Truth told, it’s an odd setup for a gig, the most alien factor being that it’s in a church hall – not like, say, Queen’s Hall, this one looks like it might have been in regular use until very recently, with a pulpit at the back and an abundance of candles. It’d be enough to turn us to religion if we didn’t have brains in our heads. But the whispers in the cloisters are on more earthy matters. Rumour has it this may be the last ever Tracer Trails show, which given the promoter’s large place in the Edinburgh music firmament, would be bad news indeed. There’s not even booze to console ourselves with, no, not even communion wine – though much of the audience, sitting cross-legged on the floor (they have at least removed the pews). The setting is decidedly Calvinistic… even the unisex toilets, a modern enough principle, are closer to the Dark Ages functionally. For now we can worship at the temple of, um, the vaguely spiritual sounds of mid-America. Well, apart from local openers Eagleowl, who, aptly, sound most like post-Mormons Low or for the more indie, Codeine – what they used to call slowcore or maybe post rock. (Delete according to your cliche/pigeonhole preference). The double bass grinds while the fiddle soars, and the guitar distorts like a bastard. Strange then that the at-times sweet’n’soulful vocals belie this completely. Tiger Saw chattily relate that this is their first time in Scotland – an engaging bunch who tell tales of Hamburg prostitutes in ski gear and the distance between here and Sweden – again in a laid-back slow and lowdown style, contrasted by some very direct trumpet.
Golden Ghost are the special guest – well I believe this to be the case. All the bands on the bill tonight seem to adopt the ‘collective’ approach, and on this occasion members of Tiger Saw and Viking Moses suddenly pop up at the various points in the room where they’re loitering between bands. Surrounding the audience, their guest slot involves a spiritual a cappella vocal piece which uses their unique version of surround sound. I missed the last Viking Moses Edinburgh show, but there’s some excitement among the throng that this time it’s a full-band setup – over-compensating perhaps with Doogie Paul (James Yorkston’s bassist) and another local, Ross Duncan, plus drums and a 3-piece mini-choir which match and supplement Brendon Massei’s take on Old Nick Cave. The ensemble also offer a more spiritual bent, occasionally reminiscent of Hefner in ‘Hymn’ mode. Heady stuff indeed, which as the set climaxes, sees the singer hollering like a man possessed. Perhaps less than appropriately, given the ecclesiastical setting. Praise be for Tracer Trails – but hopefully we’ve not been here for the burial. more (atmopspherically dark) photos on Flickr