I have been out and about in Edinburgh in the last few weeks, enjoying live music once more.
Here is my round up:
Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Usher Hall
Nick Mason said he had “grown tired” of waiting for his erstwhile bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmore to call him about a much hoped for Pink Floyd reunion. As one of the founding members, Mason always held out hope for the prospect and remains the only musician to have played on every Pink Floyd album release since 1965. Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets was halted during the pandemic but he finally made it over to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall for a mesmerising evening. Joining him, Guy Pratt had previously played bass for Pink Floyd (after Waters’s departure) on the A Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell tours, also singing lead for some tracks. Sharing vocals with Pratt is Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp who also features on guitar.
We are treated to the strange, psychedelic energy of the Syd Barrett period with numbers such as Bike, See Emily Play and the lesser known Vegetable Man as well as influential Floyd long-players that pre-date Dark Side Of The Moon. Set The Controls For The Heart The Sun is an arresting highlight in the first set while Echoes closing set two was worth the admission price alone.
Gary Numan, 02 Academy
Gary Numan made a triumphant return to Scotland opening with the title track of his 18th studio album Intruder. Numan bounds all over the stage amid an impressive light show. This is the London born singer’s biggest show since he announced his retirement from touring in 1981. He recently told this writer, ‘I remember walking off stage realising I’d made a terrible mistake. It’s been a long journey getting back to something I threw away much to my regret.’ Amid an impressive light show he went into fan favourite Me I Disconnect From You. Songs such as this and Metal have aged well sounding as contemporary as anything in the electronic pioneer’s set.
And It Breaks Me Again from his current album sits comfortably next to his classic single Down In The Park. Cars is greeted like an old friend from the enthusiastic fanbase. He returned for two encores Remind Me To Smile and Are ‘Friends’ Electric.
Guise, Voodoo Rooms
Former actress Jessica Guise is currently on tour supporting Will Varley fronting Guise. Jessica along with Laura Hanna, two members of the four-piece band, tonight provide a colourful array of melodies, harmonies and soaring vocals. Don’t Come Back is clever bittersweet songwriting at its best. It’s a surprise to hear the song was almost left off the band’s excellent new long-player Youngest Daughter. Guise was persuaded by her husband and fellow singer/songwriter Frank Carter to include it on the album.
While she suggests the pair deliver very different styles, and they do, they work well together with Turner producing the record in the pair’s garden studio. He appears on the lock-down song High Enough, it’s another well-crafted gem in a set full of hooks and relatable experiences. Guise and Hanna enjoy a relaxed stage banter and their presence is a boon to the atmosphere allowing the songs to cast their spell. The beauty of the songwriting here is the tender and unguarded honesty.
Songs such as Boychild in the best folk tradition could have been written at any point in time while Brother In Arms reflects the love and loss in family life and works to enchant and spirit away. Being a trainee psychologist as well as treating the residents of Walford in Eastenders as Dr Rosemary Kerr can only be experiences that have aided songwriting if this is anything to go by.
The Boy And The Thief is a rousing set-closer, reminiscent of Laura Marling there are shades and textures of the more pastoral Jimmy Page in the melodic folk guitar style.