Opinion: Nothing Ever Happens Here?
Edinburgh’s often accused of being a city where nothing, musically, ever happens. A few independent music promoters beg to differ
An upcoming series of gigs at Edinburgh’s Summerhall venue hit the local headlines recently when it announced its programme of live music under the title Nothing Ever Happens Here. Some readers rushed to nod in online agreement, others thought the title might be a tad misleading. It wouldn’t be the first time the city got grief for not having much going on (it’s often a moan overheard from along the road in Glasgow).
Nicholas Herd, who’s been running the independent gig promoting outfit Braw Gigs out of Edinburgh for the past eight years, putting on large-scale, multi-media gigs, screenings and talks (Cut Hands, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Heatsick, Josephine Foster etc) at Summerhall, church halls, art galleries, metal bars and basement clubs, rounds up fellow gig promoters and club organisers who are making Edinburgh's music scene.
Contrary to recent articles about the supposed dearth of live events, and what with recent high profile council-led discussion groups and independent meetings on the capital’s lack of venues and crippling sound complaints – it’s still probably one of the most exciting times for live shows and clubs in my eight years of booking in Auld Reekie. Here's a reminder of a few of my fellow impresario chums, who have kept the capital’s candle burning – at both ends.
Anyone who was at the most recent Substance night with Berlin’s Rødhåd backed up by a rubble-inducing D&B sound system in the Bongo Club knows that Substance is the biggest party in town. The devil is in the detail with bossman and label head Adam Richardson, who’s brought the likes of Modeselektor, Objekt and John Heckle to town as well as slots for local talent including Neil Landstrumm and resident spinner sibling Gavin Richardson. With a recent showcase at the dance world’s party to end ‘em all, the Bloc Weekend – Substance is going global, and about fucking time too. Not bad for a wee sweatbox that started in Henry’s Cellar Bar!
For those inclined to the heavy dank darkness of doom, sludge, black and death metal – enter Ewen Cameron, the head honcho for the elegantly titled Pisschrist and chief beer belly/bassist for Reekie’s connoisseurs of hazy doom metal Atragon – and probably, possibly the busiest promoter in the city. With a Scottish debut and exclusive upcoming gig from Oakland’s sludge lords Noothgrush, and whopping four DIY gigs in April alone – with imminent slots from Primitive Man, Acid Witch and Conan to name a but a few. To quote the man himself, 'It’s all worth it - just to see the Weegies run for their night bus, for a change.' A point well made, sir.
Kris Walker has turned his monthly weekend party slot in Sneaky’s into an institution of high taste and enthused debauchery. With recent high profile guests including Young Marco, Andy Blake and Wolf Muller, Wasabi is always a blast regardless of guests – and Kris has successfully stuck to the same formula for over six years now. 'I never thought Wasabi would last much longer than a few parties, I didn't think people would take to the music and I'm not interested/too stubborn to water down what I’m into. But people were totally down with it and still are – every month is a total joy.'
No Globe / Ideal Mexico
Ok, I might be a little biased because I’ve worked with this interchangeable super crew of No Globe and Ideal Mexico on a number of co-promos, but this Glasgow and Edinburgh collective have introduced a world flair and alternative party twist to the capital with a solid following from punters and non-wanky students alike, along with an open mindedness to venue options. Joel White and co. have their grubby fingers in a number of underground puddings – with recent bookings from This Is The Kit, King Ayisoba and Ravioli Me Away. Keep an eye out for another collaborative effort with Braw Gigs when they bring back the mighty Richard Dawson to the awfully refined settings of the Pleasance Theatre on 17 May.