I love it when a plan comes together. However, the best laid plans are usually prone to hiccups along the way and it’s often via frenzied firefighting operation events such as this one are eventually realised.
Openers Juno are the constant, steady rock which the evening is built on. Local lads, and bringing the most enthusiastic of the local dancing fraternity, their uber-danceable grooves fill the spacious music hall. Despite being a man down – their trumpeter, which means that they’re unable to perform their best-known tune ‘`Higher’ – they still deliver a cracking half-hour set. New tune ‘Sunshine in My Pocket’ stands out, as does the slab of self-proclaimed psychedelic space rock around 4 songs in.
The band are pals with Data Panik, so it must have been a disappointment when they pulled out of the bill, and indeed, split. So Juno! pay homage to their absent friends, closing with a lively version of ‘Rulers and States’.
Matchsticks – to give them their new name – are in their traditionally ebullient mood, despite the slight hinderance of a stand-in guitarist, and the fact that they seemed unaware that they were doing the gig until a couple of days before. As it happens any lack of rehearsal isn’t particularly evident, though all eyes are on singer Graham ‘`Fucking’ Peel anyway, a demonic ball of energy who prowls the stage, attacks his keyboard and generally gives good press.There’s a ramble about how despite any name change, the audience are still ‘`touched by the hand of God’` (steady) via the band’s presence alone. Following a high-speed pee during ‘`Vacant Stare,’ Graham decides to bless the throng with his presence, taking a mike with an improbably long lead into row F and leading the nonplussed crowd in a love-in, of sorts.
By contrast, the Dunfermline crowd return to strong, silent, type for our headliners, My Latest Novel. Not that this is a bad thing, the late confirmations at top-of-the-bill, are a band who demand absolute silence for their epic, harmony-led take on popular music. From opening epic ‘Ghost in the Gutter’ through to closer ‘The Reputation Of Ross Francis’
The band deliver a stunning set, which although pleasing the crowd, is clearly on their own terms – the almost ambient feel of much of their canon is not the stuff of hit singles, despite ‘Sister Sneaker Sister Soul’s potential as a Belle and Sebastian-killer. Of course, the reverential audience is almost too quiet, but the band aren’t ones for idle banter either, Chris Deveney’s communication almost restricted to a tongue-in-cheek “Shhh”. But with a set ranging from the quiet beauty of ‘The Hope Edition’ to the jaw-dropping sonic assault of ‘When We were Wolves’, they’re a band who can clearly afford to let their music do the talking.