Gig review: Fatherson, Edinburgh

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FOR better or worse, the idea that corporate sponsorship is anathema to alternative music went out with grunge and the 20th century.

Fatherson, Sparrow and the Workshop, FOUND

The Caves, Edinburgh

* * * *

Here we all were, enjoying a free show featuring sets by three of Scotland’s finer bands and – in some cases – the free whisky provided by the sponsor paying for it all (Dewar’s, to give their due). It was nothing to complain about.

First on were FOUND, a group whose billing might have been higher were they not bedding in their new two-man line-up following the departure of Tommy Perman. Yet there was something of a sense of first among equals about all of the bands here. Glasgow-based internationalists Sparrow and the Workshop are a group on the up this year, following the release of their new album Murderopolis on Edinburgh’s Song, By Toad label, and the trio’s set was a brooding exercise in sticking to a unique and compelling musical aesthetic.

Irish-Chicagoan singer Jill O’Sullivan is key to this – a woman whose strong, slightly country lilt is wont to journey through notes Tori Amos-style as her hands leave her guitar to do a bit of emoting, all against a measured, strident backdrop with echoes of the Bad Seeds.

Fatherson, meanwhile, are one of Scotland’s more effervescent musical hopes, that much was clear within a few minutes. Between heavily-bearded singer Ross Leighton’s compelling, yearning vocal and a musical style which caused even the band to throw themselves about the stage (the track Hometown was an energetic high) they remind one of a more muscular Frightened Rabbit or a plaid-shirted indie alternative to their fellow Ayrshiremen Biffy Clyro. Similar levels of success to the above hopefully await.