It’s still Saturday Mun!
part two of two
So in part one of the Saturday Jocktoberfest review, we told you of our experiences with Alice Brown, Calum Mackenzie Jones, Carma, King Kobalt, Mr Still, Sara Bills & the Hasbeens and Sarah Gallagher. Then we realised it was going to be a bit too long of a read for some folks to continue onwards, so splitting the article seemed like a good idea.
There was also the Friday one, covering DJ Blair Massari, Keir Gibson, Table for Four, The Guilty Pleasures, and Tweed if you want to read about your favourite band.
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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If, as mentioned in part one of our review King Kobalt woke up the Dutch Barn Stage, then Tistik was the fella that kicked the Hayloft Barn into distinction.
Tistik appeared on stage complemented by the multifaceted DJ Butterscotch, of his own, and Spring Break fame. As Butterscotch handled the intro of Tistik with a turntablism meets digitalisation remix of the lyricist’s name, the loquacious Tistik burst in with a rapid and stupefying demonstration of his verbosity and skills. Serving as an introduction to himself, he followed this up with a slower number.
The variation that Jocktoberfest have in their acts, whilst managing the transition between them well demonstrates how this wee festival, seeming on the face of it humble and dainty is a well polished and well-engineered work of art. Tistik is a good example of this – in the manner in which you’d plan a set whilst DJ’ing – the festival takes you on a journey from dawn to dusk – tugging your heart strings in the morning, and letting you get right into it in the evening. Tistik shared the fact that he was autistic with his audience, and dedicated his next track, “Sensory Issues” to anyone else with autism. He engaged well with the audience, and they loved him for it. There were a collection of other passionate so
ngs also thrown out to reverberate around the stage and wee arena, covering the unacceptability of drug abuse, and a range of other important subjects that were clearly close to his heart. Throughout, DJ Butterscotch provided some appropriate and spectacular sounds that aided the genius orator as he won the hearts of those around him.
It felt surreal after leaving that, the dimly, but atmospherically lit barn, to be greeted by the sun again, but it was time. Grace and Legend were the next band up, and fuck me, what a voice. I’d not heard these folks before, but they were something else- a powerful Rock/Metal four piece. The lead singer was by far the stand out in the act, delivering songs such as Dark Disguise and Dear Old Friend, with the sort of authentic, “I feel like I’d get one of their tracks on a KERRANG! Magazine CD” vibe. Is KERRANG! still a thing?
They were shit hot though, it was surreal seeing the lead come off the stage and sing directly to a toddler in ear protectors, but the wee one loved it, and it’s the sort of thing that’s unique to this here festival. I loved them, but not as much as my fellow reporter, who I think was imagining being personally serenaded by the lead; Bekah, on a private island.
Back in the Hayloft barn and The Vandal was delivering powerful, pumping and surging beats with a commanding vocal. The rapper very much delivered his life through the microphone – you could feel it. It was by far the grittiest set of the night, but it was also one of the most open and raw.
LIlura was next up, and unusually for her, singing solo – full credit to her for that too; her band members were unexpectedly unable to make it up to the venue, but she owned the stage even without them with a phenomenal presence. She’s a determined soul and a credit to what you can do with a bit of drive – with her performance flowing through the main stage, the whole set was divine.
Esperi – I only managed to catch a little bit of. I’ve seen him before in all his full creative glory, which you can have a gander at here. The day’s set was more of a covers vibe, and less introcate than the linked gig, but pleasing none-the-less. The set was more than fitting for the crowd and the venue, and at the end he brought his little ones up on stage who looked like they were having the time of their lives. That moment reminded me of my own little heroes, and the brilliant time I’d had with them the previous year. That aside, it’s a great reminder and a good point in this review to press how child friendly, and child embracing the festival is. Take your little ones they’d love it.
Esperi was the last of the sets in the “it’s a chilled out Saturday afternoon, sip some fine refreshments and be civilised” camp. As I happily meandered away from the gent that produced one of my favourite market bar gigs of last year, I found my way back to the Dutch Barn, to be greeted by Ruaridh MacLean.
