The Leith Tape Club

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You know what I love? Yep, you guessed it, The Leith Tape Club. And you wanna know why? Cause it’s located about 5 minutes walk from my flat! Well, that’s not really the reason, but I think one of the things that I enjoy most about the tape club is that it’s located in Leith. There are not many good venues down Leith way, or at least not that many promoters putting on good shows, as far as I can see. I have been thinking for a while now about putting on a Trampoline festival and my ideal location would be Leith – the Leith Theatre to be precise – but it’s just not easy to think of really good venues within the area. Anyways, Alan Oates aka Little Pebble, aka one half of Come In Tokyo aka runner of Club Viva Vinyl has stepped up to the plate in the last 6 months. Comandeering the tiny upstairs of the Iso Bar, he has put on shows of remarkable intimacy and warmth showcasing some of the cities finest musicians, and those from beyond. Possibly what makes these shows so special is the size of the venue. It’s cosy and sometimes the audience are a little too close to the performers for comfort, but then this makes the shows more real, more intimate and more enjoyable. I’ve been to most of the shows and enjoy myself everytime. I’m not saying that every single artist is my cup of tea, but I love the format of the evening and more often than not the artists performing are right up my street. Take last night for example. My Lady of Clouds was on first – I was sure both she and Alan said My Lady of Clowns which conjured up images of a Queen of Clowns in my little brain. I feel deflated that it’s Clouds not Clowns and think she should change it accordingly – but if she has any sense she will ignore this advice! Anyways, the intimacy and intensity of the venue cleary tell during this lovely little set. I get to experience it next month, but if you’re shy I reckon the crowd practically sitting on your lap must be quite intimidating. A few wrong notes aside, this was a good start to the evening as Katie’s voice was something quite lovely which I kind of got lost on. Chatting to her afterwards it turns out she grew up about 15 minutes walk away from my home in Dundee. It’s a small world.

Next up was some random bloke called Little Chief Big Konk. You can check him out here. No point going on about him. He’s a class act and has one of the best voices around. Could sit and listen to him play all night.

Freakflag are a strange one. Their lead singer looks like she could be in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and has the best legs I’ve seen in a long time! But the sound is completely unexpected. Bluesy and soulful would probably best describe this short and enjoyable set. The singer – I’m sorry, I missed her name and cannot get onto myspace to check it – has a lovely husky, bluesy voice and the songs make me think I’m in some old smokey jazz bar. Still, I kind of wanted her to stand up and scream along to some electric guitar but I guess you can’t win them all.

Finally, Wounded Knee. Actually, before I get to Wounded Knee, there were a couple of guys in the room last night with what I would describe as ‘art school haircuts’. They spoke inbetween songs and just generally postured and posed all night. I was intrigued by the fact that their hair was almost identical. Anyways, when I arrived I would have put money on them being one of the performers and they were not. It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover. Anyways, I digress. And so to Wounded Knee. Without his loop pedal which he apparently blew up last week Drew Wright is armed only with a small yamaha keyboard and his extraordinary voice and he proves during his set that this is really all he needs to deliver a wicked performance. The yamaha basically provides the beats and Drew does the rest. Singing a mix of his own stuff and traditional folk songs and blending this with some fantastic chat and off the cuff comments, this was as good a live performance as I’ve seen in a long time. He even encourages some audience participation at the end. All this without his trusty loop pedal just showing what a real talent he actually is.

And so, after a few pints and some quality music I headed home. The tape club is back on 20th August with The Kays and the wonderful Meursault both playing sets. It’s a great night and I really hope more and more people check it out. There are only 30 spaces in the room though, so make sure you get yourself a ticket sharpish or you will miss out. Alan deserves so much credit for this night if you ask me. Great stuff.

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