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Gig review: Christmas Songwriters’ Club, Edinburgh

Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison. Picture: Greg Macvean

Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison. Picture: Greg Macvean

  • by DAVID POLLOCK
 

SIX years old and in its second year at The Queen’s Hall, the Christmas Songwriters’ Club is one of the finest additions to that grand old(ish) Scottish indie tradition, the gathering of the nation’s alternative music community to exercise their festive spirit as best they can.

CHRISTMAS SONGWRITERS’ CLUB

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

Star rating: * * * *

Rather than churn out a few unlikely seasonal covers, though, those appearing at this charity event were invited to write and perform their own Christmas songs.

It was interesting to note the contrasting styles applied by the many artists playing just two or three numbers across a marathon near-four hour show, although the evidence seemed to suggest it’s far easier to write a mournful, wintery tribute to frosted-over love than it is to re-create, for example, Slade’s snow-capped bombast.

Kudos, in which case is due to Findlay Napier in tandem with Karine Polwart, whose lively, unreleased tribute to a certain Strathspey music festival, Insider at Christmas, inspired much amusement for the double entendre in the title.

Jo Mango’s low-key but emotional appearance was perhaps slightly at odds with the more well-oiled fringes of the crowd, but possibly the newest song of the evening appeared in her set, a three-hour-old tribute to her brother and sister-in-law, who are expecting a child.

Kid Canaveral’s quite-old-now Low Winter Sun was pressed into service for the occasion, while the biggest name on the bill – Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison – gave a simple but sublime two song solo performance consisting of the bittersweet Cheap Gold and She Screams Christmas.

 

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