Tag Archive | Enter the Haggis

“Enter The Haggis”, Once An Exciting Celtic Rock Band, At The “Flying Monkey”, Plymouth, NH, March 18, 2016.

by Anura Guruge


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Click here to access their Website.


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Click to access YouTube video.

A YouTube video, from 2008, clearly showing what they used to sound like
— a bona fide Celtic Rock Band.


flyingmokeylogoWe saw them, maybe 9 to 10 years ago at an New Hampshire ‘Highland Games‘ — one of the three that were not held in Loon. I think we actually went to those games (under protest because we did NOT like the move away from Loon) specifically to see “Enter the Haggis” and our perennial favorites “The Brigadoons“. “Enter the Haggis” did NOT disappoint. They rocked despite having to perform in a dingy, straw strewn barn. We loved them. We wanted to see them again. BUT they never played at the ‘Highland Games‘ again.

Today, I just happened to see in a Concord paper that they were playing at (Alex Ray’s (as in the “Common Man“)) “Flying Monkey” in Plymouth, New Hampshire on Friday, March 18, 2016. Just wanted to share that with YOU. I watched their latest videos on their Website. They have changed, evolved. The Celtic sound, in my opinion, has been compromised BUT I could be wrong. Anywho. They were once big and exciting. IF we have the time (and with the way the stock market is tanking the money) we might go to see them. But, you can go without us. SMILE.


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by Anura Guruge

Wolfeboro, N.H., “Pain Nurse” Sports Depreciating “ISED8M2” License Plate On His Car.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by Anura Guruge


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Deanna saw this and took this picture in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, a few weeks ago. She worked out what it says, given that she had some context to go by.

ISED8M2 = I SEDATE Them Too.

He is talking about his patients!

There is something disquieting here. It would be one thing if this person talked about skills or speciality, e.g., ISTPAIN. But this seems to come close treading all over the hippocratic oath — though to be fair, as it clearly says, this is NOT a doctor. You don’t have to be a doctor to be a pain specialist in New Hampshire. A nurse can prescribe narcotics and even do some spinal surgery! Amazing.

I looked up the dictionary definition of sedation. It is: the calming of mental excitement or abatement of physiological function, especially by the administration of a drug”. Well this person definitely does that. No question about that. But is it something that you should brag about?

Think about it.


Ever Delightful Wolfeboro, NH, At Its Delectable Best During The Last Weekend Of October 2014.

A Chinook Pup, New Hampshire’s State Dog, at Wolfeboro docks.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
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I was in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire — the Oldest Summer Resort in the U.S. — twice this last Saturday, October 25, 2014. Teischan had two ballet classes. During the first visit in the morning I walked 40 minutes up Main Street, all the way past the big cemetery and then ran down, in a hurry, because I thought I was going to be late. That gave me my hour’s worth of exercise for the day. On the second visit, when her class was just for 30 minutes I perambulated around the dock area with my Canon T3i. I knew that if I was lucky I might be able to get another picture posted on the N.H. State official Tourist Site, VisitNH.gov. Well I succeeded — my 6th picture that they have used since the end of September. So it was worth it. Here are some of the pictures. ENJOY. Wolfeboro is such a delightful town to walk around. Plan to do an hours walk, in the dark, on Thursday night.


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Beatles Tribute Band ‘All Together Now’ Entertained Wolfeboro, NH, On Another Magical Saturday Night By The Lake.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
1/ 
Beatles Tribute Band ‘All Together Now’, July 13, Wolfeboro
>>July 11, 2013.

2/ Blues Brothers the Next Generation, July 6, 2013 in Wolfeboro
>>July 7, 2013.



Classic, melodious Beatles’ song, to an uncompromised beat, wafted across another picture perfect Saturday evening, at Cate Park, Wolfeboro, NH, last night. We sure have lucked out. Two wonderful Saturday performances at Cate, back-to-back, with nothing but delightful, Summer weather (in what has been a rather ‘iffy’ Summer).

‘All Together Now’, without ever trying in anyway to be impersonators, did the ‘Fab 4’ proud. Bravo.

They were definitely ‘OK”. They did not butcher a single song those they did, rather incongruously, ask George Harrison to cut them slack if they didn’t do justice to his song. But, they did OK.

