Edinburgh Cas Rock

Our rating:

After years spent in indie's wilderness, it's not surprising that tonight seems less a gig and more an act of defiance against an indifferent music scene...

Resting on his laurels was never an option. From critical acclaim with hallowed fuzz-poppers The Vaselines, to being [a]Kurt Cobain[/a]’s favourite songwriter as leader of proto-grungers Captain America, Eugene Kelly has a track record most pop stars would kill for. So now, after years spent in indie’s wilderness, it’s not surprising that tonight seems less a gig and more an act of defiance against an indifferent music scene.

“I wish we had some happy songs,” he mock-sighs at one point, peering into the tiny crowd, “but we don’t.” As if he needed them. Each of Kelly‘s country-tinged, camp-fire homilies glow like long-lost classics, each careworn melody recalling Neil Young at his most plaintive and Dylan at his least guarded. Witness ‘Long Time Walking’ and ‘I’ll Be Yours’, the latter a heart-fluttering paean to true love that casts a knowing shadow over alt-country’s smug output.

And while Kelly and his band’s quieter moments seem effortless in their simplicity, it’s their rawer, rockier numbers that truly triumph. So maybe Kelly is tinged by a little cynicism, his enthusiasm dampened by years of apathy. Is it any wonder? After all, music this great cries out to be heard. Long may he strum.