Christmas 2014: A guide to Scottish concerts and gigs
Including Kid Canaveral’s Xmas Baubles, Slowfest, RSNO's Hollywood Christmas and Handel’s Messiah
Christmas isn’t just a time for sitting about in the comfort of your own sofa. David Pollock spies some gigs and musical events to entice you out of that front door
Of this year’s stellar repertoire of festive music events happening across the central belt, none has us more excited than Dune: The Musical (Pilrig St Paul’s Church, Edinburgh, Fri 12 Dec) from the Irregular Owl Movements. The clubbing wing of Edinburgh slowcore titans eagleowl will provide a feast of seasonal sandworm serenades featuring Prehistoric Friends and other special guests in support. There’s also the fifth anniversary of Kid Canaveral’s Xmas Baubles (Portobello Town Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 13 Dec), which this year sees KC joined by Afrobeat and highlife outfit Ibibio Sound Machine, Lost Map labelmates Randolph’s Leap and more.
Slowfest (Bloc+, Glasgow, Mon 29 Dec) returns to Glasgow with its celebration of stripped-back acoustic music sets which last year featured the likes of Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad. Phil Cunningham’s Christmas Songbook (Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 19 & Sat 20 Dec) is a by-now traditional set of seasonal songs from the folk icon and guests will include Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, John McCusker and Kris Drever.
In a more cinematic vein, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra this year welcomes conductor Richard Kaufman for Hollywood Christmas (Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 12 Dec; Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Sat 13 Dec), a selection of seasonal film scores including It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. The RSNO will also be live-scoring the film version of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman (Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Sat 20 Dec; Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Sun 21 Dec).
The Aled Jones-starring touring version of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Fri 19 Dec) will appear briefly, while the Dunedin Consort play children and adult versions of Handel’s Messiah (Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Sun 21 Dec, 4pm & 7pm).
There will also be a whole bunch of seasonal tours hitting Scotland in the period running up to Christmas Day, although for our purposes the really special ones tend to be gigs which feature local groups returning from a hard autumn on the road. A bunch of the best should include The Twilight Sad (ABC, Glasgow, Fri 19 Dec) and We Were Promised Jetpacks (QMU, Glasgow, Sat 13 Dec), both of whom have released great albums on FatCat in recent months. Other festive treats include The Phantom Band (Arches, Glasgow, Fri 12 Dec), Glasvegas (Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Sun 21 Dec) and Edinburgh’s Stanley Odd (Garage, Glasgow, Sat 13 Dec), whose politically-conscious rap made an impact during this year’s big events in Scotland.