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Gig review: The Scottish Stage, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations

The early crowd at the Scottish Stage were an interesting mix of existing Lau devotees, saluting their heroes at the end of another triumphant year for the Edinburgh-based prog-folk trio, and initially startled neophytes in town for the party, for whom a fiddle/accordion/guitar line-up had evidently conjured a rather different kind of noise in prospect.

However, pretty much everyone was soon likewise blissfully uplifted under Lau’s uniquely commanding and multi-dimensional spell.

From the euphoric, anthemic, orchestral-scale climaxes that concluded several masterful slow-burn crescendoes, to gentler but no less mesmerising interludes such as Kris Drever’s Americana-tinged ballad Throwing Pennies (off new album Race the Loser) and the gorgeous fiddle air Alyth’s, this was a band on top of their game and having a ball.

Glasgow guests Admiral Fallow also similarly mixed old and new material to highlight their seamless but strikingly marked development, with favourites like These Barren Years and Old Balloons dovetailing sweetly with newbie highlights including Guest of the Government and the aptly hopeful – though quizzical – closer, Isn’t This World Enough?

With the ongoing integration of roots-based Scottish music into both the official and popular mainstream further affirmed by a Peatbog Faeries track featuring brilliantly in the fireworks soundtrack, veteran tunes’n’grooves maestros Shooglenifty turned up the Caledonian feel-good factor to the max to finish.

 

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