The Manx Sound Exchange: New bands and big plans

FREAKY STILTSKIN: From left - Torin Lakeman, Van Kirkland, Ali Shearer, Dolyn Clucas-Morris and Jack Lakeman

FREAKY STILTSKIN: From left - Torin Lakeman, Van Kirkland, Ali Shearer, Dolyn Clucas-Morris and Jack Lakeman

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THE sprinklings of spring are in the air, and the associated wind of optimism is filtering through to the Manx music scene, with some cracking events ahead.

It’s always nice to write about a new band and a debut, so please put your hands together for the dirty south’s Freaky Stiltskin and the Hotrocks, who will play their first full electric gig in Port St Mary on Friday, March 29.

Drummer Ali Shearer introduced the rest of the line up to us: ‘There’s Jack Lakeman, on lead guitar and backing vocals. He has played for several bands including the Manx Eccentrics, and has been playing since the age of nine.’

‘Van L. Kirkland is on lead vocals, he has been singing on and off for the past 20 odd years. Dolyn Clucas-Morris on rhythm guitar, who is well known as lead player for Mr Eliminator and the Deadly Vipers, and Torin Lakeman, who is normally a piano player, has switched to bass guitar, and has done very well.’

The guys have jammed acoustic sessions at several pubs, but are now preparing for their first plugged-in gig at the Bay View Hotel on Good Friday.

Mixed in with their rocky originals are covers from the likes of Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Procol Harum, and Ocean Colour Scene.

‘It’s the first gig, but we’ll be fine, we’re pretty tight,’ said Ali, adding the show will hopefully be the first of many.

‘It’s getting the sound right. We have a sound engineer, with a 12- track mixing desk. We want to make it sound like a proper band, not just a few amps in a pub.’

More imminently on the music calendar is the Chris Gray Band tomorrow (Friday) night at The Marine Hotel in Peel. The restaurant side of the western bar is proving a great, spacious gig venue, and support tomorrow will come from Sideline and Kris Breadner.

Even more imminently is a meeting to be held tonight (Thursday) at Amber in Douglas, called by Battle of the Bands organiser Shri Naik.

Shri is suggesting filling the summer void of the cancelled Mannifest with a weekend of live music at the bar, on August 2, 3 and 4. He welcomes all bands and music lovers to come and discuss the idea tonight at 7pm.

‘Let’s have some beers and throw ideas on the table,’ said Shri.

Other exciting plans recently unveiled include a show at the Villa Marina’s Promenade Suite on April 19, featuring some of the cream of Manx music makers, including songwriter extraordinaire Jeff Jepson, the funky Ballagroove DJs, the monstrous Post War Stories with some new material and the melodically gifted three-piece Your Gold Teeth, who will be back fresh from a UK tour.

More details will follow on this event, but for now keep an eye out for tickets, £7.50, available soon from the Villa Marina website.

•Lee Brooks’ ramblings on the rumblings of the island’s music scene. Help support the scene by emailing or calling 695674 with Manx music news, reviews and photos

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