Ach, it’s a fella with an accordion, some folks might think. But for those who had either experienced Tweed the night before, or anyone that’s been to see anything at Celtic Connections, anything other than the dreaded singing circle – (why oh why!) – the use of ‘the box’ – as the instrument is sometimes known – isn’t restricted to singy-songy teuchter music or pirate shanty town ditties. Calum did his bit to rip out any old fashioned concept of what Trad music was, and showed us plebs what it is.
One of the things I had scribbled down in my notes was that Ruaridh was the Jamie Callum of the accordion – in a good way like! What I meant by that is there was a ton of energy and craic from Ruaridh. He almost seemed hyperactive, as he thrust out “Freaker’s Ball” – one of the highlights for me. There was a frigging immense cover of ACDC’s thunderstruck, but on the accordion – which you have to hear live, it was, well, it was exciting to hear – but I’ve got a soft spot for that song, so there may be some bias coming in.
Ruaridh’s originally planned finalé was a mental version of Ring of Fire. A very adult version that would make yer da blush. I fell into a burnin’ ring of fire, was replaced with “fucking Gaelic choir”, and so many of the words were substituted it was more, a song sung to the high paced music of the tune. The crowd were bouncing so much, and the stage was so animated that it got to the point the signage behind Ruaridh passed out and tried to attack him – i.e. it fell over. The hero I am though, I lept to the rescue and re secured the stage props so the show could go on. Much like in the past, I once bought a house so an old man didn’t get evicted. I feel both the sign and the old man have forgotten this act. Though the sign doesn’t claim to be sentient, and it wasn’t the sign’s fault it fell over. Perhaps.
Ruaridh may have thought he was finished, but the crowd weren’t having it, which worked out well as the band that was meant to be on after; Busker Rhymes, were not there yet (and as it happened, didn’t end up appearing). The ginger hero fired through another twenty minutes of fast paced mania, feeding the now frenzied crowd (and dinosaurs) with everything he could. The final tune was a cover of Dirty Old Town, before the hero that is Ruaridh MacLean was able to relinquish the stage for some well earned recovery. What a guy!
At this point, the Hayloft Barn felt like it turned into the a collective gathering of some of the traditional pubs’ gigging musicians in Inverness. Inverness sneezed it’s talented session musicians onto the stage and Davy Cowan was first up, and had the crowd bopping about like nobody’s business. Like a mexican restaurant where the food is the same ingredients but folded up in a way to make the food taste different, a fair amount of the who’s who of the sneck was onstage, either with Hot Rats or the antecedent Davy Cowan band.
This was by no means a bad thing. Davy, Robin and co. played a selection of covers with one or two originals, and the whole thing felt almost festive. There was a definite party feel to it; echo’d by Davy’s comments, dedicating one of his songs to those that chase house parties. There was a good highland feel to the whole thing – rosy cheeks and cheer in abundance. Davy often goes as Davy and the Stormchasers – I’m not sure if the rest of the fellas on stage were the Stormchasers in question, and I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere about storms being interesting to look at but dangerous, but without knowing for sure, I’ll leave it.
Back across to the bigger of the two stages for Emma & the Ragmen – they shared some of the extended stage time that would have otherwise been utilised by Busta Rhymes, and used it well. The crowd were happily manic by this point in the evening and the rocking and rolling of EATR – [side note: love that acronym by the way] kept the crowd going. The, what I’d refer to as sophisticated voice of the lead was great, and the group kept the crowd happy and bouyant with a good bit of craic, and their effervescent feel with a bit of a jazzy, jivey feel to them. They’re playing in Mad Hatters in November too if you fancy a geek.
Hot Rats were the final act on the Hayloft stage. They played a banger of a gig, making sure new fans and old gave their all to dance to their set. With Dickie Bills at the heart of the beat, the mix of punky thumps and beats kept everyone moving.
