Jun 172013

By John Skelton.

Julian Koster of seminal 90’s indie outfit Neutral Milk Hotel, recently reformed and announced as the first headline act for the 2014 Primavera Festival, graces Aberdeen in the guise of The Music Tapes, performing at The Tunnels on Tuesday June 25, doors 19:30.

Joined on brass by label mate and member of The Olivia Tremor Control Robbie Cucchiaro, you just know this has to be a unique sound.

Julian merges tales of circus tents and talking televisions with the eerie wail of his singing saw, heard punctuating many of the tracks on magnum opus In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, and the more traditional banjo. Featured in the band are various self-made instruments, including a giant metronome and a mechanical organ tower.

With Julian’s roots in power pop outfit Chocolate USA and of course his time in Neutral Milk Hotel, The Music Tapes have a strong sense of melody. This is reflected on the deep cut ‘Takeshi and Elijah’ from the latest album. Listen to it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpFJce5jJ7M

The live show is a spectacle and a wonder; audience participation is encouraged and Julian’s captivating short stories are equally vital elements of the sound and style of The Music Tapes’ performances as the songs themselves.

This is a rare chance to see a truly unique talent.

David Harris of Spectrum Culture  says:

“But the night of singing songs, gigantic metronomes and magic had to end, and Koster left us with the best trick of all. For a few hours, he made us believe that we could return to those warm summer nights, the grass soft under our feet, a time where the evenings spread out forever and only the light of fireflies guided us towards our uncertain futures.”


The supports are also a treat.

First up we have Daemons AKA David Officer. His successful Kickstarter campaign to launch an EP/record label attracted considerable attention, including a request to play in front of the King of Norway!

David manipulates field recordings to create immersive ambient soundscapes, such as this http://daemons.bandcamp.com/

Autumn Hang are the synthy techno-pop reincarnation of John Peel favourites Bomb Circle. Their unique blend of lo-fi midi blips and early Aphex Twin has also recently garnered them enthusiastic praise from monthly esoterica bible Wire. https://soundcloud.com/autumn-hang

Last, but absolutely not least, we have the dark folk stylings of Washington Irving, on the rise after a successful tour supporting national heroes Frightened Rabbit earlier in the year http://washingtonirving.bandcamp.com/

Advance tickets can be had for the wallet-friendly price of £7.50 from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/221472 or £9 from the door on the night.

You might want to get in quick, as it’s certain to be a busy one!

May 172013

Steven Severin, a founder member of the legendary band Siouxsie and the Banshees, returns to Aberdeen for a rare LIVE performance at Peacock Visual Arts on Saturday, 1st June.

Following on from his 50 date Vampyr world tour throughout 2012, Steven Severin returns for 9 select UK shows, giving audiences a rare opportunity to hear his electronic score for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

This score was first premiered in a series of performances at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009 and is the fourth in his ongoing film accompaniment series – Music For Silents.

In live performance, this acclaimed solo artist and founder member of Siouxsie and the Banshees, presents a mesmerising synthesis of sound and image, heightening appreciation of the surreal and enigmatic nature of the original work.

During their reign, Siouxsie and the Banshees established themselves as one of the foremost groups of alternative artists and the only survivors of the London punk scene to evolve, innovate and succeed until their final demise in 2002.

Severin has since committed himself, almost exclusively, to scoring for film and TV and, since 2008, has been performing live electronic accompaniment to silent films.   In doing so, he has successfully startled audiences which have now come to expect the unexpected from a man who has crossed paths with such diverse luminaries as John Cale, Alan Moore, Lydia Lunch, Marc Almond, Merc Cunningham, Robert Smith and the Tiger Lillies.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Robert Weine’s unsettling tale of fear and obsession, finds its aural counterpart in Severin’s suitably textured score – a synthesised, highly atmospheric soundscape drawing the viewer rhythmically into the dreamlike imagery on screen.

In the film, which is often cited as one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character – a sinister hypnotist who travels the carnival circuit displaying a somnambulist named Cesare, played by Conrad Veidt.

