Music & Spoken Word review: Neu! Reekie! Xmas Snowblinder

As far as Christmas presents go, the 11th-hour cancellation of Charlotte Church from the bill of Neu! Reekie!'s annual festive party (for unavoidable family reasons) was like opening the wrapping and finding out one of your presents was empty. But fortunately Kevin Williamson and Michael Pedersen's regular night of music, spoken word and film was even more packed than usual with a series of special guests.

Irvine Welsh read from his forthcoming novel, DMT (Dead Man's Trousers)

Neu! Reekie! Xmas Snowblinder, Central Hall, Edinburgh ****

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There were spoken word readings from former Arab Strap singer Aidan Moffat and from Neu! Reekie!’s spiritual muse Irvine Welsh, whose works Williamson published in the early 1990s. Reading from his soon-to-be-published new novel DMT (“or Dead Men’s Trousers”), Welsh revisited the characters from Trainspotting once more as they enjoyed Hibs’ 2016 Scottish Cup final triumph with a microphone-shredding succession of goal-signalling yells, each of which inspired a largely non-partisan audience to feign their lifelong Cabbage support for a few minutes.

Outside on the steps of Edinburgh’s Central Hall, a stunning venue which is ripe for more concert performance, one of the year’s most singular happenings took place for an audience of a few dozen, as the KLF’s elusive art-punk Bill Drummond delivered an amusingly peculiar sermon and shone shoes, while the music line-up included solo performances from Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale – her cover of Last Christmas was a festive thrill – and Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison with a tribute covers set in honour of the late Tom Petty; Freefallin’, naturally, got quite emotional.

As the only electric band on the bill, Emme Woods had the daunting prospect of taking Church’s headline spot, but their bold sense of indie-rock confidence kept the audience where they were until the end.