Old Baby Mackerel
Friday 13th October 2023
£13 Advance £15 Door
Old Baby Mackerel play high-energy, foot-stomping Bluegrass featuring a dizzying line-up of renowned musicians from some of the UK’s best folk, Americana and festival bands. Their music uses the rhythmic sounds of fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar and double bass to get knees bouncing and elbows swinging to the virtuosic sound of blistering solos and sweet harmonies. Be prepared to be transported back in time to the early 20th century and across the Atlantic to North America where songs dramatised the small town fascination with locomotion, the trials of murderous drunks and the veneration of whisky and bootleg liquor.
The band formed in 2016 and quickly gathered a following on the UK festival circuit before going on to tour the UK, Thailand, Germany, Portugal, Italy and Austria. Old Baby Mackerel have headlined the Northern-Irish, Cornish and Swiss Bluegrass festivals and played on stages such as Chai Wallah at Shambala Festival, Field of Avalon and Greenpeace at Glastonbury Festival and the main stages of Acoustic Summer in Germany and Jai Thep in Thailand.
“That’s the first Bluegrass track I’ve played on Upload and I love it, so, so good!” – Adam Crowther, BBC Radio Bristol
“A fine band of musicians and entertainers who would be at home playing in any holler in Appalachia. Real crowd pleasers with every tune and song they perform.” – Richard Hurst, N. Ireland Bluegrass Music Festival Organiser
“Old Baby Mackerel hail from the thriving Bristol music scene and clearly love the more traditional aspects of the music, relishing the challenge of speedy playing and close harmonies around a central microphone. It needs musicians who are technically accomplished but also inventive and aware of their compadres at all times. Despite needing a (terrific) last-minute bass dep in Mike Kennedy and missing a fiddle player, Kai Carter (guitar), Mikey Ponsford (mandolin) and Sam Garrard (banjo) flat-picked and finger-picked, vamped and soloed through some real foot-stompers with easy skill, delighting those present with “miserable subjects done in a jovial manner”. Their distinctive vocal styles added energy and variety to songs they led on or harmonised. Standards such as Salty Dog Blues, Tennessee Waltz and Nine Pound Hammer rubbed along happily with newer numbers by Tony Rice, Ricky Scaggs and Townes van Zandt, alongside originals celebrating Bristol’s A roads and “one about a cat”. John Hartford’s Squirrel Hunters and Nellie Cane were particular highlights and the whole set flowed with relaxed charm and humour. The audience loved it.” – Trish Lee – Newbury Today