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Grandaddy, Potterrow, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live


Whilst “Brexit means Brexit” it’s increasingly rare that “so & so have split up” means that’s a definite end to proceedings, which is the case now with Grandaddy, back onstage tonight in support of comeback album Last Place. Whether the band here tonight, apart from frontman Jason Lyttle, contains any or all of the members I saw perform in Edinburgh in the ‘90s I’ve no idea but the sound they make is authentic &, like so many vocalists before him, Lyttle’s voice is the main ingredient – you’d be fine with him performing to taped backing.

First on stage tonight though are Amber Arcades, first seen in Glasgow at the 2016 Pop! South event (one which, like Tilburg’s Incubate, has unfortunately called it a day this year). Debut album Fading Lines was a popular indie highlight last year and Annelotte de Graaf & her band have a new five track EP coming out in June so no doubt there will be further UK live dates in the later months of the year after this short tour.

'It Changes', which had a lyric video released earlier this month, features on that forthcoming release, the Cannonball EP, & obviously gets a run out tonight. It goes down well seeing as it mirrors the pace of 'Fading Lines' and 'Turning Light', the former only mildly hampered by a sound mix which, though clear, seemed to damp down the ringing guitar parts that are a key feature of the song.

Sound issues in general (as well as a seeming total lack of air conditioning) plagued the start of both sets tonight, which is maybe due to (or the cause of) the venue being underused for such shows currently. Given the recent death of the Electric Circus it's to be hoped that Potterrow is pressed into service more often as the year progresses, not least because there's an uninterrupted view of the stage. Given the temperature last night though something would need to be done about moderating that in the summer months to make it comfortable.

Amber Arcades were clearly happy to be playing once they made it onstage and it was good to see them on a proper height one this time around & whilst the audience had an average age of 40+ they appreciated their efforts, crowding into the stage-end of the hall (yet still feeling the need to try and squeeze through with trays of beers).

Grandaddy opened up with 'Hewlett's Daughter' and it turned into one of those shows where you realise you remember far more tunes than the band will be able to fit in to their allotted time. 'The Crystal Lake', new song 'Evermore', 'Now It's On', 'El Caminos In The West', 'A.M. 180' and more were all delivered in front of a pleasant continual film of various elements of the American landscape. The band had just flown in from Israel and the beauty of Tel Aviv was extolled in one of Lyttle's small chats, provoking the inevitable misinterpretation from at least one audience member. Otherwise this was one of the best tempered crowds I've seen in a while.  

Having stepped back to the bar area in order to stop melting we had the misfortune to find ourselves by the folk who're happy to pay for a gig and then proceed to converse all the way through it, but even they were hushed by a near-perfect rendering of 'He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot' which closed things out beautifully before the band came back on for a cheerier two song encore. On this form Grandaddy look to be back to stay for a while longer yet.


Amber Arcades - Fading Lines

  • Published in Albums


Lazing around during the daytime in any sunny weather the UK summer manages this year should by rights be accompanied by this album. Its title track alone is blissed out enough to either keep you sated in your hammock or, with the infectious guitar line that runs through it, tempt you up to have a bit of a groove about.

Movement is though largely not advocated by the contents of Fading Lines, the self-funded debut from Annelotte de Graaf, where prime elements of shoegaze, drone and the motorik end of krautrock are combined into a whole that never once suffers from being an initial recorded outing.

Utilising the services of half of Quilt (Shane Butler and Keven Lareau) along with Real Estate’s Jackson Pollis with the experienced Ben Greenberg at the controls will no doubt have been of much use in terms of managing expectations within the studio but the nuts and bolts of the ten tracks here were pulled together by de Graaf in her hometown of Utrecht before she opted to sink her life savings into the trip to New York that resulted in the finished article.  

As life-changing decisions go that has surely proved to be a wise one, given the pride you can imagine being felt at the completion of the recording sessions and the rolling off the presses of the fully rounded and finished off album. There are constantly new elements of the Amber Arcades sound being revealed on play after play of the album – the insistent rhythm pulsing through ‘Turning Light’, echoes of the titular guitar part washing just into earshot further down the ranks and many more.

Fading Lines works particularly well on repeat, the softer vocals of ‘White Fuzz’ setting things up well for the driving energy that starts the album off again on ‘Come With Me’, a fitting title for the journey you’re about to begin. As debuts go you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one in this vein in 2016.

Fading Lines is available from amazon & iTunes.

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