Live Review: Bun Fight at the OK Karail #1

Crail Community Hall, Sat, 9 April ****
(Source: The List)

Sometimes, with Fence Collective shows – with the strange, intangible magic they weave – it helps to unravel them in reverse.

For example, it made perfect sense for the night to end in a cosy pub, with a hoard of mildly sunburnt gig-goers rubbing shoulders with award-winning anglers and a room-full of men in Blues Brothers shades, many atop their daily bifocals, all the better to watch the golf in 3D, despite it being well past midnight.

It’s hard to imagine Fence’s inaugural Bun Fight winding up any other way. The lock-in concluded a day in which The Lone Pigeon’s in-the-balance star turn was saved by a goat which resembled his brother; wherein the merchandise stall ran perilously low on rawk lord Gummi Bako’s knicker supplies; where the cider flowed in outlandish flavours such as ‘strawberry and lime’.

Such peripheral details are, as ever, vital to the addictive Fence elixir. But that’s not to underestimate the sterling day-long entertainment: Kid Canaveral, revitalised by their recent US jaunt, finished us off in jubilant indie-pop style; King Creosote preceded them with a raucous, Lambrini-fuelled collection of favourites; the aforementioned Pigeon was intermittently excellent. And the show-stopping Withered Hand dropped our jaws with his shock coiffure and then captured our hearts all over again: a new man with a familiar voice and burnished-folk odes of which we will never tire.

Long-standing Fence favourite HMS Ginafore performed what she claimed was her penultimate show, and the audience was suitably reverent – so much so that she chided us for being suspiciously quiet. Her tales of the chords she names after her family and her obsession with ornithological wordplay are as precious as the quietly enlightening arias she sings. If she really retires, she will be missed.

River of Slime and Lomond Campbell – aka Kev Sim and Ziggy Campbell, which is to say, two-thirds of FOUND – enacted a battle of man and machine, with Campbell playing gorgeous, flamenco-tinged folk songs and Sim discharging a bludgeoning techno counterpoint. The sonic face-off worked a treat, and when the two sides united for a pared-back FOUND set, the results were delirious. Harnessing the woozy electro-prog of ‘Shallow’ was an especially bold and gratifying manoeuvre.

Gummi Bako’s incandescent rock‘n’roll and ludicrously brilliant rhyming couplets remain bizarrely under-sung: his livid, irresistible turn made for a floor-shaking if incongruous mid-afternoon hoe-down.

Some visual impairment as regards a bus timetable meant that The List sadly missed James Yorkston’s opening performance (he was a last-minute stand-in for the much-loved Pictish Trail, who had to pull out for family reasons). This meant that, for us, the day began with congenial ringleader Kenny Anderson: guitar in hand, sun shining behind him, singing a short but magnificent set and welcoming us, as he always does, to his mythical kingdom in the East Neuk of Fife.

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