Sunday, August 10, 2008
Ness Yoal at Belladrum...and Gloria gets safely back to Aberdeen
The weather at Belladrum was a classically Highland mixture of sunshine and downpour; fortunately the dry spells co-incided with most of the performances.
The Malt and Barley Revue at the excellent and extremely well-run Co-op Verb Garden Tent, went down well and attracted a fair crowd of round about 100. Considering the competition included The Waterboys, Edwyn Collins and The Lemonheads, I was pretty pleased. Mind you, they didn't have free whisky and sofas.
Why the Ness Yoal (a classic Shetland design)? Built in the Highlands as part of come kind of community training scheme, I think. And a very nice job too.
What's great about Belladrum is that many in the crowd come for The Festival, as opposed to the bands playing. So things like the brilliant Potting Shed (a kind of open mic spot in the open air) proved hugely popular, the theatre, comedy and children's events were given a lot of time and space and the 'spirit of '68', portrayed as a this year's theme, was genuinely abroad. As, unfortunately, was the mud.
Jefferson Starship were a hoot. David Freiburg is 70 years old. Paul Kantner looks like a bizarre SAGA rock'n'roll cartoon. But they give it hell, and the live versions of classics like Jane and even White Rabbit were surprisingly affecting. Justin Currie looked agitated throughout his set, but it was great to hear one or two old Del Amitri songs amid stuff from his teriffic new CD What is Love For. And was that Nick Clark on bass, last seen by me in the Sub Club, circa 1985? Caught a little of Idlewild in full-on rock band mode. Why didn't they become the new U2? Coulda been more than contenders...though Roddy Woomble would certainly have become very bored very quickly.
Caught a little of Edwyn's set, and it was good to see the full band in action, with Roddy Frame on lead guitar. The Waterboys' greatest hits set was a fitting finale. The fireworks were some of the best I've seen.
Gloria got back to Aberdeen without a problem, though I was careful to get up and away early as the production car park and exit track was beginning to resemble a quagmire. Now for the boat home, and, in a fortnight, the Wizard Festival at New Deer.