As a sitar fan (given my background), I was delighted that they used a real sitar, and made a very decent ‘fist of it’, rendering ‘Norwegian Wood‘. It is one of my all time favorite songs. Gives me goosebumps. IF you are not familiar with the original, try this on YouTube, and take note of the cute efforts in 1965 (yes, 48 years ago) to accentuate the then brand new stereo effects. Listening to the original made me realize why I had a prevailing sense of disquiet right through the performance. I am by no means a Beatles expert and I know this because I lived with an expert. But, from the ‘little’ I know (and I am no novice) the end result last night lacked a certain je ne sais quoi in terms of musical reproduction. Yes, I fully understand that post 1966 the Beatles were becoming the masters of painstakingly crafted studio output and that it would be nigh impossible to even get close to it in an open park in central NH. So, that is OK.

This was my first tribute band. Exactly 10 years ago, we saw ‘Abba II‘ — but there was one of the originals still playing in the band and they didn’t set out to be a tribute band per se. [I had contacts in those days and Deanna and I got to go back stage after the show and meet the band. The original Abba guy was all over Deanna and she was thrilled since she is a huge Abba fan. We had a picture of him draped all over Deanna. It hung on the all of our Gilford house. Not sure where it is. I should have it scanned and posted for posterity. Trivia question. How many of YOU know the Biblical association of the name ‘Abba’?]

I have to be objective and disclose possible conflicts. As must be fairly obvious all 4 of us are huge fans of ‘Blues Brothers the Next Generation‘ (BBNG) who played at Cate last week. We are not associated with them per se, though I do chat with them on e-mail (after I got to know them from their New Year’s Eve concert). So given that we really had a ball last Saturday, I want to be careful that I do not ‘undersell’ this group by comparison. Yes, BBNG, I would have to say, was a hard act to follow.

All the years of going to the ‘Highland Games‘ and watching multiple bands, of the same genre, perform on the same stage, one after the other made me understand one very crucial thing about groups. Some groups have an innate, indescribable ‘magic’ that sets them apart. That is why “Seven Nations“, “Glengarry Bhoys”, “Enter the Haggis” or “Hadrian’s Wall” can come on stage, after another band, and totally rock the place while the other band, though playing the same music, didn’t really make a mark.

I could be wrong, and I hope I am. In my opinion ‘All Together Now’ just missed that magic. They were good, but, I thought that they were not truly magical. Now this could be due to the setting. I am old. But, the Wolfeboro crowd makes me look young. So it is possible that there were guidelines they had to follow. The volume was a tad too sedate. They needed to have cranked it up 4 notches. The subdued volume, as is the case with the physics involved, made them sound ‘low energy’ — at least to me. But, I checked with Deanna. Her reaction was exactly the same as mine: ‘they are OK’. Nothing wrong with that.

It was a good night. Thank you Wolfeboro. I wish Alton could do events like this.

Yes, we plan to go next Saturday too.

I would like to see ‘All Together Now’ again — just to see if they impart more energy (and magic) and other venues.


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NH Highland Games At Loon 2012: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Companion Post:
>>  NH Highland Games At Loon: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 — The REPORT CARDSept. 23, 2012.

I realize that the above Report Card is way too long. So here is the pithy summary.


Hadrian's Wall Musical Group by Anura GurugeThe Good

1/ Hadrian’s Wall. The BEST of the Games 2012. They rocked. Dave Gossage will remind you of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull!

2/ The Massed Bands at the Closing Ceremonies. Spectacular. Hard to beat.

3/ The perennial, ‘never bad’ favorites: The Briagdoons, Albannach, NH Pipes and Drums, Mohwak Valley, Catamount, Rob Roy and Governor John Lynch. Thank YOU.

4/ Good free coffee by Green Mountain Coffee (along with free plastic water cups, a chocolate ‘something’, which was addictive and cute, GreenSt. Patty’sheadbands). Many thanks. Much appreciated.

5/ Celtica, U.S. Border Patrol Band, all of the St. Andrew bands, the Drum Majors (even the guy that kept on dropping his mace).


The Bad

1/ No Grade I band.

2/ No bands from the U.K., let alone Scotland — when this is supposed to showcase Scotland; Albannach alone can’t always be the token Scots.

Denis Carr

Denis Carr, of ‘The Brigadoons’, the requisite Voice of the NH Highland Games.

