What’s on at Hootananny and Mad Hatters
A band that has a crowd pounding their fists through tables one minute and sitting silently on the edge of their seat the next, Swampcandy is dirty and sweet, brash and thoughtful, simple and complex. It’s true stories that are made up just for you. It’s pig drinkin’, whiskey eatin’, foot clapping’, hand stompin’, american music. Their roots are fermented in American mud, primitive blues, pre war folk sounds, field hollers, gypsy jazz, and ragtime. Steeped in influences from Robert Johnson to Radiohead. Their sound is distilled in a boiler of mercurial energy that swirls with tempo changes and dynamic peaks and valleys, holding the ear and refusing to let go.
But that’s not all folks….. Ruben Dobbs is the guitarist/vocalist and the creative force of this 10 year old project and has no allegiance to any genre. Performing in best interest of the song is always his objective. His pallet is vast and augmented by the skills of full/part time members and other creative partners behind the scenes. Joey Mitchell is the full time upright bass/kick drum/percussionist and has played the lions share of the last 1600 plus gigs with Dobbs as a duo. All who witness a show say the the same thing “They sound like a 4 or 5 piece band”. He is a disciplined disciple of jazz, classical, and punk rock. He has the objective ear that leads to the less than typical arrangements of their tunes. He has also revolutionized the percussive possibilities of the upright bass as an instrument. Gina Cottey brings a stiking feminine element that is both strong and welcoming with her featured lead vocals and harmonies. Her ability to nail multiple harmonies in a series of single passes have left recording engineers stunned. Percussionist/drummer/multi-instrumentalist Dominic Fragman can hardly be described… no really just look him up HE.IS.A.FREAK.The sharpest tools in the shed are rarely seen but they include: Ahren Buchheister with a skill set that eclipses most other musicians he is responsible for pedal steel and string/horn arrangements. He is an indispensable creative aspect of the Swampcandy sound. Writing partner James Von Lens is the Gram Parsons to Dobbs’ Kieth Richards. Steven Wright, Alex de Turk and Jeremy Reichwein have been integral in capturing and producing the live and studio recordings for the last 5 years. They bring yet another set of objective ears to these songs and are not afraid to share insights that have sculpted the shape and sound of their recorded material. Alison Harbaugh’s Sugarfarm Productions provides most of the video content of the band going so far as to produce a full length documentary based around the unusual locations and people that contributed to the 2013 recording of Midnight Creep. Then there is Joseph Karr, Dobbs’ longest creative relationship, they have worked together in some respect or another for 24 years. He’s given Swampcandy an ascetic of dark mystery and playfulness, silhouettes, black birds, drunken bunnies, blind folded monkeys, and abstract projections during live shows and video shoots that disturb/delight the imagination have come to distinctively brand the band.This group of creatives give the songs a sense of inevitability… like these songs have always been here but because you took the blue pill you are just now seeing them. Now light a candle and drink some O.J. because you are in for a wild ride.Here’s a little history:
Their 2013 double album, Midnight Creep/Noonday Stomp, which placed in NBT Music Radio’s Top 150 Albums of 2014, and the track “1000 Miles” placed in the Top Singles category, their 2015 release, Land, garnered substantial airplay from blues stations and syndicated radio shows across the US, UK and Europe.
2015 proved to be productive and rewarding as they set a new high bar for themselves, playing a staggering 268 live dates at venues and festivals across the US and UK, including four performances to capacity crowds at the 2015 Floydfest. (The band won the 2014 Floydfest ‘On The Rise’ competition, coming in first place out of 37 bands competing at the festival. They also outsold the headliners in merch both years) they also won that year’s Radio Flag award.
2016 Swampcandy saw the band expand sonically with auxiliary members Dominic Fragman and Gina Cottey for festivals and special shows. Fragman on drums, rhythm and/or lead guitar and vocals – SIMULTANEOUSLY, add new dimensions to the sound. Gina’s harmonies and lead vocals create a ever changing landscape of a show. The collective goal is to leave the audience with the feeling they have experienced a short festival rather than seeing a band play a great show.
2017 Was the year of organization and process for Swampcandy. Two full length albums got underway, one of them live one of them studio. Also a large pool of videos were produced to accompany those releases. They cut their gigging schedule down to 225 gigs to be able to concentrate on these releases.
