Any band that proudly declares from the stage that, because they are a Celtic rock band, many of their songs are about beautiful women or drinking will probably find its way onto our playlist. That’s exactly what Enter the Haggis proclaimed on March 21 from the stage of the Fairfield Theatre Company (www.fairfieldtheatre.org). Not surprisingly, though, they’ve been on our playlist for a long time already.
Toronto-based Enter the Haggis has been around since the late nineties and has consistently been garnering positive reactions to the brand of Celtic influenced rock/folk/traditional mélange they offer up. Honestly, they defy classification as their music incorporates also calypso, zydeco, jazz, blues…but the one label that does fit them is quality.
Having listened to them for a while, we were prepared for the catchy hooks and tight harmonies. What caught us by surprise was the energy and humor they bring to their live show. Five minutes into the first set, they’ve successfully gotten any stragglers off their hands and onto their feet. As musicians ourselves, we appreciate talent when we see and hear it. These guys are the real deal. Craig Downie is on bagpipes, tin whistle, harmonica, acoustic guitar and vocals…Brian Buchanan takes fiddle, keyboards, acoustic guitar and vocals…Trevor Lewington is on electric and acoustic guitars and vocals…Mark Abraham plays bass and takes vocals…James Campbell covers drums and percussion. Getting the picture here? They can flat-out play and are able to lay down some smart four part harmonies. They’re infectious and exciting.
But if you’ve been paying attention (and we know you have), we always look for a little more. Whether it’s a bar, a book, or a band we appreciate a look at the bigger picture. Whether it’s taking on pharmaceutical companies or voter apathy, ETH tackles issues in the best tradition of rock and roll. In fact, 2006’s SOAPBOX HEROES was titled as a challenge to people to get off the soapbox and get to work making a difference. It’s impossible for us not to like this band.
We’re confident you’ll feel the same way, which is why we’ve made Enter the Haggis our first music piece in the Arts and Leisure section. From the driving “Gasoline” (pun only partially intended) to a fresh take on the familiar “Wild Colonial Boy” to the scathingly catchy “New Monthly Flavor”, we’re sure you’ll find yourself as addicted as we are. We can’t stop playing the calypso-influenced celebratory Irish wake drinking song “One Last Drink”.
Do yourself a favor and get to know them now so you can tell your friends you beat them to it. And make sure your favorite bar has them on the jukebox.