Wednesday 9th February 2011

6 Day Riot, The Pineapple Chunks, White Heath

Wednesday 9th February featured a mid-week Limbo special with 6 Day Riot, on a short Scottish tour, plus The Pineapple Chunks and White Heath.  6 Day Riot recently released their second album, On This Island, further developing their gypsy-folk style and making some great videos for the best songs, which you can see here, here and here.

White Heath go on first and, in all honesty, they’re the real revelation of the night.  It’s been coming up for two years since their last appearance at Limbo and they’ve really developed in the intervening period.  They open their set with a quiet, drawn-out song which suddenly explodes in a riot of sweeping instrumentation and bombastic drumming, as singer Sean attacks the floor tom in front of him, instantly grabbing everyone’s attention.  This tidal wave quickly recedes but there are two or three moments like it during the course of their thirty minutes on stage – another notable one being violinist Shoubhik seizing the microphone, the floor tom and the limelight for a song with a distinctly eastern hue.  Also unusual (but probably not for much longer) is their use of the new microKorg synth to deliver some properly heavy bass, which fills out their sound very well and makes you feel like you’re either at a dubstep rave or Notting Hill Carnival, punching you in the guts in the most satisfying way. Clearly White Heath is a young and restless group of musicians, keen to keep pushing their art forward until they find a larger audience, and, currently working with legendary Edinburgh producer Jim Sutherland to complete their debut album, this objective seems closer than ever before.

Second up are The Pineapple Chunks who deliver what’s probably the loosest set yet for them at Limbo.  Their looseness is part of their appeal, as much as the entertaining inter-song banter between singer James and drummer Owen, who has a wonderfully oblique of humour, but clearly neither is to everyone’s taste, as they do seem to leave a quota of the crowd scratching their heads at some of the unusual time signatures, louche funk and strange ribaldry besides.  However, they also have their fans and quite a few of them are here tonight, so the jokes are met with chuckles and the looseness with applause. It’s a funny old world they inhabit, The Pineapple Chunks.  But, then again, it’s a funny old world.

6 Day Riot don’t pull any punches, though, delivering a set that’s as well-rehearsed as you’d expect from a band who’ve toured the UK countless times before, most recently supporting Belle and Sebastian at the Barrowlands.  They seem to have it all going on as well.  They’ve got the tunes: check out O Those Kids, Take Me and Run For Your Life, if you’ve not already watched the videos linked above.  They’ve got a distinctive look: singer Tamara Schlesinger complements her chic, black-stockinged appearance with a very fetching American Indian head-dress for tonight’s performance, while the rest of the band generally follow suit in the style department.  And, well, they’ve got Tamara herself.  A more compelling, professional front-woman Limbo’s not seen for some time: she sings like a song-bird and then glides effortlessly between tunes, deftly keeping the crowd afloat with her patter and apparently equally effortlessly managing to deal with one very excitable bunch in the corner (either good friends or relatives of the band’s violinist and extremely keen for everybody in the room to know it).  It’s always going to be a tough one when your gig clashes with a Scottish football international but 6 Day Riot prove well up to the task, nonchalantly entertaining Limbo until the whole place is buzzing.  And there’s definitely something to be said for that.

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