Christmas Songwriters Club, gig review: 'the best of Scotland’s alternative crowd'

Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

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The Independent Culture

If writing a Christmas hit were as easy as all that, then we’d have more to listen to than Slade, the Pogues and their ilk at this time of year.

Yet that’s precisely the challenge which this annual group show – now in its sixth year – sets the best of Scotland’s alternative crowd, with strictly no cover versions allowed.

Some of the best young and more experienced artists in the country were lining up to be inducted into the club, including Broken Records, Chemikal Underground’s "Miaoux Miaoux" and all-female indie group TeenCanteen with assistance from the Vaselines’ Eugene Kelly.

Amidst multiple two or three song sets crammed into four hours, artists for the most part chose to go for frosty balladry over sleighbell-tinkling jollity.

Among their number, the mesmerising Jo Mango performed a track she had written three hours earlier and ostensible headliner Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit delivered crisp, low-key solo versions of "Cheap Gold" and "She Screams Christmas", as well as drawing the raffle.

Kid Canaveral played old track "Low Winter Sun" because “it's miserable and it's got the word winter in it”, while organisers We See Lights hit a unique mood with a jolly ode to Disclosure Scotland, the body which vets prospective Santas for prior convictions and “the people who make Christmas happen.”