Ogikubo Station / Murderburgers / Paper - Live in Edinburgh (Cover Artwork)

Ogikubo Station / Murderburgers / Paper

Live in Edinburgh (2019)

live show

The Chamber Room in the Banshee Labyrinth in Edinburgh (allegedly Scotland’s most haunted pub, although I suspect it’s not alone in this claim) is a small room, below street level, with a barely foot-high stage and a low roof. It’s the sort of room punk rock is meant to be played in. And on the last Sunday in June it hosted a suitably stacked and varied bill.

Edinburgh’s own Paper Rifles kicked things off, playing an even mix of songs from their stellar 2018 debut The State Of It All and new material – I was delighted to hear frontman Jon Dick say that they’ve just started recording the follow up. Beginning with two new songs made for a slightly slow start, although ‘Sleeping Dogs’ sounded very promising, before ‘Faith Healer’ and ‘Four Hours’, two clear highlights of The State Of It All, got an early airing. The former is probably the best song ever written about the NHS, the latter is a perfectly crafted 150 seconds, combining power, melody, meaning and a singalong movie-referencing chorus. A couple more new songs were interspersed with ‘It Always Rains In Scotland’ (“as close to a love song as we get”) and some chat during a pause for retuning about the irony of Jon’s Mexican guitar coping so badly with hot conditions. They closed with ‘Cemetery Sea’, which dates back to Jon’s previous band Curators.

The Murderburgers were up next, with the opening one-two punch of ‘Now That You’re Not At #21’ and ‘I’m Sorry About Christmas Eve’ setting the tone; fast-paced pop-punk songs about battling depression and anxiety. Watching a Murderburgers set can feel a bit like intruding on a therapy session, only with better riffs – but there’s enough humour and hope in Fraser’s lyrics that you don’t worry about him too much. They played a healthy dose of songs from the excellent What A Mess – ‘It Better Rain Tomorrow’ and ‘Pick A Knife, Any Knife’, the latter with Jon from Paper Rifles lending his vocal chords just as he does on the recorded version, were definite highlights. They delved into the back catalogue to close with ‘The Waves’ and ‘Another Way Out Of Here’ – Scottish accent aside, the latter would sound perfectly at home on an early Fat Wreck compilation, and highlights the leap in quality the band took from These Are Only Problems onwards.

The band were without their regular drummer, with Ross from the Kimberly Steaks filling in. But, with no disrespect to Murderburgers past and present, to paraphrase the late Mark E Smith, “if it’s Fraser and your granny on bongos, it’s the Murderburgers”. Except it won’t be any more, as two days after this show Fraser announced they’ll be going on indefinite hiatus at the end of the year. See them while you can.

Then it was time for the main event, Ogikubo Station. No Mike Park due to his tinnitus, so Maura Weaver was joined instead by her Boys bandmate Megan Schroer. Now I love basically everything Mike Park’s ever done, from Skankin’ Pickle to the Chinkees to his solo work to any number of the records he’s put out through Asian Man. But there was such an easy charm to Maura and Megan’s banter and stage presence – neither of them were wearing shoes, it could hardly have been more cosy – that his absence didn’t detract too much from the evening’s entertainment. They apologised for not being as fun or as loud as the preceding bands, but they needn’t have worried about the fun part at least.

They kicked off with a couple of songs from last year’s We Can Pretend Like, their first full-length. ‘Drowning At The Watering Hole’, stripped of the keyboards Jeff Rosenstock splashes all over the album version, would sit nicely next to the Replacements’ ‘Here Comes A Regular’ on a playlist called something like “Sad Afternoon Drinking Songs”, while ‘Take A Piece Of All That’s Good’ is relentlessly positive and a little earnest, but the world needs more of that sometimes. Over the next 40 minutes or so, the duo played a couple from more that album, with the title track getting the front row slowly swaying on command, along with all three songs from the new Okinawan Love Songs EP. That included their inspired cover of ‘Dr Worm’ – no brass like on the They Might Be Giants original, but Maura played the kazoo instead. If Maura Weaver playing a kazoo on a TMBG cover doesn’t sound like fun, then I guess we have different ideas of fun.

That wasn’t the night’s only excellent cover – they also played the Lemonheads ‘If I Could Talk I’d Tell You’, which remains a near perfect pop song. They closed with a take on the Chinkees’ ‘Asian Prodigy’ – yes, it makes more sense when Mike’s there – which was delayed by both of them temporarily forgetting how to play it. While Maura relearned the chords, she claimed that Megan could play any Weezer song requested by the audience, so the time was filled with an agreeably ramshackle run through ‘My Name Is Jonas’ and (half of) ‘Say It Ain’t So’. It was a great way to end a Sunday evening show, winding things down nicely after the louder faster opening bands, sending a satisfied crowd back upstairs to the bar or off to catch buses or trains home before the inevitable arrival of Monday morning.


Drowning at the Watering Hole

Take a Piece of All That’s Good

Spend Some Time With Me

We Can Pretend Like

If I Could Talk I’d Tell You

Weak Souls Walk Around Here

Dr Worm

This World Breaks Your Heart and Makes You Grey

My Name Is Jonas

Say It Ain’t So

Asian Prodigy