Indie as F*ck

Aug 27 2015 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩     Swear it’s good

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53): Mon 24 – Sat 29 August 2015

Pinched! Theatre’s story of a teenage indie band’s dissolution seeks to combine comedy, theatre and indie rock, and does so with great success.

Cold Light (presumably Razorplay was taken) are reuniting for one last gig, and throughout a breathless, sweaty hour the story of their lack of success unfolds.

Cold LIght in action. Photo Pinched! Theatre

Cold LIght in action. Photo Pinched! Theatre

That ‘look at me, Mum, I’m swearing’ title may be off-putting, but is highly appropriate for the kind of band, with dad-bought guitars and occasional secret ambitions to be an accountant, that is depicted.

The fraught conversations over the sound as the audience file in, the wristbands at the door, the cramped, boiling venue with a tiny stage – all of these help to recreate the experience of many a terrible gig with a no-hoper band.

Except this isn’t a terrible gig. The performers come across as a real band with real songs (courtesy of Peter Stewart) that, even when they are deliberately terrible indie-by-numbers demonstrating the genre’s clichés, have a real fire and freshness born out of a deep, if ambivalent, love of the form and real experience of it. Guitarist Felix Adamson particularly relishes demonstrating the overuse of his effects pedals, while bassist Euan Crowe has the moves off pat.

cleverly observed

This conviction carries over into the linking narrative, that tells the story of a band who are the best in their school (because they are the only band in their school) and who never really progress much beyond that.

Cold Light live! Photo: Pinched Theatre

Cold Light live! Photo: Pinched Theatre

Some of the story, by director Kirsten McPake, comes in the form of clearly shoehorned-in sketches. These just about cohere with the narrative, and contain some cleverly observed material about fake IDs and overindulgence by teenagers that will strike a chord with most observers.

Crowe’s musical prowess is matched by a facility for comic acting, while singer Carla McCullough combines the appropriate stage presence with good comedy timing. Euan Kirkpatrick’s put-upon boring rhythm guitarist is a well-observed performance, while Harvey Reid’s drummer is an archetypal silent clown, saying little but often stealing the show.

Edwyn Collins, one of the very first people in Scotland to be described as ‘indie,’ said at his recent triumphant Book Festival appearance that rock music is basically the story of young people making bad decisions. That, he claimed, was what made it so attractive, and it is pretty much that story which unfolds here.

The discussions of the rock’n’roll lifestyle and intra-band bickering are certainly recognisable and realistic, but add little that has not been done many times before, while some of the comedy relies on easily recognisable tropes that have a similar lack of originality.

For all the predictability, there is a drive and energy to the performance, and an infectious conviction and earnestness to everything that is deeply involving, rather endearing – and extremely indie.

Running time 1 hour
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53), Nicolson St, EH8 9DW
Monday 24 – Saturday 29 August 2015
Daily at 10.15 pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:
Company website:


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  1. Indie As F*ck : All Edinburgh | Aug 18 2017