Credit: Caleb Fraser
The Big Moon + Francobollo
The Mash House, Edinburgh
April 23 2017
Words: Richard Cobb
The Big Moon brought their ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ album tour to a sunny, but ever breezy, Edinburgh on Sunday night. A gig that was originally scheduled for The Electric Circus, but moved to The Mash House up the road on account of the keys to one of Edinburgh’s best loved music venues being handed over last month to the neighbouring art gallery to enable the art lovers to spread out more, like their houmous smeared flatbread.
I can’t really comment on the set from opening band Quiet as a Mouse too much, largely as I used to play bass for them, so it would be a bit like me passing judgement on how an ex-girlfriend is getting on with her new man whilst throwing darts at her photo. Moving on…
Credit: Richard Cobb
Tour support Francobollo were up next. Very much a Marmite sort of band this one. I do like marmite, just not sure how I feel about it on a Sunday night when I’m not prepared for it. You’ll either love them, or you’ll be left pondering what on earth you’d just witnessed whilst not quite knowing how to put the madness into words.
Midway through the band’s second song it sounded like a bee had flown into the monitor and there was an overwhelming buzzing noise for an awkward amount of time, though the way the first song had gone it took me a worrying amount of time to realise it was a technical fault and not the bridge. At this point I clocked the bassist wearing a dalmatian t-shirt and got the feeling that this was potentially worse than anything it would have been subjected to at Cruella De Vil’s house. They recovered well from the setback though, and the sporadic guitar lines on ‘Wonderful’ were enjoyable and it was easily their best song of the night, even if it did sound like an alien abduction was imminent at points.
Their song structure stuck out to me as it was very individual and didn’t seem to be following in the footsteps of anyone else. The sense of individuality and haphazardness of the band was enough to get the vast majority of the crowd on their side, and it’s satisfying to see a band seem genuinely into the sound that they’re creating.
Credit: Richard Cobb
I last saw The Big Moon at the tail-end of 2015 alongside Inheaven and VANT. A great line-up and gig which sadly numbers wise was extremely quiet due to seemingly all of Edinburgh being holed up in a bar over the road watching the Scottish national team successfully reap more misery on our country at a sport they’re not very good at.
18 months later and the venue is swarming. Testament to the strength and depth of the band’s debut album as well as their energetic live shows. Bounding onto the stage and straight into ‘Silent Movie Susie’ followed by former single ‘Nothing Without You’, would have been enough to get most cities going, but on this occasion Edinburgh felt slightly lethargic for some reason in the early stages, possibly suffering from Sunday blues, as identified by bass player Celia prior to 'Cupid'. Quiet as a Mouse’s drummer Graham rather accurately points out “That’s just an Edinburgh crowd.” A guy at the other side of the room filled to the brim with confidence (and cider) attempted to lift spirits by shouting “Fucking caman the Big Man!” Or at least that’s what I thought he valiantly proclaimed the first three or four times he foghorned it out at each song interlude. It was only when leaving the gig I realised he’d actually said “Fucking come on, The Big Moon.” In hindsight that made a bit more sense to be fair.
During the delightfully heavy sounding ‘Bonfire’, vocalist Juliette Jackson downed her guitar and dangled in front of the crowd who had started interacting a bit more at this point. Finishing up the set with a superb rendition of album opener ‘Sucker’ - which had the whole venue singing back at the band - it was an ideal end to proceedings. The Big Moon were on top form and the set flowed perfectly. It’s just a shame the near capacity crowd took longer to heat up than a broken kettle.