Rock Yes! 31st May at the Raigmore Hotel preview

In around a year and a half, in fact as I write this 486 days from now, Scotland will go to the polls to vote on being an Independent country. If you’re firmly on the no side I’d stop reading now as this won’t be for you. WELL, you might like the music but you’ll no doubt end up in a heated shouty debate (Fash is playing, Fash is a passionate man). Funnily enough unless the music was REALLY good you wouldn’t see me writing about a Better Together concert so no judgement from me if you jog on.

So pretty obvious what way I’m voting then eh? This is a music page so I won’t go on some kind of political rant. But this is essentially a political rally and the proceeds go to the Yes campaign to help convince those in the middle to vote the right way. So think about it like one of those charity events I write about a fair bit. There will no doubt be political bits between acts, and no doubt the same from the acts themselves. Some of them anyway. So who are those acts? I have no idea what the running order is so in no particular order:

The Mystic Shoes: A band that’s a whole lot of fun. Main stays of the local scene, they play covers though I think they may have some originals as well. Lots of energy, great tunes.

Rachel Campbell: She’s a fiddler and a damned fine one at that. No idea if she’ll be accompanied by anyone but I kind of assume so. Ceilidh style traditional music whether it’s with someone or not. I’ve only heard the one video from that page but she’s bloody good going by that. With the two acts I’ve already listed I’d expect people to be pretty knackered from dancing.

Jamie Marshall: Mellow blues rock, the tune currently playing in my ears fits the Crowded House influence. Coming all the way from Prague for this. Well, I dunno if he’s travelling on the day or that….

Fash Stewart: Country, Folk, Blues, Americana….frankly we’ll be lucky if he remembers that he’s meant to be playing and that he doesn’t just rant for the whole set! Only joking. Mellow poetic stuff for some, getting the crowd going for the rest.

dorec-a-belle: 4 lovely ladies playing jazzy folk stuff. Sounds French cafe style to me much of the time if that triggers the right kind of sound in your head. Played on the show plenty so you should know what they sound like anyway. Very good stuff.

Emma Mitchell: Hell of a voice, great guitar, damned fine song writing. Whether it’s just Emma or if she’ll have the blues band with her I don’t know. Haven’t PROPERLY heard the later yet, but have heard her (and the various parts) on her own. Either way it’ll be bloody good.

The Slim Panatellas: Last but far from least. Fair chance other people from the above will be drawn in to the eclectic mish mash that is a Slim Panatellas set. You’re never entirely sure what you’re going to get with these guys but it’ll be good craic whatever it is. And they most certainly WILL get political. Be ready to sing along as well.

All of the above is a fiver from here or on the door, and that door is the one in to the Raigmore Hotel. That door opens at half 7 and it’s to support Yes Scotland. Should be a fun night, but not as fun as the one we’ll be having in 487 days 😉

PS: Please no political comments here or on the Facebook page, this isn’t the place for it. Yes I realise that’s a bit ironic but I don’t want a flame war on my page

True Talent in aid of TEACH May 25th Dingwall Town Hall

Charity gig time! A handful of locals providing some musical entertainment to raise some money for a good cause. Warms your heart. This time the location is Dingwall Town Hall which once had the Beatles in it. Hopefully this time the turn out will be WAY better though. And it should be, because this is who you’ll be getting:

Iain McLaughlin: Outsiderless from what I can tell. Iain solo is still some cracking stuff though. Throaty passionate voice, songs written and performed with huge amounts of feeling, possibly relatively intense but also extremely relaxed start to the night (assuming this is the order things will be in)
Toby Michaels: Rolling Damned less. So two front men without their backs. Very different front men, though they share some things in common. The most important one being the amount of feels they put in to their performances. Toby’s not short of passion himself, with a souring voice and some excellent licks. Ticket price more than justified already and we’re only two guys in.
The Ragazzi: But Dave, they aren’t a band anymore. They’re back baby! Sorry for calling you baby, that was a bit overly familiar. The return gig (3 currently listed on their page) for an excellent group that nearly wasn’t anymore. Lo-fi slightly reggae vibe with lots of energy and plenty of bass. If you didn’t catch The Ragazzi before their hiatus catch them now. If you want a preview pick up Jelly from iTunes.
Gary Thain: Not Uriah Heep’s bassist, KOBI-less front man. I haven’t actually heard Gary solo at all but KOBI are a cracking band and he’s a talented fella.
Stuart Thain: No relat….actually I’m pretty sure they’re related. He’ll be doing a bit of DJing. It’ll be good. Never know what to say about DJs. Except myself, and I never say good things about that plonker.

