MDA has a good look at some of the acts that will be taking to the main stage at Belladrum 2012. The South The South, Ironworks Inverness, 20/02/12 he Beautiful South were born out of the demise of The Housemartins, an eighties pop-indie band, like the Smiths with less angst and more humour. They enjoyed many hits before calling it a day in 1988. Bassist Norman Cook went on to become superstar DJ Fat Boy Slim while Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway proceeded to form the new band in December 1988. The Beautiful South immediately started producing top 10 singles. The band officially called it a day in 2006, but Dave Hemingway was not ready to hang up his popstar status quite yet. Along with Ali Wheeler (the female singer of the band), some stalwarts from the beginning and a scattering of ‘newbies’ The South was formed. The band recently visited the Ironworks in Inverness where they played through their huge backlog of hits including several number one albums with hits like ‘A little Time’ and ‘Don’t Marry Her’. The South are now looking to add in new songs to their repertoire to mark the start of a new chapter of hits. With such a varied set of top 40 tunes, competition for space in the set-list to include as many as possible is fierce, but  Dave Hemingway says “The quality of some of the new material is so good that the songs have slotted right in – and the fans’ reaction has been amazing.” Look out for them on the main stage on Friday. You can read our interview with Alison Wheeler here. The Wombats Liverpools quirky indie outfit The Wombats headline the Friday night at Belladrum. The band are made up of native Liverpudlians Matthew Murphy and Dan Haggis, alongside Norwegian-born Tord Øverland-Knudsen. The three band members met in 2003 at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, where they formed The Wombats. Their debut album, entitled The Wombats Proudly Present: A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation was released in October 2007, and peaked at number 11 in the UK Albums Chart. The album went platinum. With smashes like ‘Kill The Director’ and ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ (winner of the 2008 NME Award for Best Dancefloor Filler), the band made their mark on current pop culture. During a period in which they became one of Liverpools biggest musical imports, the band crowned this by being the first act on stage at the opening ceremony of Liverpool, European Capital of Culture.More recently, the Wombats’ song ‘Techno Fan’ has been used in European airline Easy Jet’s new television and Facebook campaigns. Vintage Trouble VT are no strangers to the Highlands. Last year saw them at Rockness and Belladrum followed by their own gig at a sold out Ironworks. This interviewer was lucky enough to meet and interview the band. The band formed in Hollywood, California in 2010. Ty Taylor (vocals) and Nalle Colt (guitar) formed Vintage Trouble after setting up a home studio to record demos. They invited their mutual friend Rick Barrio Dill to play bass for the band (he had just left LA to move to Nashville), and then recruited Richard Danielson to play drums. The band had all been friends, and had known each other over the years. Ty had known Nalle Colt for about fourteen years, and just before Vintage Trouble they played together, but things just didn’t work out. They wanted to do something a little more raw and down to earth. The band stayed put in Los Angles for nearly a year building up a solid local fan base playing local residences. It was this local buzz created by the band that lead to legendary manager Doc McGhee (Bon Jovi/Kiss/Motley Crue) taking notice and signing Vintage Trouble to his roster. Doc’s first order of business became breaking the band in England, right away.  Their first venture overseas resulted in a similar groundswell with Music Weekly naming them 2011 Breakout Artist of the Year and HMV hailing them as their “Next Big Thing.” Classic Rock magazine awarded the band ‘Best Newcomer’ of 2011. If you look a big shot of the blues dripping with soul, then these guys are worth a view on the main stage. You can read our interview/review of Vintage Trouble’s last gig in Inverness here. We are Scientists California rock band We Are Scientists formed in 2000. In 2001 they decided to move to New York where they began self recording their debut album. After a delay the album was eventually released in June 2002. The band’s breakthrough success came with their second album ‘With Love and Squalor’ which sold 100,000 copies in the first 6 months. They followed this success with ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ which charted at 11 in the UK album chart, with two top 40 singles “After Hours” and “Chick Lit”. The single ‘After Hours’ was used in the movie “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” in 2008 along with a tour with Kings of Leon in the USA. In 2010, they released ‘Goal England’ which became an unofficial World Cup anthem from the album ‘Barbara’.They have recently announced a new album was set for release in February 2013. This American ‘off-the-wall’ band appear on the main stage on Friday. Beverley Knight Beverley Knight MBE is best known for her hit singles “Greatest Day”, “Get Up!”, “Shoulda Woulda Coulda” and “Come as You Are”. The commercial success of her second