To round of the Pleasance Sessions, Dusty Moose gave us a night full of folk and food for thought. Ross Wilson of Blue Rose Code, who MCed throughout the show also opened and closed the night for Yusuf Azak, Jenny Lindsay, and Withered Hand.
When soft-spoken Ross enters the stage, you might expect that Blue Rose Code will offer a rather quiet show. You’d be badly misled, indeed. He starts off the set armed with his guitar and expressive voice to thrill the audience with a stripped-down version of Ghosts of Leith – a love song for Edinburgh. Then with great ease he switches over to the piano and sings the next song, Grateful, together with Eliza Wren Payne. He dedicates it to beautiful Carey of Camera Obscure who sadly passed away on Sunday. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. Watching Ross and Eliza perform this touching song together was incredibly moving, and you can definitely feel how much they enjoy playing together. Their songs come across with a powerful beauty with everyone on stage showing that this band is more than a sum of its parts. Even if all in all, the songs don’t exactly leave the audience in a mirthful mood, they do feel real and don’t fail to move.
Without too long a break, Yusuf Azak takes the stage. A little bit nervous, he plays a Grizzly Bear cover that he’s truly made his own. Luckily, he quickly finds his bearings and starts chatting to the crowd about his last tour around Scotland. It appears he feels a little bit lost on the big stage that has just been occupied by five seemingly very confident musicians, but that doesn’t take away from the beauty of his songs.
The last act before the break is Jenny Lindsay. In her poems she talks about Edinburgh, love and modern day relationships and succeeds in creating minute pictures drawn with her heartfelt lyric, describing sometimes funny, sometimes depressing, sometimes bittersweet observations that hit home and get you thinking. Even if you’re not a fan of poetry, her somewhat self-deprecating and fearless personality will surely win you over.
After a 20-minute bar break, Withered Hand aka. Dan Willson has to warm up a thoroughly frozen audience – winter is definitely upon us. Having listened to all of his songs and read great reviews by NME and Rolling Stone, I must confess I was particularly excited for this singer-songwriter. And, fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. In a folky-frenzy he takes stage and audience by storm, picking up the pace and maintaining perfect timing throughout his set filled to the brim with minor keys, resonating lyrics, and good banter.
In the second part of Blue Rose Code’s set, they continue where Dan left off. Just as energetic as before, but with tunes much more cheerful, they release a happy if tired audience into the cold Edinburgh night.
As if they had silently agreed, every act chose beautiful songs and poems straight from the heart, all professing their love for Scotland and in particular Edinburgh. And I can definitely say, Edinburgh loves you too!