Alternative rock three-piece Donnie Willow return to their local Edinburgh stage at Electric Circus, a venue that continues to put on dynamic and colourful shows throughout the year.
Hinks, a rock violin infused band, warms up the crowd to coat stripped comfort and despite having guitar issues Jack Hinks manages to produce something tight and punchy, which is a reflection of his hard graft throughout the year.
Donnie Willow tell us that this is their first gig back in the misty city for a long time and it is clear that they are thriving off the virile sap oozing from their loyal fans.
As the band breaks into ‘Taste’ there is an awakening of screams and moshing from the band and with this energy the front row groupies follow suit.
Bassist Sam Peppiette welcomes the room and shows confidence in “chatting up” the crowd in between songs.
It seems that there are two sides to the personality of Donnie Willow, the frustrated and the contemplative, both magnetic characters are traversed by Arthur Piddington’s lead vocals, which undulate between husky and high.
‘Early Morning’ soulfully seems to hack through their interface into a softer programme and it is now clear why Donnie Willow have often been compared to Biffy Clyro.
Technically enticing with many interlaced guitar harmonics, this song fluctuates melodically and manages to sustain that rare pinch in the gut feeling that drives every music lover to gigs.
Peppiette is a fascinating player to watch, where some unlucky folk dangle their tongue out to concentrate Peppiette steps back and forth in a specific pattern as if a human metronome.
And keeping time is crucial for him as he carries the spaces left by an absent second guitarist with interesting ringing chords and distinct rhythms.
‘Little Brother’ follows with a popular uproar of “Adam’s apples”, which continue to warble throughout the set later leading Piddington to playfully contest, “That’s my line.”
During this song there is a drumming interlude in which Peter Bunting’s deliberating delivery is tectonically pioneering a likewise tongue twister for your average drummer.
A further highlight is ‘Safe Blind’ a track filled with a collective “oooing” chorus and ducky tap harmonics.
By this point the audience are well fired up, so for the encore Piddington takes the microphone down low to let them pile over him like a horse whisperer inciting a calm before the storm.
Words: Mhairi MacDonald
Photos: Andy Mills