Newstead Live 2013 and Melbourne

So after travelling south from Canberra via a quick stop in Castlemaine for a gig we arrived at the small and very friendly festival of Newstead Live 2013 in Victoria about 90 mins NE of Melbourne.

On the road to Newstead Live 2013

On the long road South to Newstead Live 2013

Newstead turned out to be a lovely folk festival with tunes being played everywhere you looked in the town throughout the day. We played a couple of slots and thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

We have now settled in Melbourne for a couple of weeks as Graham and Chris record an album with the beautiful singer songwriter Lucy Wise and the B’Gollies and Andrew guests on a couple of tracks on a debut recording from Tolka. We are also squeezing in a ceilidh and a gig in Northcote, Melbourne while we are here. As always check out a gigs page for details if you are in Melbourne and fancy a couple of cracking nights out.

We have also been featured in an article with ABC for playing on the Folk Train at the Illawara Folk Festival, complete with picture and interview. We must point out that any opinions expressed regarding recorders in the interview are not views widely held by the band.   Check out the following link for the article etc… http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/01/21/3673278.htm

House Concert in Pretty Beach

Following on from a very successful time at Illawara Folk Festival we skirted up the coast to the North of Sydney to play a house concert in Pretty Beach. This turned out to be one of the most beautiful places to gig as the whole area is surrounded by stunning beaches and rolling hills. For those who haven’t heard of a House Concert before, it is exactly what it sounds like, someone who loves music lends out there house as a music venue for the night and invites people from the local community to come and listen to bands touring through the area. We will be playing a few house concerts on our tour through Australia (see our gigs page for details). A huge thanks to Narelle Jones and family for hosting this one and for the amazing hospitality we received whilst there. The gig itself was great and it was really interesting to meet the local people, although a little scary to hear their stories of the bush fires that have recently hit the area.

House Concert @ Pretty Beach

As it is our first time in Australia we of course don’t want to be spending all our time playing so we have managed to squeeze in space for “funtimes” as well. After a short walk through the bush we were taken to a beautiful secluded beach with, more importantly, a rock known as the jumping rock. There is something much more enjoyable about jumping off rocks into the sea when the sun is shining and the sea is warm, unlike what we are used to in Scotland.

A Panoramic of Jumping Rock with Chris Stone Getting Ready to Jump (see if you can spot him)

If you are in the Canberra area we are playing in the Front Cafe and Gallery tonight, hope to see you there.

Illawara Folk Festival

The time has finally come for Australia to be treated to the grooves and tunes of Modhan as we spent a great weekend playing our first festival at Illawara. After arriving last Wednesday we convened at our first stop near the  Blue Mountains west of Sydney. With just a day to bring our beautiful dep. violinist Chris Stone of The String Contingent up to speed on the Modhan set and try and get over the shock of the heat and the sun having left Scotland in the dark and cold.

Australian Rehearsal

Part of our acclimatisation of course involved trying to blend in with the locals with some suitable attire.

Illawara Folk Festival was just a couple of hours drive away, based in the lovely town of Bulli on the coast South of Sydney. A huge thanks to the families who hosted us for the weekend and looked after us so well. Over the course of the festival we managed to squeeze in four separate gigs in a variety of venues around the festival, including a short set playing some tunes on the train for the visitors travelling down from Sydney for the day. We enjoyed some great crowds and a very friendly reception as well as playing our hottest ever gig on the Friday when temperatures soared to 44 degrees. Andy also managed to squeeze in a quick guest slot with the brilliant one-man-band Tim Scanlan. Being a festival there was some great music to be heard throughout the weekend, in particular we loved  the brilliant bluegrass band Mustered Courage and singer songwriters Liz Frencham and Fred Smith.

Bulli, Town of Illawara Folk Festival

A view looking over Bulli and the Illawara Folk Festival.

Australia Tour Dates Posted

Check out our gigs page for details of our Australia tour which is coming together nicely now. One or two more dates are still to be added and further details will be posted for specific gigs as and when we confirm them.

A few gigs from the otherside…

November saw a quiet month for Modhan but a busy month for bands we love passing through Edinburgh and Glasgow. We thought we would give a quick summary of who we’ve been going to see to give a little insight into some of the musicians and bands that influence our own sounds.