3/ Having the Clan Roll and Opening Ceremonies separate.

4/ No Denis Carr at the Opening Ceremony.

5/ No real innovation over the last decade.


The Ugly

1/ $5.75 for a sausage roll — that is Scottish Highway Robbery.

2/ No trophy for the Amateur Drum Major even though it was a proper, slated competition and they announced a winner and said that they had no award for him.

3/ The ‘Performance Tent’ is the same, with the very same dirty, blue curtains, as it has been over the last 10 years; no light show, no big screens, no dancers … just shabby, tired and dark.

4/ Prevailing sense of general apathy by the organizers.

5/ The event and program looks and feels tired, lackluster, flaccid with no efforts at re-invigoration.


Yes, with those same resources I can do better, just in case you were wondering.

NH Highland Games At Loon: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 — The REPORT CARD

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Just 3 Related posts (from many):
1/ NH Highland Games At Loon: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 — Some Pictures; Celtica, Hadrian’s Wall, The Brigadoons, Massed Bands etc.Sept. 22, 2012.
2/ NH Highland Games At Loon, 2012: Weather, Parking, Groups, Celtica and The BrigadoonsSept. 21 2012.
3/ Laconia Multicultural Day September 8, 2012: They Pulled It Off Again. Thank You. THE REPORT CARDSept. 8, 2012.

See 1st link above for more pictures from the 2012 Games.


I have been going each year since 1998, with just one exception — the last year that it was at Hopkington, given that I just did not like that venue for the Games (and sure enough they came back to Loon, somewhat sheepishly, the following year). As a family we have been going since 2003. Teischan, now 6, has never a missed a Games in her life! So I have been to 14 games, Deanna & Devanee to nine and Teischan to six. I did play the bass drum (poorly and not for that long) for a British Army Cadet Corp. (cf. ROTC) marching band and did once march with them through Aldershot (cf. West Point). I also did play the drums, while in school in London, for an incredibly bad band appropriately called the ‘Bubonic Plague‘. So, I think we are qualified, in multiple ways, to state an opinion here.


My REPORT CARD for 2012.

For just doing it: B+. Yes, this is their 37th year (and I was there for the gala 25th celebrations). I could be wrong, but of late I get the feeling that they are just going through the motions, trying to maintain status quo (which is good to a point), expending as little as possible, and not really making an effort to add a little bit of new pizazz each year. Let me give you an example. At the closing ceremony, the M.C., without any major embarrassment, announced that they did NOT have a trophy for the Amateur Drum Major, though there was a competition for that class! He went onto add, kind of shamelessly, that they would welcome a sponsor for that trophy for next year. I told Teischan that we will donate it, but we were beaten to the punch. Somebody else, standing by the announcement platform, immediately offered! But, that is not good. They take in a LOT of money. Entrance was $35 per adult. Come on buy a trophy. Yes, I (as an adopted Scot) know that it is in the GENES (and in the case of many in their low-slung jeans as well), but don’t be SO CHEAP! Actually that is, to me, the keyword of the Games of late: CHEAP. Take the ‘Performance Tent’. It is the same as it was when it was introduced in 2000 (maybe 2001) after a Games ‘impacted’ by the remnants of an hurricane. The same low budget, zero affect lighting, no atmosphere … just a cheap tent thrown up for 3 days. Come on. This is 2012. Lets have some light shows, lasers, videos, big screens. Dancers. Segways (a NH invention). Look at the Summer Olympics. There is no reason to be stuck back in 2000 — other than the desire to conserve money, a noted Scottish trait. Oh yes, they had an huge innovation this year, for which they were very proud. The Clans, at 11 am, were not escorted into the rink by a pipe band, instead they were serenaded to a song by John Carmichael and Charlie Zahm. That was nice, and different. But, that raises another question. Denis Carr of ‘The Brigadoons‘ has traditionally been the much beloved Voice of the Games. Denis has done sterling work for the Games, particularly so in 2001 when he was called upon to sing ‘Amazing Grace‘ (which he does real, real well) about a dozen times a day. John Carmichael is more famous but does not have Denis’ unique personality and presence. John is very good but he is ‘flat’. He doesn’t lift a crowd like Denis can and does. John gets polite applause, Denis gets a reception. Charlie Zahm sang the National Anthems. He was OK, but I, for one, missed Denis.

