A dad gig is like an old friend: old, well yes, but more importantly, familiar and most importantly, fun. Stepping into the Cowgate venue, such familiarity and fun is certainly afoot at Stanley Brinks and the Wave Pictures’ Sneaky Pete’s show. There’s a vibe of indulgence nestled around that oh-so-obstructive pillar, an unspoken declaration that this is an evening of pure tune appreciation.
The Wave Pictures initially take to the stage alongside French vocalist Freschard, with Stanley sitting back on guitar. The signature musical skill of the band establish the instrumental quality of the gig, whilst Freschard’s playful lyrics, albeit delivered somewhat unconvincingly, stoke a lightheartedness into the crowd. Even the most passive attendees can’t stop a smile curling onto the corners of their faces, let alone those invited onstage to sing backing.
Although a hearty support act, Freschard’s songwriting leaves a reasonable amount to be desired. Often asinine and repetitive (prime suspect: ‘Boom Biddy Boom’) it verges into the culturally insensitive (main offender: ‘Africa’). To say the least, the stage is very much set for Stanley Brinks.
Just as the bar runs out of tonic water (come on Gary, your wife does not want soda instead), Stanley Brinks with the Wave Pictures behind him ease into their first number. Stanley’s voice is totally distinctive: nasal, youthful and filled with that endearing DIY tendency to just miss those high notes. More charming are his lyrics, which recount adoration for lovers (‘Little Irene’) and liquor (‘Tequila Island’) alike in tones drenched in personality.
Stanley’s vocals sit atop a musically immaculate performance from the Wave Pictures. Brink’s own guitar offers a riff-filled canvas on which the impassioned and involving lead of David Tattersall picks out flowing and floating melodies with mesmerising prowess. Solos morph into extended jams powered by a grooving rhythm, courtesy of sunglassed bassist Franic Rozycki and the sensitive quasi-jazz drumming of Hugh Noble.
To close is fan favourite ‘Orange Juice’, a corker of a tune that best shows off the band’s big humouring heart and life-affirming energy.
Although inconspicuous in appearance, Stanley Brinks and the Wave Pictures are a quartet whose love of their craft is undisguised; they exit the stage before an audience who thank them for this.
Image: Reuben Fox McClure