So long, farewell, ta-ra, toodle pip!

No! Not me! I’m still here! Many shows only come for one week, so now just as the party is really getting going, some are packing up and leaving us. Nevertheless, their flyerers were out yesterday, desperately drumming up one last audience. I bumped into the delightful pair from Uke Belong To Me on the Royal Mile still flyering only an hour before their final show and Stiffs were about; saw them on Friday evening, a great two-hander, I except to see more of those young chaps in the future.

The Aspirations of Daise Morrow finishes today; a beautiful production with live music, served up with brash aussie humour and pathos. It’s a shame that the heavens have opened and today all day is forecast wet, wet, and more wet! Yup, at the realisation that the boys of the Ukulele Death Squad are soon to depart us, the Edinburgh skies are already sobbing. One last soldout show at Leith Depot tonight and before that something at the Book Festival, that’s gonna be soggy, guys! I saw them last night for their soldout Assembly show, awesome, just one thing could have made it better, if we’d been able to get up and dance (more on that later). I’d set myself up nicely by nipping into the Cowshed on the Cowgate to catch Logan’s Close set earlier on, the place was jumpin’!

Let’s hope the skies cheer up soon, after all, tomorrow is another week! New shows will take the slots vacated. So it’s goodbye from them and hello to them others 😆

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Antipodeans at Large

Just looked up antipodes in my dictionary, it said “places diametrically opposite (to each other), esp. Australasia as region on opposite side of earth to Europe.” Hmmm, so technically we’re antipodean to someone living in Auckland or Melbourne. It’s just that we stuck in on Australasia first, or they bagsied the word. Personally I think it’s a great word, an-tipo-des, it trips off the tongue.

But why did you need to look it up, Bruce, didn’t you know what it means? Yes, but I wanted to be sure, words can be such tricksy things. Like on that last paragraph I was going to continue the sentence on “and it evokes” but the words of what it evokes escaped me! There is evoking going on it’s just indescribable for a moose.

I have a slightly better chance of describing how good the Modern Maori Quartet: Two Worlds were this afternoon, awesome! And not just great singing, the storyline was a slow reveal as we learnt more about the characters, their current situation and their truths. Yes, the truth will set you free (very important to the show) but, as shown it can be hard to admit and own. Some thought-provoking stuff going on, all delivered with that wry, no-nonsense antipodean humour. So if you have a mid afternoon free, you could do a helluva lot worse!

And while I’m on antipodeans, I’m sooo looking forward to seeing the Ukulele Death Squad this evening. Also from Oz, The Aspirations of Daise Morrow is on at the Assembly George Square Gardens in the wonderful Spiegeltent Palais Du Variete, but be warned, it’s after lunch, in a warm tent, beautiful soothing live music and lazy aussie drawls. Yeah, do go see it but have a coffee first! And have I mentioned how delightful Felicity Ward was?

Oo yeah, badges, to misquote Blazing Saddles “we DO need stinkin’ badges”, extra points to shows with free badges at the end. For a few years plenty of shows were giving out badges,  not so many now. Yay, to Tom Neenan and the Modern Maori Quartet for having badges, my only two so far.

Well it’s nearly time for me to trot down Leith Walk to see the Squad. This fringing and blogging thing is tricky, I want to tell you about all the brilliant stuff going on here – but I’m too busy out enjoying it!!

Toodle pip!

 

 

Well, that’s the previews sorted!

If you read my last post (and why not?!) you’ll be dying to know what happened, will I have to miss my films? Well, good news, I will be heading back to the mother ship this weekend so won’t miss any of EIFF 2018, yay! Bad news, the whole piss-up/brewery thing has been totally cancelled this year (bloody numpty!) I am so not impressed.

Since then I’ve completed my first scour of the full printed Fringe Programme and bought my first batch of tickets, mainly previews with a few others. As there is now a booking fee of 80p a ticket that stops at £4.80 it makes sense to buy enough tickets to reduce the effect of it – £4.80 booking fee for fifteen shows is quite reasonable, I’d say!

I’m going to kick off this year with Russell Howard, good to see him back and for only a fiver! Mind it is called Russell Howard – Work in Progress, hmmm, first night could be interesting (interesting=shambolic). The ever delightful Felicity Ward (pic below is me swooning over her poster) is back and hopefully on time. I have 30 minutes to get from Pleasance Above to George Square Theatre for Thrones! The Musical! this is perfectly doable, just as long as the Pleasance aren’t running too late. Considering how long they’ve had to get it right you would think it should run like a well-oiled machine but, well, it doesn’t always.

After a break last year everyone’s favourite sock puppets are back  with a new show Superheroes, check out the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre on Facebook or YouTube for skits and songs on the subject (love the Deadpool and Black Lightning videos). As ever they’re in the exceedingly warm Sportsman room at the Gilded Balloon, grab a flyer on your way in to use as a fan!

At the witching hour the wonderful Will Seaward is back with Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories V, but what’s this? He’s no longer in the Wee Room, he’s been upgraded to the Dining Room! Yay!!

Oo, and I got me a ticket to see the Ukulele Death Squad as they’re bound to sell out. They’re back at the Leith Depot near the bottom of Leith Walk, an exceedingly hot room above the pub but it does have its own bar. Well I actually bought two tickets as it’s on the Friends of the Fringe list of 2for1’s, so if you’re reading this and will be in town Sunday 5th, I have a spare half price ticket for one very lucky individual! Bang Bang!

Toodle pips!

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It’s only rock’n’roll but I like it!

