Glasgow Letter – September 23 2021

Trail West at the barrowlands for their 10th anniversary gig.

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The sprung dance floor of the Barrowland Ballroom bounced again under the feet of 1,900 traditional music lovers last Saturday night for the first time since falling silent at the beginning of the pandemic.

The event was a delayed celebration of Trail West’s 10th anniversary but the celebratory mood had been heightened by the fact so many people from different parts of the Highlands and Islands were re-united after so long.

A real sense of excitement built up all day as everyone met for pre-show food and drams – and that was just the boys in the band!

A 2pm throw-up in the camanachd cup final, a hundred miles away in Oban, provided a good starting point for a lot of people’s days – especially for those of a Kinlochshiel persuasion who were really going for it by the time the gig started and who got a special, congratulatory mention from the stage.

I dare say there was a cracking night happening up in Dornie at the same time.

I always think it must be funny for local regulars of the pubs around the Barras when a Highland band comes to town.

Whether it be the Vatersay Boys in their annual Christmas carry on, or the famous old Runrig gigs, there is always an influx of noisy teuchters!

I had a cracking meal in Metropolitan in the Merchant City with a couple of pals before wandering up to the famous lights outside the venue.

There we were met by our good pal John Robertson, who was claiming to have been ‘on the road’ with Trail West for the last eight years.

The reality of John’s touring credentials is that he now and again organises guest lists and backstage bars for the boys’ bigger gigs and he was, as you can imagine, in his element on Saturday evening.

John ushered us up the stairs and away into the excellent green room at the Barras – scene of many a good night before, during, and after gigs from the West Coast’s finest bands.

It is easy to forget that many of the most famous musicians in the world have made themselves at home in that same room.

Tom Joyce, who runs the venue, once told me a great story about Robbie Williams asking for a place to do yoga backstage and Tom thinking: ‘I’ve never had this request from the Vatersay Boys!’

Needless to say there wasn’t any yoga going on before Trail West played but, with the bar John had provided for the guests, there were plenty people who felt at one with their environment.

The Trail West boys put on a great show, as did the Cast Ewes, who opened for them, and it was an evening worthy of the 10-year celebration.

A few curers were in order the next day in the Snaffle Bit and then the Park Bar and I’m sure, at that point, the boys could reflect on a tremendous night.

Congratulations to them on a wonderful decade of music.