Early afternoon jazz runs the risk of coinciding with an early afternoon sugar crash; it’s possible that mellow blues might prove more soporific than scintillating. The Dixie-voiced duo (who are actually Edinburgh-based, but sound more Louisiana than Leith) luckily have both talent and charisma in spades.
‘Stripped Back’ is certainly an accurate description as the set was pleasantly unfussy, comprised of electric guitar, acoustic and vocals. Though the singer was recovering from a sore throat, and apologised in advance for mangling any high notes, I found the vocals pitch-perfect. Drink in hand, low lighting sympathetic to hungover faces, the venue was a great place to unwind, the set providing a relaxed atmosphere regardless of the audience’s intentions, whether paying attention to the music or just catching up with a friend.
Playing a mixture of covers and original material, songs covered both conventional love themes, like ‘Mary Jane’, which the vocalist joked was ‘a string of clichés set to a tune’ as well as more serious social commentary. ‘Mister Business Man’ attacked city boys with ‘their bellies full of oil and pockets full of lies’, and ‘Possessions’ was a wry look at materialism, ‘buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have’. My favourite was ‘Maybe Baby’, which wasn’t groundbreaking in content, but I just enjoyed the way Andy McKay-Challen pronounced ‘Mebbe Bebbe’ in a Caledonian burr.
For butter-soft and velvety blues with diverse influences ranging from the Stones to Jimi Hendrix, go see Hot Tin Roof to add a bit of jazzmatazz to your afternoon.