Prague Fringe 2019
It almost feels wrong to be seated in neat rows for this live music show of original, contemporary, and traditional Scottish folk music. The charismatic pair of seasoned musicians can easily hold a spotlight, but the tight quarters of the theater limit the audience to bobbing their heads along to songs that seem to be asking for swaying, foot tapping, and more elbow room to show our enjoyment.
Nicholson and Gore take turns entertaining the crowd with solo songs involving a single guitar and individual voice, occasionally taking the stage together to harmonize and strum in unison. The distinct personalities of this wisecracking duo offer different strengths. Gore’s deep voice lends itself to passionate songs of social activism, freedom fighters, and Scottish independence. Nicholson’s lighter tones are equally bold and proudly Scottish, but delivered with an impish grin and a penchant for mischief. His solo songs include one told from the perspective of a reality show dog and another filled with questionable suggestions of “things to do when there’s nothing on the telly”.
The pair joined the Edinburgh Fringe scene a few years back when they realized that people from around the world were coming to see entertainers from around the world, but that a sense of Scottish identity seemed to be missing from the landscape. Nicholson and Gore perform in Scotland under the name “Gone Native”, which they updated to “Gone Edinburgh” for their Prague premiere. Their unapologetic patriotism is presented to the audience with kindness and ease, patiently providing background information and banter to help an international audience understand the context of everything from UK reality television to historical battles and political figures referenced in more traditional lyrics.
This one-hour concert of Scottish culture in song pairs well with a drink in the basement setting of Café Club Míšeňská. The easy confidence of the singer-songwriters was earned through years in the pubs, clubs, and streets of Scotland. If I came across them in any one of these venues, I’d happily stop to listen again.