Sunday, June 28, 2009
With this, the latest in the Mistletone showcase series, you got the distinct impression that the label was just plain showing off. Any number of the dozen outfits on this bill would have lured me along to a show, but to jam them all in to one venue across two stages for about eight hours—much of which was spent consuming beer—was kinda cruel.
And the Edinburgh Castle worked a treat! I have to say that I was sceptical of the choice to begin with, especially given the not-so-distant memories of the broken lift and bottleneck disaster that was last year’s Winter Tones at Roxanne Parlour. I now appreciate the lack of promotion of this event, not that there was any shrouded secrecy surrounding the show but there was restraint shown on behalf of the organisers. This allowed for a free-flowing celebration of music without the usual toe treading and elbow charges. In reality, they could have allowed twice as many peeps through the turnstiles. The door staff showed fabulous grace under fire in enforcing the one-in, one-out policy—hats off to them.
Music-wise the diversity was key. Though it’s unlikely that everything on the bill would have been to the taste of many, there was more than enough of an assortment of sounds to ensure there was just a little something for everybody... Ambiguous enough? Seriously, it was such a great evening I’m loath to rag on anyone. For me the Twerps’ effortless entertaining, Kes Trio’s sprinkling of pixie-dust, Dick Diver’s raucous energy (though noted lack of dick diving), Lee Memorial’s arranging and beats, and Ned Collette and Wirewalker’s sonic blockade kicked goals all over the place. In saying that, any of the night’s assemblages were contenders and with acts of this calibre across the board it feels redundant to inject any level of criticism—for once, it’d only be a matter of taste.
Of the four ‘Tones’ parties I’ve attended thus-far, I’d have to say this one’s the champ. This bodes well for the future of the series as there’s been a steady improvement on each occasion. Castle Tones attested to the reality that it takes smart organisation, not just great bands, to pay dividends in punter land. In this instance, intelligent arrangement and great bands produced a memorable night.