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PAWS, The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh

  • Written by  Kenneth McMurtrie

Thankfully initial concerns about a low turnout for tonight’s show (PAWS’ third in as many days in support of the cokefloat! album & pre-SXSW warm-up) prove to be unfounded. Always a worry though when you look at events on Facebook and see confirmed attendance as only in the low thirties.

Despite seeming a tad road weary already the trio swiftly sort the crowd out and have them step forward to fill the void between playing area and viewers after only a couple of songs. New songs abound during the set which makes for a pleasant change, given that the current way of things seems to be one of bands resting on their laurels until promotion of an exiting product is all over. ‘Tiger’ is the only song of the four or five newbies that gets a namecheck but all are of the same quality as those on the aforementioned album.

Playing with gusto the band manage to get the clearly loyal crowd moving about as much as is safely possible in a venue with no stage, where the front row end up being both viewers and a buffer for those in the back. Being Edinburgh and an art college crowd there is though at no time any danger of shoving or rudeness, just polite applause (well deserved) and cheers. Versions of 'Catherine 1965', ' Tulip' & 'Jellyfish' are run through as speedily as they come & go on the album and by show’s end all are satisfyingly entertained and perspiring, as will hopefully also be the case in Austin come mid-March.

In contradiction of the wording on the poster at the top of this piece tonight’s support is actually provided by local boys Plastic Animals & Glaswegian quartet Secret Motorbikes. The former seem to have increased in size since I last saw them play as they’re now a five-piece, having included a bloke with a laptop and gadgets in the line-up. Musically the influences seem to still be resolutely Sonic Youth & Dinosaur Jr. but given that they’ve honed that style right down they’re definitely keeping it going rather than merely apeing it. Good to see them having a few more support slots of late too.

Secret Motorbikes come armed with some good quality banter for their first gig on the eastern seaboard but more importantly they’re fronted by the runner up in a Julian Casablancas lookalike competition and feature Steve Zissou on bass! Gimmickry aside they know how to belt out a good song and have that gang-like vibe going on amongst themselves to the extent that you could pretty much assign each of them the role of one of The Monkees. Songs such as ‘Don’t Try’ and ‘Eating and Sleeping’ fully deserve to be recorded and released to the world at large and it would be a pleasure to see this lot perform again in the near future.

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