Reviews & features: Music

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Best of the Fest Cabaret

14 Aug 20113 stars

The Noise Next Door, The Twoks and Briefs offer good package

Any festival ‘Best of’ lives or dies on the collection of acts and, suffice to say, it’s a mixed bag of delights, depending on your luck. And so it is here. Gloria, our host for the evening, struggles, her lacklustre attempts at humour flailing, for the…

Orkestra del Sol's Top Trumps

12 Aug 20114 stars

Balkan, gypsy and polka sounds in a musical face-off

Orkestra del Sol’s Top Trumps show is an inspired concept for a live music performance. Flyers bearing each band member’s vital statistics are handed out prior to the gig, so that audience members can pick a favourite from the nine musicians. The…

Lounge Room Confabulators

11 Aug 20114 stars

Aussie troubadours paying home visits

‘Hello! It’s the Lounge Room Confabulators.’ A voice chimes cheerily through the intercom. The Confabulators – a pair of bearded Australians in Del Monte suits who will be performing an hour-long storytelling show in my home – ascend the stairwell…

Ten Plagues

11 Aug 20114 stars

Intense, moving Marc Almond-starring plague musical strikes a chord

A one-man musical based on eyewitness accounts of the London Plague of 1665 starring Marc Almond sounds on paper like the kind of parody you’d find on the website Indeed, the 80s pop icon seems nervous as he takes to the stage in black…

Insider's insight: Canada’s cabaret comedy diva Sharron Matthews

10 Aug 2011

The high – and low – notes of life on the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe

You know my fave place to take a nap in Edinburgh? The hill right beside the Half Price Hut on Princes Street: it is soft, it is shaded by trees and if you place yourself properly, no one can see you sobbing into your phone on a million dollar phone…

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Fringe 2011 comedy blogs - Steve Pretty

10 Aug 2011

He of the Perfect Mixtape discusses music vs comedy and proper Fringe preparation

By 30th July, any sensible Fringe performer would either already be in Edinburgh getting some early promo done, or locked away in a rehearsal room, honing their show, perfecting that topical gag or getting that new set piece extra zingy. So why, last…

Kristin Hersh set for Edinburgh Festival show

10 Aug 2011

Indie rock goddess brings new memoir, spoken word and live music

Alternative rock idol Kristin Hersh is spoiling us. She’s playing four shows in the Edinburgh festival, although she doesn’t realise it. ‘Am I? I don’t know!’ she laughs. ‘I’ll do whatever you say...’ The List is tempted to exploit this congenial…

Fringe show The Trains explores Holocaust

10 Aug 2011

Music and video with score by Steve Reich, Weill, Mahler, Puccini and Górecki

Songs from the Holocaust might seem too dark a subject to tackle. But Greek-born singer Marika Klambatsea is convinced that even music from this bleakest of periods can be life-affirming. ‘Music can help people overcome tragedy. From these songs, you…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe podcasts

10 Aug 2011

Shows at 2011 Edinburgh Festival available as podcasts

Richard 'King of Edinburgh' Herring celebrates his 20th Edinburgh Fringe with RHEFP a daily podcast of comedy and chat. His guests include well-known names from Dan Antopolski to Andy Zaltzman as well as up-and-coming comedy…

Interview - Mike Slott, Eclair Fifi and Machinedrum of LuckyMe

8 Aug 2011

Glasgow DIY label set for Edinburgh Festival clubnight

Mike Slott (producer) I met Dom [Flannigan] who runs LuckyMe in Borders Books. He was sneaking flyers into hip hop magazines. We got chatting, we liked similar music and in Glasgow if you’re into a certain kind of music, you bump into the same people…

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Interview - Washed Out aka Ernest Greene

8 Aug 2011

American synth-pop creator expands band line-up for UK dates

The List catches up with Ernest Greene the night after a gig in Berlin. It was someone in the band’s birthday apparently, so a bit of partying had to be done afterwards. Now he’s in the awkward post-coffee, but pre-breakfast part of his hangover, and in…

Interview: Becc Sanderson - Eat, sleep and breathe

8 Aug 2011

Australian cabaret singer on food, jodhpurs and corsets

This Australian cabaret singer just did a six-month tour of people’s living rooms, performing songs about flowers (eg Radiohead’s ‘Lotus Flower’, Edith Piaf’s ‘La Vie En Rose’). She’s in Edinburgh now, and talking to us about jodhpurs and corsets...