The lead’s gruff voice fitted the close of a party vibe well, and their set was primarily tunes that you could pogo, shoogle and bounce to, which was a perfect close for the night. These guys haven’t played together for a long time, so this was like a proper reunion for them. They were loving it, and you could feel it in the air.
The penultimate act for the bigger of the two stages was the Ska-punk band The Matatunes. Sweet mother of fuck. Firstly, fitting them all on stage was impressive, there were like, forty of them.
Ok, I may be exaggerating, but there were a fair few – which you’d expect from a ska band. If Ruaridh was the act that got the crowd hyper, The Matatunes were the band that injected madness into them. I’ve never seen the like at Jocktoberfest. Spring Break finished the live band aspect of the event last year, and it was a thing of beauty, I had my son on my shoulders with glee. This year’s close was batshit crazy, and the wee man would have been watching from a bit further back if he’d been with me this time. I’d’ve maybe put The Matatunes in the Hayloft Stage, but it’s easy to say that with hindsight.
Manic is the word for the crowd – there was a wee bit of silliness from a couple audience members, which resulted in said members ending the event before the close of the set, but it was dealt with well by the Jocktoberfest team, and the band handled it well too. For the most part the whole close was pretty epic though, it was grand, the beaming grins on the band were scintillating as they pumped out tune after tune, like concentrated and condensed cubes of pressurised energy.
It’s rare to see a full band where every single member is fully chock a block with outgoing personality, and no one that saw The Matatunes could reasonably suggest there was anything other than that for each member. They even had their own Bez-like character of Happy Mondays fame, dancing and bouncing about – albeit sans maracas. They put on a show, and what a performance – they’re very much worth going to see. If you ever wondered what it would be like to have Redbull and Lucazade (pre-sugar tax) injected directly into your veins then it’s probably safer and wiser to seek out the next gig The Matatunes are playing, and pay them a visit.
Once the mentaltunes finished their set DJ Daddy Cool appeared to woo the audience into a chilled and welcome wind down, for a happy close of mingling, dancing and happy feels.
It was time for a pizza, having lamb burgered myself to death, and the night was finished off by a luscious caramelised onion, goats cheese and olive pizza. Honestly, just the tits!
Last year I’d used the taxis, but nearly got crushed on the way back out due to the taxi driver forgetting that hand breaks were a thing. Essentially I had to leap out of the way of a car, after trying to open the boot was just enough force for the damn thing to start rolling down the hill. My kids thought it was all very exciting as they stood at the side oblivious to the potential mind scarring horrors they’d narrowly avoided witnessing. You reading kids? If I’d been a less responsible dad you’d’ve been squished, not carefully standing behind the fence out of the way. Still funny is it? IS IT? Ok, fine.
This year we’d arrived by car, and left by car. Traffic was not too congested and it was a civilised drive back, albeit with a man/caveman hybrid dressed as a dinosaur, and his bushy bearded support worker in the back. Amazing what you find in Munlochy on a Sunday morning!
Overall, I got to see most of the bands playing, but missed a couple out – apologies to those we didn’t manage to catch; I think we missed two, either through food breaks or logistics, specifically Gordon James and the Power, and Never Knowing.
Sorry guys, we’ll catch you about next time you’re near!
One of our folks did manage to catch the very much up and coming Never Knowing on video and a couple pics for a bit which you can see here:
and if you wish to have a look at GJATP – they’ve a page here – and are playing in Buckie on the 27th October in the Pub in The Square. (That’s it’s name, we’re not just being lazy)
As a final wee note; Outside of the music, the other highlight of the festival is how kid friendly it is. There always seems to be an industry with the wee sproglets constructing buildings out of hay in the barn stage. It’s delightful to watch them all work together like crazy oversized worker ants. It’s a true reflection of the whole festival’s vibe. Everyone is welcome, and everyone is welcoming. A place to forge new connections and friendships. Not forgetting of course, it’s also a place to try new beers and ales, a connection with such fine things should not be overlooked.
Thank you Jocktoberfest 2018 and goodnight!
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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.For Woolly’s Friday insight:
and part one of Saturday: