Monday, September 15, 2008

Virginia Scottish Games Shows

The Devil's Tailors played our first Highland Games, the Virginia Scottish Games, this past weekend. And we had a blast! The games returned to Sky Meadows again this year, a wonderful setting out west of DC in Faquier county, with rolling hills that immediately suggested the Highlands. The weather, not so much. Things were hot and muggy on Saturday, and hotter if less muggy on Sunday. It was a great games, with Rathkeltair and Alex Beaton on the main stage, and along with us, Elke Baker, the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club, The Winchester Celtic Circle, Dileab Phriseil, and The Wise Maids, along with Becky Ross w/ Julie Gorka and Rosemary Hall on Saturday, and with Liz Donaldson on Sunday, to play for the NoVA branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, who demonstrated for us. The fiddle contest Saturday morning was equally fun, with some great talent turning out to contend for the title.

I'm not ashamed to admit we got the gig because I was running the fiddle tent. So, as Chris pointed out, this made us the house band.

We were running behind on Saturday, and did an abbreviated set at 4:30. The games was thinning out, but we had a small but loyal crowd, who sat with us through a sudden rainstorm. When the rain began, I began to wave to Andy, who was working sound, to get instruments and cables out of the rain. Andy saw my gesticulation and asked "What? What am I supposed to turn up?" But it still went very well, and though Jim's cittern cable and Chris' drums were out in the rain for a few moments, nothing was damaged, and Jim wasn't electrocuted.

The Sunday show went without a hitch, and because we went on mid-day, we had a really good turnout. We were able to play a full hour, and were very tight and energetic. Chris and I were really clicking on the pipe sets, and I was feeling a fun wildness on the fiddle sets.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and sticking around, including the little girl who danced to our music on Sunday, and the fiddle club regulars who braved the rain for us.

If I come across pics, I'll share them!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Susanne Bard on fiddle

Because Andrew can't make the upcoming Virginia Scottish Games gigs, we've asked Susanne Bard to join us on fiddle. Susanne is a regular at our Royal Mile session, and we're very excited to have her on board.

Andrew is going to be playing with 50 Man Machine, playing solo, and is putting together a string band at GMU. We all wish him the best, and look for his shows!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Celebrate Fairfax! More like Celebrate Heatstroke!

This was one of those gigs that could have gone a lot worse.

The Celebrate Fairfax! festival was a great one. I spent Sunday working the Virginia Scottish Games tent, and got to see a bit of it, which was impossible on Saturday. But it was possibly the hottest day of the year, and that was saying a lot.

I came straight from an outdoor wedding in 104 degree heat to this gig, and I was boiling. They combined two alternating stages so that performers could stay out of the sun, so we had to set up while a juggler performed - on the same stage. And no time for a sound check.

Things didn't start well. We tried to debut The New Reels, and things went badly quickly. I think I was heat-stricken, and simply forgot how to play the bagpipe. It was ugly. Chris and Andrew did a great job carrying us to the end. I recovered my composure while Chris sang Killiecrankie, then we ramped things up to a great conclusion with The Devil's Reels, Cairn o' Mount, and The Virgin Wedding Night.

So 4 out of 5. Under the circumstances, I'll take that.

Another act requested our Sunday slot, which was probably for the best. We were all pretty tapped out. But it was fun, and we'd love to come back and do the festival again in the future. Just let's hope the weather is nicer!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Lineup - Andrew Dodds on fiddle

We unfortunately lost Lauren for the upcoming Celebrate Fairfax! gig, but we have retained the services of Andrew Dodds, recently of Iona, on fiddle. Andrew's a brilliant fiddler, and I've had the pleasure to play with him in a gig for 50 Man Machine, and to compete against (and lose to!) him on many occasions. Alas, he's only with us on a per-gig basis, as he is swamped with projects of his own, but it's a pleasure to have him on board.

We all wish Lauren the best, as she's heading off to college this fall!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Devil's Tailors - Two New Shows

We're now confirmed to play June 7th at 6:30 PM on the Folk Stage at the Celebrate Fairfax! outdoor festival in Fairfax, VA. They're also trying to get us to play another time-slot the next day, Sunday, June 8th. It's a big festival, and should be loads of fun.

Monday, April 7, 2008

National Tartan Day 2008 - The Big Debut!

Well, it was officially our second outing under the name "The Devil's Tailors", but it felt more like our first real debut. This year, we had a full band and a nice long set.

I spent the morning setting up, and then played for the Alexandria branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society with Julie Gorka. Then it was time for us to get going. Rhianon had to cancel, because their singers all had an upper respiratory flu. So the stage manager (me!) awarded us all their time. We had prepared an hour and a half's worth of show, and we got to use every bit of it.

The National Tartan Day festival takes place in Market Square in Alexandria, with a number of vendors and representative from Scottish heritage societies and clans setting up tents on the square. It's a very open area with a lot of foot traffic, and the weather was wonderful this year.

We were excited to take the stage, and had a blast. Almost everything went very well, with only a few snafus.

The most difficult moment was during The Devil's Reels - three (three!) of my fiddle's pegs come loose and the strings un-spooled. So wile I was desperately trying to re-tune while Lauren carried on, I told the band to skip The Dram Shell, which Lauren didn't know yet, and came in a couple notes into Timour the Tartar to finish the set. Also, at one point in the set, Chris (who was on bodhran) dropped his tipper! So though it all worked out okay in the end, we now have officially declared this our "cursed" set.

We had an excellent reception, especially for the pipes+fiddle sets, and the St. Andrew's Society folks were very enthusiastic.

My friend Holly from came out to see us, and she sent pictures. I'll try to get them up ASAP.

I forgot to switch the input on my laptop from the internal mic (which picked up the monitors and stage) to line in (which was what the audience heard), so only the pipe sets came out decently. So here they are:

The Famous Reels (right click, save file to your computer)
The Muckin' Jigs (right click, save file to your computer)
The Virgin Wedding (right click, save file to your computer)

A great debut!