Gig review: Eagleowl, Edinburgh

Eagleowl. Picture: Neil Cammock

Eagleowl. Picture: Neil Cammock

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SADLY Eagleowl’s attempts to get the promoter who had arranged this gig on stage to take a bow didn’t have the desired effect, but they got their thanks to Matthew Young of Song, By Toad in anyway.

Eagleowl

Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh

Star rating: * * * *

His great achievement, they said, was “making it okay for Edinburgh bands to play in August – it’s a very valuable thing,” and the modest but dedicated crowd were in agreement.

This was the penultimate show of the Pale Imitation Festival, a jokily-named month-long musical alternative to the Fringe organised by Young, and it felt once more as if the lifeblood of the city’s scene was pulsing, in contrast to the temporary transfusion of August’s other events.

Support came from Ian Humberstone and Smackvan on a high quality triple bill, with Eagleowl playing a short but devastatingly good 40-minute set, much of it from 2013’s This Silent Year album on Lost Map. Even with their bassist forced to take a night off, their sound was rich and complete.

Songs like Not Over and Clean the Night built a venerable, string-caressed air of haunting minimalism, otherworldly falsetto vocals arcing over the music. There was a brief foray into bassy, breezy summer pop midway through the set with Life We Knew, before an unexpected and faithful encore cover of Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer tore up the mood which had been set and replaced it with something raw and exciting.

Seen on 28.08.14

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