Review: Neu Reekie - Showstoppers and a shoeshiner

Irvine Welsh  at Neu Reekie, Central Hall, Tollcross, Edinburgh, December 2017 (Pic: Cath Ruane)
Irvine Welsh at Neu Reekie, Central Hall, Tollcross, Edinburgh, December 2017 (Pic: Cath Ruane)

When your show loses its headliner the day before and still serves up a Christmas cracker, then it’s something special.

The absence of Charlotte Church – who pulled out due to a family emergency – was hard to ignore at Neu Reekie’s Xmas Snowblinder,

Aidan Moffat at Neu Reekie Xmas Snowblinder, Centrall Hall, Tollcross, Edinburgh  2017 (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Aidan Moffat at Neu Reekie Xmas Snowblinder, Centrall Hall, Tollcross, Edinburgh 2017 (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Her Pop Dungeon shows are exhiliarating, joyous affairs – and this would have been have been the perfect finale to a night of outstanding entertainment. Alas ...

That Neu Reekie still served up a smashing night of unique entertainment is tribute to all the acts who took part, and the perfect antidote to the festive songs on a loop that wail out of every shop, cafe, bar and are beloved by the smashy and nicey DJs of commercial radio.

The night had everything from mulled Buckfast to poets delivering their showstoppers, to Bill Drummond of the KLF shining shoes in return for secrets on the steps of Central Hall in Tollcross.

Where else but a Neu Reekie event would you get an acoustic set in tribute to Tom Petty from the excellent Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit, or Irvine Welsh taking Begbie, Renton and Sickboy to Hampden to witness Hibs’ Scottish Cup triumph?

Emme Woods at Neu Reekie, December 2017 (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Emme Woods at Neu Reekie, December 2017 (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Or sit on the floor listening to the wonderful Aidan Moffat paying homage to Scottish cuisine in the Macaroni Pie song?

With a simple but also perfect accordian backing, he conjured up a wonderful set of music and spoken word. The audience could have listened to him all night long ...

And, just when we thought we’d seen and heard it all, along came Emme Woods in a silver rock ‘n’ roll suit and her dog under her arm.

The pooch opts to explore the stage - as if checking out the crowd - before settling down at the feet of the singer as the crowd got up and turned the space into a dance floor.

A smashing night packed with creative gems., and perfectly curated by the Neu Reekie team.