Black Country, New Road – EIF Lochside, Edinburgh – 23 Aug 2021

So excited for my very first gig since March 2020! And though I was stoked to see London’s BCNR, a band whose star is rising fast and I had grown to be very impressed by, this was a very odd situation and venue for a gig. The Edinburgh Festival EIF Lochside ‘tent’ at the Gyle was designed especially for socially distanced shows given restrictions. This meant large spaces between seated groups and therefore a relatively sparse ‘crowd’ in such a large space. An eerie  and cold atmosphere did not make for any great element of audience engagement or participation … but BCNR are a bit diffident, arty and aloof anyway so maybe the absence of much crowd interaction or any moshing suited them just fine! At one time, after absolutely zero words or ’banter’ from the band someone shouted ‘say something’. Lead singer Isaac simply replied ‘No’. His one word of the evening! Pretty funny and cool really, BCNR know their own way and stick to their guns, which is admirable. 

And through initial sound rubbishness, which got a bit better, you could clearly hear they played all the songs we mostly knew and loved pretty straight but really well. An unusual mix of knowing, arty, avant garde rock and jazz with varied and clever playing … busy, dense, challenging, with some frantic Jewish Klezmer thrown in. So many big ideas crammed into quite long pieces. I loved it in spite of the strange atmosphere. My shouting long and hard for an encore proved unsurprisingly futile! Must see them again asap. 

Attended by George & Jan

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