Blue Rose Code, HAC 3rd December

Posted on Sunday 18th December 2016 20:40 by FreckFest

Some bands arrive in a blaze of publicity, all style over substance, with a cleverly marketed social media demographic and a fast-track to the top. Others take their time. They grow and develop, honing their craft, always looking to better the last great song they wrote and the last great album they recorded. In time, the public catches up with them and everyone comes to realise their worth. Blue Rose Code are one of those bands. On the cusp of greatness, they’ve quietly crept up on everyone and come next year, mark my words, everyone will know their name.


In the days leading up to Friday’s show at the HAC, Blue Rose Code had the sort of week normally reserved for the most popular of bands. At the start of the week they were in London, playing a live session on Edith Bowman’s Virgin Radio Breakfast Show. The next night they played a sold-out show in the hipper than hip Vortex Jazz Club, the hottest ticket in town. The night before the HAC they’d played another sold out affair, this time in the vast Queen’s Hall in their home town of Edinburgh in front of an impressive 1300 fans. Both shows received rave reviews in the national press.


It was something of a Freckfest coup then to have Blue Rose Code booked to play the HAC. Less than a tenth of that Edinburgh audience were there to see them on Friday night, packed in for their third sell-out of the week. Allowing for the inaugural Ilumination Festival, Friday’s show time was adjusted to allow the audience (and bands) the chance to take in the closing firework display and once over, the fireworks continued inside.


With the audience suitably warmed up by the excellent Bella And The Bear, anticipation was high. Everyone present, both artist and audience, knew they were at something a wee bit special – this wasn’t just a gig, this was a show that would be talked about in the years to come. “Remember when Blue Rose Code played the HAC?” they’ll say.


Led by singing guitarist Ross Wilson, Blue Rose Code has an ever-evolving line-up. The night before, the number of musicians on-stage with him approached double figures. They played on Friday as a stripped back 3-piece. Flanked on either side by a pedal steel and a keyboard player, both equally adept on other instruments, the set comprised mainly of material from the band’s current ‘And Lo! The Bird Is On the Wing’ album. There’s a real craft to the songs, described by Wilson as ‘Caledonian Soul and it’s easy to see how the band can adapt the songs to include the extra musicians. Stripped back, they bring to mind the textures of John Martyn or the pastoral folk of our old Freckfest friend James Yorkston. Songs like ‘Brave Cedars & Pied Wagtails’ and ‘Chasing Sunlight’ were played out in reverential silence, the audience appreciating the music being played out in front of them. There was a real feeling at the end, as the band mixed with fans, that we had just seen a very special show, the ideal way to round off our year. Whether the HAC will be big enough to accommodate both band and audience in the future remains to be seen. Fingers crossed.


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