And so we climb in to the TO tour bus, our plushest vehicle yet in full black with matt finish bonnet, and head to Auld Reekie in search of enlightenment. It’s the Teviot tonight, a good opportunity to ramp it up for the student masses. We are in the debating hall on the third floor, tough get-in, never good carrying the TO tools up three flights, sound check passes without incident, ok, big decision, which camp you in, veggie curry or sushi, no clear majority, two separate parties form, don’t ever doubt how rock’n’roll this band is. Pre gig food is top-notch, just right to get the gig head on, back to the debating chamber, the audience awaits, a few familiar faces there, is that the girls from the Shee? Nice moves from them. Is that Innes Watson now on the dance floor, throwing shapes, crowd goes wild for it and show is brought to its climax with the usual cocktail of pulsating strathspey and reel action. Everyone on good behaviour post gig, all present bar K V Del amitri O’Neill. We wonder?? Back to base.
Inverness today, tour bus travelling north, through Pitlochry and Gordon Duncan country. The land that inspired so many great tunes. Quick stop in Ballinluig, annoying petrol pump attendant, needs to learn some people skills, onwards and upwards. Second show ever in the Ironworks tonight, great venue with a good reputation, last one was a banger of a night, hopefully same again tonight. Good crowd on show but what’s this, seats?, at a TO gig. Takes a bit of time to get going but eventually the crowd show signs of movement. Third last number, new tune by Ali kicks in – Small army of TO fans infiltrate the front line and at last the Inverness audience are where we want them to be. Hot and sweaty finale. Back to dressing room, rogue bottle of whisky appears, good timing. Band splits , some out to local nightspot Hootananny, is that Ali Hutton doing a Canadian Barn Dance? Brings the curtain down on a long day.
Mallaig and the wild west awaits. All aboard, pickup three at Fort Augustus and move on down the aptly named Great Glen, epic landscape. No hangovers today, John Williams & Dean Magraw album Raven on the stereo, perfect soundtrack. What lies in wait?
Entry to Mallaig, big crowd in the Marine bar, usual faces, characters, they are all here, from Eigg, Knoydart, Glenelg, Skye and beyond they cometh. You haven’t visited Mallaig properly until you’ve been to the Marine Bar. What better than get involved. Guiness all round, tunes firing out of the corner of the marine bar. Éamonn, Kev, Innes, locals, high jinx. Rest of the band head for food, Langoustines, scallops, Oysters, all cooked to perfection, cheeky glass of Red, getting warmed up for the gig now. It’s a late one tonight. Everyone early to the gig to catch Mystery Juice, epic groove laden set from the Edinburgh band, atmosphere building, crowd loving Joe Peat’s chunky bass lines, its warming. On stage after midnight, this is what its all about. 250 west coasters in a village hall, hot and sweaty, atmosphere bubbling, everyone is up for this one from the off, Sea of Okhotsk lights the touch paper. Bang. Rapturous applause. Off stage, port is the drink of choice tonight, much carry-on, to bed…for some.
The return home. Really looking forward to this one. First home gig since January. Few weary faces among the Treacherous crew, hungover? You can make up your own mind. Van journeying South, Adam’s first shot behind the wheel of the beast, coping well given the nature of the passengers behind him. All land in Glasgow, venue looks great, never played here as a band before, time for soundcheck, going to be packed tonight, always good to come back to the big city. 8:30pm Pre gig tension more obvious than normal, crowd wait in anticipation, on stage, lights up, start with Troutsmen then Banger, one of our new sets, crowd look up for it from the off. Seriously hot on deck, sweat dripping off everyone, a frenzy of action off the stage, place really getting going, Sly One tonight’s highlight, crowd dropping to their feet and rising, big waves of energy, boys play a blinder, energy up from start to finish, what a crowd! Special announcement, band agent Lesley Shaw’s 30th, congrats Lesley, been a heck of a run so far! Is that Calum Macrimmon crowd surfing during the encore? Glasgow….love it. Exit stage…meet with family and friends. All back to Lesley’s for post match analysis and a cold beer. Fitting end to Leg 2.
London and Shoreham-by-Sea here we come…