Saturday, 9 January 2010

Edinburgh's most successful band?

I was shooting the breeze the other day, about how some Edinburgh-based musicians had found some sort of success in London.  I starting wondering what bands/artists from Edinburgh had actually managed to achieve any sort of success.  It depends how you define success of course, but I couldn't think of too many.  In fact, that horrific spectre of The Bay City Rollers always looms up in this type of conversation, like Banquo's ghost.  They had commercial success, and their breezy pop is fine in it's way, but I don't think too many people would rate them as being musically interesting.

So, what's left?  Er . . . hmm.  Pilot?  With two songs of note?  The Chimes?  Same.  Tempting though it is to claim The Cocteau Twins, they're from Grangemouth.  You could certainly make a case for Bert Jansch.  I don't want to mention The Incredible String Band, as I don't like them, and I don't think the passing of the ages has been too kind to their brand of hippy whimsy.  Surely there must be somebody since the early 90's?  Probably, but I can't think of them.

So, you may say, who cares?  It's just that I'm wondering if Edinburgh is big enough to sustain the illusion of having a music "scene", but not big enough to actually have one.  I mean in terms of enough decent venues and people willing to go to gigs, to sustain a healthy one in reality.  It's got the quality musicians, but you need more than that.


  1. "I don't want to mention the Incredible String Band as I don't like them" - where is objective reporting when we need it? :-)
    'Hangman's Beautiful Daughter' had 27 weeks in the album chart, peaked at #5 and was nominated for a Grammy. The band were courted by the Beatles and Stones for their labels. "It depends how you define success of course" ...

    OK it's a long time ago but ...

    As for your last point, it sounds right, although it may just be the acoustic singer songwriter scene that suffers that way; there seem to be bands and audiences in the pub band and electric genre?

  2. I think there are audiences in the pub band genre, but that's partly because they tend to put those on on Fri/Saturday nights. Typically, the acoustic night tends to get the Sunday night/Monday night slot, the bands night gets Tue Wed, and possibly Thursday if you're lucky.

  3. When's your night at TLR by the way?

  4. Sometime in April, date tbc.