A few weeks ago I saw a poster advertising a Bags of Rock concert in Campbeltown on May 26. I forgot about it until today, but couldn’t remember where I’d seen the poster, or find another one. It turned out to be probably the least publicized concert ever, and I only discovered it by walking past the Victoria Hall and seeing two vaguely bouncer-ish blokes standing outside. No posters outside the hall.
Bagrock is rock music with bagpipes, a genre invented by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. Here they are in action.
The Victoria Hall is a utilitarian postwar shed that replaced a more fanciful Victorian building, bombed during the war. It houses all Campbeltown’s concerts in a very Scottish way. There are longish tables, a combination of mess hall and cabaret, to accommodate bigger groups. And a bar at the back with quite reasonable prices. Many are all-age events, as this evening, so there’s a different sort of vibe. (Please shoot me if I use that word again).
First up were a local band, Medium High, who opened with a nice, crisp acoustic set. Then the Kintyre Schools Pipe Band marched in – there’s something about the precision and showmanship of a pipe and drum band that blows me away. (Ditto if I use that phrase again). In this clip, they’re actually performing in the Victoria Hall in 2009.
Medium High returned for an electronic set – see them at the Kintyre Songwriters Festival below.
While Bags of Rock have shamelessly appropriated the generic bagrock name and look, they can be forgiven because they’re very good. They have a hard-driving energy, knowingly using all the heavy metal rock music moves to good and sly effect. Like the windmill thing where you bash out the chord and let your arm travel in a 360 degree circle. Kilts, obviously, dry ice, and a nod to punk – the lead singer has pink mohawk. They got everyone going, and it’s a great shame there weren’t that many people. Whoever organized this did a really bad job. I spoke to one woman who said she didn’t even know about it until a friend told her a pipe band was playing that evening.
Bags of Rock at Inverness Hogmanay in 2011/12.