Gig review: Turin Brakes, Edinburgh

IT WAS towards the end of the show that one wag in the audience chose to make their move. “Have you ever played in Turin?” they piped up. “Yes we have,” shot back Turin Brakes’ Olly Knights, standing to the centre of the stage.

Turin Brakes: Pain Killer proved to be a particularly rocky treat. Picture: Contributed

Turin Brakes - Pleasance, Edinburgh

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“We’re like gods there.” It was that kind of night, a sometimes two-way communication between an enduring band and their most dedicated fans in a packed but intimate space. The London-formed group are of the type who inspire unshakeable affection from a substantial hardcore of admirers, even as their commercial star has dimmed.

They did, after all, find themselves nominated for the Mercury Prize for their debut album The Optimist in 2011, despite its revival for a concert tour and a live recorded version for the 2011 tenth anniversary hinting at a certain creative well-drying. The record’s key tracks including Emergency 72 and Mind Over Money were highlights here, as well as 2003’s immediate follow-up song Pain Killer (Summer Rain), except with each now retooled for the band’s current four-piece situation.

In particular, Pain Killer proved to be a particularly rocky treat, while Underdog (Save Me) benefited from a folky edge set off by Knights’ rich, rootsy voice. This rustic edge was most in evidence on an acoustic and unamplified four-way take on their song Mirror, while the closing Goodbye’s sober, mournful strains will have left a still substantial group of devotees hoping that its title and that of its new parent album We Were Here aren’t hints at an impending split. Even if so, more reactions like this to the group will doubtless have them thinking again.