23 August 2009 (gig)
14 September 2009
Taking over Edinburgh’s GRV for 3 days with the biggest names in Scottish music is Gap Radio’s SOSfest, a monster of a festival inviting Tommy Reilly, Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchinson, The Xcerts and Sergeant to headline. Despite being smack bang in the midst of Edinburgh’s annual Edge Festival/Fringe Festival, SOSfest made its mark in the tiny GRV to be one of August’s musical highlights.
Kicking off Sunday night are Fred Astaire’s Boots, an act that start with a huge burst of flowery tunes that will continue throughout the evening. Sunshine pop is definitely the theme of today’s festivities and Fred Astaire’s Boots are the first to showcase the genre in its fullest glory. Callel, a local Edinburgh band, follow suit providing another simple sound with a super jingly feel. It is clear from the tiny crowd that the fans are saving themselves for the headliners tonight, which is a shame because if you like Sergeant and Ray Summers, you’d love Callel.
Pushing the loveliness of tonight’s performances a little too far, are the sickeningly sweet Tango in the Attic. By now the jingling-jangling pop genre is beginning to grate, and although they nail that sunshine-pop perfectly, it’s just all turned a bit too 'nice’ for a live music gig. But the next act takes this scene and flips it all upside down.
In amongst the lovely, sunshine-friendly pop line up, is the absolute musical gem The Fire and I. The duo combine bass and drum for a heavy sound like you’ve never heard before: jaunty and uncontrollably nauseous clashes of metal and grunge, juxtaposed with well-tuned and flaming vocals. The Fire and I have the floor literally shaking as they perform the best set of the night.
Next on are the handsome ska-punks from Falkirk, The Ray Summers. The Ray Summers add electricity and energy to every stage they play, and tonight is no exception. 'Boots and Cats’ is always the best song of their set, consistently catchy and fun, and new single 'The Shepherd’ is another graceful delight from this quirky act. Combining the musical stylings of The Kinks and The Rolling Stones with a modern Britpop from Oasis and Kasabian, The Ray Summers again highlight all that is good about Scottish sunshine-pop.
Headlining tonight are Sergeant. As Sergeant take to the stage, it’s clear to see why Noel Gallagher personally asked the band to be main support for Oasis’s winter Scottish dates. Sergeant deliver a set reminiscent of the 90s Brit pop era, with touches of The Seahorses, Cast, Suede and Oasis themselves. The music is also heavily influenced by bands of the past such as The La’s and the Beatles giving Sergeant an antique and beautiful feel.
Sergeant bring to town their own brand of sunshine pop, all-jingling, all-jangling feel good music. Previous single 'K-OK’ is a breath of fresh air, showcasing lead singer Nick Mercer’s distinctive and brilliant vocal style. 'Sue Loves It’ is perhaps the highlight of the show, with its catchy vocals and cascading harmonies. New single 'Swiftly Does It’ sets their style deeply in stone; the catchy, recognisable intros leading us into those sing-a-long choruses.
Gap Radio’s SOSfest saw three days of Scotland’s biggest names: Tommy Reilly, Scott Hutchinson, The Xcerts, Ewan Butler, The Fire and I, The Void and Sergeant. Sunday witnessed The Fire and I perform the highlight of the festival, but also headliners Sergeant set the stage alight. Sergeant have supported Pigeon Detectives, Fratellis, Supergrass and Oasis, but the time has now come for Sergeant to take the limelight for themselves.