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Review: The Great Eastern Festival

Filling Edinburgh’s southside with revellers, 432’s The Great Eastern occupied Queen’s Hall, King’s Hall, and Summerhall, warming the frosty afternoon with acoustic acts before revving it up for a dancing crowd.

Edinburgh’s Broken Records got on stage to perform for the first time in two years, playing new tracks from an as yet unreleased album, written whilst ‘squirreled away’ in lockdown. The noise comfortably filled the resplendent King’s Hall venue. Hamish Hawk was soon to follow with songs from Heavy Elevator. Clad in black, Hamish comfortably danced around the stage, reminding us all of his frontman presence. 

Over in Summerhall’s Gallery Bar, Russell Stewart added something a little more soulful to the line-up, using his mega-controlled vocal to impress the audience. The performance of Midsummer was a particular highlight of the evening, spicing up the warm vibed set. 

The much-anticipated Beak> were to be found stupefying their die-hard fans into dance submission. Performing tracks from across their breadth of albums but notably from 2012’s acclaimed >>, the uncomfortably packed hall had a resoundingly satisfied atmosphere. Geoff Barrow, Billy Fuller and Will Young came back with a bang that they too seemed impressed with. 

Back in Summerhall, this time at the Dissection Room, SAY award-winning Sacred Paws filled the space with a damn fine performance. Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers pulled off another blinder of a set, featuring all the expected tracks from album Strike a Match. They had the room vibrating with dancers. It was clear from the audience response to much of this post-punk afrobeat, and the rest of the day, that there is a clear appetite in the east for festivals like TGE.

Sadly, Free Love and Romeo Taylor were unable to make it east to finish off what was a brilliant way to spend a Saturday in the capital’s southside. 

Main image credit: Katherine Rose

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