It’s a Sunday night. Men and women all over the world are huddling in pubs. In the case of the State Bar, it’s crabbit old men playing dominoes. Not my preferred crowd, but then, the John Hinshelwood Band and the Sunshine Delay had to share the room with them. It was a close call in terms of turnout but the music got the words anyway.
Recently reconvened, the Sunshine Delay exist as one of the finest alt-country acts to emerge from Edinburgh. That probably doesn’t seem a great compliment but you’ll need to see them to accept my words. Whether hammering out cover versions or doing their own songs, this act - led by David and Paula McKee (husband and wife, since you ask) - took the basics of country western music and added a saccharine twist. Moreover, they did so with the involuntary addition of dominoes as percussion. Credit is also due to Brendan O’Brien, who impressed on the shoebox. Must be the most uncomfortable instrument of them all.
Next was the redoubtable John Hinshelwood, complete with band. Never one to let a crown down, Hinshelwood tore through a set of largely original material which more than made of for his complete lack of patter between songs. Seemingly starved of the chance to deliver a tune from the Gram Parsons songbook, John was nonetheless in good form. However, the treat of the night came from Tim Clark, whose jazz-indebted solo effort correctly garnered both applause and acclaim. Watch out for John Hinshelwood, whatever company he may be in.
A brief “rammy” involving both bands would then take place. “Rammy” is this instance being a shorter version of a hootenanny. In the end, it was a delightful version of “Your Cheatin’ Heart” that ensured that the old boys were going home happy.
In short, more Sunday nights should be like this. Good music, good booze, and the dominoes crowd are entirely reasonable if you just agree with them while keeping a sensible distance. Goodnight.