Top artists gearing up for Mo Fest 2012

London four-piece Kickstarter will play the Rock Star Bar on Sunday.
London four-piece Kickstarter will play the Rock Star Bar on Sunday.

WHILE many acts will be making welcome returns to the forthcoming music festival, many others will be making their Mo Fest debuts.

Next weekend (May 25–27) sees the town hosting its fifth annual Music Festival. As announced last week the mainstays of Mo Fest will all be in place, including the fun-packed High Street event on Saturday, the Youth Festival at the Town Hall on Sunday and the legendary Survivors’ Night, this year taking place at B@r, Hume Street on Sunday evening.

Mo Fest first-timers Majestic Dandelion will play at the Picture House on Saturday and the Market Arms on Sunday.

Mo Fest first-timers Majestic Dandelion will play at the Picture House on Saturday and the Market Arms on Sunday.

Of course, Mo Fest wouldn’t be Mo Fest without new music. This year, the committee of volunteers has managed to secure lots of exciting new acts to Montrose, and is delighted to share details about some of them.

Hailing from London, the incendiary Kickstarter are a genre-busting four-piece, combining dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass with a raw rock, rap and funk dynamic. They are well-known on the London scene for their raucous live performances. Catch them at the Rock Star bar on Sunday.

The eclectically named Majestic Dandelion from Edinburgh are one of the latest in a long line of bands featuring brothers. Craig and Graeme Ralston, joined by bassist Liam Kavanagh, have been described as “Like Franz Ferdinand and Wolfmother fighting in a dark alley” and “A cross between the Strokes and Toploader”.

Playing at the Picture House on Saturday and the Market Arms on Sunday, Majestic Dandelion describe themselves as a bohemian groove-rock trio and promise to get the audience dancing and maybe even crying!

It isn’t all about loud and brash rock bands, of course. Aberdeenshire singer-songwriter Lucy Zambers wowed the festival listening panel with her soulful voice when she applied to play, and she was quickly snapped up. Festival-goers looking for an intimate performance should seek Lucy out at the Albert at 5pm on Saturday.

Lovers of blues and rock n’ roll will also be well catered-for. As well as regular Mo Fest favourites like the Midnight Blues Band and the Lyndon Anderson Band, this year’s bill will be boosted by the inclusion of Ayr-based six-piece Melisa Kelly and the Harmless Thieves.

Described by Justin Currie of Del Amitri as “a great singer with a great voice”, Melisa and her band will be performing tracks from their EP, “The Flesh is Willing”, at the Northern Vaults on Saturday evening and the George Hotel on Sunday afternoon.

If reggae and ska is more your thing, you will want to head to the Black Abbot or the Yard on Saturday to check out Urang Matang. They describe themselves as “a group of super intelligent primates with a love of ska, reggae and experimentation”.

As any music-lover in Montrose knows, the local scene is vibrant at the moment with new bands emerging regularly.

Fans of Ghosts of Progress will be interested to see Rag N Bone Man Lew Palgrave and his trademark one-man-band brutal trash blues. If you haven’t witnessed this powerhouse performance before, you will be amazed to hear the noise that one man can make!

As well as fronting “cosmic rock band” Nosmo King at the Black Abbot on Saturday, singer-songwriter Neil “Wishy” Wishart will be showing his softer side with an acoustic set of his own compositions on Sunday afternoon at the Black Horse. With Wishy anything can happen and usually does, so be sure to catch him in such an intimate venue.

If All Else Fails and Medicine Well are Montrose’s newest rock bands, both being formed within the last year. Scott Grant and Stewart Laing’s heavy riffs combined with the melodic vocals courtesy of well-known local musician Stooshy make If All Else Fails one of the heaviest bands on this year’s bill, while husband and wife team Gary and Tricia Jamieson provide guitar and vocals for the blues-tinged rock of Medicine Well.

Having recorded tracks for the recently released “Doss: Music From Montrose” CD, both acts will be appearing at the Rock Star, New Wynd, on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

The festival kicks off on Friday, May 25 with a much-anticipated Montrose debut performance by one of Scotland’s top female singer-songwriters, Eddi Reader, supported by State of the Union. Tickets are still available from Henry Hogg’s newsagent and online from, priced £15.

Festival programmes are also now available from various retailers and pubs around the town, with full details of the line-up to help festival-goers plan their weekend.

In addition, lanyards will be available within the next week and over the course of the festival weekend to provide an at-a-glance reference of what is on and where.

Merchandise is also starting to appear. All-new T-shirts are now available, and the Mo Fest stall at the High Street on Saturday will again be selling a range of branded clothing and accessories.

A Mo Fest committee spokesman said: “It’s difficult to avoid hearing people talking about the festival around the town at the moment. All of the committee members are being asked on a daily basis when the full schedule will be available, which shows how much interest there is out there.

“We’re delighted with the response that we’ve had since the programmes were released and are very much looking forward to another great weekend for Montrose and live music.”