Sacred Paws @ Summerhall, 10 Feb

Live Review by Tallah Brash | 20 Feb 2017

“Sorry for being such a downer on a Friday evening..." remarks The Doozer halfway through his performance. We have to be honest and say he is a bit of an odd opening choice for Sacred Paws. Armed with a microphone and a mic’d up acoustic guitar, The Doozer sits obscured behind a music stand homing his cheat sheets – his music has a very old-fashioned folky feel, and he seems a bit uncomfortable and out of place, even commenting at one point that a particular track “has a really nice keyboard beat (on the recording) which would make things a bit more appropriate…” Nevertheless, pleasant enough and a nice way to ease into a Friday night.

Up next are Spinning Coin, who have been getting a heck of a lot of attention lately – they’ve just toured with Teenage Fanclub and have a second 7'' coming out at the end of March via Domino. Listening to them live, we can hear the appeal – they are a meticulous, well-oiled machine, and are clearly talented musicians, but we can’t help but feel they need to work on their stage presence. Their set fell a bit flat, and for much of their time on stage it felt more like witnessing a practice session than a live show.

Showing us exactly how it should be done are the snazzy-shirted, barefoot Rachel Aggs and the effortlessly cool Eilidh Rogers, aka Sacred Paws, proud creators of Rock Action's latest release Strike a Match.

For half the set they play as a duo and the rest as a four-piece when joined by guest bassist Moema Meade, aka Lady Neptune, and Spinning Coin guitarist Jack Mellin. What a difference in Mellin this time around – he looks like he’s having bags of fun and we’re with him every step of the way.

To say Sacred Paws’ music is uplifting would be an understatement. On one of the coldest, crappiest days of the year so far (it was snowing earlier), the Summerhall crowd are transported away with the infectious Afrobeat-influenced tropical pop sounds of the London-via-Glasgow duo and it’s impossible to stand still. Think Paul Simon’s Graceland with an angular post-punk makeover. It’s an amazing combo and we can’t get enough.

Throughout the set Aggs and Rogers share vocal duties and if Rogers could leave her drum kit we’re sure she’d be running about just as much as Aggs, who must’ve burned off a good 800 calories or so during their set – it was genuinely like watching a musical aerobics class. During the set Aggs runs laps back and forth of the Dissection Room's ample stage; she also impresses with a bout of imaginary keepy-uppy and a plethora of star-jumps. It’s both exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure.

For the last song Aggs jumps in front of the centre-stage monitor and plays into the crowd before one final lap… or so we think. We’re now all full of beans so the duo treat us to an encore of Vince from their debut EP 6 Songs, and Aggs has one final workout before the duo finish up and the audience erupts in ear-bursting approval of Sacred Paws’ Friday night party. Whatever Sacred Paws are on, we want some.