The Edge Festival 08

January 12, 2009

THE EDGE FESTIVAL / VARIOUS VENUES. EDINBURGH

After a successful eight year stint, it was announced back in February that T on the Fringe was no more. The T in question, Tennents, felt the month-long festival had run its course and consequently withdrew sponsorship.

Thankfully promoters DF didn’t give up on the idea, instead choosing to re-invent and re-brand the event as The Edge Festival. Just how this “new” endeavour would be affected by the lack of big moneybacking soon became clear when the programme was published.

Gone were the stadium shows and the number of high-profileinternational acts was noticeably reduced. Instead the focus shifted to emerging talent with a few crowd-pleasing names thrown into the mix to ensure numbers.

On paper it looked like a chance to unearth some previously hidden gems and to discover the next generation of Scottish bands. In reality however it was a decidedly hit and miss affair that although not without sometruly memorable nights overall failed to dazzle.

One of the first bands hoping to leave their mark was London quartet Longview but due to malfunctioning equipment, songs that werefound wanting and a real dearth of atmosphere their rather lacklustre display proved less than enthralling. The same could be said of former Joseph Klinchpin Paul Haig whose run-of-the-mill set provoked little reaction from the sparsest of crowds.

Meanwhile back at the Cabaret Voltaire things finally picked up with the arrival of Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds. The quintet’s multi-layered brand of indie-pop may have suffered early on due to muddy bass-heavy sound but, by a particularly joyous rendition of The Comeback, proceedings were back on track.

Lifted from their recent sophomoric offering Our Ill Wills, Time Left For Love and Tonight I Have To Leave It made the biggest impacts while older favourites Very Loud and Please Please Please bounced along in irresistible fashion.

During thesecond week it was the home-grown talent which shone brightest thanks primarily to The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit sets, while the much-hyped Noah andthe Whale did little to suggest their press attention is warranted.

One of only a handful of sold-out shows, the Twickenham folk popsters may have won over the packed crowd but armed with songs which more often than not felt like background music, mustering any real enthusiasm for the four-piece was an effort. The one song of note, Five Years Time, did prove memorable but mainly due its similarity to Cornershop’s Brimful of Asha.

Of the four bands appearing at the Liquid Room the following night for a Your Sound Showcase, only one left its mark – Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers. Thecombo is the brainchild of Glasgow-based Ali Downer, a prolific and well-travelled singer/songwriter with a knack for writing upbeat bluegrass-infused folk songs that can get a crowd moving. Downer and his three-piece backing band did just that thanks to an energetic and infectious performance – debut single Twisted Mile and B-side My Mule the standout tracksin a set annoyingly cut short by the previous bands poor time-keeping.

Performances from psychedelic dance trio Midnight Juggernauts, Clare and the Reasons and the effervescent Bombay Bicycle Club ensured the Edge finished on a high but with many of this year’s gigs feeling like fillers it remains to be seen if we’ll be returning to the Edge in 2009.

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