SO hell of a line up there. And a quality cause. TEACH have decided to make my job hard by having a fancy website that I can’t copy from, but essentially they are a charity who help alleviate poverty in Africa through education. It’s better to teach a man to fish than to just give him a fish so they do just that. Though it’s brains rather than a fish. Not in a zombie type of way, they teach them STUFF. I’m no good at metaphors. Maybe I should get them to help me too….

Tickets are a fiver, you can get them in Scizzor Sisters in Dingwall or here . And if you want to keep partying after midnight like some crazy person you can get half price entry to The Picture House thanks to your gig wristband. Night sorted then, see you there.

Completely Unofficial Brew At The Bog 2013 Guide Preview Thing!

Super duper late as the festival is very soon and tickets are like a very rare thing that’s super rare. You CAN still get some though. Unless you want to camp, then you’re shit out of luck. But it’s fine, the festival is very near Inverness and there are buses back afterwards so don’t worry about that. While not in the complete middle of nowhere like many festivals it’s far enough out that the view is absolutely lovely.

It’s also the only festival I can claim to have been at every year, what with being the second one. Last year was great craic, the music was ace and so was the beer. This year will be great craic, the music is ace (see the rest of this post) and so is the beer. What more could you ask for. Run, seriously, don’t walk to here and get a ticket. What follows is a picture of the stage times then a description of what the acts sound like written by an idiot.

You can also hear what a lot of the bands sound like on my show from this week. Mainly Tuesdays, couple spread about in Monday’s line up too. You can find them here

THE BOTHY

Eilidh Hadden – Only the one track to go by but she describes herself as electro slash dark folk slash pop. Not huge amounts of folk really, but definitely pop. Wee bit too much pop for my tastes if I’m honest but not bad by any means.

Shambles Miller – Acerbic, whitty and extremely well played folk music. Sometimes of the protest kind, sometimes not. Right down my alley though.

Naked Red – Local boys with a slightly changed line up since I last saw them many moons ago (literally moons, it’s months but quite a few). Purveyors of proper rock music that’s a bit 80’s but not HUGELY 80’s. Very good stuff.

Sienna – VERY diverse band I would have looked like a damned fool if I’d only listened to one track. Sometimes funk, sometimes more like a traditional band, sometimes 60’s pop with a bit of country influence chucked in. If you don’t fancy what you hear go get a beer and come back, you might like that.

Bronagh and the Boys – Local comparisons are easy comparisons. Imagine if Josephine Sillars and Alice Bentley had a baby. Bit like that. Quite poppy soulful music with a piano. At least that’s Bronagh Monahan when it’s her, the Boys implying more of a band situation really. Lovely voice on her.

Sharfla – without reading what they wrote I was pretty much going to write the same, with an extra bit. Slight gothy tinge, but only slight, electro synth pop. Wasn’t sure what I thought and….I’m still not really. They sound very good, not sure if it’s entirely my bag though. Will suit many to a tea though.

Ashley and the Cosmonauts – Amazingly I have yet to catch these guys live proper, bits and bobs now and again, and there’s only a couple of scrappy you tube videos to go on beyond that. Ashley has a cracking soulful voice, the Cosmonauts are a funky bunch, and they’re really nice folks to boot.

