Fence Club @ The Caves, 17 Sep
Featuring James Yorkston & The Athletes, Malcolm Middleton, The Pictish Trail & Rozi Plain
Even though hipster’s fave Bon Iver is appearing up the road at the Queen's Hall, there are lengthy queues outside The Caves for tonight's Fence Club and a few unlucky souls are turned away due to a last minute sell-out. The subterranean den is absolutely rammed both with the Fence faithful and a large contingent of curious newbies. It's a spacious venue, but unfortunately the layout makes it difficult for everyone present to get a clear view of the stage.
The performances and friendly atmosphere more than make up for the squeeze, though. Things kick off straight away with a tantalisingly brief joint set by The Pictish Trail and Rozi Plain, immediately bolstered by a well-received guest spot from Fence affiliate Malcolm Middleton. The main event takes its shape when James Yorkston and the Athletes hit the stage; something about the quiet confidence of Yorkston’s voice is enough to send a hush throughout the venue for at least a few moments, before the drunken rabble who can't get close to the stage drift back into conversation. But those of us who continue to pay attention are rewarded with luscious live versions of songs from his new album such as Tortoise Regrets Hare and title track When the Haar Rolls In, plus some well chosen gems from his back catalogue including the gorgeous I Awoke. The set highlight, though a close call, emerges in the form of an epic cover of Lal Waterson’s Midnight Feast, with trusty henchmen King Creosote and The Pictish Trail giving it laldy on backing vocals.
King Creosote then ties things up with an eclectic DJ set that made a pleasant backdrop to some last minute boozing and bonding, before he and Yorkston drove off into the night in a car held together with some sticky tape. And with a free exclusive piece of vinyl for everyone on the way out, this is one club that even Groucho Marx would have wanted to become a member of. [Milo McLaughlin]