Edinburgh’s calls for a large, atmospheric and central live music venue were answered in 2008, when the HMV Picture House opened on Lothian Road. The venue dates back to 1923 when up to 1700 people passed through the doors of the Caley Picturehouse. The venue eventually changed its name to the Caley Palais and played host to The Smiths, REM and New Order, to name only a few. The years prior to its reincarnation as the HMV Picture House - tacky, trouble filled nightclubs - should be consigned to the realms of forgotten history. The MAMA Group, the parent company of HMV, have done a terrific job in not only bringing the interior of the venue back to life, but also attracting a regular and appealing line-up. The HMV Picture House is intimate, accessible and thanks to the main balcony with plenty of seating and a further upper balcony it’s interesting too. While the bar prices, like all such venues are steep, at least it’s possible to get served with only a short wait.
Last Friday was the blog’s second outing to the HMV Picture House, with the first to see Bloc Party last year. The support act of fellow London based act Tiffany Page was a nice blend of power pop and catchy choruses. Whether there is enough originality to differentiate Tiffany Page from a lot of other acts remains to be seen, but her performance was enough for most to remember her name.
Some backstage problems delayed the Noisettes entrance by 20 minutes, so by the time the curtain finally opened the assured voice of Shingai Shoniwa, outlandishly dressed against a decadent set, was more than welcome. Soon the shoes were off and Shingai was flying over every inch of the stage - which continued throughout, bar one change of outfit when guitarist Dan Smith entertained the audience by stringing chords with his mouth.
Luckily Shingai’s voice kept up with the physical demands of her stage presence and we were treated to a short discography of the Noisettes, interspersed with renditions of â€˜Pure Imaginationâ€™ from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Diana Rossâ€™s â€˜Chain Reactionâ€™. Of course the biggest crowd pleaser of the night was ‘Don’t upset the rhythm’ - the Noisettes biggest hit so far. The Scots passion for whisky was mentioned to cheers from the sellout crowd, before a regulation set ending of ‘Never Forget You’.
Three songs followed for the encore, including a beautiful rendition of Atticus, with all eyes and spotlights on Shingai, as she lay at the forefront of the balcony while the band played on stage. After an inauspicious start to their music career with the debut album ‘What’s The Time Mr. Wolf?’, the commercial success and often party starting vibes of â€˜Wild Young Heartsâ€™, coupled with powerful live performances have put the Noisettes firmly in the limelight. Their third album will show just how much longevity the Noisettes have, but on this performance they have the talent and energy to cope with whatever comes their way.
Here are some excellent photographs from the Noisettes gig at Edinburgh.
Upcoming gigs at the HMV Picture House can be seen on their website.