JP Jones – Well I don’t know what Welsh Desert Pop is meant to be. I’d say he’s mellowly anthemic. By that I mean plenty of keys and the like, but with strong percussion and melodic singing. Mighty fine stuff.

Davey Horne – pure soul, proper old school stuff too. Souring voice, lyrics about love, rock and roll backing.

Sion Russell Jones – I first saw him at a festival last year. This one in fact, and I was mighty impressed. Unique voice, epic one man band style action (at least he was last year I have no idea if he will have company). Nice bloke too. When you listen to him you might think you’ve heard him before, he has the kind of polish that makes you think he’s a much bigger act. And hopefully one day he will be!

Captains – I’ve only got the one track to go buy but the general vibe of the band is one I like. The track title is a meme reference (Lips that touch liquor don’t touch mine), they used a picture of Orson Welles, the track is a free download and the description is “Tweed and sparkles with a 2000 piece space orchestra.” Musically they are grungy lo-fi pop punk, wee bit Stooges maybe?

Seznec Brothers – Pure folky goodness (well, the odd bit of electric organ and effect thrown in) with a twinge of Americana thrown in for good measure

Seven Summits – Indie rock band. Now that barely means anything so I’m going to try and get all wine critic style description here. Large bit of 90’s influence but with a modern sound. Hints of Ben Folds Five here and there, a bit of Everything Everything now and again. Relatively mellow. Won’t get you drunk. That’s what the beer is for.

THE BARN

Poor Things – Lo fi power pop punk with a California influence. Those sound like real music writer words! Basically, a bit in the PAWS vein of things assuming you’re familiar with them. And if you come here I assume you are.

The Winter Tradition – Quite epic sounding Scottish indie rock. In the vein of a few I could name, but stand their own ground well.

This Silent Forest – I think of them as quite mellow but they can get their loud on too. That will be where the power in the power indie moniker comes in then. Mighty fine band, been a fan for quite some time now.

Trapped In Kansas – They heavily remind me of someone but I can’t remember who it is. You know that band that sound like they do? Them. (I was going to say Twin Atlantic but not sure that fits really). Indie pop rock.

Kitty The Lion – I love Anna’s accent, they’re repeat offenders for Brew, fun and quirky lyrics to the tracks, toe tapping indie pop rock.

United Fruit – Lo fi punky goodness. Mainly anyway, at times they get straight out rocky while keeping the lo-fi vocals. So a bit like Paws then.

Olympic Swimmers – Melodic vocals, funky indie pop rock music, little bit like The Sorry Kisses with a Scottish accent I suppose. That probably means nothing to a lot of you!

James Mackenzie – Local singer songwriter who isn’t local no more, which explains why I haven’t seen him about. Triumphant return to the local area, no doubt playing some new stuff that he has on the way.

Chris Devotion and the Expectations – FANTASTIC retro style rock. Been played on the show a bunch and when I was talking to Yvonne ahead of the first line up announcements she asked who I would suggest (she’d already picked people, it was just gabbing. I don’t have influence or that) and they were one of the names. Which worked out nicely.

Cherri Fosphate – Indie rock trading in some strong licks, well-constructed tunes and a lead singer with an unique voice. Favourites of many DJ/Podcast/Press types and lots of not that kind of people too. And rightly so.

FOUND – ALL CAPS. Ironically, a bit of a challenge to find. Worth it though. Indie pop rock with a bit of electro thrown in plus a chunk of fifties esque rock and roll vibe for good measure.

Homework – they used the word purveyors so I can’t. Electronica, a bit of that indie rock vibe to their stuff, home grown too so extra points.

Miaoux Miaoux – Hilarious that they are next to Kitty The Lion on the line up. Electronica but hold the indie rock bit. Pure electronic stuff, well there are instruments in there too. Very fine stuff too.

MAIN STAGE

Earls of Caithness – 87 piece super funky funk band from the frozen far north. That’ll be where the Caithness comes in then. They rehearse as far north as you can and still be on the mainland, in a lighthouse of all places. Groovy stuff, I may be exaggerating the number of band members.

