Live Review: The Fence Collective

This review ran in The Herald newspaper (Scotland) on Tuesday June 7, 2011.

(Four stars)

At the climax of this alt-pop carnival, Fence ringleader King Creosote showed us his crutch.

What gets him through thick and thin, he told us, producing said prop from his pocket onstage, is a copy of The Housemartins’ album London 0, Hull 4 – on cassette.

Such pop reverence and format fetishism ran rampant through this Fence-curated event – from promising opener Dan Lyth’s hand-made balmy-folk CDs, to rousing headliners Kid Canaveral, whose current indie booty includes the vinyl re-release of their debut album, Shouting at Wildlife, and an ace new tape single, And Another Thing.

Fence’s latest signings are rightly lauded for their ebullient power-pop, but Kid Canaveral also have a stirring line in ballads – their dramatic set opener Her Hair Hangs Down, and lovesick chorale Stretching The Line, were gorgeous.

Withered Hand – alias Edinburgh singer-songwriter Dan Willson – played a similarly warm and enthralling set of brambly odes and alt-folk anthems that attracted three encores, including a colourful new hymn about the joys of touring (or lack thereof), and his signature aria, Religious Songs.

There were also compelling turns from Rob St John – who cut a striking, romantic figure onstage and whose Smog-inflected, slow-burning psalms boded well for his forthcoming debut album – and indie-folk charmer Rozi Plain, whose current single, Humans, is a laid-back DIY pop treat. It is, of course, available on seven-inch.

But King Creosote’s Housemartins tape stole the show, forming as it did part of his performance with fellow Fence helmsman The Pictish Trail (aka Johnny Lynch). Their understated, squeezebox-led laments like Leslie and Marguerita Red were excellent, while their rendition of John Taylor’s Month Away reinforced the beauty of KC’s album with Jon Hopkins, Diamond Mine.

This entry was posted in Journalism, writing etc, Reviews (Live). Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s