For a band that I only discovered last year, I've now seen Shooglenifty play live more times than any other band I like. Why? Well, to put it simply, this band are completely mindblowing and it seems that whenever they play it is utterly impossible to avoid becoming possessed by one's inner hobo. In other words, jigging about all over the joint like that crazy old dude in the movie Deliverance (during the 'dueling banjos' scene) becomes mandatory. The exception to this rule, however, was the recent Portobello gig that I went to with my uptight Edinburgh friends. Having decided beforehand that they weren't going to enjoy it, it was no surprise that they couldn't get into the Shoogles. But then they think Kunt And The Gang are actually talented and - worse still - funny, when Kunt is clearly just an annoying, talentless little shit from Essex and a Roy 'Chubby' Brown of the music world.
Fortunately this time, however, I was joined by a couple of Bothy Councillors, and major Bothy points go to Stevie 'Seargent Matron' Lewis who, in the event of discovering that his van was on the blink, promptly wandered out of his remote Highland home at Loch Eilt, stuck his thumb up on the A830, hitched a ride into Fort William, then jumped on a bus to Glasgow before grabbing a train into Stirling - all in time to get himself a few beers and a bar meal before the gig. Good effort, sir. If Nick Bostrom and Jim Elvidge are right and we're all living in a simulated reality, then The Matron's "can-do" attitude has just won him a lifetime's supply of bacon rolls in the grand old game of Bothying.
Anyway, arriving at the venue not long after 8 o'clock, we were stunned to hear that the Shoogles were already playing.
"Shit," someone exclaimed, "these dudes don't hang around!"
Fortunately it was clear that they must've only just started as the crowd looked like they were having a dilemma over whether it was socially acceptible to make complete tits of themselves and start leaping about like spastics or stand around like uptight city-dwellers. After nursing the vext at the last gig, I wasn't wasting any time and promptly allowed the inner hobo to take over straight away.
I have now come to the conclusion that fiddle player Angus Grant is a musical sorcerer and master of the dark arts. There's no other explanation for the possession that takes place at a Shooglenifty gig. It is infectious and joyous beyond all belief, and I am so utterly hooked on jumping around with a big silly grin on my face, that I'm already trying to figure out how to get time off work to go see their next gig.
I've said it before and I'm going to repeat myself yet again: Go see this band! They're not exactly masters of PR, and trying to figure out how to get tickets is always a bit of a dilemma, but it's all part of the process and one can't help thinking that there's a deliberate ploy in their anti-marketing techniques. Maybe it's a Peter Grant thing, who knows, but as bothy councillor Dasbo The Asbo aptly pointed out upon exiting the Tolbooth: "If someone told me a few years ago that I'd be excited about listening to fiddles, banjos and mandolins, I'd never have believed them."
Anyway, here's a little video I put together of some of last year's antics done to the music of Shooglenifty's 'Charlie And The Professor'. (Media Underground video stream).