Edwyn Collins, The Loose Salute, Rockingbirds

Steve Ellis 11/09/2008

Edwyn Collins' stock has soared considerably in musical circles of late. So his gig at the small capacity, all seated Purcell Rooms was always going to sell out. It's a pity then that half the ticket holders decided not to turn up for the support act The Loose Salute.

Twee girl pop has a tendency to grate but somehow the band managed to be the rarest of beasts: cute, catchy and enduring. In years to come the percentage that didn't show up will claim to have loved the gig.

Elsewhere the reformed Rockingbirds did what they do best, which in their own words is 'early-nineties-country-rock'. However it is easy to see why they didn't really breakthrough the first time around, as the world doesn't need another Burritos-inspired pub band.

For the main act, Collins came on with the help of a walking stick and sat direct centre stage on an amplifier. His voice has always been boyish and creaky but now after his well reported illness it is blessed with a little more tragedy.

His latest songs mixed well with his classics in a set that included his big hits Rip It up, A Girl Like You and surprisingly a segment from The Campaign for Real Rock. Unfortunately, Consolation Prize from his Orange Juice days wasn't played as his song selections are limited to the numbers he can manage.

There was a mutter that guitarist Roddy Frame would take lead vocals in the encore but it was a false promise. While there was slight feeling of an opportunity missed, the show ending with Blue Boy more than made up
for any disappointment felt.

A third phase in Edwyn's career has begun and if he can keep up this pace he'll be more acclaimed than Orange Juice and his Britpop 1990s.