Highland Foodbank Fundraiser in Mad Hatters and The Bothy: Saturday 3rd January 2014. A Review

Another New Year and another fundraiser at Hootananny’s. Held over two nights, by the end of this the second evening there was just shy of £1000 in the kitty: a magnificent effort for a worthy if puzzling cause.

Enthusiastic host for teh evening Conor O’Hara
Enthusiastic host for the evening Conor O’Hara

Puzzling because as so many of the acts took the time to point out it is a damned disgrace that in this day and age, people should not be relying on food banks, and people should not be starving. It’s not an unfortunate ‘side-effect’ of economic policy, it’s a predictable consequence and shame on any government who deliberately pursue any policy with such an awful end product.

Host for this evening Conor O’Hara reminded of this a few times although his call for a new economy based on rice and maybe lentils didn’t catch on – there was no rice or lentils in the bucket at the end of the evening.

He cajoled and encouraged the crowd to tackle the stairs to The Bothy for the acoustic acts, reasoning that it was in fact an enormous benefit in helping to cast off those few extra festive pounds in weight . . . backfired with me, I reasoned I had by the end of the evening done enough exercise to earn a kebab.

Upstairs said Bothy kicked off enthusiastically enough with Fraser Gallacher. Downstairs Dorec-a-belle stripped things back to their original format and those signature harmonies and fine melodies that they are so well known for shone that bit brighter as a result. Plus, I really liked their fairy lights.

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Dougie, with support...
Dougie, with support…

Dougie Scott minus wooden tie but with girlfriend Rebecca Sillars (for one song only) gained a new number one fan, Amanda.

Now, a band that I have been on the cusp of liking whipped me into shape – The Little Mill of Happiness were ridiculously good.

Performance aside, if there were any Tory or UKIP leaning electorate there then they certainly weren’t about to own up in front of Steve Obern.

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Changing the mood of the evening, Hamish Macdonald.
Changing the mood of the evening, Hamish Macdonald.

On a lighter but no less incisive note Hamish Macdonald had the audiences attention back in The Bothy – audience participation was requested and given – just what do Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall and Gary Glitter have in common? There go the 70’s . . .

I hadn’t met The Cask before and was pleasantly surprised. Relaxed on stage, nice conversation with the audience introducing some story songs with great vocals, they finished on a well-judged cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’.

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It was then standing room only upstairs for a rare opportunity to catch the craft of Willie and Tabs MacAskill. It was an exceptional performance.

In Madhatters, The Galipaygos with a hatful of albums were never going to struggle with a thirty-minute slot. They did however remind me of my Rickenbacker fetish.

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The stages closed with James Mackenzie who was in really fine voice and who typically provided a full on performance.

James Mackenzie finishing the bill at The Bothy
James Mackenzie finishing the bill at The Bothy

He also gained a new number one fan – he is however going to have to share Amanda with Dougie in that respect.

James Mackenzie intimidated? Just a wee bit (smiley emoticon goes here).

The Ragazzi were perhaps the perfect note to end on.

Catchy accessible tunes that are great to dance to. And the crowd did, setting things up nicely for a DJ set from Dan Tierney.

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So, another great night for another worthy cause. Massive thanks have to go to all those mentioned above who gave their time freely and also to Dawn (Badgetastic) on the door, to Calum Martin and John Aitken for the sound and of course, the organisers Dan Tierney, Barry Macfarlane and Steve Robertson.

Find out more about the work of the Highland Foodbank, after all that’s what it’s all about..

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Life-long engagement with music and a truly eclectic taste (although prog-rock and metal will usually have me scrambling for the off button). If pushed, I would have to say the Velvet Underground are one of the most important band’s of all time. Although I consider myself first and foremost a photographer, as regards reviewing I guess I cut my teeth in the vibrant fanzine scene of the 80’s. Around the same time I started taking photographs and, to be brief, performance and photography were made for each other: perfect match.