Putting together a month long, multi-venue musical counterpoint to the world’s largest arts festival is not as simple as it sounds.
With the Capital thronged with revellers of all stripes, finding a blend that appeals to everyone from hyperactive pop-sprites to seasoned denizens of the left-field is a minefield beset with obstacles.
To their credit, the curators of T on the Fringe have managed to override the hurdle of not being able to please all of the people all of the time pretty effectively since the jamboree’s inception back in 2000 – landmark gigs from cred heavyweights such as Arcade Fire, Radiohead and Morrissey sidling up nicely to mainstream attractions, esoteric delights and hungry young tyros.
And while on first glimpse this year’s line-up carries about it a fairly powerful whiff of conservatism, there are more than enough nuances and curveballs to keep most contingencies happy.
Most of the ‘name’ bands will be plying their wares at Meadowbank Stadium and at the Corn Exchange. Meadowbank hosts three gigs. Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails and the Silversun Pickups take up the strain on behalf of the cities rawk constituency on the 21st; Kaiser Chiefs, the View and the Pigeon Detectives carry the torch for excitable, zeitgeist-hogging indie on the 24th while Razorlight and Editors bring proceedings to a close in the concrete bowl on the 26th.
Meanwhile, offerings at the Corn Exchange look certain to be lively affairs with James, Kanye West and Interpol already sold out. Other highlights include the Shins, Happy Mondays, Guillemots and Silverchair.
There’s a fair number of sell-outs down at the Liquid Room and Cabaret Voltaire as well, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Magic Numbers, Calvin Harris, Jamie T, Eagles of Death Metal, the Law, Amy MacDonald and Jack Penate all full to the gunnels.
There are however still briefs available for a number of intriguing looking shows.
Earnest singer-songwriter craftsmanship is well represented this year with Duke Special, Stephen Fretwell, Willy Mason, Tom Baxter and Emma Pollack all aiming to prove that three chords and the truth is still all you need.
Two of the more appealing shows at the Liquid Room come from Americans – former hobo turned Jools Holland favourite Seasick Steve will be touting his beat-up white boy blues at the venue on the 14th while the reformed and re-energised original line-up of Dinosaur Jr hit the stage on the 27th.
If all that sounds a bit mildewed and retrogressive for you, there’s plenty to please those for whom a musical year zero dawns every second week.
T on the Fringe runs until 28 August at various music venues across Edinburgh.