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
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.”