Straight Outta Pomp-town (Edinburgh Live Music column)

Feature by Dave Kerr | 15 Feb 2006
Straight Outta Pomp-town

We tireless tubes at The Skinny unflinchingly embrace the challenge to cover a huge slice of the broad spectrum of music that both Edinburgh and Glasgow have to offer (gulp), so much so that we feel the need to chat about it at length with you good people. So here it is, the inaugural Edinburgh Live Music column...

It's venue reshuffle shenanigans-a-go-go this month as Henry's Cellar Bar finally looks set to kick off a steady rotation of gigs since it recently reopened its doors (sans the full on Jazz program). So excuse me while I bandy around some slogans to categorize just a slice of what Henry's 2006 has to offer. From stoner rock, blues and funk through doom-jazz (be afraid) and ambient folk, Henry's new guise is sure to see it swiftly re-establish itself as an important declaration of faith for Edinburgh's underground.

Another brand new foray into the alternative underworld this month is The Loft (situated above the Three Sisters in the Cowgate). Every Friday the venue promises an eclectic dirty DJ mix of indie, hiphop and dance sounds to accompany a raw guerrilla-gig style evening of onstage rock n' roll debauchery. If you'd like a piece of it and want your band to be up there spitting warm Tennents into the joyous faces of the crowd then e-mail

While on the subject of 'who's ass do I need to kiss to get a gig in this town anyway?' – well it's simple, as if you didn't know already - get down to Bannermans, Subway Cowgate, Whistle Binkies or The Three Tuns, to name only a small handful of the lynchpin venues in the unsigned band scene. See the likes of Rise Up, Emergenza, East Meets West, Magners Unsigned and T-Break – the opportunities are rife and there for the taking.

If you feel compelled to shoot for a high seeding, The Walkabout has recently launched a Jack Daniels sponsored competition to find the unsigned champion of champions. Fancy a crack? Pick up an entry form from The Walkabout (omnicentre) and submit it along with a demo CD by March 10, to be considered for inclusion in the Edinburgh heat on March 19 and impress your way through the regional, semi and and national grand final. Then, once you've emerged victorious, like some kind of Daniel Larusso-style underdog, there's a pretty amazing prize consisting of a four day trip to Tennessee where you'll spend a day recording in the world famous 'Sun Studios' – amazing – and you even have to fight for it like The Man in Black did too.

Don't panic if you've seen the doors to Gig (on Lothian Road) closed recently, it's only so that they can get rid of that frankly stinking stripey carpet that makes you feel like you're Tony Vercetti and you've suddenly been transported back to that 80s discoth'que in Vice City. Seriously though, they've put the rock revolution on hold until the summer so that they can inject a cool 2 mill into a refurb to send it on its way to fulfilling some of that potential.

Strewth, all of this venue chat has left me shit out of space to talk about what counts: the music man, the music. To touch just a few bases on that front, Edinburgh's chief ska exponents Big Hand journey north from their new dwelling to play a homecoming show on the 3rd at The Left Bank where William Douglas also takes up residency throughout the month (see listings for details). Later on in February we have an evening of infectious malcontent as The Acute put it down for the lost Holy Bible era Manics generation with The Rushes at Cabaret Voltaire on the 18th. There's also a few opportunities to catch new ex-Degrassi/Idlewild/Gloria Flaw troupe Des Jour roll out their agenda (Bannermans on the 22nd is one such instance), citing an intriguing mix of influences ranging from Four Tet to Husker Du, you know the pedigree smells tasty.