Limbo at The Voodoo Rooms
Limbo 035 - Thursday 24th July 2008
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Snake oil and diamonds on the runaway train out of Limbo

This week's Limbo features two bands who espouse a sound that has long been out of fashion and yet informs loads of contemporary pop and rock music. If you're a fan of bands such as The Kills, The White Stripes and PJ Harvey, you're bound to get in to what SARA AND THE SNAKES do. Support act THE BLACK DIAMOND EXPRESS are possibly even more rootsy a proposition but both outfits harness the blues, traditional, old skool R 'n' B, Fifties/Sixties rockabilly and original rock 'n' roll styles in a way that's compelling but also a lot of fun.

Sara and The Snakes

Sara and The Snakes A blues-rock three-piece who have been electrifying the Edinburgh swamp for some time, with unlikely front-woman Sara Sidewinder unleashing the devil in her (guitar/vox), backed by Andy Anaconda (lead guitar) and Mike Mamba (drums). It's all about their glorious live shows, as any one of their many fans will tell you. unfettered piece of bone rattling voodoo swamp trash come to life. ****" (Neil Cooper, The List)

In her library girl specs and party frock, Sara Forshaw's butter-wouldn't-melt demeanour gives way to a voice bigger than PJ Harvey and twice as dirty in a three-piece distillation of raw, off-kilter and utterly beguiling 21st century blues. Greatness beckons." (The List, Hot 100, Dec '07)

The Black Diamond Express

The Black Diamond Express 'Authentic roots blues for 21st Century hobos: The Black Diamond Express is, at full compliment, a nine-piece soaked in poetry, myth and bourbon. Led by the enigmatic Jack Of Diamonds, its combination of slide, electric and acoustic guitars over string bass, cello and fiddle, blues harp, banjo, drums and percussion, beguiles with the look, the sound and - what really sets them apart - the energy of railroad blues bona fides. Nevertheless, a contemporary alternative band that combines original material with traditional standards and a fully realised pre-war blues fixation (the name tipping a wink to the Black Diamond Express Train To Hell of roots blues mythology) with an acceptance of the new, the BDE somehow stay true to both Robert Johnson and The Sex Pistols.' (Mark Edmundson, The List)

Check out our forthcoming bands here

Last Week

Last week's Limbo featured a triple bill with newcomers Reformation and T Break hotshots Grace Emilys joined by the idiosyncratic and utterly brilliant Punch And The Apostles - the surprise hit of the night.

Reformation Reformation

Reformation asked for 'a lot of white light and not too much colour' in their pre-stage direction to the Black Spring DJs. Theirs is a post-punk sound similar to that delivered by Bristol legends Mark Stewart And The Mafia or PiL. It's monochrome music with bleak lyrics about the state of the world, hence the need for such stark lighting effects to bring out the intensity in the music - cold, harsh and unrelenting. This is not something you see/hear a lot at the moment, in spite of recent trends, perhaps because so many of the bands who play with this kind of sound know little about the socio-political climate that gave rise to punk and post-punk music. However, Reformation deliver it like they mean it and leave their piece de resistance, Requiem (the most tuneful number in the set), until the end. And yet, while the world is still in thrall to the legacy of Thatcher and Tony Blair's New Labour, bands such as Reformation will remain a cult act at best. Their time may yet come around, of course, if the current doom-sayers are to be trusted.

Punch and The Apostles Similarly bleak, but not nearly as explicitly so, Punch And The Apostles are riding headlong into the jaws of the abyss with a feather in their collective cap. With some of the band rocking what could only be described as a unique on-stage style and others make less of an effort they're a motley crew the seven of them. But as quickly transpires, their sense of style - and in this instance it's a kind of gypsy punk a la Gogol Bordello (or, closer to home, Orkestra Del Sol) and, make no mistake, it's delivered with the panache of a troupe of VERY accomplished musicians - is merely a vehicle to convey some of the most profound lyrical messages we've heard yet at Limbo. Myspace really doesn't do this band justice. It's all about their triumphant live show. They draw rapturous applause from the assembly and we're already planning their return to Limbo.

