Versus - Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Thu 10 Sep (4 stars)

Versus - Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Thu 10 Sep

Take three bands, throw ‘em on a stage before a like-minded audience, mix, match, mess and stir things up occasionally with a mid-set special guest or two, then bask in the cut n’paste none-stop, occasionally erotic cabaret that ensues. This, then, is Versus, a free-form bi-monthly Happening which body-swerves regular gig rituals in favour of a more communal, you-can-all-join-in super-group affair, in which anyone and everyone can be onstage at the same time.

So, local heroes Meursault nestle up to The Foundling Wheel’s one-man Suicide-a-go-go and Dead Boy Robotics wonky analogue synth-pop for almost two hours of endlessly interchangeable permutations, covers of each others songs and ad-hoc, one-night-only line-ups. Inbetween, a mini solo set from Boyfriend/Girlfriend’s ex beau as The Japanese War Effort sees his cracked vocals and flower in his hair deliver with considerable charm, while vocal loops merchant Wounded Knee’s self-deprecating folk club jamboree sounds somewhere between a Brian Eno ethnographic chorale and a Balamory ceilidh.

“All this free-spirited interaction seems a bit Fence Collective”, suggests someone, “when they were but a windswept gang of troubadours swapping instruments down at The Ship Inn, does it not?” “Yes, but with more Raawwgh!” says a Fence veteran with wizened incomprehensibility, which probably translates as edge.

A final massed wig-out attempts a sing-a-longa Meursault style bon voyage, though it’s the music, powered along by some martial floor-tom action akin to Joy Division’s Atmosphere that’s a truly anthemic close to a scattershot musical marathon that gathered more steam and became mightier in purpose the longer it went on.

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