In one tiny German town, a series of murders coincides with Caligari’s visit and when the best friend of hero Francis (Friedrich Feher) is killed, the deed appears to be the conclusion of a romantic rivalry over the hand of the lovely Jane (Lil Dagover.)

Francis suspects Caligari but he is ignored by the police and, investigating on his own, he seemingly discovers that Caligari has been ordering the somnambulist to commit the murders.  But the story eventually takes a more surprising direction.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, remains to this day an important part of the history of German cinema as it was one of the very first horror films and its expressionist style was essential to the development of film noir.

Severin is appearing at Peacock Visual at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday 1st June, 2013.

Tickets, which cost £10 each, are available from Peacock Visual Arts and can be booked by calling 01224 639539.

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Apr 262013

With thanks to David Officer.

Placido Domingo set to wow Deeside audience

Monday 29th April  at 7:15 p.m.

Placido Domingo, one of the famous Three Tenors, is set to entertain in Banchory when the Royal Opera House production of Nabucco is screened, via satellite from Covent Garden, to the Woodend Barn, when he makes his debut in the lead role.

Verdi’s Nabucco, which is based on a biblical story telling of the plight of the Jews under the rule of the Babylonian King Nabucco, was written in 1841 and first performed in 1842.  The original production was such a triumph that it was revived the same year with a run of 57 shows.

As Verdi wrote at the time:

“With this opera, it can truly be said that my artistic career began.”

This production by Daniele Abbado is set in the second half of the 20th century and makes imaginative use of large-scale video projections to accompany and reflect the action on stage.

The score throughout the opera blends rhythmic vitality and powerful drama with an enormous chorus lending weight to epic numbers such as Immenso Jehova  – the Hebrew slaves’ triumphant hymn of thanksgiving – and their song of exile, Va, pensiero, which is considered by many to be Italy’s unofficial national anthem.

There are wonderful bass and baritone roles in the figures of Nabucco, based on the biblical King Nebuchadnezzar and Zaccaria, the Hebrew prophet.  Verdi also created a memorable anti-heroine in Abigaille who is at once both terrifying and pitiable.

The screenings from Covent Garden are always extremely popular and Woodend Barn hope to expand their offering with opera’s broadcast from Glyndebourne and performances from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in the coming months.

Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas reinventing traditional music

Thursday 2nd May at 8 p.m.

Master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser makes a welcome return to Woodend Barn on Thursday 2nd May alongside Californian cellist Natalie Haas.  The pair have formed a strong musical partnership over the years, regularly recording and touring together all over the world and their first album together, Fire and Grace, was awarded Best Album of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2004.

The duo first met when Natalie was studying at a Scottish fiddling school where Alasdair was a director and was inspired by him to investigate the cello’s potential for rhythmic accompaniment to fiddle tunes.

Alasdair’s richly expressive playing transports listeners across a broad musical spectrum, ranging from haunting laments from the Gaelic tradition to classically-styled airs, raucous dance tunes, and improvisations based on traditional themes. His vast repertoire spans several centuries of Scottish music and includes his own compositions, which blend a profound understanding of the Scottish tradition with cutting-edge musical explorations.

Natalie, on the other hand, is one of the most sought after cellists playing traditional music today and has toured with Mark O’Connor as a member of his Appalachia Waltz Trio, premiered his double concerto for violin and cello For the Heroes with the Grand Rapids, East Texas and San Diego Symphonies and has been a guest artist on over 50 albums, including those of Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster and Irish super-group Solas.

This is the opening night of a short UK tour for Alasdair and Natalie which sees them also performing in Gateshead, Skye, Edinburgh and Uist.

Swashbuckling Fun with The Mark of Zorro

Friday 3rd May at 7:30 p.m.

Banchory is about to be the scene of a swashbuckling adventure when Visible Fictions bring their lively and inventive production of The Mark of Zorro to Woodend Barn .

The play follows our masked champion Zorro as he ricochets from one sticky situation to another in a world where adventure is the name and justice is the game.

Originally produced for The Traverse Theatre, this production has toured successfully in the US, including a run in New York with favourable reviews in the New York Times and the Huffington Post which both proclaimed it,  “…a triumph.”

