Lost Map's Strange Invitation, Bellfield, Edinburgh, Sat 12 Oct
- David Pollock
- 18 October 2019
Homely all-day live music showcase of acts from the label plus some very special guests
Portobello is no stranger to the traditionally church hall vibe of a Lost Map gig, with Johnny Lynch's Eigg-based boutique label having previously appeared at the Edinburgh seaside suburb's Town Hall with their on-hiatus signees Kid Canaveral's Xmas Baubles bash (which is back in Edinburgh this December; they aren't gone for good). Yet the Bellfield complex is a whole different story, not just for the bands playing, but for the increasingly bohemian locals of Porty. A former church which has been subject to a recent community buyout, this building a few dozen metres from the shore proves to be one of the great untapped live music spaces in the city.
Team Lost Map aren't even colonising the main church hall, which The List sneaks a look at, to discover a kind of mini-Queen's Hall with a large stage and nice wooden pews over two tiers. Instead, they're in the much plainer adjoining hall, which still proves to be perfect for the homely kind of show which Lost Map specialises in – there's home-cooked food in the kitchen, a bar on a trestle table, and a high wooden stage around which the audience (of all ages, including many children) congregate.
The first artist on, as mid-afternoon approaches, is Faith Eliott, whose set is sparse and raw and beautiful, a hungover kind of an introduction to the day. They're accompanied by a band which includes Lost Map perennial Bart from eagleowl, and leave us with the aching 'Black Rabbit'. Other highlights of the afternoon include Fell, London-based songwriter Nicolas Burrows' quartet, who play a dreamlike indie-pop fantasia, and recent signing Molly Linen, whom Lynch introduces as the artist whose demo tape cured his Hogmanay hangover, which is when he knew he had to release her music.
Fronted by Lynch's Fire Records label-mate Jane Weaver, the three-piece Fenella make a gorgeous noise, a retro-futurist bed of ambient synthesiser electronica which acts as an imagined soundtrack to Marcell Jankovics' 1981 cult animation film Fehérlófia. Also on Fire are Cathy Lucas of Innerspace Orchestra's synthy artpop project Vanishing Twin, and both of the above formed a compelling intro to Lynch's own band, Pictish Trail, whose own forthcoming album Thumb World was lent a part-premier here.
Amid it all, Leith's own Callum Easter, a Lost Map signee and Young Fathers collaborator, give a stunning and idiosyncratic gig built upon his own fragile voice, a bed of accordion or electric guitar, and the reverberating chorus which two female backing voices brought. He's a singular and gifted voice within the Edinburgh music scene, and as the feisty electro-pop of young Edinburgh duo Maranta closed the show after sundown, the feeling was that we'd also seen one of the city's potentially excellent music venues given a run-out.