Stonehaven Town Hall on the town’s Market Square is busy and in darkness tonight, but it adds to the atmosphere of the evening’s entertainment, alongside the films about Victorian medical procedures that flash in the background. This is offset nicely by the BYOB arrangement, designed to give a ‘house party’ feel to tonight’s Neu! Reekie!.
The first two acts of the night are provided courtesy of Re-Analogue, a spoken word and creative collective based in Aberdeen, founded by four University of Aberdeen students. The two acts chosen to represent tonight are poets Mae Diansangu and Imogen Stockdale, both of whom are strong and engaging presences – Mae’s poem is about rape and sexual assault, while Imogen’s focuses on eating disorders and ‘clean eating’. Both do a great job of showcasing Aberdeen’s burgeoning spoken word scene.
We are then treated to two animations by Ainslie Henderson and Will Anderson. The first is the humorous Pigeons Recite New Burns in Galloway, which does as it says on the tin, and Monkey Love Experiments, a poignant look at animal testing, which won a BAFTA.
Next is Dave Hook, usually the frontman for Stanley Odd but tonight performing under his solo alias Solareye. He treats us to some enjoyable raps, and they range from the humorous (Scottish Men Can’t Rap) to the poignant (Day Off With the Wee Man), rounding the first half of the show off nicely.
Following the break, the second half is opened by Tapsalteerie Press, or more specifically two of their poets – Russell Jones, who treats us to poems about pets and dark sci-fi, while Sarah Stewart’s verses focus on subjects such as period poverty and the mothers with their daughters watching the Beatles at Shea Stadium. Once again, both represent their publisher wonderfully.
Following this, the film Michael Pedersen made with late Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison is shown in tribute to the latter, much like with August’s Elgin show. Then Rachel Sermanni, back on tour following six months’ maternity leave, takes the stage. Her beautiful vocal stylings on songs such as Where I Lay My Heart are reminiscent of Nerina Pallot, and it’s good to see her back.
Closing proceedings is 19-year-old Katie Buchan, an Aberdeen-born law student at Edinburgh University, better known as Best Girl Athlete. Her second album was shortlisted for this year’s Scottish Album of the Year Award, and her songs – including Cigarette Dreams, Silver City and Sometimes – make it easy to see why. Despite her nerves, her performance is sublime and she is one to watch.
Overall, Neu! Stoney is an enjoyable and varied evening in a perfect venue, and hopefully they will come north again soon.
Photos courtesy of Kat Gollock