Live Reviews

  The Scuffers, Dropkick, Dead Beat Club and My Radio live at Henry's Cellar Bar in Edinburgh

Darlings, a BluesBunny girl enjoys an adventure. Travelling into Edinburgh is one such adventure. Neither female intuition nor its male equivalent (quaintly called Sat Nav) can prepare you for the circuitous route you must take to reach your destination. Tonight's destination is Henry's Cellar Bar on Morrison Street. It is indeed in a basement and - to add to the confusion - is unrelated to the pub upstairs. It is in fact part of the Chinese restaurant, the Lemon Tree, next door.

I am running late. Well, as much as one can run when wearing heels. Fortunately, the BluesBunny photographer has arrived in time and is busy taking notes and muttering about F stops. My nerves are frazzled so I relieve him of his wallet and visit the bar. Not the kind of place to do a decent bone dry martini but a girl must persevere. Fashion in Edinburgh is a bit of a worry though. Looking around, I can see several instances of rich boys pretending to be poor students. Surely it is bad enough to be a poor student without having some upwardly mobile, daddy funded wimp stealing your street honed look.

Andy tucker on stage

The first act of the evening are the Dead Beat Club. I have missed the first few songs but lead singer Andy Tucker impresses. A real man. A bearded man wearing a tan leather jacket as only a real, bearded man can. He is the possessor of a fine, bluesy voice and exudes charm. He steals my heart with "Black, Black Heart". This band plays fine pop songs with a bit of a country and folk feel. Lovely harmonies from Shona Brodie make me forgive her for wearing red boots. Oh dear, some boots are just made for walking you know. They squeeze in a couple of tracks - "Sidetracked" and "Last Man" from their forthcoming album as well. I am impressed. Time for another well deserved martini.

Scuffers on stage

Next up are the Scuffers. I must confess to a fondness for the Scuffers. The bass player Ian had the good fortune to work with me in the dim and distant past. His dress sense has not improved with the passing of time however. I notice a few changes with the line up. They have acquired Dochan MacMillan on the mandolin and other stringed instruments. For "Dear Stranger" - one of their finest songs - they announce that they will be dragging in Alastair from Dropkick to substitute for the missing backing vocalist. And it works.

Lead singer Gavin Wallace is another big, handsome man and he can really sing. The band gives rock solid support with some especially wondrous pedal steel work. The BluesBunny photographer starts singing along with "Going with the Flow". How embarrassing! There is also the clear and present danger of an Edinburgh audience actually dancing. The Scuffers squeeze in a cover of "Wagon Wheel" (by the Old Crow Medicine Show - shame on you for not knowing that). They end with "Lovesick Blues". I truly believe the handsome Gavin was singing that one just for me. As the BluesBunny photographer is prone to saying, the Scuffers just keep delivering the goods.

My Radio on stage

Then came a surprise. The next band, My Radio, were not familiar to me. Whilst the rest of the bands of the evening had a definite country/folk/Americana feel, My Radio were most certainly guitar oriented pop. They had catchy songs and the lead singer was a good looking boy. Not a beard in sight anywhere either. They claimed to be new to performing live but they were slick and polished even with a borrowed guitarist. The drummer was a sweet looking boy called Andy Farquhar who could drum for his country. The usually cynical BluesBunny photographer said that he had not seen a more talented drummer since the legendary John Maloney of the Ghettobillies. He could never be replaced by one of those drum machine things. I truly believe that commercial success cannot be far away for them. I decide on another bone dry martini to calm my nerves. I am getting a bit too excited.

Alastair Taylor on stage

Finishing off the entertainment for the evening was Dropkick. Being the gallant hosts, they have a rather short set. The audience does approve of them and they get a warm response. They even have some Dropkickettes to help things along. Based around the Taylor brothers, this is a tight, well practised band. But let me tell you, my readers, they are on the shy side. The lean, cute Alastair does his best to hide behind the speakers whenever the BluesBunny photographer tries to capture his handsomeness. Their bearded one does not match the hirsute charms of the Dead Beat Club's Andy Tucker and he seems curiously perturbed by our presence. In fact, the only one unperturbed by our presence was the multitasking Andrew Taylor behind the drums. Take your eyes of him for a moment and he would pick up another instrument. I truly cannot recall seeing a drummer play the banjo at the same time. The highlight of the set was a ripping, redneck take on "Dog and Cat" from their Obvious album. You could just imagine the band behind the chicken wire in a roadhouse on Route 66. They really do have such good songs but they seem to lack presence on stage.

Anyway darlings, a good night was had by all. Hunger was taking a hold so the BluesBunny photographer donated his wallet and we retired to the Chinese restaurant next door. As a final fashion note, all my readers should note that tan leather jackets are the sole preserve of real men like Andy Tucker. You have to live yourself into jackets like that. You cannot just buy one.

Now here's a thought. Andy from the Dead Beat Club and Gavin from the Scuffers. Two big handsome men. In fact, that's what they should call themselves - The Two Big Handsome Men. They could record a duet and dedicate it to me! Oh what a lovely dream I shall have tonight.

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