Review: The Winter Tradition, Liquid Room

It couldn’t have happened on a worse day: the day of The Winter Tradition’s album launch.

Rain, incessant these past few weeks in the Capital – and, unleashing more in the space of one summer month than you’d expect during the whole of winter – ensured the Edinburgh-based quartet’s promotional party wouldn’t be going ahead at Cabaret Voltaire due to local flooding.

According to frontman Stephen Furbank last night, Blair Street resembled 
something of a waterfall. Fortunately for Furbank’s band, the Liquid Room was available. Hooray. The day was saved.

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Question, then, was: would the fans turn up at short notice?

Inside Cabaret Voltaire, the place would have been stowed out. In the Liquid Room, however, even a band carrying a healthy-sized fan-base – and one that would have only discovered the venue switch at short notice – can make the Victoria Street venue seem a little on the airy side.

The band, meanwhile, were in good spirits, clearly happier to be playing a bigger venue with such kudos.

Visually, they’re a scruffy bunch: greasy hair, unkempt beards and wearing 
unbuttoned plaid shirts above skinny, blood-trapping jeans. They look a little bit like indie-kings Elbow; sound a little like them, too.

Their material is of the slow-burning type: ethereal, twinkling melodies and, occasionally, full-bore guitars.

Some of it hit its mark bang-on, whereas some of the quieter-sounding “filler” was wasted on an overly chatty audience. Who, to be fair, were on good form, too. Whooping and hollering like some American TV comedy studio audience, they provided the band with the kind of uplifting feedback every performer needs.

Switching instruments with much regularity, photographers snapped away at them for the entire hour they were on stage. Occasionally, TWT would indulge in a clichéd rock-star pose – positioning their foot on the monitors for instance. And despite being a relatively confident bunch, as that other cliché goes, this little-speaking outfit prefer to let their music do the talking instead.

“A ridiculous day has turned into an amazing night,” smiled Furbank towards the end, wiping the sweat – or was it the rain? – from his brow.

He wasn’t too far wrong.

Rating: ***