Liza Mulholland watches – and gets ready for – the first gigs of 2023

Bliadhna mhath ùr dhuibh uile! Happy new year to you all and I hope the festive period was a restful, happy time for you.

Liza Mulholland
Liza Mulholland

Family colds and flu meant it was a quieter time than usual, but we still managed some great fun get-togethers, including my aunt’s 90th birthday party, singsongs round the piano, and a house cèilidh at ‘the bells’. Good old-fashioned fun!

I also managed to get out to a couple of great local gigs, including the brilliant band Stetsonhead. Their first since much-loved drummer Craig Aitkenhead sadly passed away in 2021, this was a warmly anticipated event and fans had crammed into every available inch of Inverness’s compact but wonderful Market Bar.

It was a superb gig, and great to hear the ‘boys’ playing again, with singer and frontman Ali Dooner giving it laldy on his fantastic, acutely-observed, dark and witty songs. Local legend Derek Urquhart put in an incredible shift on drums and here’s hoping Stetsonhead are back onstage again soon.

This gig overlapped on the same night with another in Hootananny, this time featuring the album launch of local musician Paul John MacIver. I’d heard lots about this Inverness singer-songwriter and loved the songs I’d heard online, so was really keen to catch some of his gig.

It entailed a wee bit of nipping back and forth across Church Street but was well worth it! Paul did a great show and what a terrific songwriter he is – one example, Butcher’s Leavings, is such a brilliant pop song! Full of energy, infectious rhythms and melody, you just have to dance to it. His album Connections is well worth checking out on his Bandcamp site!

Meanwhile our band Dorec-a-belle got our first gig of 2023 under our belts; a fantastic night with a heaving, dancing crowd singing along – great fun! We have lots more penned in the diary, so I’ll keep you posted as we go.

Wounded Moose.
Wounded Moose.

The other band I play in, Wounded Moose, has its first 2023 gig next week and I can’t wait. I love our Moose material of original country songs and well-chosen covers – a lovely mix of instruments and lots of harmony vocals; great fun and so satisfying to be part of.

I play accordion in the band and always feel that with no heavy keyboard to lug around too, as I often do, it’s also sheer joy to travel so light for Moose gigs! We’ll be in the Market Bar on Friday, January 20, so hope to see some of you there!

Finally, a word on the fantastic piano-upcycling work of the Pianodrome folk in Edinburgh. Readers here know I’ve written previously about their amazing amphitheatre venue made of old pianos.

I love their refusal to accept that beautiful old instruments should be chopped up as firewood. Their newly launched Adopt-a-Piano scheme sounds superb, well done to the Pianodrome team for demonstrating such imagination and resourcefulness. Their newly launched Adopt-a-Piano scheme, instrument recycling at its best!

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