Kicking off at 2pm on a rather sunny Saturday in Edinburgh, the second part of Southern Exposure, Nothing Ever Happens Here and Summerhall’s two-day festival, was a wonderful event of all-day music. Showcasing some of the finest in Scottish music, the festival begins with Matt Regan, otherwise known as Little King, who was involved in Summerhall’s Associate Scheme earlier in the year.
Little King, who is from Belfast, but resides in Glasgow, performed tracks from the album The Swansong of Steam, which will be released later in the year, incorporating the dramatic classical with spoken word. You can realise his love for The Divine Comedy, but with such luscious strings and keys, the instrumental was pretty much spot on.
Next on the bill was the much hailed Callum Easter, performing tracks from his most recent Lost Map offering Tell ‘Em Boy, filling the space with accordion and blues guitar alongside his vocal, both refreshing and traditional in equal measure.
Savage Mansion were next on the bill with tracks from their debut LP, Revision Ballads, with Jamie Dubber substituted with Joe Rattray (Admiral Fallow) on bass. With elements of pop punk, indie rock and more scuzz than any other act on this list, it was a pleasure to see the lads rock it out on stage, with tracks such as No Flags and Bring Down The City Hall. It contributed to a fine Saturday afternoon.
SHHE, who has recently signed to One Little Indian, yes, indeed, Bjork’s label, stunned the crowd with her spectral sounds, kicking off with a track titled Maps, as well as performing music from Eyes Shut/BOY. Atmospheric, ambient with wondrous percussion and vocals it was joyous to be exposed to new music coming out of Scotland that is new to my ears.
Rev Magnetic were there with about ninety effects pedals on the floor, wonderful dynamics, powerful blasts of sound followed by sparkle horse-style (it’s a wonderful life) quiet singing moments. Rev Magnetic centres around long-time Mogwai collaborator Luke Sutherland, Audrey Bizouerne, Sam Leighton and Gregor Emond who used to played in a band with Luke called Hynd.
Be Charlotte, with a whole new image and move to Berlin, had not changed much in sound. Still intent Scottish pop, Charlotte performs tracks, old and new, including Brighter Without You, which had recent airplay on Radio 1 by Huw Stephens. Mixing it up, with a range of acoustic and full-band tracks, Charlotte kept us on our toes with newish track Do Not Disturb.
Certainly last but by no means least were the admirable Meursault, who were performing their very recent release, Crow Hill, in it’s entirety for the first time with visual backing. Released via new label, Common Grounds, the album is a work of fiction, with Crow Hill as a setting for the characters we bear witness to in the lyrics of the tracks. With visuals from Roy Andersson’s Songs from the Second Floor, and the intensity of sound, the senses were indeed stimulated, and for some more than others, a little too stimulated. A long-awaited gig, and album, it was a delight to see the mix of tracks performed at their best on the stage. Nakhla Dog and Run, Harmony, Run, both extracting a tear, whilst tracks such as Beaten and Strong-Armed Son fill the room with a stunning amount of noise. Already looking forward to Southern Exposure 2020.
Photo courtesy of Laura Meek