The story follows Diego de la Vega, who is so enraged by grief after witnessing the murder of his father and various other the injustices as he grows up, that he dons a black mask and becomes the fugitive Zorro, seeking to end the wrongdoing of the local Captain.

The Mark of Zorro is a fun play for children age 8+ and adults looking for a bit of adventure.  Watch out for Zs scratched on the ground, it could lead to a thrilling escapade!

Tickets for all events are available from the Woodend Barn Box Office 01330 825431 or at www.woodendbarn.co.uk

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @Woodend_Barn for updates, all the latest gossip on events and exclusive special offers.

For further information, please contact David Officer on 01330 826520.

Dec 212012

With thanks to Pete Coutts.

If the world doesn’t end on 21st December, then Christmas and New Year are right around the corner.

Why not spend your Hogmanay at the Hogmanay Hootenanny?

The Hogmanay Hootenanny stars Smokin’ Catfish, Catford, The Jellyman’s Daughter, and is Monday 31st December 8.30pm till late at The Blue Lamp, Gallowgate .

The entry fee is £15.

Smokin’ Catfish – local 5-piece bluegrass outlaws Smokin’ Catfish have been surprising audiences in Aberdeen since summer 2008 with their stunning harmonies and foot-stomping live performances.

This traditional bluegrass line up with its inbuilt rock ‘n’ roll attitude will wear out your dancing shoes in an explosion of high-octane, string-pickin’ fun.

Catford play songs with an emphasis on creamy vocal harmonies, textured rhythms, vivid melodies, and all underpinned by great musicianship and packed with soul.

This recently-formed band of four diverse multi-instrumentalists – hailing from the North-East of Scotland – blend American and Scottish folk influences with rhythms borrowed from across the globe to create a potent mix that sets them apart. Featuring local singer/songwriters Steve Crawford and Davy Cattanach, augmented by the amazing Jonny Hardie (Old Blind Dogs) and local multi-instrumentalist Pete Coutts

The Jellyman’s Daughter are a unique new duo from Edinburgh. Their interweaving vocal harmonies are complimented by an interesting mix of cello and acoustic guitar. One of the distinguishing features of The Jellyman’s Daughter is the innovative rhythmic style of cello playing providing a catchy percussive backbeat to some of their songs, contrasted by the intimacy of others.

Oct 042012

Rock and roll legend Terry Reid is appearing at Drummonds on Sunday 14th October. Joe Whimster writes.

Quality transcends generations.  The celebrity endorsements Terry Reid has received from those at the cutting edge of Rock and Roll have continued for decades and confirm his enduring talent and position as one of the UK’s finest performers ever.

Famously, Jimmy Page identified him as his first choice to front Led Zeppelin and it was Terry himself who suggested Robert Plant as a suitable substitute.

Aretha Franklin was also a fan, stating in 1968 that,

“… there are only 3 things happening in England; The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Terry Reid.” 

More recently, Jack White and his Raconteurs covered Terry’s Rich Kid Blues and DJ Shadow had Terry guest on the hauntingly beautiful Listen from his new Reconstructed album.  The respect Terry receives from his peers and collaborators is tangible.

Despite this, fame and fortune has somehow eluded Terry, but this only enhances the intrigue.  How could a man so immensely talented, a man so steeped in Rock history – from his breathtaking appearance at Glastonbury in 1970 to numerous film soundtracks, to albums filled with poignant beauty and heartfelt soul – be anything other than a household name?

Frankly, to anyone who has seen Terry perform, or listened to any of his tremendous back catalogue, it is one of life’s greatest mysteries.

Terry returns to Aberdeen for an intimate show at Drummonds this month.  If you only make one show this year, it must be this one.

Terry Reid is truly a Rock and Roll legend and the opportunity to see talent of this magnitude does not come along often.  Join him at Drummonds in Belmont Street on Sunday 14th October from 7:00pm.

