Summer might be drawing to a close, the leaves are turning, the first of the autumn gales have arrived, there are rumours of snow in the hills and the nights are fair drawing in but it needn’t be all doom and gloom. Loopallu is here this weekend to bring cheer to your hearts and bring music to your soul.
Starting back in 2005, the brainchild of promoter Robert Hicks and the band Hayseed Dixie, Loopallu has always impressed with its strong lineups. Mumford and Sons, Paulo Nutini, Franz Ferdinand and Jake Bugg have all graced their stage and they seem to have a knack of catching bands before they go stratospheric.
This year is no different and boasts another strong lineup of bands to whet the appetite. Friday features Prides who have recently been added to Radio 1’s playlist and have had a busy summer of festivals. Loopallu marking their third visit to the Highlands after their first live gig at Brew at the Bog . They’re hotly tipped to make significant waves and not just by the shores of Loch Broom either, the electro-pop outfit could well be one of those acts to go stratospheric in the coming years. Blood Relatives may be more familiar to you as the band formerly known as ‘Kitty the Lion’ and it’ll be interesting to see whether the change name has lead to any changes in musical direction.
Glasgow’s Roddy Hart and Lonesome Fire are interesting prospect and their self titled album has been getting rave reviews, described by Uncut as “widescreen…poetic and [with] verve…evoking the epic rock of Springsteen. Local hero turns contender” and by Radio 2’s Bob Harris as “Hugely Impressive”. Words like ‘emotive’, ‘anthemic’ and ‘expressive’ all come to mind when listening to the new record.
The Beat should bring the noise levels up a decibel or two, the 2-Tone Ska band from Birmingham originally formed back in the late Seventies and released three albums and a handful of singles. ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’ and their cover of ‘Tears of Clown’ being one that most punters young (ish) and old should recognise. If you need lessons on the ska dance ‘skanking’ then have a word with our photographer Roddy, I hear he’s a bit of an expert!
The Enemy are Friday night’s headliners and the indie rockers have got enough swagger and energy to pull of what could well be a rowdy close to the evening.
Saturday’s bill pulls no punches and could well be the stronger of the two days. Fake Major only have an EP to show for the moment (‘Have Plenty of Fun’ released back in April) but they’ve been busy gigging and seem to be picking up a decent following as a result. Following on from them we have indie-folk act The Moulettes, beat group The New Piccadillys and Laurence Fox who some of you may recognise as the chap who plays DS James Hathaway in detective series ‘Lewis’.
The Temperance Movement arrive on the back of their recently released debut album and they’re another act garnering rave reviews for their live shows. A recent visit to Mad Hatters may well have been the last chance to see them in such an intimate setting and I suspect that we’ll see them headlining stages at festivals before too long. They play no-frills classic rock and unabashedly wear their influences on their sleeves evoking hints of Deep Purple, The Stones and dash of The Black Crowes.
The Vatersay Boys will no doubt have the tent bouncing along to a set full of raucous folk tunes before Roddy Woomble calms everyone down again. Roddy’s solo material is a significant departure from his Idlewild material but none the less impressive for it. He has a knack of crafting delicate folk songs that tug at the heartstrings.
Reef are the penultimate act of the weekend and this one I’m really looking forward to. They were very much the indie rock kings back in the mid-nineties, ‘Place Your Hands’ was a massive hit and completely unavoidable for months. ‘Naked’ was part of Sony’s ad campaign for the Mini Disc (remember them?) and second album ‘Glow’ was a number one hit. After splitting up in 2003 they’ve returned to touring, the only downside is that it makes people like me feel old when I start harkening back to when I saw them ‘the first time round’.
Newton Faulkner returns to the Highands after a sold out show at the Ironworks last year and a recent Rockness appearance. Described by one of our own writers as an artist who pens ‘achingly dreamy pop’, Newton should ensure that the weekend finishes on a high. A charming stage persona means that nothing is taken too seriously and his cover of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has to be seen to believed.His latest album ‘Studio Zoo’ was released last month and rather uniquely the recording of the said album was streamed live as it happened, the process of which he described when he talked to us at Rockness. It’s proved to be another hit having peaked at Number 10 in the UK album charts at the time of writing.
It’s also worth keeping Loopallus fringe events in consideration. Live acts can normally be found playing in The Ceilidh Place, The Caley Bar, The Ferry Boat Inn, The Seaforth, The Arch Inn and The Argyll Hotel. Keep an eye on Loopallu’s facebook page for listings of who is playing at each of the venues.
You can see all our Loopallu news and previous reviews .