still tap, croon and swing with the best of them, bringing a feeling of old Hollywood to the New Town Theatre this Fringe.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2009 09:45
C Venue, Chambers Street
6-28 August, 14.50
I always thought Acappella was the refuge of nerdy middle-aged men, who enjoyed singing but weren't cool enough to be in a rock band. What a prejudiced, unthinking fool I was.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 August 2009 21:13
Spaces @ The Radisson
10-29 August, 21.45
Watching Otway and Barrett feels like you have traveled back in time, and taken a deep breath of fresh air. They belong to an era of entertainment which embraced unkempt, rough around the edges amateurism over the airbrushed clones that currently dominate the music industry.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2009 09:45
Assembly @ Assembly Hall
11 August, 22.05
No one will ever surpass the charm and presence of Sammy, Dino and ol' Blue Eyes. People try and fail and we are just reminded of the superiority of these three legends.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2009 09:59
7-31 August, 15.45
It was a surprisingly hot afternoon. People shuffled around the Pleasance Courtyard like cattle and were then herded into the musty Cabaret Bar, which offered no coolness in the shade. The decision (made by an astounding three people on the back row), on this sticky day, to remove sweaty shoes and perch feet on stools was the only cause for complaint I found during an hour listening to Flanders and Swann.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 August 2009 14:19
Edge Festival @ HMV Picturehouse
24 August, 19.30
I’ve got to make this clear from the outset: I’ve never liked Starsailor, and though I went to the lovely venue with as open a mind as I could muster, the chances of me leaving impressed were as slim as singer/songwriter James Walsh’s book of ideas. See? I’ve already started. Oh well, press on.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 10:36
Edge Festival: HMV Playhouse
23 August, 19.20
The two acts before Bird flew on stage highlight a lot about modern music. It’s not that it’s poorly performed; rather it displays a passive-optimistic repetitiveness which varies only slightly between songs. Definitely the foothills of the musical summit which the audience would be invited to ascend with Bird.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 09:35
The Queen’s Hall
22 August, 22.00
Slippery limbed salsa with rolling hips and elbows, alongside bawdy Scottish stomps and cheers of “Aieeeeupp” were the ticket of the night. Back performing to their hometown, Salsa Celtica underlined why their albums have topped the New York and L.A. salsa charts, and European world music charts, sending the crowd into pulsing raptures that literally shook the Queen’s Hall within minutes.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 August 2009 09:26
Acoustic Music Centre
18 August, 19.15
Tucked away off Dalry Road is the Acoustic Music Centre, which continues its aim of bringing the finest folk acts to the festival. Tonight was no exception as they welcomed Scottish quintet: The Poozies.
Last Updated on Saturday, 22 August 2009 18:47
12-23 August (ex. 17, 18) 21.00
The sweetly soulful Dean Friedman is old-school; a country-and-western singer complete with piano, guitar, love melodies and naff album covers.
Last Updated on Friday, 21 August 2009 20:55
17-30 August 21.40
The Tiger Lillies are back again at the Fringe, away from the famous Spiegeltent and into the Pleasance Beyond which takes some of the burlesque features away from the act (most noticeably Ophelia Bitz) and makes us concentrate solely on the twisted repertoire of front man Martyn Jacques.
Last Updated on Friday, 21 August 2009 20:44
Assembly Hall @ The Mound
21 – 22 August , 00.00
It’s an inspiration to see Edwyn Collins shuffling on to stage, cane in hand to perform at the Assembly Halls. Four years ago the singer song writer suffered a stroke, which resulted in severe disability. He has clearly maintained much of his musical instincts, however, and gives a strong performance.
Last Updated on Friday, 21 August 2009 10:43
The Queen’s Hall
19 August, 22.00
Blazin’ Fiddles is a group of stupendously talented musicians, and one that you should definitely see if you get the chance. Though I’ve been to my fair share of ceilidhs, I’m hardly an aficionado of traditional Celtic music, but this band of four dynamic fiddlers backed by keyboard and guitar are so tight, so expert, and yet so fun, that it seems only the dead could fail to be entertained.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 11:36
5-31 August (ex. 24) 20:15Lady Carol looks like a gothic Lana Turner with a penchant for Arabian Nights. She sings cover versions and originals tinged with darkness, accompanied by herself on ukulele, interspersing these with unexpected comedy.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 09:27
The Queen’s Hall
13–15 August, 22.00
I’m not usually one to foot-tap or sway during sit-down shows, in fact it irritates me if I’m honest when neighbours develop suddenly into strumming beat-hunters, yet Music from the Penguin Café seem to take over my feet as they played at the Queen’s Hall. Our row of seats beating in time with the queer array of instruments on stage was a visible show of how well the folk orchestra had hooked us.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 August 2009 20:49
The Queen’s Hall
16 August, 22.00
The Queen’s Hall is peppered with an odd mixture of older folk fans, mostly occupying the pew-like seats that edge the main room, and bright, trendy young things who cluster in groups of four or five on the dancefloor. A typical Festival audience this: a cocktail of die-hard fans rubbing shoulders with chipper hipsters hoping to be entertained but little caring by what as long as there’s lashings of lager involved.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 August 2009 20:16
Music @ 100 Princes Street
14, 20, 22 August 9.30
Bach for Breakfast is quite the preferable way to do mornings. The room is overflowing with classical music enthusiasts who are here to relax and be gently entertained over a cup of coffee.