What they say about Terry:

“Terry Reid is the rare living legend whose enthusiasm for music remains unscathed and pure, nearly 50 years on.”  – DJ Shadow

“….The most soulful British vocalist ever..” – The Independent

“‘…Terry Reid’s voice has the power to provoke an intense reaction…” – The Times

“…Astonishing by any standards: spine tingles, hair prickles on back of the neck..” – The Independent

“…When Reid bares those emotions it’s heartbreakingly beautiful…” – The Guardian

“..this man should have had my life” – Robert Plant, The Joint ,Beverly Hills 2004

For further information please contact Joe Whimster at jwhimster@gmail.com

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Aug 202012

When Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns flew in from Louisiana for their first ever UK tour earlier in 2012, they confirmed their reputation as one of the hottest acts on the American roots music circuit, playing to capacity audiences everywhere they went. With thanks to Loudon Temple.

During Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival, a thousand revellers turned out at the band’s Old Fruitmarket show. Reviewing their gig at London’s Dingwalls, Rachel Devine told readers of R2 magazine this was:

one of the most entertaining live bands on the planet.”

Radio 3presenter Mary Ann Kennedy said they were:

“One of the big hits of this year’s Celtic Connections,” adding “they just set the festival alight.”

And, after filming footage for their new series in New Orleans, The Hairy Bikersdescribed the band’s music as:

“Prozac for the soul!”

No doubt audience curiosity was aroused by the 2011 album Lucky Devil which received glowing reviews on its UK release, although the live shows are even more flamboyant and exciting.

Local connoisseurs can see what’s causing such fuss when Meschiya takes her band to The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen on September 4.  She will be accompanied, as she was earlier this year, by Chance Bushman and Amy Johnston, two of the world’s top Lindy Hop exhibition dancers, who tour the globe to participate in major competition events and dance camps from Brazil and Canada to Scandinavia.

Meschiya says she and her highly entertaining entourage are excited to be heading for Aberdeen.

We have good friends, among them The Wilders and The Wiyos, each of whom have played Aberdeen in the past and they tell us that we can look forward to one of the best audiences Scotland has to offer. We love nothing better than to be turning it on for an enthusiastic crowd and we’ll make sure that everyone has a ball.”

As for The Hairy Bikers, there was never any question that they would enjoy Meschiya Lake and The Little Big Horns’ music and sassy style. On a recording recent visit to New Orleans, they headed straight to The Spotted Cat in the Big Easy’s French Quarter to film the band in action and have a chat with Meschiya.

You’ll see the outcome when the new series is screened from 19th August (8pm) on the Good Food Channel, Meschiya was named Female Performer of The Year in the 2011 Big Easy Music Awards and repeated this success in 2012. A new album is being released later this year.

UK Tour 2012

Wed Aug 29: The Buccleuch Centre, Langholm
Thurs Aug 30: The Tolbooth, Stirling
Fri Aug 31: Eastgate Theatre, Peebles
Sat Sept 1: Brookfield Hall, Renfrewshire
Sun Sept 2: Stereo, Glasgow
Mon Sept 3: Douglas Robertson’s Studio, Edinburgh
Tues Sept 4: The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
Wed Sept 5: Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Thurs Sept 6: Heart of Hawick,
Fri Sept 7: ARC Arts Centre, Stockton on Tees
Sat Sept 8: Selby Town Hall
Sun Sept 9: Gateshead Town Hall

Feb 032012

With thanks to Kylie Roux.


Based on an event from November last year at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Your Leaning Neck is a performance project that aims to challenge institutional representations of national identity by giving voice to non-institutional values.

A silent video installation showcasing last November’s event from two perspectives will be shown in the Peacock gallery.

Saturday 18 February – Saturday 10 March 

– Live Performance

Starting off at Peacock’s gallery then moving onto the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St Andrew, visitors will be treated to a live re-contextualisation of the performance event created as a site-specific response to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s collection of portraits from the Scottish Enlightenment. Within the performance, oral tradition singers are presented alongside contemporary artists who also use their unaccompanied voice as a means of expression.

Friday 24 February | 7 – 9pm | Peacock Visual Arts | FREE 

GIG IN THE GALLERY – Martin John Henry

Recently praised by Sound-Scotland, as “one of Scotland’s finest songwriters”, Gargleblast Records and Peacock Visual Arts present Martin John Henry.

