(Picture taken by Sam Garnett.
Aberfeldy : the Bongo Club, Edinburgh, October 27, 2006)
These are truly strange times we all live in. Last week Aberfeldy were playing in Mexico to 7,000 people in a country where their record isn’t even out. Meanwhile, back in the UK, at Edinburgh’s Bongo Club (admittedly a place with a much smaller capacity) the crowd are much smaller, but they are doing a hastily arranged gig for Oxjam, and they are back on home turf… it’s great to see them back here.
Just to put it in some kind of context, I have now seen Aberfeldy seven times. So, yes, I came to praise Aberfeldy, and dragging my friends along with me (my girlfriend, sam, who provided the photo at the top has seen them a mere three times. But I digress). And as I mentioned before, they have just grown so much. The band have become so tight on stage, and just look so goddamn cool. No Safari suits for Riley this evening, but from the minute ‘A Friend Like You’ starts, it’s like being greeted by an old friend, someone you’ve grown up with, and who is starting to seem to happy in themselves. It opens their first album, Young Forever, and I think, virtually every gig I have ever seen them play.
Their new album, Do Whatever Turns You On, grows on playing. Back at home typing this up, and listening to the album, I realise just how these songs are starting to worm my way into my consciousness (maybe they just need time, rather than more singles off the album). ‘If-Then’ and ’1970s’ certainly rate with the best songs on their debut. Yet, it’s also so good to hear ‘Surly Girl’ and debut single ‘Vegetarian Restaurant’ again. The backing vocals from Sarah and Ruth on ‘Surly’ could melt the hardest heart, no matter how many times I hear it. Vegetarian Restaurant is actually about Susie’s Diner in Edinburgh. Maybe edinburgh will one day have it’s own rock’n'roll tour and a plaque outside (then again, I remember thinking the Dublin one seemed to be clutching at straws, so perhaps not).
Four songs from the new album ‘Poetry,’ ‘All True Trendies’ ‘Whatever turns you on’ and ‘Uptight’ are played in succession, and you start to feel that it doesn’t matter if they’re not interspersed with songs off the debut, you want to hear these new ones too. The chemistry between the band still seems strong, with Murray looking like he’s been the drummer here forever, and Ken looking pretty content with himself too.
The band finish the set with ‘love is an arrow’ and remind us that it was their big hit, reaching no.60 last year. If there is justice, this will be surpassed soon enough. They come on for an encore of Devo’s ‘Beautiful World’ which goes seemlessly into ‘Heliopolis by night.’ And as ever, we all do the radio ga-ga hand-claps.
The feldys continue to grow and delight. Let’s hope more records come, whether they’re out in Scotland or Mexico. My friends go off into the night, promising to buy the Cds and saying they want to see them again. You will be held to this, guys.
The Setlist (with thanks to Ken)
A Friend Like You
All True Trendies
Whatever Turns You On
Love Is An Arrow
Beautiful World/Heliopolis By Night