Jeez-o… tricky to keep up with all this stuff. April already and Mister Harvey has barely processed January yet… He hopes to catch up with this journal at a faster rate than the year spirals away… so much to report.
Anyway, here’s how the year began – a genuine Januarollercoaster…
King Creosote/Modern Studies tour ::
After three bangin’ Scottish dates with King Creosote (all the ‘B’s: Bogbain, Birnam and Banchory), the KC posse – to much curtain twitching – piled onto a fair dinkum tour bus outside Des’s in Blantyre – home for the next two weeks. First stop was the RNCM in Manchester, where things got off to a cracking start, before hitting Norwich Open and Cambridge Corn Exchange (an early highlight). Mister Harvey managed to defy all expectation and get out for what he loosely terms a ‘jog’ prior to the soundcheck, managing to find the only scabby bit of canal within a fifty mile radius to puff and pant alongside. A day off for Captain Geeko’s 50th birthday in the plush surrounds of Shrigley Hall (the scene, but two years ago on the KC Union Chapel tour, of the consumption of an actually unbelievable number of white russians), then back to it, and now with Modern Studies doubling Mister Harvey’s workload as the support act. Liverpool Philharmonic, Birmingham Town Hall, the Barbican (where MS hit their stride and gave a cracking show to a sold out audience), Bristol Colston Hall, Cardiff Tramshed and the magnificent Sage Gateshead comprised the main part of the tour, then Mister Harvey split with KC to traipse back up to Scotland with MS for a glorious home-coming Celtic Connections headline show in Glasgow’s home-from-home Glad Cafe. The following night Mister Harvey reunited with KC for a sweaty all-standing sell-out Celtic Connection gig at the Old Fruitmarket, featuring the full Appleman line-up includng Mairead Green on pipes and accordian, and Catriona McKay twinkling away on her delicious harp right next to Mister Harvey’s delighted ear – a spectacular end to a spectacular tour.
Roddy Hart’s Roaming Roots Revue – Celtic Connections ::
In amongst the tour above Mister Harvey had been arranging string parts for Roddy Hart’s Roaming Roots Revue, a superlative concert involving the talents of ten invited artists singing their own songs and covers with Roddy’s Lonesome Fire as house band, and the Pumpkinseeds providing some serious string love. A most relaxing stage format involved a couple of sofas next to the string riser, where waiting artists could enjoy a glass of wine whilst awaiting their turns in the spotlight. Most lovely it was to be kept topped up throughout the evening – by the end of the gig Mister Harvey was really rather sozzled and having a wail of a time (but obviously not playing a note out of place – to the best of his recollection). A joy to share intimate numbers with Emma Pollock, Jesca Hoop, Ricky Ross and Benjamin Francis Leftwich – and some full on tube-clearers with smashers Kathryn Joseph and Scott Hutchison, a cracking tune with Field Music, the amazing Bryde (bringing herself to Bjork’s Play Dead), and Yola Carter who lifted the roof with Jolene.
Hannah Fisher New Voices – Celtic Connections ::
Whilst Mister Harvey was beavering away on the KC tour bus on the Roaming Roots arrangements, co-Creosote-conspirator Miss Hannah Fisher similarly had the bit between her teeth preparing for her Celtic Connections ‘New Voices’ commission. Inspired by the artworks of her late grand-pappy which peered from the back of the stage through a forest of standard lamps, Miss Fisher pulled out all the stops for her exceptional show, accompanied by her band, featuring – beyond Mister Harvey – Seonaid Aitken on fiddle/keys/BVs; Craig Ainslie on bass; Danny Grant on drums; Kirsty Fisher on guitar/BVs; and Sorren Maclean on guitar/BVs.
Iain Morrison Quay Session – Celtic Connections ::
After a quick trip home to be sure the family hadn’t forgotten his face, Mister Harvey returned to Glasgow to rock out with Iain Morrison and band for one of Roddy Hart’s BBC Quay Sessions. Seriously brutal performance – top way to end the month.