Edinburgh in August

Edinburgh in August

So August is almost upon us. Traditionally –  or at least for as long as I’ve been living here – most bands and promoters in Edinburgh tend to just take the month off and make way for the festival. It’s a bit of a monolith. Every available venue (and most non-venue) space is booked up months in advance, and with so much happening every single day in August, it becomes rather difficult for smaller operations putting on shows. Of course there are exceptions – a lot of the bigger clubs just keep on trucking, and nights like Acoustic Edinburgh embrace the Fringe and put on shows as part of the official line-up.

This year, though – more so than any I can remember – seems to be bucking that trend. There’s a lot of activity going on outside of the festival – and lots of local bands and promoters putting on shows regardless. Which is great to see – another indication of the strength and confidence of the city’s musical community at the moment. I thought I’d give a run down of what’s caught my eye – as with so much on, it’s entirely possible for an amazing show to slip by un-noticed.

The Edge

Firstly, the musical leg of the Fringe – the Edge – has some really great shows this year. The Mum show may have been moved to Glasgow, but we still have David Byrne, Woodpigeon, Andrew Bird, Frightened Rabbit, Malcolm Middleton, and Jeffrey Lewis. And judging by the website, the festival seems to have just absorbed all the shows at Sneaky Pete’s – including Sleeping States (who I can’t recommend highly enough), Monotonix, Sparrow and the Workshop, the usual This is Music night and the mysteriously titled ‘Songs By Toad night’. It’s also great to see some Edinburgh bands forming part of the Edge line-up – with Broken Records at the Queens Hall, a double header from Unicorn Kid and Young Fathers at Cab Vol, and support slots from Meursault (at Frightened Rabbit), the Kays Lavelle (the Lost Brothers) and Withered Hand (Jeffrey Lewis). It’s something that I’ve felt was lacking in previous line-ups, and it’s a step in the right direction.



Then, of course, there’s the ‘other’ festival. Retreat! is an all day event at the Bristo Hall on Sunday the 16th. 15 acts (Meursault, Withered Hand, Rob St. John, Tissø Lake, the Leg…), and DJs till 3am. Free entry. I can’t think of a better line-up. But then again, I did help pick it.



Trampoline are also putting on four shows over first two weekends, and really great line-ups including Adam Stafford (Y’all Is Fantasy Island), Jonnie Common (Down The Tiny Steps), Animal Magic Tricks, Conquering Animal Sound, Golden Ghost and Woodenbox.


Bang Bang Club

Normally at the Speakeasy in Cabaret Voltaire, the Bang Bang Club is hosting a series of shows upstairs in the Teviot Hall. Highlights include Clinic, the Pineapple Chunks, Paul Vickers and the Leg, and a series of soundtrack events from Steven Severin.


Playing With The Past

There’s also an exclusive second screening of the Playing with the Past event from this year’s film festival on 22nd August, with eagleowl, FOUND and Meursault performing live soundtracks to old Scottish films. Tickets are available now from the Filmhouse website or box office.



FOUND – not willing to give up their ‘hardest working band in Edinburgh’ tag to Meursault just yet – also have a residency at InSpace (a gallery space – part of the new University building) with their Cybraphon project, including a live band performance on the 13th (which is free but ticketed). It seems to be some kind of automated musical cupboard, containing a series of musical instruments, which reacts to online activity about the project in real time. Or something. For a more coherent explanation, try the Cybraphon site:


Leith Tape Club

Okay, strictly speaking not an Edinburgh show – but a nice trip out of the city is normally always welcome around the third week in August. Leith Tape Club at the Iso Bar continues in August on the 20th, with a rather special all-star line-up including the Kays Lavelle and Meursault (solo, I think).

Leith Tape Club

National Portrait Gallery

There’s also a series of rather exclusive shows at the National Portrait Gallery, whilst the gallery is closed for a refurbishment. These include Rob St. John and Emily Scott on 8th August, X-LionTamer on 21st August, St Jude’s Infirmary and Zoey Van Goey on 22nd August, and Withered Hand and Meursault on 29th August.

National Portrait Gallery

Electric Circus

There’s been some great gigs in Electric Circus since it opened earlier this year, and they don’t seem to be losing any momentum in August, with shows from FOUND, Dent May, White Heath and Rob St. John (1st), Jesus H. Foxx (11th), The Phantom Band (19th), and Trembling Bells and Ben Reynolds (25th), amongst others.

Electric Circus

The Golden Hour

A blend of poetry, music and live visuals at the Forest Cafe on 19th August, with performances from Billy Liar and Withered Hand.

The Golden Hour

Shipping Forecast Garden Party

And I think there’s another shipping forecast garden party scheduled for 30th August, with Come On Gang!

No details yet, but I’m sure Dave will keep us posted.

It is all pretty exciting. Please spam the comments with anything I’ve missed, as I’m sure there’s loads, and if any more are announced or come to light over the course of the month, it’ll no doubt make it’s way into the weekly listings.

Sleeping States – September, Maybe


Woodpigeon – In Praise of the West Midlothian Bus Service


Zoey Van Goey – City Is Exploding