Music review: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party - Waverley Stage

Gerry Cinnamon PIC: Tony Clerkson/REX/Shutterstock
Gerry Cinnamon PIC: Tony Clerkson/REX/Shutterstock
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POLICE and stewards had an unenviable task marshalling the crush that surged onto Waverley Bridge for Gerry Cinnamon’s performance, the likes of which I’ve never seen at Hogmanay before, such was the anticipation for the Glaswegian troubadour’s performance. Clearly appreciative of the reception, a broad grin etched across his features, the Breton cap and sportswear-sporting iconoclast was in exuberant fettle, rounding off a tremendous year that’s seen his popularity gather ever more momentum, even as he’s taken every chance to denounce and shun the music industry.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party - Waverley Stage ****

Bruised and tender, opener Lullaby is emblematic of his appeal: folky, introspective and intricate, and yet thumping and anthemic, the Castlemilk native’s accent resounding clearly and connecting forcibly with those singing it back to him. With nothing beyond his acoustic guitar, a few loops and occasional harmonica, Cinnamon is a charismatic presence at the mic. Sometimes is equally passionate but bounces along breezily, while the likes of Fickle McSelfish and Canter are navel-gazing, certainly, but also assured examples of the storyteller’s craft. Stripped-back, short and sweet, Keysies was dedicated to victims of the Manchester bombing, while the unabashed Belter is vulnerable and proudly Glaswegian, a romping love song for those willing to wear their heart on their sleeve.

Supporting, Edinburgh outfit Vistas also made their mark. The indie tyros have packed a lot into their brief career, from melodic opening track and first single Sign Language to the soaring Retrospect and catchily upbeat Calm. Singer Prentice Robertson’s rich vocals cut through the occasional early fireworks released over the city, and the funky summer vibe of Hold Me suggested optimism for 2019 - a sentiment which carried into closer Tigerblood, although the band’s upbeat sound was somewhat at odds with the trepidatious lyrics.

Prior to that, the commanding Stephanie Cheape had kicked the show off after headlining the torchlight procession, her dark, brooding pop elevated by its polished electro sheen. The Hamilton-born singer and her band seized the opportunity to make a decent impression with Here I Am, a series of emotional peaks and troughs, while Homebird was a defiant blast against predestiny.

Post-bells, the stage was given over to the remnants of 90s chart troublers Snap!, and the German-originated electronic dance crew proved a decent booking for those simply looking to dance. Fronted by longtime vocalist Penny Ford and newcomer Benjamin Lowe, they gave a good account of their reverberating, juggernaut hits The Power and Rhythm is a Dancer, even repeating the latter with a new arrangement. But they were also fine value on renditions of Oops Upside Your Head and Mary Had A Little Boy, Ford’s vocals still powerful and lusty after all this time. - JAY RICHARDSON