The Half Door in Hartford has had some of the coolest bands on the east coast come to it, some well known some now long gone but not forgotten. This night in January hosted a band now just about to make it huge, a band years in the making snuggled up in the great white north of Toronto, now here in the insurance Capital of the country was Enter the Haggis. An unusually warm January night I must admit, but it worked to my parties advantage as we were pushed outside by the huge crowd that began to fill in the bar.
Luck was on our side though because they waitress said she would serve us out there and that is where we ended up holding court for most of the night, and where I got a chance to have a sit down with Brian the somewhat ringleader of the band. This is an act that looked like a couple of years ago Brian was going to end up being the front man of this rising group, he did most of the singing, he was the flashiest being the dyed spiky hair fiddle player that jumped all over the stage, and boy did the girls love him. When I asked Craig if there were any deep dark secrets about the band he told me that Brian wears a thong, which when I asked Brian’s girlfriend, who you will meet at the merchandise table at almost every show they do, she said that was completely untrue, which leads me to believe I found out why he’s most famous with the little ladies, he wears no underwear!
Sorry I got completely sidetracked off my point talking about underwear, where was I? Oh yes the changing of the guard in front man status. This was due to an unfortunate at the time vocal strain on Brian’s part. It forced the other guys to step, write some songs and sing a lot more tunes. This actually in my opinion was the best thing to happen to the band before getting signed to UFO records. The pain and suffering of their lead vocalist forced them to a more diverse and cohesive act. Spreading the front around to Trevor, and sometimes Craig, leaving Brian to rest and get his health back was where a lot of the new and more mainstream band. This coincided with there conscious decision to stop wearing the kilts. Of course Craig still does on occasion, and I’m really glad James doesn’t sitting as he has to behind the drums, but as Brian put it, they felt it was becoming their gimmick, something they desperately wanted to get away from, and who can blame them, I wouldn’t want people to come see the funny band that wears kilts if it were me.
I’ve known these guys since the fall of 2003, where I first approached them in the Half Door during a show there, which at that time had all of 30 people there. Now just a few years later the same bar was stuffed elbow to elbow with young and old trying to get a god ear to the music. The numbers are clear their new effort put out by their new Indie label is getting them lots of new fans. With a ranking in Billboard world as #8 and iTunes World as#2 with Soap Box Heroes they are making their mark in this genre. I guess they are like the pot of Irish rock because they are a great gateway drug to the rest of the genre. There are great no holds barred Irish rock groups like Flogging Molly, The Tossers and Dropkick Murphy’s, but for someone that has never been introduced to the genre before, the previous will be more than most can take. But give a newbie a Enter the Haggis CD and they’ll get into it for sure, give ‘em a month of the stuff and they’ll be listening to Shite N’ Onions radio and buying everything they hear.
Apparently when I started the interview and writing I had a great big plan in my head, I went around interviewed Brian, got words from the rest of the boys and even interviewed Brian’s girlfriend about music and the band at length, but I have so far done nothing but paraphrase and used very little of what information I have gathered. However I believe these guys will agree that they are a band to experience, not dissect and over analyze. These guys put on one of hell of a live show, whether it be on a giant outdoor stage or on a 4×8 piece of plywood as it was this night. With equipment taking up most the stage, gear blocking the hallway to the men’s room, and way more people than there ever should be in the room we were in they didn’t make it seem so bad. The feeling they gave us as an audience right away was that it was alright, we were going to rock despite the up hill battle we’re facing.
So what’s new with the boys, new live CD gets recorded this march in Northampton, MA. So this will be your chance to get on a Enter the Haggis CD, you just gotta get your tickets, they sell out quite fast when they come to the Ironhorse, and I’ll see you there! .
Review by The Rover