IT’S been some years since the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens last found its natural home as a spectacular venue for Edinburgh Festival rock concerts.
Princes Street Bandstand
Star rating: ***
So, it’s a welcome development that Edinburgh promoters Regular have added it to their Magners Summer Nights series as a companion venue to Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Bandstand.
This first instalment of three in 2015 saw a smaller audience and stage set-up than visitors to the annual Hogmanay concert might be familiar with, but it still made for a bustling and lively night in the shadow of the Castle.
The choice of artist helped no end, with Mancunian indie group James bearing a catalogue of hits which stretches across 13 albums. Most of them were in evidence here, from the early, breezily swooning She’s a Star to Say Something, Laid and the brisk, lairy Gone Baby Gone from last year’s La Petite Mort album setting hearts racing in the crowd. This despite the fact that elements of the songs had been tinkered with and freshened up, lending them less of a recognisable quality in places.
Perhaps contrarily, singer Tim Booth – positively satanic in goatee and hoodie – and the group filled a large chunk in the middle of the show with calmer material less suited to a populist audience, like PS and Curse Curse, and even the lone stage invader who chanced her luck didn’t look so enthusiastic when she arrived on stage. “Sorry lady, that was just the wrong song, I’m afraid,” laughed Booth; she and others were invited back later during Sound, before the Tattoo fireworks formed a unique crescendo to the closing Top of the World.