Anyway. Since when did Edinburgh have a beer factory?
The Edinburgh Beer Factory is a new, but not so new it isn't already award-winning, family-owned craft brewery based in Edinburgh. You’ve probably seen Paolozzi lager on taps around town. That’s them. They’ve also recently opened their taproom to the public, and have now started ‘Factory Sessions’ - evenings where they bring in two musicians to play the taproom. We made the surprisingly short journey over to the taproom to check it out.
“Blues-inspired, sassy and soulful” Emme Woods and “electronic, synth-pop act” Edwin Organ were the artists charged with taking the stage for session #1. We’d never seen or heard either before, but both come recommended by Vic Galloway - that essential Scottish stamp of approval - and we can confirm that the Edinburgh Beer Factory did indeed pick wisely.
What makes the sessions so unique of course is the venue itself though. A select few - outrageously comfortable - chairs are pointed at a corner of the room teched up for the performance, in front of long glass windows looking in at the lines of brewing tanks behind. There’s fairy lights and all and complementary nuts and crisps. Don’t get that at most gigs.
Most of the crowd stands behind the chair or to the side of the makeshift stage, and the bar in the corner opposite serves the good stuff from the tanks. We had a couple unfiltered lagers and BUNK! cherry saisons which went down very well. Certainly beats the £7 gig Heineken you’d end up spilling on the floor at the Corn Exchange, anyway.
Edwin Organ (pictured below) is first up, eager to tell the crowd he’s doing a bit of a stripped back set. There’s still a keyboard, laptop and a couple musicians on stage with him, mind you. Edwin is wearing a cool jumper. Edwin is a cool guy. His set is a funkier performance than his techno/club roots had us suspecting it would be - partly down to the stripped back set no doubt.
Emme Woods (pictured top) is up next, on lead vocals and guitar, accompanied by another on a guitar and only the most laid back trumpeter on the face of the planet completing the on-stage trio.
Emme is also playing a bit stripped back. She jokes she’s making it up as she goes along. If that’s so, she’s doing a very good job of it. She’s a hypnotic performer; oozing confidence, with a grungy look, an incredibly strong rock, distinctively Scottish vocal talent to back it up and lyrics which don’t take a back seat in the music. Emme floats from soul to rock-and-roll ballad and back again effortlessly through the set. And who doesn’t love a trumpet?
Guitars wail through ‘I Don’t Drink to Forget’, a song with some poignant, hard-hitting lyrics. “Lifetime of memories / You took to the grave / And the words that you whisper / All ring in my head / Well I take back the time / I wished I was dead.”
There’s an element of the stubborn, doomed romanticism of Cohen in the writing. The music obviously flows through 60s influences as well. It’s intense and powerful music. We were very impressed by the musical skills, the lyrics and stage presence, which when you think of it, is pretty much everything. So good job Emme. Her slower solo song on stage by herself has the crowd gripped too. All the boxes ticked.
A success too for the Edinburgh Beer Factory overall, who tell us they are currently planning the Sessions to run quarterly, with the hope of monthly nights in the future. Get along to the next one and support your local brewery. Edinburgh could use another music venue after all.