Schnapps, Jakil and Little Eskimos among highlights Leith Festival's Batter of the Bands
‘Leith is making a musical comeback,’ says Jim Wolff, digital planner at advertising group the Leith Agency and also the man behind their musical arm Leith Records. ‘So our main aim is simply to help support live music in the area.’ Neither a record label nor an advertising gimmick, Leith Records is a labour of love for Wolff. Originally starting it as a music blog through the company responsible for Irn-Bru’s advertising, he’s now building up campaigns like Batter of the Bands to give exposure to artists from the local area and across Scotland.
‘It’s a chippy-inspired musical showdown,’ Wolff says of the contest. ‘We’ll be putting five bands on at the Leith Festival [Studio 128, Edinburgh, Thu 17 Jun, 7pm] with the winner of this battle of the bands event earning themselves a package which includes recording time, CD pressing and creative work by the Leith Agency.’ That’s a good bit better than your typical BOTB prize, and Leith Records have pieced together a line-up worthy of it. The five up-and-coming Scottish acts performing are Futuristic Retro Champions, Schnapps, Jakil, Little Eskimos and The Fusiliers.
So where did the Batter of the Bands name come from? ‘In the run up to the event we’ll be filming the bands in chip shops around Leith,’ says Wolff, ‘playing little guerrilla gigs to publicise the event. It’s the kind of thing we’d like to carry on, actually – we’ve been talking to people about making this an ongoing nationwide thing. After all, apparently 2010 is the 150th anniversary of fish and chips.’ And Leithers do love their chippies like salt loves sauce.
Elsewhere at the Festival, local music is well represented. Leith Sessions (The Granary, 32-34 The Shore, Fri 11-Fri 18 Jun, not 15, 17, £5) is an almost nightly series of three-band gigs, while Live @ The Carrier’s (Carrier’s Quarters, 42 Bernard Street, Fri 11-Sun 20, not 14, £4) welcomes a band a day. Other one-off highlights include singer-songwriter Kim Edgar (iso-bar, 7 Bernard Street, Sat 19 Jun, £8/6), The Gillyflowers (Queen Charlotte Rooms, 56a Queen Charlotte Street, Fri 11 Jun, £7), The Kays Lavelle (Queen Charlotte Rooms, Fri 18 Jun, £7), a showcase set from local electronic label Alex Tronic’s Forward Play (iso-bar, Sun 20 Jun, £4/3) and an alternative folk double bill from Blueflint and Eagleowl (The Village, 16 South Fort Street, Mon 14 Jun, £7).
There will be a weekend of comedy gigs at Cruz (14 The Shore, 0131 553 6600/99, Fri 1-Sun 20 Jun, various times and prices), including Phil Buckley, Keara Murphy and Vladimir McTavish’s Whisky: An Eedjit’s Guide, while Irvine Welsh is well represented by the film programme. Trainspotting (Sofi’s, 65 Henderson Street, Wed 16 Jun, 8pm) is on, of course, and there are two showings of his TV film Wedding Belles (Sofi’s, Mon 14 Jun, 8pm; The Pond, 2-4 Bath Road, Tue 15 Jun, 8pm). Finally, a screening of John Boorman’s Beyond Rangoon (St Margaret of Scotland Episcopal Church, 170 Easter Road, Fri 18 Jun, 7.30pm) will celebrate the 65th birthday of imprisoned Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, while the Leith Short Film Festival enters its 5th year, and will showcase a mixture of local and international work, including some international premieres (Duncan Place Resource Centre, 17 Duncan Place, Fri 11 Jun, 7.30pm).