LIVE: The Tartan Terrors @ the Eighth Step at Proctors, 1/8/11
What’s not to love about a hand full of crazy Canadians (and one Albany native) – Scottish-Irish music masters all – playing a whole lot of traditionally inspired music with loads of humor, conviction and rock-band energy?
The Tartan Terrors stormed into Proctors’ GE Theatre last Saturday night with the intent of wreaking musical havoc and mayhem – and they did just that during a pair of sometimes silly, high-energy sets. Humor and outstanding musicianship defined the evening’s songfest from the opening instrumental, “The Bloated Sheep,” which veered from a more Celtic traditional folk sound into a rave-up fueled by reggae and hip-hop rhythms.
Sahra Featherstone swung hard on the fiddle, while the band’s co-leader Ian Irmisch furiously pounded away on his bodhran. Lead guitarist Kevin McKeown’s fingers flew over the fretboard, as rhythm guitarist Chris Kerba churned out strong supporting chord progressions. Drummer John McCann stoically held the beat, as Albany native Bill Weir soloed on the bagpipes.
And if all that wasn’t enough Scottish party-time for you, the Tartan Terrors also featured two lovely step dancers, Ellen Wilkes Irmisch and Alex Moore, who displayed plenty of fast and flashy footwork. And vocalist Dorothy Fairbairn sparkled during her turns at the microphone.
With more than 225 happy and very enthusiastic audience members as an indication of the band’s successful performance, you knew you were in the right place for a rousing musical launch of the new year.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Excerpt from Brian McElhiney’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Contemporary songs also sat quite comfortably alongside the band’s takes on traditional Celtic tunes — a faithful version of ‘500 Miles’ pumped the energy up further early on in the second set, with Kerba admirably hitting the falsetto notes in the chorus. Less faithful was ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun,’ sung by lead guitarist Kevin McKeown in a pretty fantastic Bob Dylan impression. Later in the second set, the group unleashed ‘I’ll Drink Every Scotch,’ a rewrite of Tom Petty’s ‘I’ve Been Everywhere.’”