Monday, 19 November 2012

Everything But The Girl – Edinburgh – 1994

May 1994

Edinburgh Queens Hall

For us folks of a certain musical persuasion there was, back in 1983, one album which it was obligatory to own: the Cherry Red label compilation Pillows and Prayers.  Sold for just 99p (or £1.99 should you wish the picture disc version, which I did), it was an introduction to all manner of weird and wonderful indie bands.  I learned to love The Monochrome Set and Eyeless in Gaza via the collection. 

Also featured on the album were a couple of folkies called Tracey Watt and Ben Thorn who went under the name of Everything But The Girl, and whose dreamily wistful contribution On My Mind was an oasis of calm on that slightly bonkers second side.

As the years passed and the other names on the set meandered into obscurity (some never left it!) EBTG somehow outlived them all, and by 1990 had five albums under their collective belt.  Not that I had taken much notice, EBTG were just a touch too twee for my tastes, although I had appreciated their cover of Danny Whitten’s I Don’t Want to Talk About It.

Wife was more of a fan and it was at her behest that we wandered along to the Queens Hall for this gig, part of a low key tour to promote the duo’s Amplified Heart release.  This was a welcome return to touring for the pair following a break necessitated by Ben Watt’s illness; an illness which had left him thin almost to the point of skeletal, something both he and Thorn joked about during the set.

Tracey also related a witty tale about discovering a discarded set list left by a band who had played some venue earlier in the tour a couple of days before EBTG had appeared, and she pondered just what sort of an outfit boasted song titles such as Bend Over Bitch and Suck Me Dry

Ben and Tracey did not perform anything as remotely intriguing as these two titles, but they did do their Whitten cover (Ben enjoying a wee dig at Rod Stewart’s hair during the intro), plus the old Mickey and Sylvia hit Love is Strange, and that is sort of all I can recall really.  What would become their biggest hit Missing, was still in its embryonic pre-remixed form at this point and was a year or so away from the charts.  I am guessing they would have performed this number, but cannot be sure.

It was a pleasant enough way to spend an evening of my life I suppose, but EBTG were never quite my drug of choice. 

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