Edinburgh’s alternative rock scene is waiting to be discovered

Stuart Iversen on why it’s not as bad as it seems for alternative rock fans in the capital

It’s a complaint that has been heard a million times before: “Edinburgh’s music scene is rubbish.”

Or the even more popular: “All the good bands go to Glasgow”.

Then we all trudge down to the train station, head on through to Glasgow and watch our favourite bands do their thing before trudging right on back again.

All this while blissfully unaware of the thriving alternative music scene that’s just waiting to be found in Edinburgh.

In fact, if you were to take a wander down to the Cowgate, you would find shows six nights out of every seven at Bannerman’s Bar. A quick glance down their gig schedule will show you the variety of acts doing their thing.

Everyone from Austrian junk rockers (their words, not mine) She And The Junkies to local industrial metal band Metaltech – and that’s just two of the many bands booked to appear before the end of June. Take a trip down there even once a week and the odds are you’ll discover something great.

That’s not all. Just across the street is Opium, the biggest alternative club in the city and one that hosts gigs on a regular basis.

Wander out of there and take a right and you’ll eventually find the slightly larger Studio 24, which in July will host Summerslam, a night they describe as ‘an independence day special with thrash, doom, rap and rock ‘n’ roll bands’.

It is a line-up that already features groups from Fife, Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh itself. A genuine smorgasbord of local alternative music.

And that’s without even trying. Those are the three obvious choices in the city centre and the truth is that there are events for alternative rock fans happening all over Edinburgh.

Clubs like Cabaret Voltaire may not spend their evenings playing rock and metal, but they often have local bands on before the club nights kick off.

Slightly further out, The Franklin Rock ’n’ Roll Club on Leith Links is gearing up to hold the first ever Franklin Fest from July 2-5, with everyone from New Jersey’s The Wildebeasts to Edinburgh’s The Thanes on the line-up.

It’s not always pasted on billboards around the city or plastered across social media, but it’s there.

So yes, Glasgow may have all the big bands. If you want to see Slipknot or Faith No More do their thing, then you better get down to Waverley because, as Ginger Wildheart explained when he brought The Wildhearts here for the very first time last year, promoters don’t see money in Edinburgh.

They know if they play Glasgow we will all head on through anyway.

However, music scenes are built from the ground up, and on Edinburgh’s ground right now there’s an alternative scene just waiting to be found.

Main image: adam w / Flickr / CC