New Found Sound Showcase at Subway Cowgate

Such occasions should be viewed as the chance to catch the Next Big Thing, and then harp on about it for years to come.

Article by Finbarr Bermingham | 14 Aug 2006

Just the thought of a Battle of the Bands contest is usually enough to send my memory hurtling back through the sands (or phone numbers) of time to 1991, and 'Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey'. Friday nights in the Subway may not boast the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Genghis Kahn or Death, but they certainly provide a decent vehicle from which aspiring S. Preston Esquire's and Theodore Logan's can showcase their music.

Before commenting on the acts on display, it is worth pointing out that a proper venue can only carry a band so far. This is why such a show should never be seen as the opportunity to hear the zenith of young Edinburgh musicians every week. If so, they wouldn't all still be playing this. Instead such occasions should be viewed as the chance to catch the Next Big Thing, and then harp on about it for years to come.

Blemished from the outset by the withdrawal of a few of the contestants, the evening was shorter than expected. Nevertheless, Spieler were first up to humour a rather tepid turnout. And humour is what they did. Now I don't know about you, but when my first thoughts on a band are 'honest' and 'earnest', it usually denotes a lack of spark. Honest and working their bollocks off, they were, but they simply weren't much good. Sounding forced and desperately out of tune, Spieler's sound was dwarfed by a half empty Subway. I ain't no Oracle, but that hardly bodes well for the future.

All the way from Falkirk were Mixmaster General. No sooner had I dipped my cap askew in anticipation of some old skool breaks than the stage was manned by an instrumentalist tag team that had a closer proximity to a De La Rocha-less Rage than the man they call 'Flash. The exemplary guitarist and zealous drummer were as good as you could expect for, well, a guitarist and drummer. The lack of vocals was frustrating as the big chorus cried out for some organic input.

Rounding off the show, and stealing it in the process with a bare faced audacity that would make Fagan himself blush with inadequacy, were the excellent Brady Cole. Lending as much as legally possible from the likes of Led Zeppelin, they strutted and writhed their way through a funk heavy set. The cocksure lead singer's mind was clearly in arenas of more grandeur than Friday night in Subway, striking the odd pose reminiscent of a brazen young Daltrey. The highlight of the evening.

So what conclusions are to be drawn from such a night? Well, certainly worth a fiver if you're stuck for somewhere to go of a Friday. [Finbarr Bermingham]

Read Billy Hamilton's review of New Found Sound