The Lanarkshire born singer songwriter is best known for fronting Scottish Rock Band De Rosa – critically lauded and championed by John Peel and Steve Lamaq – as well as writing, recording and playing with many of Scotland’s finest musicians including Barry Burns (Mogwai), Robert Johnston (Life Without Buildings), King Creosote and Malcolm Middleton.

Saturday 4 February | 8pm | £8 on the door 

RESIDENCY/PERFORMANCE – ONE MAN UNIT – Paul Wiersbinski and Wieland Schönfelder

ONE MAN UNIT is a hybrid of man and sculpture. Through a variety of outputs, audiences are invited to interact with and experience the spontaneous and unexpected developments of this creative beast, as it evolves during the artists’ two-week residency at Peacock.
You can follow the construction of this half man half machine via their daily blog on Peacock’s Facebook page. The ONE MAN UNIT will then be let loose on the public on two occasions:

Saturday 28 January – Friday 10 February

– Note: Aberdeen Voice updates Peacock info periodically, but there may be recently added events not included in this post. Please contact Peacock direct for the latest information.

Peacock Visual Arts
21 Castle Street
AB11 5BQ
Tel: 01224 639539
Mob: 07947 490626
e: kylie@peacockvisualarts.co.uk
Website: www.peacockvisualarts.com
Online Print Store: www.peacockvisualarts.culturelabel.com

Nov 242011

Experts don’t know why, perhaps the Coen Brothers are responsible, but it seems to be a golden age for bluegrass fans right now.  Well-regarded among the singers, pickers, strummers, bowers and songsmiths jostling for attention, and road and studio action, are the duo from Seattle, Washington, Cahalen Morrison and Eli West. Bob Harris likes them – and that’s usually recommendation enough for Voice’s David Innes, who witnessed Sunday night delight at The Blue Lamp.

The Lampie stage was sparsely furnished with only four microphones and the same number of instrument cases. No percussion, not a wood bass in sight, the Jazz Club’s house grand piano rolled into the corner and kept under wraps. Minor alarm bells rang. Could a bluegrass duo brass this out without as much as a cursory nod to a rhythm section of even the most rudimentary kind?

On they came, Cahalen Morrison resembling Fleetwood Mac-era Jeremy Spencer, whilst Eli West could pass for Grave New World-period Strawb Richard Hudson in dim light.

With a guitar, banjo, mandolin and an octave mandolin – “it has thyroid issues”, according to West – swapped between the duo, there was beautiful balance between sympathetic accompaniment and studied expert soloing.

Where Morrison and West really excelled though, was when they combined in finely-tuned almost celestial harmony, as if Charlie and Ira Louvin had drifted in to shelter from the Gallowgate’s mild November breeze. Cahalen’s more bluesy edge was perfectly counter-pointed by Eli’s gentler, but no less powerful country gospel larynx.

On occasions where Cahalen sang, his phrasing and way with melody was reminiscent of Paul Simon. It was hardly surprising then, when Eli tongue-in-cheekedly name-checked old Rhymin’ himself as “a great father of Bluegrass” before delighting the Lamp’s clientele with ‘Hearts and Bones’ as his featured solo spot, following Cahalen’s sweet solo ‘Ode To Autumn’.

The Cox Family’s ‘I Am Weary’ was my highlight of the evening though. All that is grand in Morrison and West’s abilities came together in a glorious and spirit-enhancing instrumental, vocal and soulful crescendo; almost a template in illustrating the irresistible heart-tugging power of gospel, even to we secularists – when simply but expertly executed by supremely-gifted musicians like these.

They can bluegrass over Gallowgate any time they like.

Nov 032011

Britt Pernille Frøholm is touring the UK this Autumn and will play three venues here in the North East, including a fund raising concert at 7.30pm on Saturday 19th November 2011 at The Howe Trinity Church, Alford, in aid of The Alford Heritage Centre and Museum. Jim Talbot encourages Aberdeen Voice readers to attend.

Britt is a leading hardanger fiddle player from Hornindal on the west coast of Norway.

She has a MA degree in Traditional Arts from 2006 where she worked with contemporary music and researched new techniques for the hardanger fiddle.

She is a versatile musician who has released several critically acclaimed cd’s in a number of genres, ranging from traditional folk music to free improvisation with jazz musicians.

