Jocktoberfest – Saturday 8th September – official pt. 1 – Woolly Dermal

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Saturday Mun!

part one of two

What is more than deserving of two articles? Jocktoberfest on a warm hazy Saturday.

So we at had a bit of a technical issue with our laptop, which prevented us firing out the Saturday review of Jocktoberfest.
We’ve split it into two parts, as well, I talk too much. So here’s part one, and we’ll share our part two with you thereafter. If you missed our Friday review, it’s linked to at the bottom of the page.


Want to see more reviews, previews and stuff like this as it’s published. When gigs are appearing and all that?
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As cold as it was through the night, was as hot as it was waking up in the morning. As I escaped the canvas oven I found my fellow attendees also slowly emerging from the birth canals of their domes of solitude like hungover butterflies seeing the morning sky for the first time. Butterflies don’t have gin breath though!

A sausage and a bacon roll later from the Haggisman van at the entrance to the arena and we were cooking with gas. Or it was, I can’t begin to imagine how hot it must have been working from a metal van, but kudos to the fella and his crew of minions braving the heat.

I headed into the festival to be greeted by what turned out to be one of the personal highlights for the Saturday for me, playing in the Dutch barn; Sarah Gallagher.


Sarah Gallagher.

Sarah Gallagher: Joy

What a welcome opening to a warm day! Sarah opened with a beautiful voice and some really chilled out song about love, and hope. I was happy enough with that as the sun shone onto the hay, and was ready to have a pleasant wee summary with just that, but then a bit of bite and grit came through. Sarah introduced her ‘revenge song’ about an ex-boyfriend, who’d been less than decent; the sage advice that followed was never date musicians. A bit of an unfortunate piece of advice from someone standing on the stage producing some fantastic sounds with her guitar and rattletrap, but I’m sure it wasn’t meant as an absolute! The lyrics “vampire in the dark, you never had my heart” give a wee glimpse of the tone of it, delivered with a beaming grin, infectious as it comes, I found myself with a cheeser on at the cathartic tune.

Sarah Gallagher: Sunkist – na, not the drink, the stage mun!

This was followed by an equally satisfying; “Blue Lights” – featuring lines “you don’t need cocaine at three in the morning, next time; give me a warning”, Sarah finished up with the fast paced song “Tinder”, again a fantastic little number about the perils of online dating; as a female I guess. Yo, yo, yo – smiley face, send nudes, hey babe, hello. The repetitive mundanity of having to deal with a bunch of potato minded parasites is not something I envy; the worst I’ve had to experience is bad puns; and I’m happy with that.  So yeah, that was a great start to the day from herself, and for everyone that saw her.

Next stop was Alice Brown at the smaller stage, where she shared some tales and experiences, accompanied by her guitar.  The highlight for me was the number “Sitting Quietly in the Afternoon”, with a folky, medieval feel to it.

Alice Brown: Lighting was hard, but the songs were soft

Back to the Barn to be greeted by the now Jocktoberfest stalwarts; Carma. This was their third time hitting the festival, with their exuberant wee faces! It’s really pleasing to see Jocktoberfest having a high prominence of female singers playing at the festival. That can too often be overlooked. I don’t know if it was a deliberate move by the Black Isle team, but either way, kudos. There were four people on the stage all together, Carmen and Kenna, who make up the band, complimented by the two session musicians. The stand out song was Hummingbird; a song about achieving dreams. Carmen’s dream is to be a musician, so she’s sorted! The songs were light in tone, and soothing to listen to, and the delicately named songs fitted in well to the pair’s feel.

Carma: Carmen delivering delicate vocals


Carma: Kenna tinkering the ivories

There was a bit of a change to the billing, which the kind gent Chris Lemon flagged to us in advance.

Originally the bands MT Doubt and Basic Needs were due to play, but for assorted reasons had to make some late cancellations. Stepping up to replace MT Doubt, came Calum MacKenzie Jones. He’s a man that makes you want to dance, with his upbeat and versatile repertoire.


Calum MacKenzie Jones: Calum and his band

He played the title track from his new album along with a few others, including one that stuck out for me with the lyrics “I can’t fix what doesn’t seem like it’s broken, I can’t feel what doesn’t seem to you” As a side note, by this point there were giant cos-play dinosaurs everywhere, dancing and bouncing about. I was fascinated by Calum’s hair for some reason, the floppy do seemed impenetrable by the heat of the day and looked like a well groomed haggis; as in the wild haggis you describe to American tourists, not the one made of lamb’s squiggly bits. Calum’s performance came off as confident and professional beyond his years.

