It usually kills the karma of a gig when a band name check the wrong town , however the opening gambit from Swell Maps of ”Good evening Liverpool , we’re Gerry and The Pacemakers ” seemed to strike a chord. Bannermans in the lowest part of the town’s Cowgate , is a contrast to the corporate , politico tourist trap of modern Edinburgh and a safe place and haven of counter culture. Furthermore the Liverpool comment was made to doff their superb hats toward the cavern style room and the equally magnificent support set by 60s inspired garage rockers The Thanes . Locally based and successfully on the comeback trail , The Thanes had been mainstays of the Edinburgh scene since the 80s playing in much missed venues like The Venue and The Onion Cellar ( who had promoted this show).

Back in the day , The Thanes were all swirling organ , punch guitar riffs and mountains of hair. The hair may have reduced however the quality of the songs was still first class. Since the 80s , The Thanes have released albums reasonably regularly . Evolver from 2012 is a favourite of mine and after a very positive reaction from a packed Bannermans it would be hoped that the band realise there is still a major appetite out there.

Certainly the expectation was set and Swell Maps met it with ease. It was a great reminder of their quality and there were some great versions of their songs . Jowe Head looked the man very much in control and the addition of excellent keys gave some funk and layers to the old standards. The album Jane from Occupied Europe is worth another listen and the 77 single Read about Seymour sounded as fresh now as then .

Photo Ian Campbell

Rightly , the lost members Epic Soundtracks and Nikki Sudden were mentioned . It was great to see local Shop Assistant David Keegan climb off his mountain bike and take up a spot on guitar . Swell Maps filled the room and provided an hour of relevant , entertaining music . There is space and a need for original Post Punk bands in the present musical landscape . Swell Maps , Blue Orchids and The Nightingales have all been on the road recently. Who will be next ? Cant wait to find out…

Photo Ian Campbell
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