album Prodigal Sista marked a big step forward in Knight’s career and was reflected in the widespread critical acclaim of the project. Q magazine called the album “a triumph not only of Knight’s musical vision but also of the strength in her character”. Labelled as one of the greatest British soul albums of all time, the album won three MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Awards with “Made It Back” and “Greatest Day” winning Best R&B Act in 1998 and 1999 respectively, and Prodigal Sista winning the Best Album Award. In February 2006 Knight consolidated her move into the mainstream audience by appearing on BBC1 music show, Just the Two of Us as well as joining Take That on their reunion arena tour. Take That – The Ultimate Tour 06. After more than a decade in the industry, Knight was made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II in February 2007 in recognition of her charitable work and the contribution she has made to British music. Knight announced in early 2011 that she would be releasing a new album. The album was a collection of British Soul covers released in Summer 2011. This soul diva graces the main stage on Saturday. Frightened Rabbit “You are currently reading about Frightened Rabbit. They are a band who live in Glasgow and have done for some time. They record in bedrooms, cupboards and kitchens. Anyone can be in Frightened Rabbit. They have played some live shows in this city, but want to meet people from other cities, in order that they can come and blow into tubes when they play live. Lets keep pop music alive by getting it out of that dress and into a sweater.” This is the opening statement on the bands website which sums up this quirky Scottish band, something that has a running theme on the Belladrum main stage this year along with The Wombats and We are Scientists. The band from Selkirk, formed in 2003. Singer/guitarist Scott Hutchison used the name Frightened Rabbit, which came from a name his mother gave him in his youth due to his chronic shyness as a stage moniker for his solo shows. The project became a full-fledged band with the addition of his brother Grant Hutchison on drums in 2004, and guitarist Billy Kennedy in 2006. The band released their debut album Sing the Greys in May 2006 on local label, Hits The Fan. The band were offered a deal from Fiction Records but ultimately decided not to sign with the label. In January 2007, The Self-Starter Foundation brought the band to the east coast of the United States for a short tour. The band returned to the United States in March to play SXSW. The fourth album currently in production will mark the first time for the band that it is not Scott Hutchison alone with the task of songwriting, with Hutchison saying that “it’s done nothing but benefit the new songs.” The album is expected to be released early in 2013, preceded by an EP to be released September 2012. These Scottish favourites can be seen on the main stage on Saturday night. You can read the review of their Strathpeffer gig here. Travis This years closing act will be popular Scottish popsters Travis, sure to be a bigger hit than last years closer! Former headliner Amy Macdonald sights the band as her biggest influence and the reason she started playing guitar and writing songs. From Glasgow, Scotland, the band are led by Fran Healy with Dougie Payne, Andy Dunlop and Neil Primrose. They named themselves after the Harry Dean Stanton character Travis Henderson from the film Paris, Texas. Having met each other through Primrose pouring him a pint, an untrained art student, Fran Healy, then joined after being invited to audition by Primrose. Healy joined the band on the day he enrolled at The Glasgow School of Art, in the autumn of 1991. Two years later, with the option of music holding more appeal, Healy dropped out of art school. Having been repeatedly knocked back by the British record industry, the band couldn’t afford to stay around the country for another few years and so decided to move to New York, feeling that the U.S. might be more suited to their style of music. However, before leaving Healey told the band that they should send their demo to Charlie Pinder of Sony Music Publishing, who they had known for a few years. “If he’s not into it then we’ll go.” Pinder was immediately impressed by the song “All I Want to Do is Rock”, he felt was a dramatic change for the band. They were signed to Sony Music Publishing. Travis toured extensively, their live performances further enhancing their reputation. This included support slots in the UK for Oasis, after Noel Gallagher became an outspoken fan.It was the release of their second studio album ‘The Man Who’ that Travis began to develop a name for themselves in the music industry, with continued success into the 2000s. The Man Who charted at number 1 on the UK Albums Chart, and spent 104 weeks inside the UK Top 100. In 2011 Travis returned to live performances. They played at the Maxidrom Festival, Isle of Man, and in Moscow, in May; and at G! festival, Faroe Island and the Rock’n Coke Festival in Istanbul, Turkey. A new Travis album will be released in the first half of 2013. Check them headlining the festival on the Saturday night. Of course, please find time to see some of the local bands on offer here, and please subscribe to our mailing list to keep track of our future Belladrum features.