TO SEE the plaid-shirted regulars of the Edinburgh music scene get in touch with their feminine sides and probably do a bit of cross-dressing into the bargain, you really want to have secured a ticket for eagleowl’s second Starz in Their Eyes mini-festival at Leith Walk’s Pilrig St Paul’s Church tonight.
If you haven’t then sadly you’re missing out, because the event sold out earlier this week. If you moved quickly enough, though, expect to see eagleowl, their fellow Edinburghers Kid Canaveral, Eigg-based label boss Johnny Lynch aka Pictish Trail and Glasgow interlopers RM Hubbert and Two Wings covering their favourite girl group songs.
Who’s doing what is under wraps, but eagleowl’s Bartholomew Owl gives an indication of what we can expect when he recalls the previous SITE event at the same venue in 2010. “We organised it with Broken Records, who were REM,” he says. “Jesus H Foxx were the Modern Lovers and Meursault were a rather surreal, banjo-wielding Annie Lennox.
“The whole thing was basically just an excuse for eagleowl to be Talking Heads for an evening,” he continues. “Although Malcolm [Benzie] and I couldn’t decide who should be David Byrne, so in the end we both were. He did the early songs and I did the later period.”
Co-organiser Laura Doherty won’t be on stage, although she has an idea what she’d like to hear. “I’ve always been a huge fan of artists like Madonna and Debbie Harry,” she says, “and Destiny’s Child were a pretty big deal for me in my formative years. Whether it’s The Supremes or TLC, the important factor is: strong women with attitude.”
She recognises that’s slightly at odds with the traditional name for the genre. “I suppose you don’t see terms like ‘girl group’ thrown around too often these days,” she says, “which is probably a good thing. I prefer to just call them groups.”
In keeping with the local element (both Owl and Doherty live around the corner from the venue), nearby charity Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre will benefit from the night’s proceeds.
“When we got in touch with them we found out that due to cuts the centre only have enough resources to provide a full service until early next year,” says Doherty. “So it seemed even more important to help raise money and awareness.”
• Starz in Their Eyes is at Pilrig St Paul’s Church, Edinburgh, tonight