I wasn't able to make it to Solas on Friday night for reasons so intriguing and compelling that I can't possibly go into them here. When I do finally commit the story to print, it will undoubtedly win a Pulitzer. The resulting film will have a cast of thousands (including Colin Farrell in the Colin McSloy role) and will be the first motion picture to win an Oscar before it's even released. Watch this space.
When I do finally arrive at the new Solas grounds at Errol Park, I immediately hotfoot it over to the stables to see the comedian Josie Long. 'I need a wee, and she could really use a feed', she tells her husband. I reckon that will buy me a couple of minutes. I had thought I was running late, but on the way I see Josie, her husband (Johnny from Johnny and The Baptists) and their baby deep in conversation beside some bushes. 'I need a wee, and she could really use a feed', she tells her husband. I reckon that will buy me a couple of minutes.
As you might imagine, Josie's life has been somewhat consumed with looking after her new baby and it's fair to say that the baby features heavily in today's stand-up. She tells us that unless you are woken hourly every night by 'some sort of haunted alarm clock' looking to breast-feed, then you have no true idea of what tiredness is. Josie has also spent a lot of sleepless nights watching Netflix stand-up specials by so-called 'edgy' white middle-aged comedians. She is umimpressed: 'Saying something offensive isn't edgy. Last week I had banana in my hair for three days and didn't even notice. I've got urine on my hands right now. That's edgy!'
After Josie's set, I head over to the Main Stage where HYYTS (pronounced Heights) were playing. The Glasgow duo are still in their infancy but they have already opened for Culture Club and their debut single 'Butterflies In My Head' was named single of the week on BBC Radio Scotland. Unfortunately, they are just winding up, but I am just in time to catch their cover of Shania Twain's 'You're Still The One' which turns the country-tinged original into a slinky synth-pop landscape.
As I'm waiting to catch Solareye I run into Chris from my work who says that earlier in the day Solareye frontman Dave Hook had given a talk that asked the question 'Should Scottish People Rap?' I'm a little bit gutted I missed it, as by all accounts it was a really interesting talk that ultimately concluded that of course Scottish people should rap. Which is just as well, as that is just what Solareye are about to do. I love a bit of hip-hop but it seems over the last few decades a lot of the more commercially successful stuff seems depressingly preoccupied with celebrity, wealth and conspicuous consumption. Sorry, but listening to a millionaire spit rhymes about how his diamond Reeboks are too tight and that the Apple Store doesn't have change for his thousand dollar bill just isn't my idea of fun. On songs from his debut solo album, 'All These People are Me', Solareye harks back to the socially aware and politically charged era of Public Enemy and Del La Soul combining it with a healthy dose of Scottish humour. Dave also does a great job of making his material family friendly on the fly. Self-editing all the f-bombs to cater to the toddler massive at the front of the stage who can't seem to get enough of his music.
Solareye are followed by Stina Tweeddale of Honeyblood fame. Armed only with a Telecaster guitar and resplendent in a long gown, Stina plays stripped back version of songs like 'Babes Never Die' and the 'The Third Degree', a single off of the latest Honeyblood album 'In Plain Sight'. 'The Third Degree' is particularly impressive. Even in it's stripped back form it has a sort of lo-fi female soul-trio vibe that has me wondering if the title is a play on 'The Three Degrees'
The headline act tonight is Glasgow based Ghanian rapper Kobi Onyame. I interviewed Kobi a couple of weeks ago and since then have fallen down a bit of a rabbit hole of Afrobeat, Afrofunk and Highlife music, all stuff that informed his 2017 'Gold Album'. A lot of West African music is call and response based and so is ideal for a festival setting. Kobi enlists the audience to great effect on title track Gold, with its onomatopoeic train refrain and also on my favourite Kobi track DMCRZY. The latter track, which features a speech sample from legendary Fela Kuti an Afrobeat musician and activist, sounds absolutely epic. Kobi's band do him unbelievably proud tonight, the drumming is so tight, the brass is perfect and makes every track soar and the keyboard player brings the bottom end with some really phat and squelchy synth bass. Kobi seems genuinely unprepared for calls of 'Wan Mair Tune!' and the band strikes up a reprise of 'The Chosen Ones' it's brass refrain ringing out over the Carse of Gowrie.
As Colin was enjoying rapping and beer, our family reviewer Alice was entertaining the toddler massive with Mr Boom and such like. Check out her awesome review here >
Derain, Peploe and Matisse to be displayed alongside JD Fergusson in a major new exhibition celebrating the Scottish Colourist.
September 18th Wednesday 2019
Isosceles Theatre Company played an away fixture at Birnam Arts last week with their hilarious football comedy On Our Way to Lisbon. Read our review.
September 16th Monday 2019
Rona Munro's version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a very modern chiller, with great a set, impeccable performance and evocative sound design.
September 11th Wednesday 2019