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‘It was the last hurrah’: Scottish rockers Fatherson recall supporting Lewis Capaldi in Aberdeen before Covid lockdown

Fatherson to play Aberdeen
Scottish band Fatherson are set to headline The Lemon Tree. Photo by Sonic PR

Scottish alt rockers Fatherson’s previous appearance in Aberdeen was the final concert in Britain before the Covid-19 lockdown.

The three-piece supported chart-topper Lewis Capaldi at a sold-out P&J Live gig on Sunday March 15 2020 as coronavirus began to grip the nation.

The following day, mass gatherings involving more than 500 people were advised against in Scotland due to rising cases.

Fatherson singer and lead songwriter Ross Leighton remembers the ‘weird tension in the air’ when the concert had finished.

Ross says there was an acceptance it could be a ‘last hurrah’ for live music before lockdown.

All venues across Britain were soon shut down with live gigs cancelled for more than a year.

Now Fatherson makes a welcome return to the Granite City when headlining The Lemon Tree on Friday May 27 to promote their new album Normal Fears.

Fatherson released new album Normal Fears recently.

Ross said: “Our last gig before the lockdown was in the P&J Live arena with Lewis Capaldi.

“That was the night before mass gatherings were stopped.

“It was the last hurrah. I think it was the last show in the UK, it was crazy.

“It was a really weird atmosphere.

“During the show was fine although everyone was thinking ‘what’s going on here?’

“After the show you could feel this weird tension in the air.

“It went from this big euphoric end of his show to everyone walking outside and thinking what’s going to happen now.

“People saying to their friends that they’ll see each other in a bit, and they’ll see what happens.”

Excitement at playing live again

The sell-out show by Lewis Capaldi and Fatherson in Aberdeen went ahead in full compliance with the advisory document on mass gatherings issued by the Scottish government.

As the crowd enjoyed the concert no one could have imagined it would be their last concert experience for more than a year.

Ross believes music offered a vital release and connection to isolated fans during lockdown.

Fatherson are set to headline The Lemon Tree to promote their new album Normal Fears.

He said: “It’s really exciting to be playing live again as it feels like the world is coming back again.

“We were lucky to get out for a couple of weeks last October in that brief window where people were doing shows again.

“Our video for End Of The World has a guy with a sandwich board saying it’s not the end of the world.

“We put a sandwich board out at the end of every show for fans to leave messages as we couldn’t hang out with them.

“There were loads of lovely messages such as how listening to us helped get people through the whole thing.

“We have been super lucky that everyone who comes to see our band is class.

“Music unites people and helps them feel better in tough situations.

“To have been part of that in any way was pretty amazing.

“It is a powerful, amazing thing and it helps us through as well.

“We are all enjoying a shared experience.”

Early trips to Aberdeen as teenagers

Formed in Kilmarnock in 2010, the band have fond memories of travelling to play Aberdeen as teenagers.

They journeyed to the Granite City cramped in a Nissan Almera.

Ross said: “Aberdeen was the first place in Scotland we played outside the Central Belt.

“At that point we were 16 or 17 so four hours in a Nissan Almera was no bother.

“My partner is from up that way so I visit a lot. I love Aberdeen so much.

“It has been brilliant to go from playing to five folk in Tunnels to playing the bigger venues.”

Work started on album before Covid

Fatherson recently released their new album Normal Fears, the follow up to 2018’s Sum Of All Your Parts.

Normal Fears was largely written remotely, with Ross in his native Kilmarnock and bassist Marc Strain and drummer Greg Walkinshaw in Glasgow.

The recording of Normal Fears began a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020.

Faced with a new normal the band adapted.

Fatherson to play Aberdeen
Fatherson’s last show in Aberdeen was the day before the Covid lockdown in March 2020. Photo supplied by Sonic PR.

Ross said: “The separation gave us clarity.

“We’d send song parts to each other, then each went away and worked on them, trying out mad ideas we might not have suggested had we all been together.

“There was no pressure because no one knew when the world would open up again.

“We had the time to be creative and recapture the feeling we had when we first became a band.

“When there were no expectations of how Fatherson should sound.”

An iconic guitar used by Radiohead

Eventually in October last year, the band decamped to RAK studios in London.

They worked with producer Steph Marziano (Hayley Williams, Denai Moore, Mumford & Sons) and engineer Isabelle Gracefield (Dua Lipa, Stormzy).

Whilst at RAK studios Ross played the acoustic guitar used on Radiohead’s iconic 1995 album The Bends.

Ross said: “It is the guy who owns the studio’s acoustic guitar.

“Radiohead used it on The Bends, on songs like Fake Plastic Trees.

“To find out the guitar I was playing had been on one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands was awesome.”

How to book tickets to see Fatherson in Aberdeen

Fatherson will play The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen on Friday May 27. Click here if you wish to purchase tickets.

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