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Gigs in Scotland

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Event Info

Saint Luke's
Doors: 19:00
Age: 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18.
Standard Buy now
Cabaret Voltaire
Doors: 19:00
Age: 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18.
Standard Buy now

“We used to get the same Celtic bus. From Falkirk - all our families and uncles and all that. He was a bit of a rebel”, Daniel Harkins tells me of his earliest memory of Brògeal co-founder Aidan Callaghan. “I was an obnoxious wee shite” Aidan nods. By the time they were teenagers they were already writing songs and gigging together, with the first seeds of their current incarnation sown “when the arse collapsed out of Shiva”, the duo’s “high school trash punk garbage rock band”. “We were young and full of beans,” Daniel smiles. “Aye.”     Sam MacMillan (one of Shiva’s few fans) was the next to gravitate towards them. “All his pals had taken a severe disliking of me”, explains Aidan “But he didn’t mind.” With Shiva over Sam suggested getting together and trying something a “wee bit more traditional. Which is funny because we’d had the exact same idea at the same time in different locations.” Now a trio, the boys set off in a bold new direction, soaked in the spirit of the music they grew up on. “My da would always have Scottish and Irish folk music on - the Clydesiders or the Dubliners in between the Clash or the Replacements or whatever” recalls Daniel. “It’s weird to find three boys in Falkirk who are so into folk. It felt like it was meant to be.”           Sam turned up with his grandad’s accordion (fresh from the loft) but no idea how to play it. “We never learned how to play anything properly. We were just having a fanny about on the banjo and mandolin, treating them the same way you would a synthesiser or guitar.” 2020 brought lockdown with it, but live music’s annus horribilis turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the as-yet unnamed group. “It was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to us. For two years we were stuck in my back garden, writing songs and practising outside sat two metres apart. Playing all day every day.” So did Covid give the band their Beatles in Hamburg-esque boot camp? “Yeah, but under a leaking fucking gazebo from Asda.”      By the end of the pandemic the dream was one step closer to reality, with hours of material and a name steeped in legend: Brògeal. “My grandparents used to tell me stories about the ancient days, when the clans ran Scotland and there were wars every other week - new friends, new enemies and all that carry on. There was a group of mercenaries with no permanent homes and no wives. They only followed the money, be it through fighting, labouring or stealing. But during the winters when it was too cold to be outside they had to find other forms of income and shelter, so they’d go from town to town and play music for food,” says Aidan. “And drink!” Daniel interjects. “Aye. And they called themselves the Brògeal.” Historical accuracy-aside, the band’s civic pride is refreshing, with their youthful take on centuries-old local culture building up a following worthy of their forefathers.     Daniel, Aidan and Sam met local sound production student Euan Mundie working as an engineer at the studio they went to record their first single (2020’s drumless ‘Sailing’). Offering his services on the bass guitar ”he immediately just felt like one of the band”, initially helping them make demos and joining full time. During the recording of an early version of ‘You’ll Be Mine’ (2022) in Aidan’s garage, a four to the floor kick was suggested. “So we stuck an upside down paint tin on it” Aidan remembers. “And that’s when we realised we needed a drummer.” Going through a few different drummers at first, they eventually settled on Luke Mortimer, who successfully auditioned, four days before his first show. “As soon as we got the drums in, it really came alive,” Daniel tells me. “It became true Scottish pop music.”     Finding themselves too folk for the indie kids and too indie for the folk dads, they started a night of their own - The Vicar Street Social - named after the location of its original venue Rialto in Falkirk, a rundown pub where Daniel worked for years. “The owner didn’t give a shit about it. He’d have let us burn it to the ground if we wanted. I asked if I could put some bands on and he said do what you want.” The first night, featuring Brògeal and a couple of other local acts was a total success (“we made five hunna quid!”) with more and more local kids turning up every month, starved of live music during the Covid years. “There was no music in Falkirk, no venues, nothing going on. But by the fourth or fifth we had bands wanting to play from all over Scotland.” When Rialto inevitably shut down, they moved the night to McChuills in Glasgow under the same name, building a legendary residency that’s lasted until today.     2023 saw the release of the band’s first EP ‘Dirt and Daydreams’. Released on their own CraicDen label it was a “statement of intent - our audition for the big leagues”. Euan recorded the band one by one in his bedroom before mixing it himself, with Daniel doing the artwork. It made for a romantic DIY blueprint for the band they’re destined to become, attracting attention from people outside of Scotland for the first time, leading the recording of 2024’s imminent self-titled EP: Produced by Merseyside indie royalty Rich Turvey (Blossoms, Rachel Chinouriri, The Coral) at Kempston Street Studios in Liverpool, it’s a serious step up with the band recording fully live (“on high end gear”) for the first time.  In a time where even small indie bands play to stadium sized backing tracks, the sound of a band just playing acoustic instruments and singing in harmony makes for a refreshing take on indie. More 1875 than 1975 maybe, but recent tours with the likes of the Mary Wallopers, Spector and the Lathums have proved how well the formula works, even far away from home. “People see banjos and think - these kids are gonna start playing hobbit music. But then they hear it and they get it. And by the end of the show they love it.” And what about the folk purists? “They should hate us but they don’t. They love us too.” Armed with a sound and set-full of songs as charming as they are, maybe fame and fortune’s only a matter of time. Is that what they want? “Total worldwide success I suppose.” replies Daniel. “Yeah,” says Aidan. “That’ll do.”    

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