Ensemble musicFabrik, Edinburgh Festival, August 2013

Upon remarking that he, Oor Wullie, seldom used trains, because he was afraid of getting on the wrong one, we then giggled as the front section of the very train we had sat on sped off to our correct destination, Edinburgh, leaving us on the remaining rump – apparently about to depart for Stirling.

This resulted in us requiring the services of a black cab, when we eventually arrived at Haymarket, to get to the Usher Hall in time for the show starting at 20:00. The seemingly permanent tramworks seriously hampered this relatively short journey, with the driver apologising for the delay throughout.
He charged us less than the meter!!!!

Amazingly it’s now 44 years since I first walked through these doors for the first time to see Ten Years After.
First person we saw this evening was one Germaine Greer who I’ve read wants ’G Spot Tornado’ played at her funeral.

Opening with a rather bland Big Swifty (had this been a starter in a restaurant, rather than a concert, I would have sent it back to the kitchen) Ensemble musicFabrik performed each of the first half’s pieces in a variety of configurations.

Two Cage items followed before Varese’s astonishing Ionisation

The first of these, ‘Seven’,  featured, amongst other things, two sets of tuned soup cans and a prepared piano. Astonishingly tight, there were fairly long silences followed by staccato unison lines from all the players, with no apparent eye contact. Telepathy?
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The second ‘tune’ ’Credo In Us’ tested the audience’s patience, as more and more coughs, shuffling feet etc. could be heard while this longer  performance progressed.

Main man Dirk Rothbrust sat throughout, using more ‘found’ percussion. Coffee cups being rubbed together, a shortwave radio and an aerosol being sprayed into an empty milk carton can only be interesting for so long, believe me!.

Ionisation saw all 22 (?) members of the ensemble batter, pull and cajole the most incredible sound from their vast collection of percussion which, of course, included a hand cranked air raid siren. I didn’t know it until tonight but I am now a big fan of blonde women, in tight red trousers, literally banging a gong with their bottoms.
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Interval arrived and, as far as these ears could tell, following that, a repeat performance of Ionisation again.No complaints from me!

Then on came the guitar and bass player. The mini-moog was plugged in and suddenly the night stepped up a gear ‘big style’.

t’Mershi Duween
The Black Page
Black Page #1
The Black Page #2
RDNZL
Echidna’s Arf (Of You)
Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing?
All performed with a brio that I hadn’t anticipated in the first half.

Suddenly it was all over, they looked at each other and then launched into a version of Peaches, so perfect, that this listeners eyes were a little moist.
Dweezil has a lot to live up to when I see him later in the year.

The three of us went home very happy, I’m sure Germaine did too!image

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