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Festive fix a massive hit.

Byline: Carolyn Rae

SL Records Xmas Party, Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh, December 19 FOR the past few years, Edinburgh label SL Records has been toiling away in relative obscurity. But despite the fact that their highquality roster of bands are championed by the father of Radio One, John Peel, and that they're ever-present and popular fixtures on the local live scene, they never seem to get any of the recognition they deserve.

One thing's for certain, though, their Christmas party will always be a fixture of the local gigging calendar.

First up were two relative newcomers to the SL stable. Between them, The Starlets and My Tiny Robots are not incredible bands, but they manage to create subtle and heartfelt indie music that involves a bit of intelligence.

On the other hand, Desc are an incredible band. Complementing the basic band set-up with cello and violin, they're dark, powerful, affecting and utterly unique. Perfectly marrying Dan Mutch's agonised vocals with Helena MacGilp's tender tones, they're hard to forget and easy to love.

After that very little could compare, and Degrassi failed to live up to their predecessors. Usually a jagged rock outfit featuring ex-Idlewild bassist Bob Fairfoull, they were strangely bassless and acoustic here.

Finally, to Ballboy. The most commercial act on the label, they're a unique blend of Travis' pop hooks and Belle & Sebastian's eccentricity.

They also have a one-off lyricist in Gordon McIntyre, and either this, or their great live presence, will see them succeed before long.

John Kelly The Proclaimers, Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, December 21 YOU have to hand it to The Proclaimers, they've never been considered `cool', but for over 15 years they've maintained success.

Unlike many musicians who copy their contemporaries, they've always had a sound that's distinctly their own. It's their refreshing originality that makes them so popular.

The Corn Exchange was buzzing for their homecoming sell-out show. Craig and Charlie Reid received a roaring reception when they walked on-stage. The up-beat atmosphere was maintained throughout the evening as they blasted though their big hits, along with a few tracks from their latest album, Born Innocent.

But it was the classics the punters came to hear. Letter To America and I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) drove the crowd wild. While Sunshine On Leith was almost a `lighters in the air' moment, as the audience joined in.

Being in Edinburgh, they finished with The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues, a ditty concerning a woeful performance by Hibernian FC that satisfied the strong Hibee contingent in the crowd scorching any accusations of only singing when they're winning.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 26, 2003
Next Article:There's gold in them thar hillbilly brothers; KINGS OF LEON, Carling Academy, Glasgow, Dec 22.

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