Gig review: Hugh Laurie and the copper bottom band, Edinburgh

“This is a line I never thought I’d hear myself say,” says Hugh Laurie halfway through his set: “here is a song from our first album,” the emphasis being on the word “first”, because there is now a second (released last month) – implying that after a successful career as a comedian and actor, Laurie can officially add the word “musician” to his CV.



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The sense that Laurie is living a dream he never actually thought would be a reality is palpable throughout the evening.

Easily dismissed as a middle aged vanity project, his desire to dust off and re-ignite old songs from the American jazz and blues repertoire has, in fact, found an audience, a particularly diverse and appreciative audience if the Edinburgh Playhouse crowd is anything to go by.

Laurie brings much to the table: his amiable wit (much in evidence between songs), a passionate knowledge of his musical genre of choice, and some darn fine piano playing. What he doesn’t bring is a singing voice that rises much above pleasing.

But this matters little, because the Copper Bottom Band has enough talented musicians and singers in its ranks to raise the roof several times over.

They are all multi-instrumentalists who, along with Laurie, never let the energy drop for a second, each song sounding as fresh, punchy and tight as the last.

More than two hours and three encores later, when the audience has wrung every last penny out of the ticket price, they finally leave the stage.