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L.A. Beat

Mudmen play bagpipe powered fun

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The Mudmen piped up a storm at Essies, March 28. Photo by Richard AmeryBagpipes are generally an acquired taste, when listening to them, most people can immediately see why Scottish warriors used to use them to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies. But in the hands of Toronto  “Mudpiping” brothers Sandy and Ron Campbell, the heart and soul of Toronto celtic rockers  the Mudmen, they were  a beautiful thing at Essies, Monday, March 28.

The band didn’t have nearly as big of an audience as they deserved, but that didn’t faze the band who noted they wanted to go and have a drink with them. They dragged a ‘long lost’ brother  from the audience, who  also sported a kilt onto the stage, saying  “Our dad used to work on the railroad here. Looks like he planted one extra spike.”

The massive brothers towered over the rest of the band on both sides of the stage, dwarfing mandolinist/ guitarist/ banjo player Alex Maletich, drummer Steve Volk bassist  Troy Spinner and cowboy hat adorned lead singer Travis.

Their music is featured in the NBC series the Black Donnelley's as well as Hockey night In Canada, but live is where they shine.The Mudmen’s Alex Maletich takes a banjo solo. Photo by Richard Amery

 They started their first set with a couple popular numbers ‘I Like Drinking,’ ‘Five O’Clock ’ and ‘Lift Of The Kilt,’ then played several more traditional numbers, almost country numbers for their new CD ‘Another Day,’ which heavily featured  the mandolin and banjo.

 While the more acoustic /traditional bent was a departure for the band, best known for playing high energy punk tinged bagpiped powered songs about drinking and carousing, they  sounded great. They showed off the band’s musical chops though the mandolin was drowned out by the bagpipes.

Maletich took an energetic beautiful banjo solo in the middle of one of the new songs ‘Along A Country Road,’ which included a few bars of AC DC’s ‘Thunderstuck.’
But of course the bagpipes made for a huge sound, yet the be-kilted brothers played some pretty sweet melodies on them while grinning at mile wide grins at the enraptured audience, who eventually started dancing near the end of the first set.

 They ended the first set with a very cool, uptempo version of  The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy  For the Devil.’ Now I can’t remember how it sounded without the bagpipes.  You really have to see a Mudmen show to fully appreciate the intensity and technical prowess, not to mention good times of it.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 March 2011 16:27 )  
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