Nick Pynn

8 Aug 20114 stars

One-man folk orchestra

Nick Pynn’s set-up resembles a slightly madcap music shop. An array of stringed instruments hang from their stands, some conventional, others more esoteric. One such instrument is the cocolele, a ukulele fashioned from a coconut shell. Pynn plays it…

Soweto Entsha

8 Aug 20114 stars

South African songs from the heart

In 2008, Morgan, Lwazi, Jabu and Zensele were ekeing out a living, busking on the streets of Soweto. Hearing that a French producer was dining in a nearby restaurant, the a cappella singers headed down there to try and impress him. They did. Three years…

Interview: Naoko Yamano - guitarist and lead vocalist of Shonen Knife

8 Aug 2011

The Japanese lo-fi punk girl group get ready to return to the UK

‘We have been to Edinburgh a few times but all of them were in the 90s. The first time was with the Nirvana tour, I think,’ says Naoko Yamano, guitarist and lead vocalist of Shonen Knife. Yamano, the only remaining member of the original 1981…

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Korean Drum: Journey of a Soul

8 Aug 20114 stars

Dance to the rhythm of life

Sometimes words are not required. Sometimes a single performer beating a frenetic rhythm on a drum suspended from an ornate frame is enough to raise the hairs on your arm. For those who love a bit of variety in their Fringe life, though, this showcase…

Crate-digging: Nick Hollywood - Electro Swing

3 Aug 2011

White Mink Electro Swing Speakeasy club set for 2011 Fringe

Nick Hollywood created the White Mink: Black Cotton compilation album, which gave birth to the White Mink Electro Swing Speakeasy events. Making their Fringe debut, Hollywood lets us know what to expect from his set. Just out on my own label is the…

Sounds of Fringe - Stream and record audio from the Edinburgh Festival

3 Aug 2011

Soundcloud-based app for iPhone and Android documents 2011 Fringe

New collaborative project, Sounds of Fringe allows anyone to post or stream audio from anywhere in the capital throughout the Festival, the fruits of which will be tagged and appear on an online map. Like all Soundcloud files, you can add your own…

Interview: Oneohtrix Point Never

2 Aug 2011

Psychedelic synths and drones from experimental electronica-lord, Daniel Lopatin

Name Daniel Lopatin Job title Musician, label owner Where are you just now? Brooklyn, NY. What are you doing/ going to do today? Finish the track arrangement for the upcoming OPN record. Do you enjoy touring? I do, I didn't always. It…

Fringe 2011 comedy: 5 musical comedians

29 Jul 2011

Isy Suttie, Steve Pretty, ATF?, Pistol & Jack and Gareth Richards

Isy Suttie. Dobby (from Peep Show not Harry Potter, silly) brings us Pearl and Dave, another heartwarming multi-character tale. With his Perfect Mixtape, Pretty recalls the tunes played at his own wake in 2005 (there’s a story there) and wonders what…

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Beatbox and a capella artists at 2011 Edinburgh Festival debut

28 Jul 2011

Shlomo, Beardyman Fork and Soweto Entsha cover many musical genres

‘The dynamic of the voice fascinates me,’ says UK beatbox artist Shlomo. The London-based ‘World Loopstation’ champion, also known as Simon Khan, has collaborated with Jarvis Cocker and Björk, and his oral simulations of percussion, electro and…

Fingerstyle guitarist Andy McKee Glasgow and Edinburgh dates

28 Jul 2011

Virtuoso guitar plucker who made his name on YouTube

In 2006 American ‘fingerstyle’ guitarist Andy Mckee joined the YouTube sensation club when he posted a video of himself performing his song ‘Drifting’. It has to be seen and heard to be believed – nearly 78,000,000 hits and climbing – but McKee is…

Camille O’Sullivan: Feel

28 Jul 2011

Sultry chanteuse brings new set of noir reworkings of classic songs to 2011 Edinburgh Festival

Camille O’Sullivan is in agony. Two weeks before her show, Feel, opens, she has yet to finalise the set. ‘I am at the table surrounded with CDs, with stickers on the walls,’ she confesses from her home in Dublin. ‘I look around and see the songs I…

Lach's Antihoot music showcase returns to 2011 Edinburgh Festival

27 Jul 2011

Antifolk set and nightly showcase from Edinburgh-based New Yorker

Having brought his Antihoot night to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time last year, New York’s antifolk originator Lach (it’s pronounced ‘latch’, which Scots might find counter-intuitive) has found himself a new home. The man whose seminal open mic…

Liberace: Live From Heaven

27 Jul 2011

Edinburgh Festival show features piano man playing at the Pearly Gates

In cabaret, what turns a concert into theatre is the hook that hangs the tunes together. Hanging squirming from this particular hook is Liberace (reincarnated in Bobby Crush) as he plays for his immortal soul. We join the sequined piano man after his…