2018 has the band firing on all pistons doing two tours of the UK and Ireland and increasing their touring presence on the eastern seaboard of the US. Mid Summer will see the release of their new album MINE in several formats: CD, Digitally and vinyl. Also a repressing of Midnight Creep and a first pressing of LAND is on the horizon. An explosive combination, LAND and MINE together create Swampcandy LAND-MINE. These albums will have gatefolds with the game they created “Swampcandy Land” halved horizontaly onto each album so when put together it creates the full game that will come with playing pieces, special dice, special instruction cards and the “Flask of Question” Trickling out through out the year will be live digital releases and live videos to appease the rabid ones.
The band was founded by Dobbs in 2007 and functioned with various lineups until he teamed up with Joey Mitchell in 2010 and the permanent die was cast. After only a few months together, the duo began to tour aggressively and have not slowed down since.
Dobbs is a volatile creative force while Mitchell is a pragmatic technician. They balance each other out like the two hemispheres of one brain. Growing up they both enjoyed and played the music of their respective generations and found a deep affection for the music of the past; Ruben with Delta blues and Joey with jazz and classical. Dobbs has studied music on a need-to-know basis from an early age, becoming enamored with classic rock while still in grade school. Always careful not to destroy the sonic mystery music has represented to him, his curiosity led him down music’s family tree to rock’s roots in Mississippi Delta Blues and the greats who played it. Mitchell’s musical journey began upon hearing the opening bass line to Alice in Chains’ “Would.” The song inspired him to work it out on an old guitar he found in the attic, eventually leading him to pick up the bass at the relatively late age of 16. Focusing his attention on learning all he could to become the master of his craft, he has become a university schooled academician with degrees in performance and music education. Dobbs aural home-schooling has encompassed listening to thousands of hours of field recordings of early American music, developing a rare level of knowledge about the true roots of multiple genres. In distilling the essence of nearly undecipherable songs and incorporating that authenticity into his own compositions he’s writing new chapters in the history of roots music that inextricably link the past, present and future. Mitchell has spent thousands of hours studying complex music theory and composition, practicing the ins and outs of his double bass while reinventing the percussive aspects that can be delivered between his primary instrument and his kick drum. These juxtapositions are the key to their success.
Ramanan Ritual a truly eclectic group of individuals making their return to Mad Hatters with support from the Open Plan.
Original Bluesy Rock n Roll. A good time band with fun attitude. Album “Keep Your Mad Hat On” available on Spotify, Amazon , Apple and ITunes and at gigs.
The 6 piece band, Chango Munks, based in Edinburgh perform a combination of fast paced, high energy Ska/Punk/Rock.
The group represent a number of nationalities including: Flemish, Basque, Italian/Colombian/Sri Lankan (and Scottish).
Having released their first 4 track E.P. [Live Session] in November of 2018, their first full length, “Something Else Is Coming”, was released in early June of 2019.
Following a successful tour around the Basque Country in July, the band are looking forward to the rest of 2019.
You know when you’ve been Chango’d!
Other Humans began at the very beginning of 2015 through a shared interest in 80’s synth pop music.
They began to write and record demo versions of songs at PaulsHalls Studios. Following those sessions, Other Humans recorded and released their debut track “Valley” which is available as a free download via soundcloud. This was followed with their debut show in Broadcast, Glasgow where over 100 people crammed in to the basement venue.
Table For Four are a band hailing from the Highlands of Scotland offering high energy pop punk/metal music, catering to the inner rockstar of us all!
Bad Actress began forming in 2016. Guitarist Struan McFarlane (15 at the time) and Thomas Bell (then 19) had previously worked together when Struan stood in as drummer in Thomas’s former band, Far From Devils, for their final gig. Having decided to start a new venture, they promptly recruited former FFD bassist, Fearghas Lyall (then 17). They asked Struan’s younger brother, Lewis, to fill in on drums until they could find a full timer.
Lewis, then just 12, had been gigging for over two years with Struan and their older brother Ross, as hard core power trio, Civil Punk. He set the bar high and was ultimately confirmed as the full time drummer. They then focussed on finding a vocalist. After a number of try outs, former FFD singer, Grant Clark, joined but later decided it wasn’t for him. It was at this point that the older McFarlane, Ross (then 17), offered his services and was invited to try out. It worked, the line up was set and they settled on the name Airrade.
