Gig review: Wide Days showcases, Edinburgh

AUSPICIOUSLY talented young Glasgow singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson ended her set at the Pleasance leaving the audience in no doubt as to how they could promptly hear more of her pretty alt-folk, pointing them in the direction of her promo CDs, her profile on musicians’ website Bandcamp and offering a free track if you signed up to her mailing list.

Wide Days showcases

Various Edinburgh venues

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It was fairly typical of all seven artists who performed at these live showcases closing 2013’s Wide Days, a now well-established annual music industry seminar and networking event hosted by grassroots scene catalysts (and Scotsman Under the Radar columnists) Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon, aka Born To Be Wide, which served to teach aspiring artists the value of self-promotion.

Shrewdly staggered across three venues, quick-fire 20-minute sets allowed each act to offer a punchy account of themselves before a roomful of industry players. After Wilson – her delicate songs carried by a lovely fluttering voice – came Washington Irving, whose rousing Celt-rock suggested a genetic splicing of Idlewild and Big Country. The late shift at The Electric Circus started with Dundonian sardonic metalists Fat Goth, then progressed through Fatherson’s anthemic indie onto the scary-mask-shrouded Roman Nose’s self-styled “black electro”.

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Before that, Sneaky Pete’s had hosted two particularly eye-catching newcomers. Saint Max & The Fanatics’ ska-inflected rock’n’roll – which peaked with a manic skanking take on Boney M.’s Rasputin – signposted a bold venture into currently out-of-fashion territory. Glasgow trio Garden of Elks’ demented lo-fi punk recalled some kind of noisy curiosity you might once have tuned into with John Peel. “Find us online, usual b******t,” signed-off frontman Niall Strachan. Hey, not all bands need to have keen business heads, right?