Music Review of Hamish Hawk at The Caves

01 June 2022

Hamish Hawk The Caves Stuart Niven 2

[Image credit: Stuart Niven]

In 2018 Hamish Hawk released the album ‘From Zero to One’. The opening track is titled ‘Nomad’ and it is a description that fits Hawk of late. This sold-out hometown gig brings an end to a month-long UK tour - including performing at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival - preceded by an appearance at SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in March.

Having released his most recent album ‘Heavy Elevator’ in 2021 it is evident that Hawk’s trajectory continues to head in the right direction. There may well have been those fearing a subdued Monday night gig to end the tour. How wrong they were!

A unique venue

The Caves From The Balcony During The Hamish Hawk Gig

[Image credit: Unusual Venues Edinburgh]

Like the artist himself, tonight’s venue is unique. The 18th century cavernous vaults - with its high ceilings and uncompromising stone interior – is a fortunate bi-product of the construction of Edinburgh’s South Bridge over 200 years ago. Repurposed as a multi-use venue, it continues to add to the memories these walls have been witness to for so long.

Edinburgh-born artist Iona Zajac provides an excellent supporting set. Her voice lends itself perfectly to the cavernous setting of the venue as she effortlessly moves from softer vocals to more commanding notes that fill the caves.

Powerful performance

When Hamish Hawk and his band walk on stage they are met with a raucous reception. Hamish opens with two tracks from the recent album - ‘Vivian Comma’ leading immediately into the popular ‘Calls to Tiree’.

The band quickly settle into their stride - Hamish quite literally as he struts across the stage, picking out those taking pictures and videos to give them a quick pose. His stage presence is one of his most engaging characteristics as is his humility, particularly when interacting with the audience and thanking them for attending.

The set is strong with a particular highlight being Hawk’s solo performance of ‘Catherine Opens a Window’ captivating every single person in the venue. The silence itself almost as powerful as the performance.

Triumphant homecoming gig

Hamish Hawk The Caves Gig Image

[Image credit: Simpson Studios]

As the set draws to a close it feels as if the band are just getting started with further songs from the recent album. ‘Bakerloo, Unbecoming’ and the hugely well received ‘The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion, 1973’ are separated by Hawk thanking the audience for their support and commenting on how much the band had been anticipating tonight across the whole tour.

The encore is an excellent cover of ‘Debaser’ by the Pixies and concludes with one of Hawk’s best-known tracks, ‘Caterpillar’ which is elevated to a new level when performed live. The band linger to absorb the huge response from the crowd before exiting the stage.

It's exciting to see what more there is to come from Hawk. So far however, three albums, regular plays on BBC Radio 6 music, international recognition and selling out a hometown Edinburgh gig on a Monday night to end a successful UK tour. Nomad? No bad more like.

This was a paid review, written by Stuart Niven for Forever Edinburgh and in partnership with Edinburgh Music Lovers.

Discover the area surrounding The Caves

The Caves is a truly unique space for live music and an excellent example of the charismatic venues to be found in Edinburgh. Situated in Edinburgh’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, its cavernous vaults were once used to store whisky and also served as the stables to the French Cavalry who were at one time body guards to the Royal Family.

The nearby cobbled streets are home to a number of bars for a pre-gig drink – from Bannerman’s Bar over the road, renowned for its live music, real ales and whiskies, to the stylish Salt Horse on nearby Blackfriar’s Street whose beer garden is the perfect place to enjoy a summertime drink and bite to eat from their superb menu.

In 2022, The Caves play host to a number of exciting gigs, including local band The Jellyman’s Daughter, Post-Punk icons, Spear of Destiny and the first UK headlining tour of Casey McQuillen. Discover the full line-up and book your tickets here >

For more ideas about Edinburgh’s exciting and eclectic live music scene visit our Guide to Live Music in Edinburgh >