Struan and Thomas had set down a few songs by this time, with solid riffs influenced by the likes of ACDC, ZZ Top, Aerosmith and Motorhead. The band played their first gig in July 2017 at the Audio Club in Glasgow, with Struan and Ross sharing centre stage and bringing a touch of glam to the show.
Happy with the results, the gig was followed by shows in other Glasgow venues and in Inverness and the McFarlanes’ home town of Forres. In February 2018 their performance at the Inverness Ironworks venue captured the attention of social media site, Inverness Gigs, who described them as musically melding ACDC, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue and that they ‘visually go straight down the road of late eighties Glam Rock’. The site called them ‘brash, young and utterly without irony and perform with a tremendous amount of self belief’ . . . ‘these chaps are living and breathing their music and it really does work for them’ . . . ‘They are utterly ridiculous and brilliant with it. It’s a real pleasure to see a young band grab rock music by the bollocks and give it a proper shake.’
This review also criticised the band’s name, which prompted them to change it. Bad Actress released a live video of ‘Whiteline Adrenaline’ shot at the Ironworks show, and have recorded their first single, ‘Acting like an Animal’, due out later in 2018.
Acid Ultras are live Acid House act from Scotland.
They don’t use computers. Everything played live.
“The Broken Ravens – Gritty Scottish Rock from the Isle of Lewis”….. Shockwave Magazine
TBR are a 5 piece hard rock band, based in Stornoway and formed in 2014.
At the moment they are finishing mastering their latest EP, recorded in Laurel Canyon(Los Angeles) at Danny Hutton’s (Three Dog Night) Canyon Hut home studio.
Danny’s son Dash (HIAMS) and Charles Clark (Astrid/Our Lunar Activities) produced the recording, which was then sent to Grammy Award winning producer Simon Gogerly (U2, Paloma Faith) to mix.
The band have been to the US twice playing venues like The Whisky a Go Go, The Viper Room and The Canyon Club to very warm receptions, and have a small tour in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Orange County & San Diego of around five shows lined up for next Spring along with various other opportunities in the US.
The band will also be returning to Bulgaria, Eastern Europe where they headlined the Midalidare main stage alongside Rock giants Dee Snider, Doro and Gotthard, leaving lasting impressions and appearing on National TV as well as featured on prime time radio.
The bands debut EP was released in February last year, with a track synced to Team Rock (Metal Hammer), featured in IQ magazine, The Scotsman, STV news and on BBC radio. Adrenaline PR serviced all PR for the sync and release.
Their endeavours even caught the attention of Rod Smallwood (Iron Maiden) who noted how tight the band was, going as far as to note tracks he particularly liked from the bands first release.
So be sure to check them out in Inverness at Mad Hatters for what is sure to be a great show!
Musically, the Oxbow Lake Band are a genre-defying bunch of grass roots musical magpies, multi-instrumentalists and good time charlies. They also like to dance like their dads, and have a taste for experimenting!
Some pop stars make music for the sake of it. But for Be Charlotte – music is about meaning.
It’s the combination of her remarkable songwriting talent, a knack for sweeping melodies and the fierce sense of identity and self-worth which makes heads turn, not only in the UK. Even although she is still at the beginning of her career Be Charlotte has toured around Europe, North America and Asia as well as as sharing the stage with Major Lazer in Africa in 2018.
Woven into every note of her glimmering pop songs, anthemic beats and immediate vocals which radiate that quiet yet determined personality, there’s this extraordinary effort to inspire others. In the lyrics, the listener will find honesty, a level of maturity beyond her years, and reflection. She has taken influence from classic songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Tracy Chapman and instinctively applied them to her love of modern pop and hip-hop.
This Machine are an Inverness super group formed from the ashes of The Rites, Echo 20 and RAAR. With an impressive list of gigs under their belt, including performances at Belladrum Festival, Jocktoberfest & Woodzstock!
Mad Hatters is proud to present a concert by one of this country’s most popular and zaniest performers along with his full band (The Big Band) …………….. JOHN OTWAY & THE BIG BAND.
Rock gods The Man from Delmonte are the most exciting band to launch onto the UK wedding and events scene for a generation. Their set list is a great mash of the best rock / pop covers from the last 50 years, all delivered with energy and style.