Gig of the month

Manic Street Preachers and Suede, Edinburgh Castle, July 10

Given the unpredictability of the Scottish summer, outdoor gigs are always something of a lottery, but this 1990s-flavoured double-header at least comes with the guarantee of two bands who are not short of indie anthems to warm you up. To be honest, I’m fonder of early, punky Manics than their Dad Rock peak. What would the hellraisers who recorded Motown Junk think of playing Edinburgh Castle? But as a band they’ve always embraced their contradictions and they remain on the side of angels. Suede, meanwhile, may well be the best live band in the world these days. No, really. A genuinely ferocious live act with a gorgeous sideline in bruised tenderness. How the intimacy they conjure up in enclosed spaces will translate to the castle esplanade will be fascinating to see.

Manic Street Preachers Manic Street Preachers (Image: free)

Stevie Nicks, OVO Hydro, Glasgow, July 6

“Just like the white winged dove/Sings a song, sounds like she's singing/ Ooh, baby, ooh …” Stevie Nicks is 76. Seventy bloody six. If, like me, that makes you feel ancient, take consolation from the fact that on stage she remains a force of nature. The woozy narcotic of that voice is still pretty intact and her songbook remains one of the greatest of the late 20th-century. (Yes, it is. It’s not up for debate.) Frankly, you will have to pay through the nose to get a ticket for this now, but if you are one of the lucky ones ask her to sing Sara for me.

Stevie NicksStevie Nicks (Image: free)

Dana Gillespie & the London Blues Band, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, July 6

Meanwhile, Dana Gillespie - 1970s icon, avalanche survivor, Bowie’s friend and lover, blues singer and 10 months younger than Nicks - is performing in the capital on the same night. Gillespie is promoting her new album, First Love, produced by Marc Almond and Tris Penna, which sees her cover songs by Leonard Cohen, Lana Del Rey, Green Day and Morrissey.

Nils Frahm, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, July 9

The German musician and composer’s latest album Day is one of his quietest, a collection of solo piano pieces that are all hush and breath. Live, though, Frahms has always been a wired, vibrating presence, jumping between keyboards, laptops and percussion. How he marries up these two sides of his musical personality should be fascinating.

Nils FrahmNils Frahm (Image: free)

The Spooky Men’s Chorale Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, July 12

“Men singing songs, some of them funny,” is the promise on this Australian choir’s website. Is that a threat or a promise? Actually, the humour’s fine, but what you will stay for is the exquisite harmony singing. A fine reminder of the power and pleasure of the human voice.

TRNSMT Festival, Glasgow Green, July 12-14

If it’s July it must be TRNSMT. Such is the gravitational pull of the festival the rest of July can feel a little quiet gigswise as a result. The headliners of this year’s spectacle - Liam Gallagher, Gerry Cinnamon and Calvin Harris - conform to the rather blokey TRNSMT archetype. Expect “sing-along-with-me” chest-beating anthems and, in Harris’s case, big beats.

That said, the festival is clearly alive to the lack of diversity in its line-up in past years and this summer will see the likes of Alison Goldfrapp, Sugababes, Natasha Bedingfield, Baby Queen and CMAT (surely a headliner in the next year or two) all playing the main stage.

No doubt The Last Dinner Party will be a popular draw on the King Tut’s Stage on Friday, but if you get the chance check out Rachel Chinouriri on Sunday. Her debut album What a Devastating Turn of Events is one of the freshest things in British music in 2024.

Liam Gallagher is playing in GlasgowLiam Gallagher is playing in Glasgow (Image: free)

Pictish Trail, Pop Mutations Festival, Glasgow, July 18; Tolbooth, Stirling, July 19; The Speyside Fantastic Party, Aviemore, July 20; Lunarpalooza, Leith, July 27

Johnny Lynch has been making music under the Pictish Trail moniker for more than 20 years, first as part of the Fence Collective in Fife and more recently on his own Lost Map label from his home on Eigg. The DIY psychedelia of his most recent album Island Family was utterly joyous and he remains one of the most entertaining and endearing live acts in the country. This mini tour sees him play a couple of mini festivals including Lunarpalooza in Leith at the end of the month. Steve Mason, Kathryn Joseph and the brilliant Callum Easter are also on the bill that weekend.

Rewind, July 19-21, Scone Palace, Perth

The past is always with us. It’s just playing in a field in Perth. The latest Rewind festival is the usual mix of the sublime and the once successful, a jumble-up of hitmakers who were at their peak in the last century. A bit like you and me, let’s be honest. This two-day celebration of all our musical yesterdays sees headline sets by Billy Ocean on the Saturday and The Boomtown Rats on the Sunday (the Edwin Starr band plays Friday). Also on hand on Saturday are Hue & Cry, Tiffany, Altered Images (hola Clare) and Kim Wilde, while on Sunday support comes from, among others, Gabrielle, Heather Small, Midge Ure, Nik Kershaw and Peter Hook and the Light.

Kim Wilde is at RewindKim Wilde is at Rewind (Image: free)

Camille O’Sullivan: Loveletter, Assembly Festival, Edinburgh, July 31

I hate to inform you that the Fringe is within sight. Yes, already. And it kicks off early this year with more than a few shows opening at the end of July. Fringe veteran Camille O’Sullivan’s is one of them. This year O’Sullivan celebrates her 20th anniversary in Edinburgh with a preview show that, as the title implies, pays tribute to some of her favourite songwriters, including a couple of late greats in Shane MacGowan and Sinead O’Connor, as well as Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Radiohead.

Consone QuartetConsone Quartet (Image: free)

Consone Quartet, Paxton Hall, Berwick-upon-Tweed, July 21

July is often quiet for classical music in Scotland as everyone prepares themselves for the Edinburgh International Festival in August. All of which makes the Music at Paxton festival of chamber music right on the Scottish border so appealing. This year’s programme, which runs July 19-28, offers up a smorgasbord of musical treats, ranging from Russian-born violinist Viktoria Mullova playing Beethoven and Schubert (July 19) to an evening of world music from the Kosmos Ensemble (July 25). But the festival’s resident musicians this year are the Consone Quartet who are playing a number of concerts including this programme which takes in Mozart, Richard Strauss and the Scottish premiere of Gavin Bryars’s String Sextet, ‘The Bridges of Konigsberg’. They are joined onstage by Francesca Gilbert (viola) and Alexander Rolton (cello) to make up the necessary numbers. Bryars is himself in attendance at this year’s festival and a ticket to the Consone Quartet’s performance will allow you free entrance to an “in conversation” event with the composer beforehand.