Verse Metrics – They call themselves melodic/mathy alternative and I know what they are getting at with that. Technically very accomplished music (which sounds dry, I just mean they play real good) in a very mellow rhythmic fashion. Sway, don’t bounce.

Adam Holmes and the Embers – when there’s no accordion there’s a strong 60’s/70’s vibe to these guys, tip of the tongue who they bring to mind. When it’s in that but with a strong celtic root to it. Either way some classic folk music. Don’t think I’m too far off the mark making a bit of a State Broadcasters comparison (at times).

The Stagger Rats – They caused me to google “gutter pop” and I’m still none the wiser. Retro rock style, maybe dark rock n roll is the term. Listen for yourself if you are still in the dark there.

Fake Major – The artists formerly known as Endor, so if I remember rightly this is their second Brew at the Bog technically even though they’ve only been a band since February. Not 100% the same, but if you liked Endor you’ll love Fake Major.


I’ll be doing many of these hopefully, here’s a picture of one I recorded early with a bit of Randolph’s Leap

Randolphs’ Leap – Looooooove these guys and I haven’t even seen the full band live yet! Quirky lyrics, fun style, you have heard them and you should also love them. So good I bought the mug.


Seriously, Donald Macdonald and the Islands go all out

Donald Macdonald And The Islands – Fantastic folk rock band from the west coast. They have their mellow numbers, they have their jumpy ones and they throw it all in to both sides of the coin.

Three Blind Wolves – They describe themselves as folk-tinged psychedelic blues-rock and I can’t argue with that really. A little bit country, a large amount of rock and roll.

The Little Kicks – Another favourite of mine, I do rather like this line up, and I believe they were a pick for the year. Describe themselves as indie disco pop and that fits, but I’d chuck a rock in there too. Frequent fliers on the show.

The Whiskys – If I have to tell you who The Whisky (River Band)s are then you aren’t allowed on the site any more. Go buy Taming of Me, listen to it a lot, then you can come back.

Discopolis – Fine purveyors of….is indie electro a thing? If not I’m making it up, I tend to do that anyway. Electro with an indie rock vibe to it. That. Good stuff.

Prides – If you liked Midnight Lion, and you should have, then that with extra bells on. I saw the previous incarnation supporting Fatherson and they were great. From the one Prides track on show for now the sound has been retained but beefed a bit. They’re a bit Ah Ha if they had Scottish Folk Rock babies. Great stuff.


Top of the bill, rightly so, Fatherson

Fatherson – Favourites of mine and many other people, lovely folks to boot. One of the best loud bands you’ll see along with one of the best quiet bands you’ll see. Varied pace and tone, obviously to an extent, nailing it all the way. They are a bit good.

For some reason I have two bands left over, and I know there was one previously announced act that had to pull out. Doesn’t matter, the above is what you call a cracking line up. CRACKING. Beer isn’t even required to enjoy it but dammit it’s good beer so fill your boots and dance about like idiots. Then long for next May to come around from around….October time like I did for the last 6 months.

Fortnight of Awesomeness Preview!

The what now? Well…we’re spoiled around here. Really spoiled. There’s a lot of great music, both local and visiting, in Inverness. While every fortnight isn’t QUITE as packed as this one you’d be hard pressed to go too long before finding something really good that you want to go to. And it’s easy to find out what’s on, just bookmark The List and I’ll keep you informed. Anyway the last week of April and first week of May are particularly juicy so I though I’d stick together a wee post. This is by no means meant to be comprehensive but there’s plenty to get your teeth in to with this little lot

THURSDAY 25TH APRIL

Can kick off a bit earlier than usual for you if you’d like. Not for me I’m working. 7pm to be exact at Hung, KOBI will be holding the single launch for All The Way

Later on than that in Hoots you can catch two fantastic bands on a co-headline tour. Brown Bear and the Bandits, who I caught at Loopallu and MV and did an interview with for the show, are the greatest band to ever emerge from Largs. Probably, I mean I’ve never heard another band from Largs. Fantastic folk rock anyway. And Miniature Dinosaurs, also a Loopallu watch, who I described as “a bit new wave, a bit retro, with a lead singer with a voice a bit like your man from the B-52s”.