Effort: B-. Of late I get the distinct feeling that the ‘Organizers’ (the so called ‘Board’) doesn’t give a hoot about non-VIP, punters like me who pay the gate entrance and come in. It seems to be: ‘let them eat cake at $7 a slice’. I love the games but the last few years I have felt exploited; even cheated. I just happened to find, serendipitously, a whole list of ‘Highland Games’ in the U.S. — arranged by State. I really am going to think about checking out some other Games. Just saw that the Florence, Massachusetts, Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival, had ‘Enter the Haggis‘! Wow. We saw them in their one and only appearance at the NH Games — at one of the events in Hopkington. They are good. World class — and I will contend that they are better than any group at this years game! Q.E.D. I am bummed (though Hadrian’s Wall warmed the inner cockles of my heart today). Deanna liked ‘EtH’. Though she hates long car rides I could have talked her into going to see the ‘EtH’. Well, the $5.75 for a sausage roll was the final straw. Despite my well known addiction to sausage rolls, and my ability to eat them in large quantities, I did NOT buy a single roll this year. It is not the price. I took $40 for food and in the end JUST spent $7 on a whoopee pie (see pictures) for the kids. I did NOT buy any food. I was protesting in my own little way. Deanna had brought some egg salad and almonds. I ate that and then went to the McDonald’s (in Loon) and blew $20. A sausage roll in a U.K. shop, this morning, will cost me 90 ‘pee’. [I checked.] That is 10 ‘pee’ under a Quid. A Quid is currently worth $1.62. So a sausage roll in England will cost me $1.46. Let us be generous and say $2.50. I am NOT paying $3 on top of that — when food prices, on the whole, are cheaper in the U.S. than in the U.K. Last year, I think, it was $4.75. A decade ago, I am sure unless my brain is playing tricks on me, that they were under $2 — which is what they should be. Screw them. I had it with the blatant exploitation. I will vote with my wallet and my feet. This might have been my last Games.

‘Enter the Haggis’ that has only appeared at the Games once — and that was when it was in Hopkington.

 

Overall Experience today: A. It is like what they say about fishing, though I don’t fish. Even a real bad day that involves 30 marching bands and The Brigadoons is better than the best day at ‘work’ (though I don’t work, per se, either). It wasn’t a bad day. Don’t get me wrong. It was fun. Lots of highlights. “Hadrian’s Wall” lit up the day and made me glad to have been there to see them. It is just the overall ambiance; lets just call it tacky.

‘Energy’/Ambiance: B-. ‘Albannach’ continue to be THE power source of the Games. They are the energy source. They continue to rock. Thank you, Albannach.

Organization: D, you finally managed to lose ME, and you really couldn’t have asked for a more loyal and devout fan.

Event Programming: D, for it having been done by a Dunce on Drugs; a drunk would have been more creative. ‘Searson’, supposedly a featured group, only had one slot yesterday, at noon to coincide with the Opening Ceremonies. They didn’t get much of a crowd. I had to go and check. Having the Clan Parade separate from the Opening Ceremonies is a 2001 innovation — and I know they will cite space. I don’t buy that. The Opening Ceremony is best when you have the bands and the clans interacting, feeding off each other. Having fun. And I missed Denis at the Opening Ceremonies. Was glad to see Governor John Lynch there. He got, as he should, a very warm reception.

Weather: A+. It was a cold start, but as predicted the Sun came out, the clouds disappeared for a couple of hours in the afternoon and the temperatures soared to the 70s. It was hot enough that I considered taking off my ‘heavy’ shirt. Dark clouds rolled in during the Closing Ceremonies but there was no rain — as we got on I-93 about 7:30.

Crowds: A. Wasn’t bad. Slow start but it was respectable by mid-afternoon. Only Albannach managed to PACK the ‘Performance Tent’!

Web site: C. It is OK, but could be so much better.

Sound: A, they used to fumble and stumble about like they had never done it before. They have got better, though it has taken them 10 years. Yes, they have now reduced the gigs to 35 to 40 minutes (which is shortchanging the punters like me again). So it does give the sound crews more time between gigs for set up. The 2nd ‘Celtica’ gig had some feedback, but the volume was way up. Sound, in general, was good.

