A triple bill of three of the finest folk acts in the country is a wonderful addition to this year’s August Fringe, albeit for one night only.
The three acts: Elephant Sessions, Siobhan Miller and WhYtE, are brought together as part of the Showcase Scotland Expo which aims to support and develop Scottish artists and in turn strengthen the cultural heritage of Scotland. And what better place to do it than the largest arts festival in the world.
Siobhan Miller and her band open proceedings with a selection of beautifully written songs which Miller sings with a light, perfectly pitched tone. Her voice has an almost haunting quality which spellbinds the audience until the final note when she and her band lap up the deserved applause. One of the most endearing elements of the three time Scots Singer of the Year is the stories she tells about the songs she sings and the audience are then fully transported into those worlds as they soak up the lyrics.
In sharp contrast, WhYtE, made up of Gaelic singer-songwriter, Alasdair C. Whyte, and electronic composer and musician, Ross Whyte (no relation), have taken some old traditional Gaelic songs and with an eclectic mix of instruments and electronics turned them into something unique and innovative. Alasdair seems shy and nervous as he introduces the songs leaving the tracks lacking that audience connection Miller developed, although it is certainly different for those looking for a new sound.
Finally come the headline act: Elephant Sessions, whose album, All We Have Is Now, won album of the year at the Scots Trad Music Awards last year. This furiously energetic five piece have been making waves in Scottish music for a while now and get the crowd going from the off despite the all seated arrangement at The Queen’s Hall which is completely out of step with what a band like Elephant Sessions need. Nevertheless, the crowd get right behind the band and make the most of the limited space available bouncing along to popular tracks such as Summer, Misty Badger and, after the traditional chant of “one more tune”, Doofer.
All three acts have put on a great show and it is only a shame that it couldn’t have been a standing gig.