If that’s all too loud for you head up to The Bothy where it’s Carnivale night. That’s 4 artists (this month Robin Abbot, Patrick Duff, Iain McLaughlin and Hamish Roberts) playing acoustic sets in a nice relaxed setting. The Bothy is up stairs at Mad Hatters, which is up stairs at Hoots.

And you could also go to The Greenhouse in Dingwall for some open mic action. Always a fantastic standard of music, always a great atmosphere. And informally there’s a “shut the fuck up and don’t use the door” while people are playing rule. So shut the fuck up and wait for 2 minutes if someone is playing.

FRIDAY 26TH APRIL

Features the return of one of the most fun acts I saw live all of last year, the absolutely mental Dingus Khan. If we’ve never met and you’re wondering who I am wait until Knifey Spooney comes on as I’ll be the idiot singing along rather loudly.

And if you’re a bit of a metal head, Karma Lounge is the place for you where Alt X is holding a 6 months until Halloween party. I assume dressing up is expected, but at the very least the music will be way better than the average pub (depending on your taste).

It’s also my mum’s birthday. Happy birthday Mum!

SATURDAY 27TH APRIL

In the afternoon the Greenhouse in Dingwall will be holding they’re weekly Saturday Set. This week it’s the fantastic Duncan Overmeer who has a new album coming out. Great guitar playing, throaty voice, very well put together tunes, brilliant atmosphere, little China cups. Ace.

Also in the afternoon and in to the evening, a mini festival will be happening in Inverness. Shedstock 2013 in the Music Shed. I assume anyway, been a bit quiet on that front and I’m only aware of two bands at the moment. One is indie rock band Silver Coast and the other is very loud filthy punk band Cactus and Cardigan from Thurso, so should be good.

In the evening proper Mad Hatters as a couple of damned fine bands. Be Like Pablo, possibly being acoustic but I don’t know that for sure, followed by Kid Canaveral. As almost always entry is nowt and the staff are friendly. And the DJ after plays really good stuff for dancing like a muppet to.

SUNDAY 28TH APRIL

Another launch and a return of that Duncan Overmeer fella. As it’s his album launch he should probably be there. If you missed him on Saturday, or enjoyed it a lot and want to see him again, get yourself along and pick up a copy of Rumour Mill. It’s really rather good.

I have some of the listings for May BUT haven’t thoroughly looked yet. So let’s assume the only things on Monday and Tuesday are my show from 6 until 8pm on http://www.abcradio.co.uk (Tuesday should have a Duncan Overmeer session on it) and Wednesday is a day off.

THURSDAY 2ND MAY

It’s kind of a Loopallu fortnight actually. On a pre-album launch tour tour, no idea if my nagging helped any, Public Service Broadcasting will be in the Ironworks. Music composed of live drums, live guitar/banjo/etc, electronic bits and samples from public information type films. Pre-lu I wasn’t entirely sold, post-lu I’m a bit of a fan boy. J. Willgoose puts all the elements together live to ensure there’s a chance of fucking up and Wrigglesworth is a cracking drummer. ALSO behind the guys there’s a film edited together from said show and the films are great. Hell of a show, get along.

FRIDAY 3RD MAY

The show I’m calling the Brew at the Bog fringe, as if I’m at anything it’ll be this, The Eagle will be hosting Megan Blyth, Nicky Murray and Furry Vengeance. Great local line up there. I know there aren’t many words here, what more do you need me to say?

SATURDAY 4TH MAY

Non music wise it’s two things, Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you) and Free Comic Book Day. So whatever you are doing get along to Heroes For Sale first and pick up some free funny books. And pay for a couple too. Alas I won’t be joining you as I’ll be crazy busy and already out at the farm for….

