Belladrum 4/8/2018 – REVIEW

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Mark Forbes reviews Saturday night at Belladrum 2018 

It’s the last Day of Belladrum and although you know Sunday looms with the post Bella blues there’s still that excitement of the the day ahead! It’s a drizzely morning as we arrive on site, and out trig though general comping is a slight less eager feel as the day before and the camp arena now starting to look more like a whirlwind has Been through with half clasped tents and rubbish astrew!

First port of call is strait to the Seedling Stage to see the second of our competition winners Alannah Moar.

Alannah is a very different act than yesterday’s competition winner the band The Roov but not any less worthy as this young singer songwriter can also pull a crowd.

‘Don’t Compare’ was her opening song with that folksy First Aid Kit – like vocal  which is very popular at the moment! The music in second song ‘No Substitute’ had tones of Ed Sheeran  although having a slightly more rocky harmony! Their excitement and enthusiasim for playing the stage was clear to see. Her song ‘Warm Embrace On My Shoulder’ is their break up song where they sing about meeting an ex and not wanting to go back!

 They finished up their set with there love song called ‘Hoy’ about her romance in Orkney. It was a softer start to my day than yesterday but not any les enjoyable and ready for the day ahead! I got a chance to speak to Alanah afterwards

How did you feel about playing at Belladrum?

I’ve played Belladrum on the busking stages before but this is the first time I have played a stage at a festival before, I am buzzing it’s just so amazing that was so fun.

I noticed a few family members in the audience, does that helps with your confidence ?

Yes it always helps to have a few people that you do know, I had quite a few people there that I knew I was amazed to see how many people there I didn’t know as well, which is always nice to know that people come and see you that aren’t family members as well. It helps you know that you are getting somewhere and people do relate to what you are doing. It’s a really good feeling I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did!

Are you playing any where else this weekend?

No but I’m playing the O2 Academy in Glasgow on the 10th. I am supporting the sound waves competition I was a part of a few years ago so I will be heading there in a few days to do that. That will be fun.

Who have you seen so far and who would you like to see?

Paloma Faith she was amazing, The LaFontaines, I am wanting to see Siobhan Wilson, Professor Green and Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 I’ve heard they are really really fun!

Where will people find your material?

I’ve got an old EP from when I was 17. It’s on you usual formats the best most recent stuff is on sound cloud you can find that from my Facebook as well these places are where I’m most active 

It’s a quick flit next door to Carma as I walked through the door to find a full band which gives an amazing full sound to the duo! ‘A&G’ thier new song has a Spanish flare to an up-beat tune. Carmen sings in Spanish although I have no idea what she sang sounded lovely!

They also sang ‘The Warmest Day’ from EP ‘Serendipity’ where having the fiddle just gave that song of a bit more of a floating feel like a butterfly in the warm summers breeze accompanied by Kenna playing some pretty piano throughout! They finished up with ‘Looked Over The Oceanic Blue’, a  lovely little number that emphasises their endearing approach.An other mad dash takes me to the potting shed where Topher Elliot is playing!

Topher Elliot plays his set with some amazing guitar with finger tapping the strings in a cool style! He also has a very rich mic tone that comes out in his vocals which has the audience capitulated! ‘Lady in Grey’ showcases his sound to the max and has a futuristic vibe.

Topher has quite a unique sound which makes him stand out of the crowd. He finished up his set with ‘Little Creatures’ which has a dramatic way to it where you could imagine a bug burrowing about in the undergrowth through the moonlight.

Across to the Free Range Folk Stage to see Wilson Noble and ‘Morning Sunrise’ and instrumental guitar piece which gently lures you in. Wilson uses his loop pedal to a seamless effect. His song ‘Pilgrim’ takes you on his march round the globe. Wilson’s patriotism comes out with in his music and his self of homeliness comes shouting out in his song ‘Home’.

He has such a cheerful craic to on stage and it defiantly comes out throughout his music ! His Keith accent enhances his vocal in wild mounting time making it fell just that bit more Scottish. He brings out his set with some folk tunes in a Celtic style picking on the guitar! He is a is a great ambassador for a folk stage Wilson gave up his time afterwords for a chat!

First gig on the Free Range stage is it?

First gig at the free range stage YES! I did play up on the Woodlands Roots Stage back here 10 so years ago!

How do you feel it went today?

It went alright! I would have liked more time to sound check I realised that halfway through my set but it was cool man, enjoyed it, could have played a bit better? There was a good energy think there was a positive message that cam across with the music, so yeh I think it went alright.

Have you been here all weekend?

No I just got here this morning!

Have you seen anybody today ,what’s you plans of who to see?

The first person I seen today was Mr Boom which was amazing never realised that Mr Boom was going to be here so it was a blast from my child hood to be realised! (Sad I missed it myself!) I’m going to see King Kolbalt, I would really like to see Tumbling Souls and Ho-ro.

Can you tell us what music you have out there are you playing anywhere else here?

Not formally as Wilson Noble but I may jam! But I’m playing tomorrow at the Belladrum come down at Hootanannys Inverness. But the best place is to go to my website which is It’s got a few albums from 2006 and 2012 and I have an instrumental demo album of finger picking guitar.