The concert will include Christmas music from Norway and will be a showcase for this talented musician and her beautiful instrument.

In  addition to her solo projects, she plays in the groups LuckyLoop, Friensemblet,  Ensemble Epoché, arcticaEclectica, Frøholm/Tillung, BOREAS (Scotland/Norway),  FACE THE BEAR (Norway/Sweden), and  the Talay&Knutsson Project-Nye Toner i Nord (Norway/Sweden/Denmark).  Currently she’s also collaborating with the Indian fiddle player Sharat Chandra Srivastava.


Busi Ncube-Salulandela, (Etnisk Musikklubb 2010)
Frøholm/Tillung, ”EINS”, (Ta:lik 2009)
Friensemblet, ”Come Closer”, (Giraffa Records 2009)
LuckyLoop, “Big, Fat and Beautiful”, (Grappa Musikkforlag 2008)
Britt Pernille Frøholm, “For Allje Dei”, (Ta:lik 2008)
Folkelarm promo cd, (Etnisk Musikklubb 2008)
Christian Borlaug, “Austmannsspel- slåtter under Norefjell, (Etnisk Musikklubb 2008)
Ramstadlaget, “I gamle spor”, (Lærdal Musikkproduksjon AS 2008)
Honndalstausene, “Frie Former”, (Grappa Musikkforlag 2000)




Oct 112011

Hercules Moments launch a second free Aberdeen music sampler; Eoin Smith and Russell Thom tell Aberdeen Voice all about it.

Two students from the North East of Scotland are set to release their second compilation of top Aberdeen music, free of charge.

Following the release of a similar compilation in 2010, Eoin Smith and Russell Thom, both 20, founders of music site Hercules Moments, are set to build upon their previous success with 12 brand new tracks from some of Aberdeen’s finest bands.

‘Hercules Moments: Vol. 2’, the ingeniously titled sampler, will be released as a free download on www.herculesmoments.co.uk  on the 28th of October, in a variety of formats.

To celebrate the release, Hercules Moments will be holding a launch party in Café Drummond, situated on Aberdeen’s Belmont Street,  on the 28th, which will feature three of the fantastic acts that  appear on the sampler: Katerwaul, Carson Wells and Mark Riley, frontman of Glassman, who will be performing a very special acoustic solo set.

Boasting a wealth of talent, the sampler includes established acts The Xcerts and The Little Kicks, alongside newer acts like Min Diesel, Foxhunting and Seas, Starry. The line-up is completed by local favourites The Deportees, The Shakedown Project, Turning 13 and Outbox.

“We were overwhelmed by the positive reaction we received  after last year’s sampler,”

 began Eoin, an English student at the University of Aberdeen,

 “so there was really no question as to whether we would release  a  second one. We have an even more diverse range of talent this year, and everyone involved is really very excited to get it out there for people to hear.”

Russell, an Engineering student at the University of Aberdeen, added:

 “It all sounds really fantastic this year. We were lucky to get award-winning local producer Iain Macpherson to look over the tracks, which has made the whole thing fit together really well. I am a big fan of a lot of his work – most recently Steven Milne’s solo album and The Deportees’ new  single – and I know he has loads of other exciting stuff coming up too.”

It was in March 2009 that then-school pupils Eoin and Russell launched Hercules Moments: a blog dedicated to writing about the music they loved to listen to. After two years of hard work, they have accomplished more than they ever dreamed of.  As Eoin elaborates:

“Since founding Hercules Moments, we have been able to work with some of the most exciting recording artists from across the globe, including Rufus Wainwright, Supertramp and Weezer, as well as a whole host of new and rising talent,”

  Russell concludes:

“In the past year we have been nominated for a variety of awards – both locally and nationally – and the website has grown to incorporate submissions from a variety of talented contributors. It’s nice to be recognised for the work we have put into the website and we are very proud of what we have achieved so far.”

“The sampler really is an awesome mix of tracks and best of all it’s free! If you ever wanted an introduction to a selection of the best music in Aberdeen, then this is your chance to hear it,”

Aberdeen Voice are grateful to Eoin and Russell for their story, and wish them all the very best of luck with all future projects.