Live Review: Lone Pigeon

Pilrig St Paul’s Church, Edinburgh, April 14 (Four stars)
Source: The Herald (Scotland), April 18

Fife’s Gordon Anderson has long transfixed us with his trailblazing alt-pop. He was a founder member of nineties DIY heroes The Beta Band, and thereafter The Aliens, but it’s his much-loved solo guise, Lone Pigeon, which best showcases his capricious talent for cosmic pop and heart-breaking electro-folk.

Domino Records recently released Time Capsule, a seven album box-set of Anderson’s technicolour work, which is testament to his prodigious output and his role as a counter-cultural icon. While his records are assured to mesmerise, however, his live appearances are less of a given. A case in point was a recent gig in Crail, wherein Anderson only agreed to perform after the roadside intervention of a goat which apparently resembled his brother Kenny (aka King Creosote): the ensuing performance had flashes of brilliance but was equally hard to watch.

His Edinburgh show was light years ahead. The first half comprised an epic, classical-pop piano symphony that featured the works of Neil Young, The Rutles, Satie, Chopin and many more. It was by turns sublime (his variation on Young’s ‘Soldier’ was a show-stopper) and absurd (he proved a master of cockney parlance and used a kazoo to terrific effect). All the while, Anderson cut a striking figure: hunched over a piano, shirt billowing through his waistcoat, pillars like Victorian streetlamps behind him.

His second set came in fits and starts as he broke his self-imposed silence by unleashing a frequently hilarious stream of references to religion, acquaintances and his well-documented mental illness. Anderson seems increasingly uncomfortable behind a guitar, but favourites like Waterfall and Lady reminded that when he is on form, he is unbeatable. Troubled? Not on this watch. Genius? Indeed.

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