Twangdogs Jazz Bar

There are lots of musicians who build reputations as interpreters of others’ material, rather than writing their own. And there’s nothing wrong with that, accomplishment on an instrument does not necessarily go hand in hand with the ability to write a good tune. After all, that’s how traditional music has not just survived, but evolved, down the years. However, the flip side of that is the number of bands who, while displaying their excellent taste in music, do not add anything to the original material, but simply play their favourite songs. Because, I suppose, they want to hear them, and they hope that you will, too. Which is all well and good if you’re just looking to hear some tunes in the pub on a Friday night, but it doesn’t really work as a Fringe event.

Twangdogs arrived at the Jazz Bar from Chicago, a 7 piece band who promised “country, rock’n’roll and everything in between”. In fact what we got was a set of covers that, while adequately performed, did nothing to enhance the reputation of either the material or the performers.

There was indeed rock’n’roll (Oh Boy), folk (The Last Thing on My Mind) and country rock (Wagon Wheel, Dead Flowers) and a version of Credence’s Have You Ever Seen the Rain that provided the best moment of a lacklustre set. But nothing, really, that hasn’t been done many times before. To judge by the polite response from the audience, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

Full marks to the Jazz Bar, though, for providing such an atmospheric venue, and in particular to Evelyn, whose cheerful and friendly approach to her work has her as front runner for Bartender of the Fringe. You’re not paying her enough, Bill.

Jim Welsh