One of my most anticipated gigs of Celtic Connections 2020 was The Big Fling – a night of musicians from the Scottish Dance Band scene. First on was Robert Black who. Next up was Manus Maguire’s Copperplate Road featuring the fiddling of Manus Maguire, Marie Fielding, Gemma Donald and Brian Gear. This was a great set featuring fabulous fiddle harmonies, beautiful melodies and a great shirt from Manus. They were followed by Gary Innes’ Highland Dance Band featuring his contemporaries Anna Massie, Angus Lyon, Ewan Henderson, Martin O’Neill, Duncan Lyall and the legendary John Carmichael. They played some great marches and reels and delivered with Gary’s great personality.
After the interval we were very lucky to hear the next generation of dance band musicians. Ellie McLaren (fiddle) and Calum Cruickshank (accordion) played two bonnie sets of music with a lovely air and swinging reels. Next up was something a little bit different. Accordionist Tom Orr had put together a super sized dance band with Robert Menzies, Graham Mackenzie, Marie Fielding (fiddles), Tom Orr, Stuart Cameron, Scott Nichol (accordions), Duncan Black (piano), Fraser MacInnes (drums), Brian Cruickshank (bass), Chris Grieve (trombone), Konrad Wiszniewski, Paul Towndrow (saxophones) and Neil Yates (trumpet). As you can imagine they made an amazing sound! Neil Yates wrote brass arrangements to go with Tom’s arrangements of marches, jigs, reels and Gaelic waltzes. It was a brilliant sound and everyone in the audience loved it. The concert ended with everyone came to the stage and a great swinging version of Kate Dalrymple. A memorable evening’s music.