4* review in the Scotsman

Thank you very much Dave Pollock for a lovely review in The Scotsman about our very first Electric String Orchestra gig!

Gig review: Electric String Orchestra, Glasgow Oran Mor

THIS opening concert of the West End Festival did a sterling job of representing the sounds of the area.

It mixed genteel strings playing reworked pop hits with guest appearances from a bunch of reliably contemporary Scots musicians. Refinement and rock were here in perhaps unequal measure.

The Electric String Orchestra, a 12-strong group of players are descended from the city’s Cairn String Quartet, and their repertoire included some striking choices.

Radiohead’s Paranoid Android, Britney Spears’ Toxic, ELO’s Mr Blue Sky and David Bowie’s Life On Mars may not exactly be outré selections but each was played with a crisp, delicate skill and obvious sense enthusiasm. There would be more striking titles within the setlist, such as King Creosote’s Leslie, which was a gentle highlight.

The emphasis was stronger throughout on the refinement of classicalmusic than the raw power of rock, but the music they were playing accommodated this.

Highlights, though, naturally included the exclusive guest vocal spots, with Rachel Sermanni’s Eggshells delivered in a suitably soothing, tender voice and a new song by Emma Pollock which “might be called Intermission” doing the full jazz bar chanteuse thing.

Finally the Twilight Sad’s James Graham and Andy MacFarlane guested on guitar-abetted versions of their own Another Bed and Sad Alphabet, before the ESO’s emboldened take on Guns ’n’ Roses’ Paradise City closed the set.

Rating: ****