THEY’RE a funky jazz duo who know how to create the perfect score – even if England’s footballers don’t.
Chris Greive and Ben MacDonald captured the highs and lows of the Auld Enemy’s crunch World Cup clash with Uruguay last night by providing a live musical soundtrack in a pub as the drama unfolded on the big screen.
And while England flopped with millions of pounds’ worth of talent at their disposal, the pair hit the heights with just a guitar, a trombone and drums.
In an unusual experience for watching fans, they accompanied the World Cup match, responding to the live action with spiralling jazz standards and sombre minor chords at Joseph Pearce’s bar on Elm Row.
While they kept up a toe-tapping rhythm, England’s players hit a bum note as they failed to overturn their dogged opponents, leaving their hopes in Brazil dangling by a thread.
Mattias Kolborg, who runs the bar, came up with the “wild” idea a month ago and brought in the musical duo to make it a reality.
He said: “I think it is something different – all the bars are showing the game, but it’s a way of bringing people in and offering them something else.”
With revellers flooding into the pub, to enjoy dinner or a few pints after, the music came as a surprise to most, with few football colours on show.
Amid early palpable tension in Sao Paulo, the duo started to play sharp, staccato beats like something from a horror movie, increasing the tempo when either side moved into the danger area.
As Uruguay claimed first blood through a goal by Luis Suarez, the pace suddenly hastened, creating a sense of euphoria in the bar.
But by then, some spectators had moved on, insisting they’d rather listen to the commentary than all that jazz.
One England fan, who only wanted to be named as Adam, said the music was “spoiling the football”.
“I knew there was going to be music but I did not expect this – you want to hear the usual match sounds,” he said.
The mood changed in the second half, with Mr Greive and Mr MacDonald imitating a funeral march when Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira was left sparked out after taking a knee in the face. Further goals – one from each team – reignited the party atmosphere, with the South American side’s winner prompting a particularly raucous response.
When the jazz hounds began improvising with a shaker and an agogo bell, punters responded by tapping their beer bottles with dinner knives.
Guitarist Mr MacDonald, 30, said the performance had been about building the tension between key flashpoints.
He said: “I have done things similar with silent films before but never with sport. It is all about tension and release.”
Spectator Jeff Khan, 34, from Leith wasn’t convinced, saying: “I thought it would just be short little stabs of music but it’s like a full on soundtrack – it’s a lot to take in.”
The art of the beautiful game
when it comes to football and culture, the lines are often blurred.
And while a host of terrible songs have littered the music charts in the name of the beau-tiful game, there has been plenty to appeal to those with more refined tastes.
Zinedine Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait, was a documentary focusing solely on the French maestro throughout an entire game. Featuring a stunning soundtrack by Scots band Mogwai, it was given big billing at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2006.
Famous aria Nessun Dorma also provokes thoughts of football, after Pavarotti’s version was used as the theme song for the BBC’s coverage of the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
And visitors to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Queen Street will find David Mach’s striking image of Sir Alex Ferguson.