The Hidden Door Festival brings excellent art and music to Edinburgh outside of the busy festival season. For the last two years Hidden Door has been based at the old Leith Theatre and the festival has been instrumental in restoring the venue to its former glory. The Edinburgh International Festival has recognised this, and asked Hidden Door to curate a night of music as part of the Light On The Shore series of events. It is a fantastic lineup of three Scottish bands and headlined by the legendary noise makers The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Spinning Coin are a four-piece from Glasgow and the first band onstage tonight. They make jangly pop tunes and a great opener for a night of exciting Scottish music. They get through their set in no time, playing songs from their recent album Permo. Second up is Honeyblood and they are a bundle of energy and clearly delighted to be playing in the brilliant setting of Leith Theatre. Their expressive and exciting blend of rock music goes down well with the audience. Their set is made up of track from their first two albums. Stand outs include Super Rat, Babes Never Die and the punchy Killer Bangs. The set ends with Ready For The Magic and Honeyblood swiftly make way for the headliners.
Too put it bluntly The Jesus and Mary chain are a legendary band. Psychocandy is essential listening and the Reid brothers have an ability to be passionate, touching, honest, dramatic and aggressive in their music. The stage at Leith Theatre is massive and The Jesus and Mary Chain take up the space with forceful and powerful noise. Front man Jim Reid stands in the centre of the stage, occasionally grasping the microphone stand to balance himself. Meanwhile the rest of the band stand behind him with their guitars slung low, as they build up a gigantic wall of noise and rhythm.
Classic April Skies gets an early outing and makes way for Head On. The set could easily be a nostalgia fest, but latest album Damage and Joy gets a good airing. The singer rarely speaks, preferring to acknowledge the audience with a solute in between songs. Jim Reid does mention he has a sore throat, but the audience is not interested. The songs sound as brutal and beautiful as they always have. The set draws to a conclusion with more classics including Some Candy Talking, Darklands and a pulsating Reverence.
The band return to the stage for the encore and the audience are greeted with the chiming guitars and unmistakable drum beat of Just Like Honey. It is a beautiful and breathtaking experience. The gig closes with I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll and the band exit the stage letting their instruments feedback as the audience applaud the musicians for an exhausting evening of noise.
Events at the Edinburgh International Festival Light On The Shore strand continue throughout the festival. Meanwhile Hidden Door are undertaking a campaign to raise funds to secure their future. Tonight they programmed an excellent selection of music and this is a great reason why the organisation is vital to Edinburgh’s art scene and should be supported.