First up was Lau touring their latest release Race the Loser. Having seen the band before we were very excited as to the direction of their new sounds. The new material sees a slight shift towards more electronic influences, particularly from accordionist extraordinaire Martin Green. The result is an even more eclectic mix of tumbling soundscapes, marrying beautiful fiddle lines with epic guitar patterns and symphonic accordion. Of particular highlight was new track “Torsa”, embodying the direction of the sound in which Lau appear to be headed. Old favourites appeared throughout the night, finishing up with bits of my personal favourite “The Lang Set” before a somewhat amusing double en core. In short, Lau provided a thoroughly entertaining concert and show no signs of letting up their frightening pace and persona as one of Scotland’s must see acts right now.

Next up was the The Punch Brothers, a progressive American bluegrass super group led by mandolin genius Chris Thile, this was their first time in Edinburgh and the gig we were probably most looking forward to. The reputation of these guys clearly precedes them wherever they go, and we were soon to see why. The performance from Chris Thile et al was virtually flawless, and provided an astonishing treat for the auditory senses in every way. Unbelievable energy fused with enviable musicality bombarded the audience from all areas of the stage, the result was mind-blowing. A better band and performance I have rarely seen, Punch Brothers were superb!

The following week we went to Glasgow for a gig featuring New York’s Brooklyn-based funk fusion outfit Snarky Puppy, brilliantly supported by hot Glasgow based funk powerhouse Federation of the Disco Pimp. FOTDP kicked off the night with their trademark chunky rhythms, tight grooves and fluctuating brass and woodwind lines all masterfully bound together by band leader Marko’s all-encompassing keys. Snarky Puppy took to the stage with no fewer than 9 members, and embarked on a non-stop journey of high-tempo yet intricate and engaging funk. This band had a bit of everything – soaring brass and woodwind, pitched supremely well and not overdone while both guitars complimented the keys and each other in a very nice balance. Bassist Michael League fronted the band while also directing his two extremely talented percussionists to form a potently powerful rhythm section that could snap, crackle and pop. In short, a must see band.

All three gigs were of very varied styles but all had sublime musicianship on show, if you haven’t listened to these bands before we highly recommend that you check them out. We will hopefully see you next weekend at Soundhouse in Edinburgh and Slouch in Glasgow for some festive Modhan grooves and tunes.

Winter Warmers

Modhan have enjoyed a couple months off during which time several flats have been moved and a lot of travelling to warmer climes has been enjoyed. Now we are all back in cold wintery Scotland we thought it high time to warm the musical souls with a couple of winter warmer gigs in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

On the 1st December we will be playing at Edinburgh’s coolest venue which used to be called House Concerts @ 42 but has just been rebranded as Soundhouse, check out http://www.soundhouse.org.uk/ for details of our gig and exciting news of the soon to be new Edinburgh music venue. We will be playing at number 42 (see our giglist for more details) which is an amazing intimate venue and all being well will be the debut for at least one or two new Modhan tunes, as well as many from our latest album.

The following day will see us head through to Glasgow for gig at Slouch, full details TBC, but as always it will be great night and what’s more it’s completely free.

 

 

 

Australia Tour

As all of you keen Modhan blog followers will already know, Graham enjoys summer hopping by spending Scottish winters in Australia and vice versa through touring with the brilliant Aussie band The String Contingent. We have often thought that this seems like the ideal lifestyle so the rest Modhan have decided to join in this sunny pursuit and are going to be touring down under for 6 weeks at the beginning of 2013.

A quick look at our gigs page will show that we are basing the tour around three festivals. Starting near Sydney at Illawara Folk Festival we will then be heading down to the Melbourne area for Newstead Live!. Over the following 4 weeks we are planning on playing gigs all the way down the East coast starting in Brisbane and working our way back down towards Melbourne, with a trip over to Tasmania also in the pipeline, before finishing the tour at Cobargo Folk Festival.

Along with gigging and sunshine a plenty, we are also very excited to get the chance to pay homage to the birth place of a certain Wally T Wombat, a musical inspiration to us over the past few years.

wally-t-wombat