Calum MacKenzie Jones: Shoutout to bassists and drummers everywhere who don’t often get a look in – the backbone to a band.

King Kobalt were the other last minute heros of the day that replaced Basic Needs. You don’t see compères that often at music gigs these days, or at least not in the highlands, but this one was decent. The last one I’d witnessed prior to him was the compère that I spent an evening suffering for the Radical Independence Ceilidh. Oh my word that fella was awful, talk about cringe! The bands were great then but it was ruined by the old china plate. I reference that to highlight that what seems like a straightforward job can be done well, or badly. Jocktoberfest did it well, and should get credit for that.

Anyway, the compère introduced King Kobalt with “ARE YOU READY TO HAVE YOUR FACES MELTED OFF?” to a reciprocal cheer from the crowd, and then it all began.

King Kobalt: Rocking the JOCKOBERF

King Kobalt burst into full flow from the get-go. The four piece kicked off with “No way” as their first song with the drummer and singer full throttle, this fed into the second song, which was a bit heavier, but welcomely so. Polished and with some great guitar distortion, it was two for two with the group’s sound so far. I’d seen them in Belladrum earlier this year, and they were ok, but they seemed far superior at Jocktoberfest. I don’t know if it was just that the sound guy was better, or if they had improved. It may have been that the acoustics were better, or some other variable was coming into play, but the fact was people were coming in to hear them play.

King Kobalt: Dude!

The next track, Warrior opened with the lead guitar pulling the rest of the song into full force by its teeth. The vibe was buzzing as they led through a song with a mix of eighties/nineties metal guitar soloing. Personal Pick Me Up was next, you could see the band enjoying themselves through the pounding drums. The breakdown part of the song felt good too, with vocals slipping in perfectly. Have you ever poked your finger into warm half melted butter, that’s still holding its form? That’s how smooth it was. “Lock Me Up” came with a Megadeath feel, before the band finished on their lead track from their E.P. Nightmares. What a belter too, a really powerful track with a spot on finale. The band were especially impressive given that they were playing at such short notice.

AJ Still: AKA MR Still – in technicolour

Sprinting like a gazelle with ADHD I made it over to be greeted by Mr Still, who gave us a selection of songs from the heart – highlighted by the title track from his album “His Strongest Suit” With the lyrics “he never knew his strongest suit, I could see so clearly something he could not” it came as an ode to admiration of a significant person being willed to realise his abilities. Mr Still fitted the feel good bill of the afternoon, followed by the exotic sounds of Cocoa Tenorio, with her tales of interest and sincerely fascinating bodiless guitar.

Cocoa and the cool guitar

A hop skip and a jump and we were back to witness Sara Bills and the Hasbeen’s last festival gig of the year. We’ve still got a review of them from the Market Bar sitting in the works, from the independence march which we’ll eventually extract with forceps from the creator, but in the interim, we’ve got some words to splurge here. Their last gig of the year, in September? For why you may ask. There’s going to be a new been baby, and the legendary Bills family are going to be plus one.

For the most part I was taking photos for the gig, and one of the other Nettlers was writing, but it was delivered in standard Hasbeens awesomeness. The set was played in the reverse order to that which us folks are used to, but was just as upbeat and enthusiastically delivered as ever. We’ll link to the other review once it’s up; the lack of words on it here do not reflect the lack of significance the team had to the event, it was one of the highlights, marked by half of the Market Bar faithful appearing at Jocktoberfest in time to support them. Sara Bills, you will be missed on the circuit, but haste ye back.

Sara Bills & The Hasbeens: eeeeey!
Sara Bills & The Hasbeens: playing backwards
Sara Bills & The Hasbeens: The legendary, and always a wee bit cheeky – Dickie

What happened next, well, much like the cliff hanger in the children’s ITV series KNIGHTMARE,(when the telly was good)  you’ll have to wait until next time.


Want to see more reviews, previews and stuff like this as it’s published. When gigs are appearing and all that?
Click the like button 😉



.For Woolly’s Friday insight:

Jocktoberfest 2018 – Friday 7th September – official – Woolly Dermal

and fir yer Saturday part two, here’s the patter:

Jocktoberfest – Saturday 8th September – official pt. 2 – Woolly Dermal

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