Music review: Wide Days Showcase, various venues, Edinburgh

Rascalton PIC: Neelam Khan Vela
Rascalton PIC: Neelam Khan Vela
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Billed as “Scotland’s Music Convention”, the three-day Wide Days event – which sprang from the Born to Be Wide series of local music industry panels – has been slowly but steadily clawing its way to an ever-greater national and international reputation since being founded in 2010. With a day of panels on subjects including festival programming, the streaming economy and how to make a living as a gigging band, as well as a keynote speech from former specials and Bodysnatchers singer Rhoda Dakar, organisers Olaf Furniss and Michael Lambert kept things fun with whisky tasting and record shop visits on Saturday – Record Store Day.

Wide Days Showcase, various venues, Edinburgh ****

Yet for many in the large Scottish contingent in the audience, the main attraction might have been the Friday night showcase of new Scottish artists which wound its way through three nearby venues in the heart of the Old Town. In the Teviot student union, first of all – where the day’s talks had been held – singer-songwriter Zoe Graham, electronic producer Edwin Organ and informal electric jazz group Graham Costello’s Strata performed.

A short stroll into the depths of the Old Town and La Belle Angele revealed the polished Riot Grrrl sound of Lucia, Rascalton’s raw punk-pop (they’re endearing descendants of the Jam by way of Ordinary Boys), and the irresistible Crystal, two women and two men who lend sarcasm and rich storytelling to a grunge soundtrack. Wide Days’ commitment to full bands in an era of bedroom production is admirable, but the inclusion of Wuh Oh – an electronic producer with the style of Boy George, the most frantically balletic dance moves and a puppet baboon as his performing partner – was a very definite high on which to end this first-rate showcase at the Mash House.