Gig Review: Adrian Crowley/Star Wheel Press

Adrian Crowley/Star Wheel Press

Edinburgh Electric Circus, May 10

It’s a Friday night in old Edinburgh, and it’s a pleasant surprise to discover that the support act to Adrian Crowley is the acclaimed Aberfeldy band Star Wheel Press. Their album Life Cycle Of A Falling Bird
picked up some high profile fans back in 2011, and what imp[resses about the six piece band live is their larger-than-life (in the best possible way) frontman Ryan Hannigan.

Right from the off on show opener ‘Hey Lord (An Existential Enquiry), his personality wins over the small crowd (apart from the stag party sitting getting drunk in the corner, but he’s far more generous about them than the audience and bar staff), coming on like a Scottish Tom Waits.He’s a great raceonteur, telling us about how he had a dream about the Scottish Music Industry being run by the mafia and also reading us renaissance literature. But as well as this there’s songs like the fantastic ‘Being Michael Jackson’s Son’ and the finishing ‘Subbuteo’ (no, not the Admiral Fallow song!) to show how flaming excellent they are.

Galway’s Adrian Crowley is on the penultimate night of his tour, which started back in September. He’s been touring the really rather fine I See Three Birds Flying, his first album for the mighty Chemikal Underground and his sixth album in total.

Armed with just his electric guitar and effects pedals that are used to gorgeous effect, with just a few picked chords he manages to shush the crowd. It’s beautiful and sad, but what could make for a difficult set in any circumstance is balanced with the fact that his humour is so warm.

Anecdotes about people grumbling about him putting his guitars on seats in busy trains are moments of lightness (light and shade? perhaps) in amongst songs like ‘Alice Among The Pines’ ‘The Beekeeper’s Wife’ and ‘Long Distance Swimmer.’ It may be sad music, but it’s also not depressing in in his hands/voice/guitars/whatever.

A rather excellent night out…