Capital band aren't letting disability stop the rock

THE spirit of punk has been revived by an Edinburgh band with a difference.

New nine-piece outfit Brainstorm features a range of musicians with learning disabilities and played their debut gig at the Roxy Art House recently.

With members conditions ranging from Down's Syndrome to autism, the band took to the stage as a support act to renowned Brighton punk group Heavy Load, who were on their first tour of Scotland.

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The headliners, one of the most successful UK punk bands around, also have members with learning disabilities.

Brainstorm was formed through Edinburgh-based charity Upward Mobility, which hosts a variety of creative workshops for people with special needs.

As well as the weekly "school of rock" rehearsals from which the band was born, the charity – based at Art's Complex in St Margaret's House, London Road – offers classes in film, arts/crafts, photography, dance and creative expression.

About 90 per cent of the band have learning disabilities, while a number of Upward Mobility staff also participate.

"We have a couple of good, talented musicians and the rest of us who are good at hacking along," said one of Upward Mobility's co-ordinators David Holmes.

"One reason it does seem to work is that people who are involved are not being presented with competent musicians.

"They are not been presented with staff who are masters of the craft. It's a great leveller, there's no hierarchy."