It’s 5AM clubbing season in the Scottish capital yet again as Fringe festivities take over for the month of August. The extended hours throw the city’s best celebrated party throwers and venues into the limelight along with newcomers and some of the electronic world's biggest names all finding themselves in a very different Auld Reekie.
Kicking off on Friday, this is our guide to the must sees across the next 3 weeks of festival mayhem featuring the likes of Optimo, Craig Charles, Manuka Honey & more.
Edinburgh’s most pulsating queer dance, Hot Mess opens up the 5am proceedings at Sneaky Pete’s with captain Simonotron manning the sounds for an all night voyage through his wealth of sensual disco, electro and Italo focused grooves. It’s sold out online but keep an eye on RA resale and/ or get down for doors at 11pm as a handful of tickets will be available (first come first served) !!
Iconic Glaswegian selectors and party throwers, (c’mon you know them at this stage!) the mothership of Optimo lands into the delightful settings at Summerhall alongside Edinburgh local Eyes of Others, fresh off the release of his latest trip-hop meets synth pop self-titled debut LP. It’s set to be a masterfully configured clash of minds & sounds coming from either end of the Central belt…
Two of Edinburgh’s longest serving nights combine in Pulse and Jackhammer to present UK techno royalty, The Advent, to La Belle Angele. The alias of Cisco Ferreira that has been a persistent force not only in the UK, but globally as a mainstay on labels like Tresor & Conform mining electro and no-nonsense 4x4 techno, heavily inspired by the OG Detroit sounds. A big one on Cowgate’s opening festival weekend.
Edinburgh’s wee community radio station rocks up for another festival frenzy featuring 4 of the heads that keep the whole operation up and running in Feena, Percy Main, Rosehips, and St. Sunday. The quadruplet will be tackling a b2b2b2b situation running up sounds from all ends of the dance spectrum. This will be cute!
London garage and UK funky tycoon Papa Nugs is joined by esteemed vinyl selectors Heels & Souls along with a whole host of Scottish talent across Cab Vol’s three rooms. Bass transmissions live til 5!
Masters of funk, Samedia Shebeen are an Edinburgh clubbing staple with their rhythmic focus and dedication to the craft consistently creating some of the most joyous energies on the city circuit. Expect afrohouse, gqom, amapiano and dub selections all night long with special Glaswegian guests Tamboi & Annie².
An Avrin returns to Sneaky’s after featuring at Smiff’s own Red Room Sound earlier this year. This time round the two go bass to bass into the extended wee hours with a plethora of low end explorations through the lower bpms into glitched out hyperspeed!
Headset takes over Sneaky Pete’s Mondays during the fringe with night 1 seeing founding father Skillis face off once again with Bristol’s Hodge in another bass epic. Two experts of the underground continuum, this is a guaranteed good time.
Hard trance and electro spinstress & vocalist, Juicy Romance heads an enticing night of club heat as Rare return to Sneaks. A collaborator with acts like Partiboi69, Marlon Hoffstadt and Prospa, Juicy Romance’s pedigree has made her a constant figure in the dance world throughout Europe in the last number of years.
The legendary BBC Radio 6 selector Craig Charles hits the capital for an all night funk and soul knees up. His lovable character and poignant selections are set to fit the festival frenzy to a tee on the ever relentless second weekend.
Headset x Messenger Soundsystem, but make it LEITH. Yes the iconic Headset not only takes on Fringe Mondays @ Sneakys, but also spoils us with a trip down the walk with the mighty Messenger to the growingly reputable Lost in Leith across two days on weekend #2. Featuring seminal Scottish acts like Neil Landstrumm, Creep Woland and Proc Fiskal, and with a special 3am festival license to boot, this is an extra special dance in the beloved district of Leith that we highly recommend not to miss.
Brian d’Souza’s Auntie Flo project is joined by iconic jazz drummer Sarathy Korwar for a rare sighting of their riveting live performance. Having recently combined on their ‘Shruti Dances’ LP, the pair are set to bring their meditative yet energy soaked sound collision to the fitting Summerhall Dissection room.
