Music review: Edwyn Collins at the 6 Music Festival

Edwyn Collins PIC: Ian Rutherford

Edwyn Collins PIC: Ian Rutherford

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In a city not known for a shortage of live music, it could be easy to get complacent about another festival, but audiences in Glasgow have a voracious appetite for gigs so the arrival of the 6 Music Festival, curated by the BBC’s digital station for alternative music, has been eagerly embraced, with prestigious gigs by Depeche Mode, Belle & Sebastian and The Shins and a tasty day programme of talks and performances at the Tramway still to come.

Edwyn Collins, Masaaki Yoshida & Modern Studies ****

BBC Pacific Quay, Glasgow

With the 6 Music Fringe already underway around the city’s more intimate establishments, the whole joyous beanfeast was officially launched on Thursday night at this special edition of The Quay Sessions, Radio Scotland’s regular live music showcase in the vast foyer of their Pacific Quay HQ which, on this occasion, was co-presented by regular host Roddy Hart and 6 Music’s Gideon Coe for simulcast on both stations.

It was no small feat to accommodate a trio of acts with their diverse array of equipment into a two-hour live broadcast but the progress of the evening was as pacey as the music was calmly seductive.

The Glasgow-based Modern Studies describe themselves as “chamber pop” which is as tenuous a description as any for a group who defy easy classification. I’d go for folk fusion if that didn’t imply a pseudish edge which is entirely absent from their elegant sound, which blurs boundaries with jazz and the smoother end of progressive rock in subtle ways, using an exquisite palette of bass, drums, cello, xylophone and a barely audible harmonium over which Emily Scott’s assured alto provides the soothing finish.

Next up, London-based artist Masaaki Yoshida, who records as Anchorsong. Armed with a keyboard and mixer, he created live loops, beautifully underscored by a string quartet to produce a jazzy concoction of warm electronica and graceful orchestration.

The good medicine continued with an acoustic set from the mighty Edwyn Collins, accompanied by two guitarists, plus keyboards and sparing saxophone for gorgeous, dusky embellishment on a set of Scottish pop classics, ranging from the earliest Orange Juice singles via their evergreen hit Rip It Up to the many delights of his 30-year solo career, which confirmed that there is never a bad time to indulge in his impish company.

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