Sunday, September 24

Shooglenifty – Rose Theatre, Edinburgh

I vaguely recall the Shoogles, it must have been more than 25 years ago in some dank Edinburgh cellar. But I still remember being moved, shocked even, by the discovery that Scottish traditional music could be funky, edgy, dance-worthy! I cannot remember what I was expecting then (Jimmy Shand perhaps?!), but the band that termed the phrase Acid Croft were a musical revelation.

And here tonight, at The Rose Theatre, nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. No longer led by their charismatically big-bearded frontman, fiddler, Angus Grant, who used to bound around the stage like some BFG and always whipped the crowd up a storm, lost way too early to throat cancer in 2016.

But somehow, they have survived, regrouped, with new fiddler Eilidh Shaw, fitting in beautifully to the well-worn line-up.

Shooglenifty have moved on, and somehow found a more nomadic, new world twist to what was once their norm – a stomping mash-up of Scottish fiddle and acid Croft but with added Rajasthani folk music, and splashes of other sounds that they have discovered on their 25-year journey. If that sounds like a weird mixture, it is. With fiddle and mandolin and electric banjo, and cow bells, and strange Gaelic and Eastern European singing, which speaks of the mountains and the ancient places and the Great Plains full of nothing and a pumping drum beat. Probably unlike anything you have heard before, but it has the unique ability of making the feet move and the heart sing.

The haunting Rajasthani groove of Dhun Dhora and the eye-wateringly brilliant Hunting For Angus among the standout pieces in what was a truly memorable, crazy, sweaty, groovy night at the Rose.

Like meeting a long-lost first love, this was an emotional reunion.

This run may have ended, but they are very much alive.

Reviewer: Greg Holstead

Reviewed:  20th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.