Toffs Can't Dance

We'll be doing a bit of MC-ing. Probably not on stage mind you. We will just be disembodied voices coming from the balcony!

Feature by Duncan Forgan | 16 May 2006
How do you put a fresh spin on the age-old concept of a new-band showcase? Well, according to the fellas behind the freshest regular round of live-action to hit Edinburgh, all that is called for is a decent venue, a devil-may-care freewheeling attitude and a refreshing disregard for tiresome incestuous scenesterism. Add a liberal dash of humour, a host of carefully vetted hopefuls and a musical policy that runs the guitar rock gamut from Futureheads to Led Zeppelin and you can see why the duel masterminds of Toffs Can't Dance - Mike McGrail and Gavin Oattes - reckon they are onto a surefire winner.

"We have got the utmost respect for other guys who are doing similar sorts of nights," says Mike. "But anyone who has ever been to the Caves will know that it has a special kind of vibe, unlike any other in Edinburgh.

"We're planning to do this thing six-weekly not monthly – we don't have big enough overdrafts to hire the Caves out on that kind of basis! But that will hopefully give us more time to listen to bands who want to play at the night and also to work out what exactly we want to do in terms of our own input."

By that, what Mike means is that he and Oattes don't plan to sit on their laurels and let the night pass by in an unfocussed blur of tunes. The pair have dipped their toes into the world of stand-up comedy in the past and, while they don't intend to turn their new baby into a caper, po-faced politeness doesn't appear to be uppermost in their thoughts. "We'll be doing a bit of MC-ing," adds Mike. "Probably not on stage mind you. We will probably just be disembodied voices coming from the balcony!"

It's the live music however, that will decide whether Toffs Can't Dance cuts the mustard or not and the bill for the opening foray onto the Capital's nightlife fixture-list on the 5th of May looks solid enough – Edinburgh bands, Tam's Railways, The Briganties and The Dials providing robust back-up to Perth trad-rockers The Revivals.

And with the wonders of MySpace providing Toffs Can't Dance with a ready-made roster of possibilities, Mike is confident that standards will be sustained. "It's been absolutely unbelievable," he exclaimed. "We've had over 2000 hits since the site went up and there were bands from London and Swansea looking to play at the first event so hopefully there's a real pool out there for us to draw upon."
The first Toffs Can't Dance takes place at the Caves, Edinburgh, on May 5, entry is £5.