The Burns Unit @ The Old Fruitmarket

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Act: The Burns Unit with support from Broken Records

Venue: The Old Fruitmarket

Night: Celtic Connections, 16/01/10

The Burns Unit (Press Release)


A common theme that has emerged amongst recent folk/indie movements in Scotland is undoubtedly collaborations. It seems that certain artists can’t get enough of them. King Creosote recently played with Edinburgh’s Meursault and Emma Pollock hooked up with Rod Jones of Idlewild for The Fruit Tree Foundation. Whatever your opinion on ‘supergroups’, it does make a great spectacle to witness several talented musicians come together armed with a mix of influences, ideas and even genres. If something is not to your taste it doesn’t take long for something completely different to be thrown at you. Oh and this is applies to The Burns Unit as well, in case that wasn’t clear…

Warm up act Broken Records are no doubt tired of all the journalist jargon labelling them as ‘The nearly men’ so its great to witness them in as grand a setting as The Old Fruitmarket simply enjoying their set and playing well. This was reflected by complete silence when the opening chords of ”A Promise’ rang out. Enough to silence the critics as well?

Having been together since 2006, the Burns Unit have just the one album ‘Side Show’ released last year but this is perhaps down to the physical barriers of getting everyone together rather than the 8-piece being in a  ‘Slouch Show’. The group are no strangers to Celtic Connections having performed at ABC in 2009, yet their set was under serious threat from temperamental keyboards which prompted even the soundman to describe one as ‘simply f*****.’  Thankfully though their collective enjoyment onstage was enough not to put a dampener on the set. The Unit showcased a few new songs along with album highlights ‘Blood, Ice and Ashes’ with Karine Polwart and ‘Send Them Kids to war’ with rapper/comedian MC Soom T (two songs which could not be more different if they tried).

The latter half of the set was more suited to a Celtic Carnival rather than Celtic connections as ringmaster for the night Michael Johnson made no secret of introducing fellow band members before they all finished with their penultimate song for the night,  ‘Trouble’. All in all a good set but it was a shame that the audience were ‘made of cardboard’ according to Emma Pollock.

Full Line up- Kenny Anderson aka King Creosote, Michael Johnson, Emma Pollock, Karine Polwart, Kim Edgar, MC Soom T, Sushil Dade and Mattie Foulds.

Dave Hunter


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