Song, By Toad Christmas Panto

12 12 2009

The Bowery

Featuring Rob St. John, Ruth & Rory, Thomas Western, Inspector Tapehead and Jesus H. Foxx

Sorry, did I write ‘panto’? I meant to say ‘party’ of course. The pantomime didn’t start until much later that night. Early December seems like a very long time ago as I write this, which was when the annual opportunity to celebrate all things Toad with a stellar line-up of performers took place. Two of our favourite bards, Rob St. John and Thomas Western, silenced the bawdy boozehounds through in the bar, each with an equally captivating performance. While in the main gig room we were introduced to a fascinating new direction that Rory from Broken Records has been exploring, accompanied by Bowery boss and occasional Jesus H. Foxx vixen Ruth on the violin. Later Inspector Tapehead and the aforementioned Foxxsters took to the stage with brilliant full-band sets.

The evening was bloody fantastic, but it also had a hint of sadness to it, as it was the last night The Bowery as we know it would be in existence. Ruth and Jane have moved on to new things, and the unique and irreplaceable venue they worked so hard to create has been absorbed into the plans for the revamped Roxy Art House.

In its short lifetime, The Bowery became one of the most important hubs for the grassroots arts and music scene in Edinburgh, and one of the city’s best-loved venues. To many it just felt like home.

Ruth and Jane, and countless collaborators, worked hard to offer an unhesitating and inspiring helping hand to local acts, while bringing unexpected and amazing performers from further afield – often abroad – to the Edinburgh audience. It’s difficult to get that combination right, and these guys absolutlely nailed it.

It will be impossible to replace, but Ruth has promised that it won’t be last we hear from The Bowery, even if in future it’s not under the same roof; and, looking forward, it’s reassuring to learn that some reliable and familiar hands will be at the tiller of the new Roxy as it sets off on its own journey, hopefully making the most of the fantastic spaces and rooms the building has to offer.

But for now it’s probably best to raise a cocktail in a china tea-cup to Ruth and Jane, and to the brilliant memories they’ve left us with.

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