Punch and The Apostles Punch and The Apostles

Grace Emilys It's a tough act to follow and, after their own triumph at T In the Park where some seven hundred strong crowd welcomed them in the T Break tent first thing on Saturday and wielding a more familiar indie-rock club, Grace Emilys look bizarrely mis-cast as the headliners tonight, which is hardly their fault and everything to do with the selection of skills the Black Spring DJs (yeah, it does happen occasionally - particularly when increasing the variables by programming a triple bill). This is indeed unfortunate, since they're not bad at all, but even Jim Morrison would have had difficulty getting the collective mojo rising and/or inspiring this crowd to anything close to sedition, given that the majority of them have already fled elsewhere for an alcohol or nicotine fix, overhwelmed by what they have just witnessed. Oh well, win some, lose some, better luck next time, eh...?

Grace Emilys Grace Emilys

Reformation, Punch & The Apostles and Grace Emilys pictures by Sarah-Jane Duncan

Next Week - 31st July

Kid Cananveral

Kid Canaveral It's the return of Edinburgh Smash Hits Kid Canaveral, who played Limbo to a rapturous reception in April (review here), following the release of new single Couldn't Dance. Kid Canaveral make indie-pop music you can sing along to. 'Debut single, Smash Hits (rel. March 2007) contained everything you’d ever want in a pop song - two storytelling verses (replete with mild swear-words) a “He said/She said” chorus, a hand-clapping middle-eight and a po-going guitar solo that is so jauntily infectious, you’ll break your neck after the third listen. Magic. Upon hearing the song BBC Scotland saw fit to make a music video for BBC 2’s The Music Show - which was broadcast on 19th November 2006. The video plays out the song’s story: Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, boy likes girl but not her taste in music, girl gets pissed off ...'

Juicy, chewy pop-kids to savour, proving that life still twitches in this indie guitar-pop business." Paul Whitelaw, The Scotsman

The King Hats

The King Hats More spiky, youthful energy from Glasgow and some short, sharp, entertaining songs to boot.

We have always been linked in some sense. The king hats were formed in Glasgow sometime in the last year (2007). I can't be anymore specific than it was still light in the evenings. Myself, Bert and Russell were up to all sorts at one of gregs now infamous house partys when we got chatty and started making plans of booking a rehearsal room and making some serious noise. we needed some bang bang into the plan so we ended up with Carlo, I jest of course. I've known Carlo since I can remember and he's always been pretty handy on the drums and so it was. We started writing songs with the only intention being that we loved playing them.'

Night Noise Team

Night Noise Team Veterans of the Black Spring Rehearsal Rooms, first discovered by DC on a web-trawl of Edinburgh bands some 18 months ago, at which point, inspired by an early version of fan favourite Menolick on their space, a meeting was set up (in the pub, obviously), a number of drinks were consumed and various vague plans hatched. We've been supporting the band one way or another since then and this debut appearance at Limbo has been in the offing since the night began. Having just released debut album Ronde De Nuit (Perm Whale), song-writing duo Fabien Pinardon (originally from France) and Sean Ormsby (originally from Ireland) have just put a fresh band together. They've grown enormously in confidence following the wide-spread critical reception for their CD (including that holy grail for young bands on-the-make, a review in the NME) and are currently playing the best shows of their careers thus far



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Also coming up at Limbo: Sparrow & The Workshop, Meursault, Baby Bones, The Red Well, Sarah & The Snakes, Black Diamond Express, Miss The Occupier, Dead Boy Robotics, Kartta, Tie For Jack, Thieves In Suits, Epic 26 plus loads of other buzzing brand new acts.

Check out all our forthcoming bands here


beer bottle

Don't forget you can take advantage of £2 bottles from any of the Voodoo Rooms' three bars by showing your Limbo wrist-band to the bartender.


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The Black Spring Rooms: competitive prices, friendly service, easy access and no fuss for as little as £7 / hour; free parking on site + six bus routes to service it in Leith. More info here


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Limbo takes place at The Voodoo Rooms, West Register Street, Edinburgh.

Times: 8.45pm - 1am *
First band 9.30, second band 10.30

Entrance: £5/£4 *

Ph: 0131 556 7060 (venue) / 0131 477 6916 (promoter)

* except where otherwise advertised

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