The Jesus and Mary Chain @ Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, 14 Aug

As part of the Edinburgh International Festival's Light on the Shore series, Hidden Door present a trio of bands tonight that really speaks to the strength of the Scottish music scene

Live Review by Lewis Wade | 15 Aug 2018

As part of its ongoing quest to breathe life into derelict spaces, and to highlight the cultural gems of Leith, Hidden Door presents a trio of bands tonight that really speaks to the strength of the Scottish music scene. The evening begins with two relative newcomers – Spinning Coin open with a collection of breezy tunes and swirling visuals, attracting a sizeable crowd for Honeyblood to pummel with their spiky, freewheeling guitar and ferocious drumming.

After a short video about the project (#SaveHiddenDoor), a murky haze fills the room in anticipation of the main act, alt-rock stalwarts The Jesus and Mary Chain. Early songs like April Skies, Mood Rider and Head On (with its thunderous guitar line) highlight what a sleek mechanised force the band have become. Snakedriver represents a shift in pace, with the somewhat colourful lighting replaced with iconic black and white, allowing Jim Reid to adopt his trademark pose; peering out through the gloom, encircled by smoke and darkness.

From there it's a tour-de-force of classic Mary Chain, with Darklands and Reverence conjuring up squalls of feedback before dipping into the more saccharine delight of Just Like Honey – the biggest singalong of the night. A sore throat means that Jim Reid is unable to reach the heights of his snarls, but he does a fine job bringing the night to a burly crescendo with the mesmeric War on Peace sandwiched between heavy hitters In a Hole and I Hate Rock 'n' Roll.

As encroaching council directives seem hell-bent on stripping Leith of its cultural heart, and increasingly narrow margins continue to dilute the originality of the mainstream music we hear, Light on the Shore is a proud exemplar of grassroots dedication and the bounties it can provide. A sense of community within music will withstand any short-sighted measures made by those who seek to stifle creativity in the name of profit. It will, as the motto of Leith emblazoned on a plaque above the stage plainly states, “Persevere.”