The inaugural EH6 festival is the passion project of Mike Ward who some may know as the well kent face of Krafty Brew. The aim is to put Leith, and by some eye-catching branding, its postcode, on the map, musically speaking. Ward waxes lyrical, as is his wont, and wants “to bring something great back to Edinburgh” with an enthusiasm that sees months’ worth of planning and a plundering of his extensive ‘black book’ of artists culminate this weekend.
The programme for the two days boasts a huge variety of familiar faces and rising stars, from near and far. Advantage is taken of many existing venues in the area, centred around the utilitarian Biscuit Factory as the main ‘festival filling’. Not least of all by us, living amidst it all and eagerly setting about Sunday’s lineup.
A short stroll to the Granary for a coffee and contrasting environment, we take in The Begbies. Thankfully no glasses are thrown but after a ten minute delay setting up, in what is a challenging turnaround time, they effortlessly win back the room with a ska-infused set of as many three minute ditties fit into the remaining twenty of their allotted time. (Do the maths!)
Now one-man bands of Tom Hingley and Mark Morris acoustically entertain us with songs old, new, borrowed and even blues and Bluetones, respectively. Hingley’s cover of Sit Down seems unnecessary and uninviting on the Biscuit Factory’s cold stone floor but Morris briefly turns Morrissey for a sublime version of The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get teasing us repeatedly with a ‘Slight Return’ to older material.
The view of Kyle Falconer (of The View) and other sets from Pronto Mama and the Imagineers don’t disappoint either.
By contrast, there is an old joke about a pub on the moon ‘lacking atmosphere’. So was the case with Space (in the place), at least at first. After a long delay, an initially sub-optimal sound quality and some material unfamiliar to most, they ‘begin again’ and their hits go down well on re-entry.
Throughout the day, our friends play a game of ‘which band you’d most like to be in’. By the end, there’s no contest. It’s guys like you, Mickey 9s; so fine you blew our minds. This actual privilege though goes briefly to the Glasgow band’s own groupie, initially in our midst but who takes to the stage, prompted or otherwise and gyrates like Bez, in a gas mask (so ‘Gaz’, let’s call him).
Still Gaz fails to upstage self-named ‘St. Cool’ in his baggy Adidas joggers juxtaposed with a gold lame jacket and mask of his own in a tight four piece where nothing is surplus to requirements. The comparisons come thick and fast with each song that hurtles past (Foals Ferdinand No More?) My technical knowledge falls short so let’s call it the ‘John Squire’ pedal that gets everyone moving and with our legs seemingly possessed to dance, the mind wanders: What if Josef K had got the breaks, what if Mickey 9s had formed our midfield 4 against Slovenia, such is their boundless energy, creativity and ultimately inimitable style.
Somewhat closer to receiving their carriage clock of rock, EH6 ends the night a happy place in a Big Country. Mike Peters carries on Stuart Adamson’s lead legacy and guitarist Bruce Watson’s son Jamie points to the band’s future. One Great Thing follows another and Chance which recurs for their deserved encore need no introduction to the middle-aged mosh pit, myself included.
For more on the EH6 Festival click here.