A Berkeley Suite icon, Billy Woods of Supermax rejoins Club Nacht at the Mash House for a bumper 5AM special. An expert selector, Woods needs no introduction in his home of Glasgow with his dedication to the craft seeing him lie as one of the great purveyors of disco and rare groove gems anywhere in Scotland.
Edinburgh’s queer bonanza Femmergy makes the quick jaunt over the Meadows to Summerhall from its usual home of Bongo (an Underbelly venue during August) featuring some of their usual sultry suspects in Sweet Philly, Riana and Nani. Iconic bops and cabaret as per from one of the city’s most fun and welcoming nights.
Show number two for Pleasure at the Fringe and on this occasion it’s Glasgow’s acid queen Nightwave on the controls. A mainstay at La Cheetah club, the Slovenian born act has impressed across the past decade with releases on UTTU and I Love Acid, garnering her access to circuits across Europe. Support from Mui Mui Records, Edinburgh Disco Lovers and more throughout the eve.
The rise of the Denham Audio. A key figure in the jungle and breakbeat revival of recent years, Denham Audio has been responsible for some of the scene’s key hits that have seen the sound move into the popular medium. With a back catalogue that stretches from appearances on WNCL to Sneaker Social Club, the Club Glow regular is dedicated to the legacy of UK hardcore and brings their enticing old skool meets new skool tools to the Blair Street vaults.
The masterful Matthew Herbert (K7! Records/ Accidental Records/ Pampa) presents a unique live show at Queen’s Hall as part of the city’s International Festival programme. ‘The Horse’ delves into the chronological history of music from its primal roots to modern day electronics and techniques. Slowly and gradually accelerating, this unique live performance bases its percussion sound from the bones from a racehorse skeleton, with flutes made from its bones, alongside the traditional instruments and samples of the horse’s life.
Box Energy has grabbed the Depot’s new live space by the horns since initiating back in February and is rightfully given spotlight in this year’s festival programme. Another Leith venue turning the city’s electronic heads, Box Energy are behind it all with this month seeing Glasgow’s Jamie Thomson land in for a house and electro session in collaboration with She-Bang Rave Unit.
Edinburgh’s tropical shindig Disco Makossa joins in on the August carnage with Africa Is Now founder Optimistic Soul. Holding down his place at Glasgow’s most prevalent clubs of Sub Club and the Berkeley Suite, Optimistic Soul makes his debut in the capital with a whole host of amapiano, gqom and funky cuts to unleash at the Belle.
This is an event we are keeping our closest eye on during this year’s festival. Club Sylkie take on Summerhall with one of the most impressive line-ups you’ll see anywhere, featuring reggaeton & dembow fuser Manuka Honey, electro-pop enigma LVRA (Live), alongside Edinburgh’s own Feena (Scuffed/ Miss World) and local selectors Digging the Underground. A club night for queer people and their pals, Sylkie has consistently brought some of the best talents to the capital mixed with budding local talent and this is their biggest show to date. It looks like a cracker!
Former Berghain resident and now of Sneaky Pete’s & NTS Radio, Prosumer racks up another Heyday party joined this time by Pjotr (Red Curls) for a 6 hour deep dish trip of moving acid, house, and electro.
Alien Disko presents an enthralling evening of hardcore meets punk with special guests, the TOKKY HORROR crew, who present their all-guts-out live show of thick guitar riffs and old school hardcore breakbeat arrangements. Heavy midweek fuel with support from Scottish Gabber Punk and more.
XRunning Back boss and selector extraordinaire Gerd Janson returns to Edinburgh on festival closing weekend at the epic Liquid Room. All out house, italo, balearic and beyond from the German with support from some of Edinburgh’s brightest in REYKA and Morrison Street.
An epic close to the festival proceedings as Pulse welcomes back the Glasgow scene pioneers in Slam. The Soma Records founders have only increased their status as Scotland’s most respected techno producers and selectors in recent times helping pave the path for so many others and continuing to excite their faithful crowds at Sub Club, SWG3 as well as further afield.
Saturday at Connect sees some of the biggest names in electronic music descend on the capital. Yes there is Fred Again, but more importantly you can check out Young Fathers, Róisín Murphy TAAHLIAH, Kelly Lee Owens, Optimo & more at one of Scotland’s newest festivals.