Eugene Kelly

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  • Pete Wylie
  • Lomond Campbell
  • Craig Lithgow
Neu! Reekie! @ Leaf 30/1/16

 

For those in the know, NEU! REEKIE! has become as synonymous with Edinburgh as castles and er, shitty shortbread tins bought as presents by those who couldn’t find anything better to encapsulate their trip. Boasting some of Scotland’s brightest musical and literary talent and flaunting them globally, travelling everywhere from blustery Aberdeen to blistering Africa, the group seem to have been everywhere: except south of the border that is… So it is to our great anticipation and delight that they have chosen us as their first stop, chucking a bunch of their best in a minibus packed like a tin of exceptionally talented sardines, as well as picking up a few locals along the way.

But first CRAIG LITHGOW kicks off proceedings. This is no warm-up act, however, as the young Scot proves from the first moment his fingers start to strum the guitar; he begins to play his lavish brand of melancholic blues garnished with a soothing, pained Scottish brogue. Singing of depression, separation and inequality with a cheerful affection, the cardigan-donned youngster seems to act like a precautionary beer. Captivating the audience he seems to command them with his gentle ballads and dry humour, which perfumes the air between each song. If his name was not known by those in the room beforehand, it’ll sure to be one that resonates in the form of his sweet melodies in their ears tonight.

Suitably setting the mood with what he brands as ‘domestic blues’, Lithgow makes way for a slightly more established artist. Some of you may know LOMOND CAMPBELL better by the name of Ziggy from experimental pop band Found. Tonight, however, he is here to flaunt his talent as a solo artist, and a talented one at that. Embracing the character that is Lomond, his romantic electro is unplugged tonight as he finds himself away from synthesisers and Strats in favour of a trusty acoustic. Perhaps the highlight of his set for Scottish music lovers room-wide would have to be Baby Lee, the track he co-wrote with Scottish indie superstars Teenage Fanclub. The rendition fills the room with wide-eyed recognition

Acting as somewhat of a local ambassador for the bunch from up North, PETE WYLIE embraces what it means to be Scouse. Big, bold and bollocks in hand the local legend of WAH! fame sports a trusty pair of audacious leather kecks, showing that his audacity has not diminished since the 80s. Despite his loud appearance Wylie starts his set with a fitting tribute to Colin Vearncombe, who unfortunately passed away in the week of the show, singing the chorus to Wonderful Life before blasting into The Story Of The Blues. With no backing instrumentation, the words hold a certain haunting quality, leaving the audience time to think about mortality and how even the most talented of souls are not here forever. As an ageing pop star, this seems to be an issue which has affected Wylie, as he goes on to play Bowie’s Heroes alongside a number of his own tracks.

Having used his set as somewhat of an obituary page to 2016’s fallen stars, he makes way for EUGENE KELLY of Vaselines fame. However, unlike Wylie, Kurt Cobain favourite Kelly is only here to play new tracks, smashing through a set of solo tracks without even a mention of his band’s back catalogue. Although it is slightly disappointing not to hear some of his much loved cult classics, his set provides a slightly more mature sound, wistful and wearier.

            Matthew Hogarth

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