Food: D. Selection was good, BUT I am not paying blatantly exploitative prices — on principal. I can be a Scot too.

Printed Program: I buy it on the way out so it doesn’t get mangled during the day. Since I print the schedule from the Internet I don’t need the Program to tell me what is happening when and where. When I went to get one on the way out, around 6 pm, the tent was closed. I could have ‘knocked’ — but I decided that I am going to keep the $5 in my pocket as yet another small protest.



The Performances We Saw

Massed Bands: A-. They were all OK. The U.S. Border Patrol, Ottawa Police, NH Pipes and Drums, Mohwak Valley and the various St. Andrew bands stood out. I missed not having a Grade I band. Also NO representation, whatsoever, from the U.K., let alone Scotland. That used to be a signature item — a Scottish band for the Highland Games.

Celtica (x2): A. We saw both their gigs, one at 10 am and the other at 4 pm, the 2nd two-orders of magnitude better than the first — hangover most likely the explanation. They are good. They are loud. They had the crowds bopping. Teischan was mesmerized. Watched them from the bottom of the stage both times. (See pictures). They tried to add some vocals. They just come across as a ‘cover band’ — shades of ‘Seven Nations‘ and ‘Red Hot Chilli Pipers‘ but with some je ne sais quoi missing. They try but they don’t (as yet) have the personality. I wish them well. But, I have a feeling that they have reached their ‘Parkinson’ — the NH Highland Games is about the top of their Game, as appears to be the case for ‘Albannach’.

Searson: B-. The ‘Indigo Girls’ without the magic. Three girls and a male drummer. They were OK. They had been to the Games before. They got a terrible slot, noon — coinciding with the Opening Ceremonies. I left after 15 minutes because I wanted to catch some of the Opening Ceremonies too. Deanna stayed. She thought they were ‘OK’ — and she is nowhere CLOSE to as fussy as I am. They are OK. I would not drive 3 miles to see them, but I am picky.

The Brigadoons: A+. When it comes to the ‘doons‘ I can’t be objective. They were like the 1st group I heard when I stumbled into my 1st Games and instantly fell in love with their music — having been a Steeleye Span and Lindarsfarne.groupie there is a genre of music that hits a chord with me. The ‘doons’ do that. Deanna and the kids know that the ‘doons‘ are my fix at the Games. They epitomize the games. The lineup has changed again! They played for about 35 minutes. They are getting old. Ashley, the youngest, is now playing with “Hadrian’s Wall”.

Hadrian’s Wall: A++. The BEST group of the Games this year, by far. The Brigadoons with attitude. Seven Nations without the grating edge (which is not a bad thing). Glengarry Bhoys Mk 1.5 — and they are from Glengarry and they are all related etc. etc. Albannach without the monotony! (Sorry). Searson with Testosterone. [I could say that differently and more powerfully, but Deanna will yell at me.] Celtica in their DREAMS! (Sorry). They rocked. They hit the right ‘tone’. They connected. They didn’t have a piper, but Dave Gossage on tin whistle put many a piper to shame. This guy reminds me of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull! Mark my words. These folks still have a lot of work to do. They need a new name, they need their OWN Web site. They will go far. Maybe they should, if they read this, call me. I will make them famous. Deanna shouts at me when I buy $20 CDs at the Games, correctly pointing out that I can get them for $12 on Amazon. But, I bought one of their $20 CDs and Deanna didn’t shout at me. I listened to it twice on the drive home. It wasn’t great; it needs work. But, they were THE HIGHLIGHT of 2012. Bravo. Take another bow.

Albannach: A+. What can I say about Albannach that hasn’t been said before? Lets start by saying that they are the nicest, most unassuming folks you could ever meet. They are famous, the most famous at the Games but they remain well grounded — wondering around the grounds. They will stop and talk to you. They will let you maul them while having a picture taken. I just acknowledged a couple of them, by raising my finger, when I saw them walk by. One of them said “Hi, mate” though I hadn’t said a word. They recognize the faithful. They were, by far, yet again, the MOST popular at the Games. Only group that packed the tent. They rocked. The crowd loved them. I listened to the entire 4 pm gig. It was OK. There was very little banter. I think they were tired. I don’t blame them. They have been doing the Games, every year, for 9 or 10 years — starting when they were Clanna Druma. They have done yeoman work. Thank you.

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