So last night was a bit of alright! I was in the Voodoo Rooms (Venue 68 come August, very nice but rather warm, real ale in the bar) for the launch of Logan’s Close new EP “Fried Bangers.” Sold out so it was very packed and very warm. I got there shortly after the second band came on (sorry to Shredd, I’m sure you were awesome too), Ayakara who were pretty fine. There was a good contingent of their fans in the crowd (they knew the words!)  After procuring myself a pint of Joker IPA I found a good spot to see the band and be faintly wafted by what air-con there was from time to time, unfortunately as usual some beanpoles took up their strategic positions to block at least half the band from sight at any given moment.

Pardon me a little rant here. So okay, I am quite a shortarse but even average-sized humans can’t compete with those guys and they do like to go centre towards the front. Beanpole may not have been the correct word, that suggests tall and thin, these guys are pretty often quite broad, not easy to see around! There should be a line three-quarters of the way back that anyone over six foot has to stand behind – it’s not like they wouldn’t be able to see over our heads!!    And breathe.

Where was I? Being gently wafted before getting another pint of Jokers and wading back in to find a spot to watch the Close. This time I was at the side, a better view than I would have had in the now packed out centre, but no wafts to cool me down. Oh, the lads were on top form! Just, just, bloody marvellous, shit hot, astoundingly awesome! These are the guys I’ve been waiting for, finally a band worthy of the rock’n’roll crown hung up since the demise of Nick Johnson and Bluefinger!

I first saw Bluefinger in 1988 in the then Preservation Hall and followed all incarnations of the band until Nick left Edinburgh for Spain permanently  (he had been semi-regularly coming back over to play but had decided it was time to stop) and was sadly killed in an motorcycling accident about a year or so later in 2010. Bluefinger were a force of nature, even when it was only Nick on guitar and Ed on flamenco box drum, they rocked up a storm in Whiski on the Royal Mile during the Fringe in 2007. Bud and I would wander in late after a show, sit at the bar and soak up the vibes, and when Ed would do his box solo in Not Fade Away, wow, people would get up from their seats, crane their necks, a mass movement towards the band to see how one guy’s hands could create such a sound. Ed was always good but some nights he was totally “in the zone”, man, I will never forget how great those nights were.

Aaand, back to Logan’s Close again. Indeed, I get the same feeling of blissed-out happy watching them; Big Nick would approve of them inheriting his crown. But will they be playing Edinburgh during the Fringe – you may wonder, oh yes!! If you’ve read my early posts you may have spotted that I must have broken my self-imposed Fringe Code if I am aware of this fact. Okay, so I get emails from the Fringe whenever a new batch of shows are up online; I just had to check if the Ukulele Death Squad were coming back (yippee, they are), at the same time I noticed the Close were playing, and at a venue I’ve never been to before, ooo.

I also spotted Bon the Musical, yes, a musical about Bon Scott!! I’m not sure how I feel about it, if they don’t get it right it could be terribly wrong! Maybe I’ll check reviews before I commit to it, at £12 a ticket that could be a big mistake. Mind there’s always the chance they may put some tickets for sale at the Half Price Hut. There’s also the fact I am still a Friend of the Fringe which brings the benefit of 2for1 tickets for a long list of shows which this year includes all three shows mentioned above 😊. I could purchase pairs of tickets, then offer the pleasure of my company and a half price ticket on Facebook, I could, it might be quite fun.

Toodle pip!

 

 

Bang Bang, they shot me down!

They came, they saw, they uked! The Ukulele Death Squad are on a mission to make ukuleles cool and they’re taking no prisoners. Edinburgh is already fairly uke-friendly, they found some local ukers to be support act at their shows. After their second show they went into town to do some late night busking and ended up getting two evening slots at M2 on top of  Waverley Mall! These guys never stop!

They hail from Australia as many great Fringe acts have. Julian and Benjamin seem to be the front guys with a sax player and a bass ukulele player. First impressions can be very important, in a darkened, rather hot room, suited up with shades – cool as fuck! In the shades and suit Benjamin looked like Ben Affleck as the Matt Murdock side of Daredevil (Yeah, not a good film, but that’s what immediately sprang into my head) and Julian? If Jim Henson had made an Aussie, wild-haired, ukulele-playing larrikin muppet, his name would Julian. He is the heart and soul of the band, his rendition of Bang Bang was amazing, the whole band really go for it on this one, it’s still popping out of my head at really intervals. As an earworm it would definitely be in my top ten.

Luckily I spotted on Facebook about the M2 slots, so I caught them again, this time with room for a little dancing, yay! They loved Edinburgh right back and said they intend to return next year, until then I have their CD. Perhaps for next year there’ll be a new CD that includes the song about the sax player’s adventures in London?

In fact, let’s have an Aussie musical invasion next year! The return of the Melbourne Ska Orchestra would be most welcome (though in a better venue for dancing in – the Assembly Checkpoint?) and it’s been some time since the Suitcase Royale parked themselves at the Fringe.

Come on, cobbers! Come on back to Edinburgh 😎😎

 

 

Checkpoint checked out.

Back again, just popped out to see Mikelangelo at Assembly Checkpoint, wasn’t sure what to expect but worth a punt at a fiver. Ok, so I expected some Cohen, Waits and Cave, that was the show, what I got was one man on a stage with a guitar and an accordion, and one helluva voice. It wouldn’t be my usual thang at all, but what a great show. Swordfishtrombone was particularly brilliant (and not just because I knew it) and at the end he played us out on the accordion, literally played us down the stairs and out the door, now that was special!

I like the Checkpoint it’s a good room for music and it has it’s own bar in the room. A few tables mingled with the front seats round the stage add a touch of je ne sais quoi, actually that comes from the smoky touch added to the air – we might have gone smoke-free, but clear air actually isn’t that atmospheric.

Kudos to Assembly, today’s shows at their venues are the only two that have started bang on time so far for me.