Wednesday, 6 June 2012

live highlights: june

i had a bash at the skinny's live music preview column this month - here it is...

Summer's on the way, and it's the perfect time to grab a beer and stand in front of a speaker stack. We take a look at the upcoming live music highlights for June.

Signed to Sub Pop, lauded by broadsheets – THEESatisfaction are 2012’s leftfield rap-crossover of choice, and for good reason. Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White meld sounds from the past into retro-future jams, with tight lyrical content and beats aimed at the hips. They'll bring their loved-up grooves to Sneaky Pete’s on the 3 Jun; to misappropriate lyrics from fly single QueenS you better bring yourself.

A decade since it first trickled in from East Fife, Domino have awarded James Yorkston’s Moving Up Country a bells-and-whistles anniversary re-release. Having recently revisited its tender blues, we’d say the fuss is well-merited – his softly-softly folk has branched in various directions since, but his debut captures Yorkston at his most earthily eloquent. He’ll perform the album in full at Òran Mór on 3 Jun – one day later and it would have been ten years on the dot (sheesh, is no one checking these things?).

New(ish) venue on the block the Berkeley Suite continues to snap up cool bookings, while remaining hot-as-all-heck inside the closer it gets to capacity (if last month’s Grimes gig is anything to go by). Toronto electro-trio Austra will be setting up their synths and looking dead moody on 4 Jun – their last couple of UK tours didn’t make it past Manchester, so this will be their first trip north of the border. Their second Scottish show follows close behind, as they M8 over to Sneaky Pete’s the following evening.

Raw of throat and twiddly of riff, Cloud Nothings' lo-fi power-pop has plenty of kick. Their last couple of albums were as lean as singer Dylan Baldi’s T-shirted frame, so there’s both time and appetite for a comprehensive set when they visit the Captains Rest on 5 Jun.

As amazing as third album The Plot Against Common Sense is, it’s only ever going to capture a fraction of the energy and wit that marks Future of the Left a must-see live act. They’ve expanded to a four-piece, so expect a beefed-up sound when they lay siege to King Tut’s on 11 Jun. Keyboards are a new fixture, but other things remain awesomely consistent: with recent lyrics like 'I’ve got a hole for Sebastian Coe/ Saddam Hussein won’t be needing it now,' Andy Falco is evidently not for mellowing. Weather his snarling sarcasm, just don’t heckle him – you won’t win…

Having successfully translated the project from peripheral solo experiments to full band, Malcolm Middleton brings a touring Human Don’t Be Angry back to the central belt for a pair of gigs at Electric Circus (15 Jun) and King Tut’s (16 Jun). A couple of months on, we’re still finding new reasons to love the album; expect further facets to emerge as the rest of the group get stuck in. Recruit Martin John Henry doubles up as support, so don’t be dilly-dallying.

Lyrically, Glasgow and Best Coast are sometimes a less than seamless match (Bethany Cosentino was born with sun in her teeth and hair; we with inherent Vitamin D deficiencies), but a lingua franca of golden, fuzzy pop songs transcends all that. If your boyfriend/girlfriend is being a total jerk, seek solidarity at the O2 ABC on 16 Jun.

We began this month’s column with hip-hop’s new blood wunderkinds; we conclude with a veteran grand master. Still a force to be reckoned with nearly two decades after the incendiary Illmatic, Nas brings a full band and a whole lotta hype to the HMV Picture House on 26 Jun, for what will be his first ever Edinburgh show. We’ve done the maths – if this establishes a pattern, he’ll be pushing sixty before another such opportunity comes around. So nae whinging if you choose to sit this one out, basically.


Since 1996, Glasgow’s annual West End Festival has expanded year-on-year, enveloping an impressive array of gigs across the city. It closes its 2012 edition with a frankly staggering line-up that catches the eye partly because of its quality, and partly because of quantity: just listing the participants constitutes a fair whack of text. For the humble price of 1.5 tenners, Oran Mor will serve up the following: We Were Promised Jetpacks, Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells, RM Hubbert, Remember Remember, Withered Hand, Miaoux Miaoux, Monoganon, Wounded Knee, The Apples of Energy, John Knox Sex Club, Olympic Swimmers and Gav Prentice (Over the Wall), spread throughout the building (and, if the gods play ball and offer a break from wind and hail, the beer garden as well). I know what you’re thinking: ‘Is that it?’ Well no, actually – further additions are promised, providing they can find somewhere to put them.

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