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Gig review

Theatrefall / Sorren Maclean Band / Jocasta Sleeps

The Wee Red Bar has such a cosy feel that it’s like finding yourself sitting in the coolest living room ever – big sofas, fairy lights, a bar in the corner, enough space to fit in a lot of friends without anyone getting claustrophobic… oh, and bands playing along the far end.

Up first tonight, Jocasta Sleeps suffer from the unfortunate predicament of being a Glasgow based band with a very early Edinburgh billing, ie there’s nobody there yet. So after seeming to stall their entrance as long as possible, they shuffle into position with an audience of about twenty in place.

Their sound is the kind of gentle rock Jimmy Eat World toyed with on their ‘Bleed American’ album, any hints of American whine, though, replaced with delicate Scottish tones. Or like a deeper exploration of the realm Biffy’s ‘Justboy’ verses occupy. It’s a package that acts like a magnet as more people begin to arrive, drawing them forward with interest.

But even more magnetic, it would seem, is Sorren Maclean who, despite looking nothing like a rockstar, has all eyes on him before he’s even struck his first chord. The boy from Mull and his backing band of a drummer and a double bass player have a pretty straight down the middle, pop rock sound that is peppered with the kind of unusual thinking for which fellow islander Colin McIntyre is renowned.

He does things with a semi-acoustic and pedals like nothing you’ve ever heard, and his drummer hammers out beats in ways that rock’n’roll drummers just don’t (perhaps a secret past in ceilidh music?). While nowhere near as quirky as a Mull Historical Society performance, The Sorren Maclean Band have a certain something – a simple charm – that makes them go down rather well.

Theatre Fall might have thrown a lot of potential fans off the trail by putting ‘Creamola Foam Nostalgia’ – a disappointingly downbeat and slightly awkward track that doesn’t reflect anything of their brilliance – as lead track on their EP, but it hasn’t deterred too many people this evening. On stage at the back of nine, nobody’s really drunk enough to dance yet: but there isn’t a toe in the room that’s not secretly tapping along when TF get going.

With their cardigans, skinny jeans and good hair, Theatre Fall’s sound is as virtually flawless as their look. High energy, punk-poppish, yelping synth-packed emo-rock with strong vocal melodies and beautifully thought out everything else, they’re like a bigger, louder I Was A Cub Scout on the absolutely awesome ‘1981 and Everything After’ and like Bloc Party given a Klaxons lesson in how to put synths to proper use, on ‘Switch On / Switch Off’.

Full marks to New Found Sound for an awesome bill of fresh Scottish talent. Book them all up again and we will most definitely be in attendance.