IF IT’S true that you can judge a band by their fans, then the Saw Doctors should be rather glibly summed up in one word: drunk.
The Saw Doctors
Picture House, edinburgh
Star rating: * * * *
Not that the band themselves were, of course, but the spirit which pervaded the Picture House was positively carousing, with fans dancing unsteady jigs and reels and waltzing in each others’ arms wherever a spare few feet of space could be found. It was hardly a set for standing quietly to one side – there was little option but to go hard or go home.
With founder members Leo Moran and Davy Carton both circling the fifty-something mark, there was something both old-fashioned and refreshingly youthful about the group, an alchemical blend of the folk tradition in its rawest and most celebratory sense, and just a touch of the punk sensibility we might expect from gentlemen of their age. Onstage, they and their band were blessed with a surplus of energy throughout the near two-hour set, and off it their output is so prodigious as to have yielded a recently-released second volume of greatest hits entitled 25:25.
Many of these were aired, including Takin’ the Train, Galway & Mayo and N17, a diverse selection of heartfelt roots rockers which often fell back on the fact they were playing to a thirsty Friday night crowd. As the encore finale Hay Wrap built to a wild conclusion, we were told “it’s been lovely coming here,” although the sense of rowdy, rustic charm which pervades their music meant a homely welcome was the least they deserved.