My Belladrum highlights – Ashley Mackay (singer/songwriter), Andrew Masson (Bass Man) and Michael Duncan (Super-fan)

Ashley Mackay (singer/songwriter – Ashley & The Cosmonauts)

Fatherson were a highlight for me because I’m a big fan.  I heard them from backstage last year before I knew much about them and the lead singer’s voice really caught my attention.  Since then I have become familiar with the album so my son Joshua and I were singing along to everything. They were just as tight live as on the album.  I could see the fact that a lot of the audience knew their songs seemed to still be a novelty for them. I love how melodic their songs are whilst having some heavy rock amongst it.  I expected Grand Master Flash when we arrived but was not disappointed.

Lionel really impressed.  I’ve been desperate to catch them but this was first time I managed it.  Perhaps I’m wrong but I think they could exude more confidence on stage because their music is great.  I couldn’t help but watch the drummer, I thought he was amazing and gave off so much energy.  Josh has a really unique voice, they are ones to keep watching for sure.

And last and not least by any means were two hip hop acts, Hector Bizerk and the newly formed and local group of musicians Spring Break.  I caught Hector Bizerk outside the Bella Bar, I love hip hop so had them on my list.  Amazing energy.  Great to see a more than accomplished female drummer and the use of two drum set ups.  Also Louis signed an autograph for my son so extra points!

Spring Break included Emily Mackinnon, Ben Hesling and Ross Carbarns also known as DJ Butterscotch. For having only formed three weeks previous they had put together a really entertaining set with the ‘Tractor Tractor’ song and dance moves stealing the show. It was written by 3 (and a half) year old Daisy and very good fun. (Ashley Mackay)

Andrew Masson (Call To Mind) © Netsounds

Andrew Masson (The Bass Man, Call To Mind)
I Am Kloot - Straight forward, no nonsense.  Played a lot from their first album.

Casual Sex - As per usual – catchy guitars over a rip roaring rhythmsextion.

Band Of Skulls - just a brilliant band.

Honourable mentions to Schnarrff Schnarrff for tackling a difficult slot balls out, and Danny McAskill and Duncan Shaw for risking their necks in the name of entertainment. (Andrew Masson)

Michael Duncan (Super-fan)

Randolph’s Leap - First song they played at the Hothouse Stage had great lyrics (sadly I can’t remember the name of the song).

PAWS – Their set was pretty standard until the Le Tigre cover which was pretty damn amazing, then I got a shout-out!  ‘Homecoming’ is always ace to hear.

Shaped  –  They should always end on ‘Summer’ and not what they actually did end with.  The crowd was pathetically small for these guys.

Campfires In Winter - They were so rock ‘n’ roll compared to the first time I saw them when they played acoustic.

Garden of Elks – I only saw them for 5 minutes but they were on fire!  You are always guaranteed a guitar of drum kit thrown in your direction, flaming guitars for the win.

Holy Esque – A joy to watch.

Also Fat Goth at the detour stage were headbangingly good.

Thanks to our special guest contributors.  Maybe we should have a guest editor soon…

All images © as indicated.  Thanks to houdidontblog.

My Belladrum highlights – Nicola McAlley (STV) and blogger Duncan McKenzie

As a first here at Netsounds we’ve asked a carefully chosen panel of musicians, super-fans and even a TV celebrity to choose their favourite musical highlights from Belladrum 2014.  These are people who (we hope) can spell and have a grasp on reality.

For most of the time anyway.

For this article we are delighted to welcome Nicola McAlley from STV and Highland blogger Duncan McKenzie.

Nicola McAlley (The face of the North – STV)

“Due to the demands of a busy working day I didn’t get to see many of those who were on my list but of those I did……Lionel were full of energy and bursting with great tunes, they are building up a real following, ones to watch!

The Whiskys - Despite a soggy audience everyone had a great time, an acoustic set showed a softer side to them. Dr Wook - stopping people in their tracks he played a captivating set and was cleared out of copies of his ‘Never Behind’ EP with people paying hard-earned cash for it despite him offering it away as ‘free stuff’.

I Am Kloot - Strong sounding as ever, they managed to hold a tent against the might of the valleys.

Danny and The Champions Of The World - A bit of Americana-country-rock, yeee-harrrr!

The Broken Ravens - providing a hard, head-banging alternative to Sir Tom their show deserved a wider audience – my neck is still sore.

Junebug - winners of ‘Bella’s Got Talent’ they’re confirmed as the first act for next year! They ‘played for their lives’ – and won!

Band of Skulls - I need to see more of them – and ask better questions………’What can people expect from your set tonight?’ Drummer Max replied with disdain – ‘Music? Instruments? What else?!’

Aside from spouting off about The Singing Kettle, and snippets of others here and there they were about the only ones I properly saw! Disgraceful. (Nicola McAlley)

Duncan McKenzie (Blogger – Subterranean Homemade Views)

Tijuana Bibles - A blistering rock assault from the Glasgow outfit. The riff in Toledo gets stuck inside your head all day and the song was accompanied by bassist Behn Cross kicking over a beer and forcing theTijuana Bibles stage hand to mop it up before they were all electrocuted.

Campfires In Winter -  a thoroughly accomplished set from Glasgow’s post-rock influenced outfit. Huge sweeping songs, belted out expertly by frontman Boab Canavan and great vibe in the tent.

Hunter and the Bear - I Heard about them after they supported Clapton at the Hydro and their catchy brand of folk pop had a smile on everyone’s faces. They already have a decent collection of polished songs.

Reef - A storming and confident set from rock’s forgotten men. Their performance ended up being the centrepiece for the chalk explosion and the colour added to the happy/hippy vibe on the Garden Stage.

Fat Goth - had heard a lot about them and after hearing the album I wanted to check them out live. They didn’t disappoint with a set which exploded from the very best of alt-rock to a sound assault akin to Metallica on steroids!

The Whiskys - Inverness favourites were tucked away on the upturned boat in the Walled Garden is year but it didn’t stop them attracting a sizeable crowd. It may have been a scaled back performance in terms of it being acoustic but the quality of these musicians and of their songs is never compromised. Brilliant stuff.

Tom Jones - the godfather turned in a typically large performance on Friday night, a refreshing take on Its Not Unusual and a crowd-pleasing sing-along during Delilah. You can take your hat off from the full monty was massively enjoyable, right down to the funny punter in front of us who subjected everyone to a strip type dance on the Bella wall.(Duncan Mackenzie)

Super-fan and musician highlight coming soon.