Brew at the Bog. What I thought of as the first of the festivals, but that’s MV. First of the “camping in a field and standing in a different field with beer and tunes” festivals though. Fantastic line up and a proper preview piece is on it’s way soon. Get your liver in training too as the Brewdog beer can be pretty damned strong!

Also pretty damned strong, the rock stylings of Toby Michaels’ Rolling Damned who can be found in the Ironworks launching their single A Little Bit Of What You Fancy (Does You Good) which is possibly my favourite of their tunes. Support is provided by Last Summer Effect so it’ll be a good show all round. And being TMRD expect some theatrics.

After all that, well simultaneously with the end of Brew, Karma Lounge will be hosting Indieness. Expect a Star Wars vibe at that as well, plus some fantastic music being played. I’m also calling this the Brew at the Bog after party so if you can still walk/see/have any energy left get along.

I’m no doubt missing something, sure there’s something on the Sunday as well, but this isn’t comprehensive. I was also slightly wrong on one point at the start. If you take out the festivals this pretty much IS a typical couple of weeks around here. Keep an eye on The List to see what’s on and get out and enjoy some live music. You live in a mecca for it. Unless you aren’t from around here, in which case move. The scenery is nice too.

Music Plus Showcase April 20th Preview!

Music plus. Whassat then? Well it’s an organisation that mentors and educates young musicians on various aspects of the business. From the creative side with songwriting and mentor-ships to the boring stuff like marketing yourself. It takes some great young musicians, nurtures them a bit and hopefully gives them an idea of what they need to do to stick around long enough to be some great old musicians. They also make me feel ancient and talentless which gives me an excuse to drink beer. Yay!

Half of the above is guess work btw as I only know roughly what they do. You can find out some more here. I know it’s a good thing though. And it also gives you the opportunity to hear a half dozen good things. For free. Here are those things. And by things I mean very talented musicians.


Yay, you should totally go! That’s Alice! At the front.

Alice Bentley – I want to repeat what I wrote for the showcase piece a month back but that would be really lazy. Been through one band already and still going, there’s some staying power for you. Also survived doing a session on my show. Great voice, great guitar playing, hopefully taming the old butterflies, good start to this list which is in no particular order.
Imogen Hay – No idea. An enigma wrapped in a puzzle. Your guess is as good as mine. Never heard her. WHICH IS THE POINT! Look forward to what she sounds like, no doubt rather good as she’s in this thing. This is why we go to showcase events after all, right?
Josh Mackenzie – Dave you idiot, that’s a link to Lionel. WELL when you add a ua to the end of his name Josh is the lead singer/guitarist of said band. A very very good band that haven’t been around for more than 7 months or so but took the battle of the bands that launched the Eagle Upstairs by storm. Not sure I’ve heard him by himself but I’m sure he’ll be very good as his band is.
Molly Nolan – Another new one for me but this one has a page, yay! In a select group of, as far as I’m aware, 3 ladies that sing and play the piano. The standard is very high in that group and (from what I’ve heard) Molly holds her own nicely. Sounds a bit like a young Abagail Grey for a probably not good comparison. Should give you an idea anyway. But you’re already going right? Still have some icing for this cake.
Dylan Tierney – Future session guest and fairly exploded when he hit the local scene recently. Talent beyond his years, great retro sound, dude that plays the guitar AND I’ll finally see him play live after failing a number of times so far. Yay!
and finally Jemma Tweedie – though to be fair I don’t know if this is the actual running order. No stranger to readers of this page or listeners of the radio show (and she’s included in this one). Worth the ticket price alone!


And that’s Jemma. I cropped myself out as I just look confused at how to work the camera. It was a new phone…

Aaaaaaaand that ticket price is actually free for nothing as there aren’t tickets, just show up. Anyone under 16 needs an over 18 with them though, and anyone over 18 is big enough and ugly enough to look after themselves. I know I am. I’ll be there, in fact I’m missing Doctor Who for it so it BETTER be good. Hope a lot of you will be there too 🙂