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The Phantom Band

The Electric Circus (24 August 2010)

By • Aug 28th, 2010 • Category: Gig review

Another year, another Edinburgh Festival, another Edge festival. Last year we were confounded by the selection of the Electric Circus as a sub for the Liquid Rooms. Thankfully this year, ‘Rooms’ is open again. Never again will we have to experience The Phantom Band squeezed onto a postage stamp stage and singing through a rolled up paper tube. Oh…

OK, hats off to the venue for at least providing a venue of this size in the Capital. But, there are some things it’s just not suited to and this is one of them. We have the added bonus of being so jam-packed tonight (for such is the increasing rep of this band) that were Lothian’s fire officers not busy with every other impromtu sweatbox that pops up across the city at this time of year, I’m sure they would’ve shut this gig down.

And still they manage to rock. Yes, we lose all the drive and urgency of The Howling; and half the instruments on Crocodile (which admittedly has a helluva lot of instruments) are missing from the mix. But, the band pull through. There’s an palpable goodwill towards the band. Something their usual comfortable bonhomie only builds on. (Not to every other band in the world: share you booze with the audience. Always.) Still they can pull back some wins from the situation. Left Hand Wave has a blistering urgency and still Island can reduce the gaggling festivalistas to silence.

And then there there’s the new stuff. The two tracks we’ve previously seen performed have shaped up nicely. But, it’s the totally new one that wins the prize for the highlight of the night. Starts off like the Pet Shop Boys at their perkiest, ends like the perfomrance of Verdi’s Requiem at the end of time, and manages to do it so effortlessly you ould be excused for expecting all songs to do this. One day they will. Bring on the new album! And, the subsequent gigs in proper venues.*


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