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 August 2009 10:33
Acoustic Music Centre @ St. Brides
13 August 19.15
Described as having “best kept secret status” and “one of Scotland’s most prolific song-writers”, Michael Marra is not widely known but is highly regarded, with a fiercely loyal and passionate fan-base. As part of the Acoustic Music Centre at St. Brides, he performed his outstanding set in an eerie stretch of the church.
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 August 2009 20:26
The World @ St Georges West
6-26 August, 19.20
A curiously sunny and unexpectedly exotic atmosphere is created inside a sweet west-end church by this Ethiopian music troupe. The combination of live dub reggae, ethiojazz and folkloric Ethiopian music with bright lighting, incense and sunlight streaming through stained-glass windows creates a transporting sense of warmth.
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 August 2009 17:52
12 and 27 August, 22.00 and 19.00 respectively.
‘Hullo’ says the Hagrid like lead violinist from Shooglenifty, the six man fusion of music which could only be vaguely described as traditionally Scottish. Indeed the sounds experienced are far more international than Scottish. I can only imagine how the group ever actually managed to produce the sounds they do.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 12:45
Valvona and Crolla
16, 20, 23, 27, 30th August
A wee room at the back of Valvona and Crolla, a wee nip of whiskey and a wee crowd sets the scene for a gossip about Rabbie Burns and his various, and often nefarious, dealings with the lassies.
Last Updated on Friday, 14 August 2009 12:58
Assembly @ George Street
6-16th August, 16.50
Shoo Shoo Baby, the very glamorous misses Anna Braithwaite and Tanya Holt, accompanied by their faithful pianist and Musical Director, Michael Roulston (aka Fingers) immerse you in an evening’s education in Cabaret galore.
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 August 2009 16:26
Edge Festival @ HMV Picture House
10 August, 19.00
Rarely a day goes by when Calvin Harris is not heard on the radio or seen on TV. His production skills are widely recognised and backed up by a steady succession of successful collaborations (Kylie, Dizee Rascall) and he’s rumoured to be working with pop sensation, Lady Gaga, at some point in the future.
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 August 2009 16:27
Assembly @ Assembly Hall
9-31 August, 18.35
Hard of hearing? You will be after seeing this show! The pace and energy of this show is unlike anything I have witnessed before, with the drummers being as much athletes as musicians. This show displays a fantastic combination of drumming, music, dance and physical exertion – you need look no further than the drummer’s faces to see that they throw themselves into the rhythm of the performance.
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 August 2009 16:28
Assembly @ Assembly Halls
11-31 August 14.50
It is the sixth year for this African choir at the Fringe and it is becoming the show that should not be missed. Consisting of a mix of traditional Zulu and contemporary African gospel music, the hour-long show is flawless and perfect in pitch and pace.
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 August 2009 16:29
City Edinburgh, 1a Market Street
7-11 August, 20:00
Sexy, hip and funny, Rachael Sage is a New Yorker through and through. Her show at City Nightclub was lively and captivating bringing together her jazzy, pop tinged voice with a piano, a stand up bassist and a drummer. The sound was polished and professional and miles away from amateur hour.
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 August 2009 16:31
Assembly Rooms @ George Street
5-21 August 15:20
This show is like marmite: you’ll either love it or hate it. David Benson’s performance is unarguably impressive and his voice brings back to life the best of Noel Coward. However, the show is very specifically directed at Noel Coward fans and the British in particular with songs such as ‘London Pride’ (although I’m not sure his fans are particularly international anyway).
Last Updated on Friday, 14 August 2009 08:30
Assembly @ Assembly Hall
6-31 August (ex. Tuesdays) 20:00
Everyone can see her knickers, and absolutely no one is complaining.
French-Irish siren Camille O'Sullivan is still as uninhibited as ever, combining raunch, laughs and fishnets with that throaty, exceptional voice, and a stellar song catalogue to boot.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 August 2009 21:45
6 –31 August (ex. 17) 17.25
It’s an odd site – even at the Fringe – to see a group of respectable middle class ladies getting so involved in a rendition of Back in Black by a group of singers. ‘Bloody fantastic’ one uncontrollably yelps out as another fans herself from excitement. Everyone is clapping along and sporadic whistles pepper the stage.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 August 2009 21:46
Assembly Hall, 7-29 August (ex. 17) 18.00
Introduced as a 'genetic experiment gone horribly well” and “a man with hands like a tarantula” (huh?), Forcione confesses that he usually plays selfishly but this time translates the soundtrack of his childhood into his funky, signature tap and slap guitar stylings.
Last Updated on Sunday, 09 August 2009 17:28
Life is tweet
Former Dresden Dolls musician Amanda Palmer returns to Edinburgh, but this time she’ll be Twittering every step of the way.