Hart's On Fire

Posted on Monday 11th April 2016 09:35 by FreckFest

There was a moment on Friday night, midway through an incredible set by Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire when I stopped watching the band and allowed myself to take stock of what was happening; a full house with not an empty seat to be had, a front row of superfans mouthing every word and playing air guitar/drums/keys throughout, a brilliant atmosphere to complement the brilliant band on stage, and I thought, “Y’know something? We did this. From out of thin air we’ve booked the band, sold the tickets and filled the venue.” What a great feeling!

Not only that, but we created memories for all who were there. The band was more than happy afterwards to mingle with fans, pose for pictures, sign autographs and generally be available for a chat and an unofficial q & a for anyone with a burning query. This is what sets Freckfest apart. You don’t get up close and personal at any other venue. You rarely have the opportunity to meet the artist after a show and you certainly aren’t encouraged to hang about afterwards to share a beer and a chinwag with them. Those superfans in the front row went home smiling from ear to ear.

                                                                                          

 

And it seems the word is spreading. It’s not only Irvine gig goers who are benefitting from these special events. The first folk through the door on Friday were from Livingston.  Others had travelled from Paisley and Edinburgh. Not only are we putting on top quality gigs in the town for locals, out-of-towners are choosing to travel to Irvine for the night to come to our events. In our own small way, we’re giving the local economy a wee boost. At least one couple on Friday night had booked accommodation in Irvine for the night. Without blowing our own trumpet, it’s an amazing thing we’re doing. It really is. If we hadn’t been so determined to create events for Irvine, someone else might have. But it’s entirely possible that no-one would have. Long may we continue!

Such was the anticipation for Roddy Hart’s set, the venue was almost full before support act Josh Fraser came on, and he and his hastily-assembled backing band pulled out all the stops to ensure his melody-rich, contemporary songs were presented in the best possible way. Which was just as well for Josh, as one top music industry insider was busy writing notes in the corner while he played. I know for a fact that numbers were exchanged. And I know for a fact that we will all be hearing more of Josh Fraser in the future. He is a real talent, make no mistake.

This is what Freckfest is all about. Our forefather Willie gave countless local bands their own chance to shine in the spotlight when he’d put them on as support act to whichever big name was coming to town. We’re carrying on a very important tradition.

                                                                                           

 

Bringing acts of the caliber of Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire is also something we’re keen to continue. An act of real quality, the 6-piece chose the slightly informal setting to dispense with their trademark 3-piece suits for the evening and run through a set comprising the ‘hits’ (“That’s me being ironic,” explained Roddy,) as well as a handful of new songs fresh from the rehearsal room and being road-tested ahead of album number 3. 

Opening number Tiny Pearls finished with an astonishing acapella’d 4-part harmony worthy of late-era Beach Boys. Fan favourite Cold City Avalanche was played early on to great appreciation. Another new one, Arms Of California, written after the band had visited Hollywood to play on The Late, Late Show showed off the bands musical muscle, the three guitars taking their turn in the spotlight. A rockin’ cover of Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl rounded off the main set.

Normally, we’d do an encore, but (looking around the tiny room) as we’re in the Harbour Arts Stadium, we’d only go behind the curtain there, stand about for a minute or so then come back on, so let’s not do that. This is Bright Light Fever and this is our encore.”

And with that, the show ended on a total high.

                                                                                             

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