- Craig Angus
- 10 August 2018
Folk icon welcomes the EIF back to Leith Theatre in style
Tonight is a special one for Leith Theatre, with the Edinburgh International Festival returning to the venue after 30 years. Much has even said about the venue, but it bears repeating that it's an incredible asset to the area. Tonight's bill does the occasion justice.
Hamish Hawk opens the show on his tod. 'I don't normally gyrate this much', he says, 'but I've got a lot of space'. The stripped back vibe suits Hawk; 'Nomad' and 'Goldenacre' show off his skilful turn of phrase. His on stage banter provides some laughs, as he asks the crowd how their festival's going: ' has anyone seen Hamlet underwater?'. Iain Morrison follows, his voice recalling a Celtic Conor Oberst at times, Joe Smillie's muscular drums adding heft to proceedings (this is the closest thing to 'rock' tonight). It takes a while to get going, but Morrison's range is shown over the set's duration, an artist with influences from folk to krautrock.
King Creosote is in rare form; glitter smothering his face, as he poses like a rock star and his amplifier briefly considers toppling over. 'I used to be the best frontman in this band', he jokes. 'It turned to shit'. It's a magical show; Astronaut Meets Appleman's 'You Just Want' is a hypnotic opener, with Hannah Fisher doubling up on backing vocals and violin. 'The best violinist in the land!', KC says, a compliment he extends to all of his band individually over the course of the night, like a proud football manager.
A stripped back 'Bats in the Attic' just about silences a crowd a little bit too keen on the sound of their own chatter, and From Scotland With Love's celebratory 'For One Night Only' sounds positively anthemic. There are fists in the air for the closing 'Not One Bit Ashamed' (with a cheeky line from the chorus of Paul Young's 'Come Back And Stay' dropped in), before he brings out his support acts on stage for a final flourish of folk goodness.
Reviewed at EIF, Light on the Shore, Leith Theatre, 8 Aug.