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Music Reviews

Gastonbury

Gastonbury

North Star, Falkirk

Nicola Meighan

The venue for this anti-fracking benefit gig was aptly named. Within the Falkirk cafe-bar's fairy-lit confines, some of Scotland's best-loved alt-pop luminaries had mobilised to raise funds for Concerned Communities of Falkirk, who are seeking legal representation at a public inquiry into Dart Energy's controversial plans for extracting coalbed methane nearby.

King Creosote, Steve Mason (The Beta Band), Dave Maclean (Django Django) and James Yorkston performed to a 100-strong crowd who had bagged tickets via silent auction. If there was a sense of ceremony about witnessing such lauded acts in an intimate venue, the event surpassed all expectation, thanks to a temperamental amplifier which cut off several sets mid-song, and forced the acts to improvise, unplugged.

And so it was that Mason sang The Beta Band's Dry The Rain in the middle of a pub floor, backed by Djangos sticksman Maclean (younger brother of the Betas' John) busking along on djembe. Other highlighs of Mason's set included an amped-up rendition of A Lot Of Love, augmented by shaker-bearing event organiser Gavin Brown (aka De-Fence Records' OnTheFly).

King Creosote's set was similarly besieged by technical gremlins, and was wonderful for it. The amp blew mid-way through a storming three-man take on Doubles Underneath, at which point the crowd started singing along, as KC climbed atop the nearest chair without missing a beat. Then he took to the floor, guitar in hand, for Favourite Girl and All The Threes.

Yorkston, meanwhile, premiered tracks from his forthcoming album, including a striking, minimalist kraut-folk monologue, and a song whose lyrics resonated at this community-minded, awareness-raising, anti-fracking event: "I passed down my fears to you... but you can believe what you want to believe."

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