4*s for Tinderbox Fest!

Jo Bell

The List 20.12.12

Set in the cavernous Summerhall, colour coded arrows navigate labyrinthine corridors to four main performance spaces, all filled with divergent discoveries. An old lecture theatre hosted a self pegged ‘acquired set’ from Broken Records frontman Jamie Sutherland, who, bereft without his band, used the intimate setting to test new pop friendly material and end with a cover of Bill Fay’s ‘Be Not So Fearful’. Upstairs multi-instrumental funketeers The Black Diamond Express brought a retro musical touch to the show, duetting with the next act, samba drummers Pulse of the Place, as they lined the balcony above. Up and coming Edinburgh four piece The Dark Jokes’ energetic performance was a highlight, while fellow capital-dwellers North Atlantic Oscillation’s glacial, swirling soundscapes hurtled to a rockier, more momentous edge as their set progressed.

As organiser Jack Nissan highlighted the Tinderbox Orchestra proved to be the stars of the evening, their mighty numbers assembling as the crowd jostled for elbow room. A carousel of conductors brought forth booming covers, symphonic original compositions and unique collaborations, sweeping from the deeply atmospheric to the psychedelic, contemporary and soulful. Another conductor’s scribbled words, arrows and symbols were projected live on to massive screen for the sections to respond to, an impressive experimental addition which realised the wondrous threads of compositional skill and musical talent running through the enthralling live experience.

With music continuing in the form of rambunctious folk from Fox Gang and an after party stretching into the wee small hours, this Tinderbox had already kindled something that dazzles.

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