Tidal Mutterings and a Bag of Revels (??)

Starting off powerfully with a tale of murder and violence, ‘Mark of Cain’, Steve Obern’s menacing growl contrasted with Michelle Davidson’s sweet but powerful voice – think Nick Cave’s duet with Kylie Minogue ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow’, only with better voices and more sinister – before a climax which saw the eight piece band combine in a relentless driving sound that suited the song’s brutal theme.”     Inverness Courier

Finishing off this weeks hat-trick of Highland bands that are no longer gigging or recording (as far as we know) is Lowtide Revelry.   (And proud to say poorest and most tenuous blog titling yet.  I think it may be folks  🙂  ).  Lowtide were the first band I shot live with the Nikon DSLR back in 2008 just after I bit the bullet and spent the rent on one and still remain one of my personal favourites along with the subjects of the previous 2 posts.  These are definitely labours of love but less gushing and more photos as always !!  Lowtide also feature 3 of my favourite subjects to photograph – Michelle, Sara and Steve Obern – in my opinion some of my best work consistently features those ladies and that gent !

Ben Hesling is not a mountain near Ullapool nor is he a giant – that is a small guitar,  he is in fact one member of the aforementioned Lowtide Revelry and it was on his reccomendation that we toddle along to the Inverness Highland Games beer tent to see the 8 piece (thats right EIGHT piece) musical group that he was involved in. The band featured a young Sara Bills on trumpet and percussion devices and the Broon Brothers as rhythm section !! See the Couriers short but pretty darned accurate statement above !!  We enjoyed them, drank beer and ran away before the Proclaimers came on in the big tent later although not before agreeing to supply the Highland News with a photo seeing as their snapper hadnt turned up – theres a pattern forming !!  That photo is here – managed to get all 8 in the one shot – no mean feat without a wide-angle !!

I think I nailed in the region of 2500 photos during their 30 – 40 minute set – Ive managed to get my shooting ratio reduced considerably over the last 4 years.  I was blown away by these guys and as usual, pissed off that I hadnt been listening to them before – they were formed in 2004 ffs !!   The next Lowtide experience for me was in minus temperatures at Inverness Hogmanay Celebrations 2008 – bizarrely this was headlined by well known Scottish ceilidh types, The Magic Numbers – go figure.  It took 2 and a half years or so and a wedding to drag the buggers out of retirement and they played vocalist Michelles nuptuals in July 2011.  No danger of missing that gig seeing as I was official photographer for the day !!  Sweet !!    Two sets from the bride on her own wedding day as The LJP also gigged providing the funk for the day.  No Dougie Brown or Claire Campbell for that one but Mark Williamson filled in admirably on the drums. (I never did find out why the original pair mentioned were unavailable that day…..)

Practice session for the Newell Nuptuals

The Devils Worth at Belladrum 2007


LISTEN TO TRACKS FROM THE SELF TITLED ALBUM ( I still havent got me a copy of this – slapped wrists)

Roland O Brien – local legend – guests on stage

Youll need to forgive me if this post as a bit all over the place/disjointed but Im utterly fucking knackered with a month of nightshifts (dry yer eyes ye lightweight).  As long as I can get the photos up here, point people in the direction of some amazing music and some rambling done then Ill finish the week a happy man  🙂

With Inverness Gaelic Choir at Belladrum


As Ive progressed through these last three posts Ive started to notice the connections within the band network here in the HighlandS – Ive mentioned it before but between these 3 bands its quite spooky when you start to note it all down. Now this might not be impressive to anyone but me or even make any sense to anyone but me but Im going to make not of it for at the very least, me !!  Ive also noticed that it seems that The Little Mill of Happiness are the reason none of the 3 bands can reunite to former glories as ‘The Mill’ has such a hold on its members – its like The Mill is Tom Cruise and the band members are Katie Holmes………spaaaaahooooky !!

It was when I was looking at the photo above of Lowtide and the choir. In the photo we can see Colin Cummings who now plays with Sara also of Lowtide and the Hasbeens along with Claire Campbell now fronting Abagail Grey with sometime collaborators Ali Brown, Steve Obern and Lushrollers drummer Derek Urquhart. The choir features Andy Morgan and Ruaridh Mackay and is conducted by Jamie McGregor all of whom went onto The Leonard Jones Potential with Michelle Davidson – now Newell !!. Matt and Pete from Shutter now play in The Little Mill with Steve and Ali of Lowtide and also Willie Macaskill of Lushrollers who is also in Stetsonhead with Craig Aitkenhead of The Ball Deep and Robin Abott of Lushrollers. All three bands, Lowtide, ‘Rollers and Shutter feature sets of brothers, The Browns, The Macaskills and The Roberts !! The gunman on the grassy knoll was in the Mystic Shoes and murdered Proffesor Gunn in the stairwell with the lead piping and Abe Lincoln was never actually on the moon – you can tell by the reflections in the faceplate. Chuck Ben Hesling into the mix – why not, he fits so well and you get another connection with Stetsonhead and Lushrollers in  Robin Abott who also plays with Ashley Mackay and Ben in the Cosmonaughts.  Another spooky fact is that Ive only ever seen any of these 3 bands 3 times – not 2, not 4 but THREE times only !!  I dont know what Im trying to say here – if youre a budding psychoanalyst and would like to get involved please state your intentions and current bank balance on a postcard and stick your psychobabble up yer erse !  😉 Remember the Six Degrees of Separation theory……….mwoooohahahahahahaha……..that is all – normal service is possibly beyond my grasp for the time being


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