“It’s been a funny old week,” said Broken Records’ singer Jamie Sutherland from the stage. In his day job Sutherland is the music programmer here at Summerhall, where noise complaints earlier in the week had taken the shine off a programme of outdoor gigs timed to celebrate the National Museum of Scotland’s new Rip It Up exhibition, forcing the remaining schedule indoors and dividing opinion. “We tried to do something good here, but it’s tough to do things in this town,” he continued. “Loads of great stuff happens here, we just need to keep it going.”
Rip It Up Festival, Summerhall, Edinburgh ****
As it turned out, this all-day festival aimed at celebrating a diverse cross-section of Scotland’s music was still a very enjoyable and worthwhile event, and demonstrated much of the make-do spirit which gives grassroots Scottish music it’s impetus. Broken Records are a good example of this, former 4AD signees with a rustic, Arcade Fire sound whose persistence in self-releasing their music has given way to a sleek and expansive approximation of the Cure, particularly on recent single Perfect Hollow Love.
The entire festival, in fact, was characterised by local mainstays whose talent and ability is deserving of much wider recognition, including the atmospheric electronics of Lomond Campbell (formerly of FOUND); the masterful songwriting of Dan Willson aka Withered Hand; and the masterful indie-folk of Modern Studies. Two of the above have earned major indie deals recently, while the affecting electro-pop of Be Charlotte, aka Dundee’s Charlotte Brimner, has brought her major label signing which promises much.
Perhaps the most underrated talent on the bill, however, was Emma Pollock, the only former member of the Delgados still regularly making music and a continuing director of the key Chemikal Underground label, whose live show reaffirms the fact she should be regarded as a key British songwriter of the last two decades. By comparison the much newer style of Stanley Odd, led by the compulsive performance of Dave ‘Solareye’ Hook and playing their first gig in over a year, offered a warm and inclusive kind of agitprop most suited to their times.