Creeping Bent Records showcase, Cafe Royal, September 29th

Showcase, eh? That word might set alarm bells ringing but in the case of Creeping Bent Records - perhaps uniquely, a label without a bad act on it - that a treat may be in store. Indeed the evening is more of an event with a selection of reggae thudding out over the PA before Scientific Support Department take the stage and continue the vibe, with their (surely) unique mix of electronics and dub. Bassist Docherty drives proceedings, albeit from the back of the stage as the bands understated performance gets things off to a mellow start.
Keeping things on track is one-time pop star Malcolm Ross who was best known for his work with Orange Juice but equally influential when with Josef K. These days he leans more towards the commercial end of things, the almost-acoustic set harking back a little towards the glory days with Edwyn Collins, but material from his solo albums such as Lucky Boy shows that he still has a lot to offer.

Eclectic? There's another word to strike fear into the hearts of many a music fan. But as a description of Creeping Bent's variety of acts, it's got to be accurate.

  TransElement, despite their recent name change, are as contrary as ever - although their SourBlaster album is a skewed mix of bedroom electronica, live they're something else - two guitars and drums, with a sampler being the only concession to technology. A searing sonic assault of visceral intensity is how the mainstream press should be describing them. Unfortunately whether the press will 'get' TransElement is another matter as complicated rhythms played by pop brains could be seen by some as 'weird'. A Bent audience however is another matter and the band are pleasantly surprised to get an encore which is, as ever, sees 2 guitars clash in a apocalyptic mini-operetta. Which is what we were hoping for.  

A few years back, the Nectarine No. 9 were - well, kind of - in the same boat as TransElement - knowing their way round a pop tune for sure, but with a penchant for weirdness too, as buyers of their albums will know. POP though, is what Davy Henderson knows best and the new single "Constellations of a Vanity " proves this.
Not that they stoop to such commercially though - being a hometown gig for the band this is perhaps a party to them, and they start with a version of "3 is the Magic Number" which they appear to enjoy as much as the sizable crowd. Jock Scott is in evidence too, ,dancing' and compering, and "Going Off Someone" and "Walter Tevis" have a new feel, being played by 5 (count 'em!) guitarists. Eventually after a lengthy set the management inform us that they have time for one more song, so they opt for a lengthy "Port of Mars". But, proving that old punks never die, they launch into another cover, of Vic Godard's "Johnny Thunders" and are joined onstage by DJ and erstwhile Edinburgh new waver Paul Reekie, only stopping when the plugs are pulled and making a racket without electricity proves beyond even the Nectarine No.9.
You'll need two words to describe the Nectarine No. 9 and indeed Creeping Bent. Punk Rock.

this review should also be available in BFM