The John Langan Band formed in Glasgow in 2008 after John had spent years travelling the globe gathering and writing songs, honing his performance on the streets and searching for the perfect band. Ironically it wasn’t till he came home to Glasgow that he found what he was looking for in Dave Tunstall (double bass/backing vocals) and Alastair Caplin (fiddle/backing vocals). In their first year they won the prestigious Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections and have since been unfailingly making crowds dance like maniacs at gigs and festivals all over the UK and Europe. Dave Tunstall is also well known for being a member of Orchestra Elastique and Alastair Caplin also plays alongside Alasdair Roberts and is currently working on a film score with Lou Rhodes.
High energy, unhinged, and musically extravagant, they are a dynamic three piece offering a unique sound with influences from Scottish, Irish, Balkan and gypsy jazz music all delivered with punk abandonment and virtuosic flare. Wrapping pan European traditional acoustic music with infectious grooves, epic, pounding, sing along, punch the air anthems to intricately arranged instrumentals.
Challenging the limitations of what people might expect acoustic instruments to sound like, the use of bowed harmonics between fiddle and bass can be as menacing and eerie as it can be psychedelic and mesmerising. Percussion provided by the front man Langan, whilst singing and driving the rhythm guitar, he somehow co-ordinates the operation of a Cajon and a tambourine with his feet bringing the driving, swinging groove of the rhythm guitar together with his foot percussion resulting in an impressively tight band sound with a tempo that is free to go anywhere. Add scorching hot fiddle lines and a guy thumping the groove out of a double bass. If you’re not dancing like a demented ostrich by the end of their set you get a refund.
Their Debut Album BONES OF CONTENTION is being released on the April 5th and the official launch party will be at the New Empowering Church, Hackney, London also on April 5th, with support from Cocos Lovers and another act TBC..
The opening track Aquaplane is a balkanesque dance song formed from a fiddle tune Alastair wrote about a hairy drive from Glasgow to Cambridge in torrential rain and not quite enough fuel. Winter Song is the ballad of the album, Johns traditional Scottish roots really shine through on this one. It was written for his wife who moved from warmer climes up to Glasgow to live with him in an unheated house with a broken fireplace during the coldest winter in years.
Midgets on Acid is the most adventurous track on the album, a nine minute instrumental inspired by John Fitzpatrick’s Morris Dancing tune Jump at the Sun. Jumping keys and time signatures and moments of discordant psychedelica. To calm the senses the following track is a gentle classical piece called Piano Miniature. Alastair wrote this on piano many years ago for a project when he was studying opera at the RSAMD in Glasgow. The D-mented set consists of Charlies Rant, an up-tempo foray into the world of bluegrass with a sprinkling of trad Scottish fiddle. Tunstall’s Rant is the brainchild of Dave Tunstall who specialises in scary noises bowed on the double bass, a harrowing tune designed to make you feel like the wolves are at the door.
This then subsides into delicately plucked mandolin, played by Tunstall, into Riley’s Rant, written by Alastair Caplin who wrote this tune for their good friend Gordon Riley. Topped off by The Langan Band’s fan’s favourite, Auld Jimmy, a song about grabbing life by the balls and taking every opportunity that comes your way, this really is an album for all musical tastes.
“I have been listening to John Langan band’s new CD entitled Bones of contention; it’s full of fire that makes you want to dance. Crafted by fine musicianship it evokes visions of the Highlands. My favourite tracks are the heart warming and melodically evocative “Winter song” and the rhythmic and lyrically alluring “Pumpin Pie” … a must for anyone’s record collection.” Vic Coppersmith Heaven, Producer- The Jam, Black Sabbath
“The John Langan Band brought intoxicating rhythm and a kaleidoscopic swirling cocktail of carnival, colour and interaction to the Main Stage at Eden Festival” Adam Curtis, Eden Festival Organiser
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