Photos: Su Anderson
Roxy Art House, Edinburgh
Friday 22 October 2010
When art and music collide the most satisfying results often come from the unexpected. In January this year, Edinburgh’s Hidden Door festival threw up one of the most surprising cultural clashes; juxtaposing a labyrinth-like art installation against the craggy sounds of the city’s alternative music scene. So successful was the arts-based soirée, it’s made its return less than a year later.
Now a three-day marathon of sights and sounds, the opening night of Hidden Door 2 is a curious fusion of art connoisseurs, booze hounds, scraggy beards and high-heeled shoes. It’s this capacity to cater for the entire socio-cultural strata that’s the festival’s unique selling point; bringing people together its raison d’être.
The multi-stage installation in the Roxy’s main hall is a fascinating construction of rigidity and abstraction, a perfect setting for Sunday night’s five-band collaboration. As a space for music it’s almost claustrophobic and the deafening math rock of Glasgow trio Tokamak blitzkreiging from stage four only heightens this state of enclosure.
The seamless switch to stage five for Lipsync for a Lullaby segues into a swell of instrumentation that rings out like a tenderised Hawk and a Hacksaw. From here The Foundling Wheel (pictured, right) brings a serrated edge to the evening. Jack-knifing rancorous circuit board effects against an undercurrent of melody, this bombastic one-man show ends with the first visible sign of hipsters dancing.
Down in the umbrella decorated basement lurks the pious testifying of John Knox Sex Club. The Glasgow sextet are on boisterous form, rampaging their way through a set charred with ragged wind-battered cuts that’s as persuasive as frontman Sean Cumming’s on (and quite often off) stage preaching. It’s powerful, demented stuff that’s as visually arresting as the art hanging on the walls.
Back in the main hall a drummer-less American Men are MacBooking their way through an ambient sprawl of down-tempo electronica. Lacking any real bite, the trio are a little off colour so Radar makes its way to the indoor garden for a final spot of serenity. Devoid of piss, pills or plastered neds, our grassy patch is a calming sanctuary unheard of in traditional festivals. It may not be music and it may not be art, but you know what? That’s probably the point.
[Visual art is integral to Hidden Door]
[The John Knox Sex Club]
[The John Knox Sex Club]