Gig review: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party

Shooglenifty. Picture: JP
Shooglenifty. Picture: JP
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WHILE all the young dudes patiently awaited the arrival of Biffy Clyro over in Princes Street Gardens, a decidedly more mature audience busied themselves footstompin’ to some of the top hitters of Scottish folk music on a packed Castle Street.

SHOOGLENIFTY, PEATBOG FAERIES, RURA

RATING: * * * *

EDINBURGH’s HOGMANAY: STREET PARTY - CASTLE STREET STAGE

It took a good 20 minutes, though, for Glasgow’s multi-award-winning RURA to hit their stride. Blowing on their fingers and sporting climate-friendly attire, the icy weather virtually demanded a heads down, nose-to-the-grindstone approach. Thus, a lot of the subtlety in their music was wasted on an audience keen to get into the groove. When thy did eventually get into their stride - on a tune “about girls and drinking too much”- the sub-aquatic boom emanating from David Foley’s bodhrán ensured knees were raised, plastic cups of booze held aloft.

No such concerns for the Peatbog Faeries, however. Right from the off, their Euro-inspired dance beats and hypnotic rhythms turned this freezing outdoor concert in the Scottish Capital into a hot, sweaty, Ibiza club. With Tom Salter’s scratchy, funky-sounding guitar complimenting the cosmic interplay between Ross Couper’s fiddling and Peter Morrison’s whistling, it was easy to see why the Skye-based sextet are one of the best live bands around, in any genre. With whistle-stop tours made towards trance, electronica and even reggae along the way, theirs was always going to be a hard act for Shooglenifty, to follow.

Indeed, legendary Shoogle fiddler Angus Grant - boasting one of the most recognisable beards this side of hipsterdom - wasted little time announcing they were “gonna play some dance tunes to keep you warm.” And keep the audience toasty they did, serving up a slew of fast-paced ‘nifty tunes that had many gasping for air (or was it whisky?) Whatever the case, the Edinburgh acid-crofters both rounded off 2015 and kick-started 2016 in true, shoogling style.