Looking forward to recording again at some point soon. I would really like to record again soon because the recordings I have got are quite old and nowadays I sound different, especially in the voice. So I would like to record soon  so people can really get a perspective of what I sound like these days

Peggie and Donald Barker are a brother and sister duo and have a fantastic harmony working with the soft piano,  Donald flips between the guitar and phono with ease.

His cover of ‘Lover’ has the crowd singing and clapping along. Peggy sang a song about an Ex of her brothers, it’s a very catch tune, these two are a very talented pair of siblings jumping from instrument to instrumental they are very intuitive and complementary singers.  

They sing a lovely song about how their grandfather met there grandmother in Glasgow, Assentmans visit to G-Town. Their friends came up to play guitar and Drums to play there deacon blue cover Real gone kid!  It hi lighted there sound and definitely if there was a band to cover this it is them, the place was bouncing!

Stephen Macintosh starts of his set  with ‘Worship Me’ which went down a storm. Stephen manages to to play some cracking guitar riffs throughout! His cover of ‘Wonder Wall’ is  like you never heard it before almost with a lazy vocal just hanging that couple of seconds late to amazing affect.   Stephen uses a lap tap technique to his song aptly called ‘Lap Tapping’ the song is very different play and vibe to the rest of the set. This adds a chilled out RnB component to the set. Stephen played us out with his up beat Celtic inspiring song.

We caught up with him after;

How did you feel your set went today?

It went better than I expected I saw a couple of other Free Range Folk gigs and they have been a hit or a miss for some folks, but I thought it was pretty good and everyone seemed to enjoy it! So I’m glad!

Are you playing any where else today?

Not at the festival no I think the next time I’m playing is supporting Before Stories at the Velocity Cafe later in August.

Who have you seen so far and who would you like to see later?

Went to see Ryan McMullen he was fantastic really good, seen a few bands that were really good but never caught there name as most bands have been really really good but Ryan was one of the main ones. Can’t wait to see Primal Scream, You Me At Six maybe. Because I don’t know a lot that’s playing today going to take the opportunity to wander about find new bands explore new genre. Think that’s the main thing about festivals it’s not to see people your expexting but to find new people!

Where will we find your music?

At the moment I am working on a single but it’s very much up in the air, I’ve got a collections of tracks I would not call it an Ep or an album as such, it’s more of a collection! It’s called Lost and Found Recordings. You can find that on my sound cloud! Or on my Facebook page Stephen Macintosh Music there just keep you eyes peeled for the single should be fairly soon!

After the interview it was back to the Free Range Folk Stage for Alan Hercher. After his second song ‘Promises’ he declared that he was glad he was that two as they are  the ones he was most likely forget the words two ! But if he did know one would have noticed they ever hooked!when alan got told about the gig, the first person he said to his dad! what will I play at Belladrum? his dad had said with out a doubt it has to be this song! So his dedication to his dad was Bright side! This song shows off his Rock folk singer songwriter vocals with at points of light floaty tones of the guitar and rolling bass lines a times, Had the audience poised to listen!

He sang one of his new songs Always which went down really well! Scotland My Home would be Alan’s Caledonia after leaving Scotland to work in New York was his inspiration to write this song, an ode to his homeland! Which went down very well with the ever growing audience. Alan rocked out the last song of his set with the warmth of the audience Never Forget left his audience on a high looking for more!

Alan gave me an interview after his set!

How did you feel about your first solo gig at Belladrum?

It was a lot scarier than being in the band! With Torridon there’s so much energy in those guys it spurs you on but when you are solo by yourself you got to pull from yourself and the crowd don’t know your songs and you not established it was nerve wracking!

It was a very important gig to you, how do you think that influence your songs today?

A couple off them it did definitely cause one of the songs I wasn’t going to put in was requested by my Dad to play originally. I decided that that’s definitely going to be in then it was about working the rest of the songs, I had to lose one that I really wanted in at the end of the day it was worth it to get that one in for him!

What have you seen so far?

I came for a while last night. I’m quite interested in the local music scene obviously went and seen Lional they had the last slot at the Seedling Stage. I know the guys that work in the music shop and they have always been good to me so I went along to support them and see them a little bit! Also saw the Frightened Rabbit tribute last night they are one of a big influences for me and also very hard subject!

On this stage I saw Keri Gibson, he’s up and coming from Fort William area, and Colin and Graeme who were previously with Searching for Donkeys! Great guys like what I said I like to support my local music scene where I can!

Any music coming up in the future?

I have republished my Alan Hercher Music page! People can go and check that out I’d they want, in the near future I’m hoping to release some singles bit by bit. Maybe get some video done and things just ramp up and let people here the songs I’ve been sitting on for years!

The end came for me as my family and friends and gathered on the hill at the bottom of the Temple to watch the fireworks. which brings the close off Belladrum for us for the year!

A chance to reflect on the last few days as always their has been a range of diverse, fantastic music, met some incredible people new and old and made some family memories. This summarises what Belladrum means to me and I will be talking about it for weeks and years to come. See you next year!

WHAT HAVE YOU MISSED? All our other Belladrum 2018 interviews, reviews and photographs can be found herePlease also check out our friends at MNPR for their perspective on Belladrum 2018

A notefrom the editor

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