Market Bar, Inverness
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by Margaret Chrystall
THE trick to making a sad ending bearable is to make sure it’s not really an ending.
Ask THE GALIPAYGOS.
Their final gig happened in the Market Bar last week on one of those inbetweenie days before the new year.
Frontman and main songwriter of the band, Andrew Still, has been on the job since earlier band Lacova and that’s 18 years, he reckons.
But the Galipaygos, with their alt-country vibe and "tongue-in-cheek chic", lasted the pace for 12 years and eight albums.
The last one, Cover To Cover, came out just this summer – only one high spot in a good year for the four-piece, according to Andrew.
He’s ready to take a step back from the mike into the darkness of normal life. But the other three members intend to keep going with new music and retaining that meaty, rock-solid fraternity of well-oiled music machines – bass from Garth Coates, drums from Jack Cowan and the unfolding talents of guitarist and sometimes singer, Steve Sinclair.
On the evidence of the Market Bar gig, they might well be an exciting new presence for 2016.
The Galipaygos play Hellbent at their last gig. Video: Ian MacDonald
But with their best-fitting genres being Americana/alt.country/indie pop, when someone yelled for Ace Of Spades early on – another for an Anthrax number – The Galipaygos were unlikely ever to oblige.
Metal may not be the future either for the remaining band members. When Steve stepped forward on his own songs Where Are You Going and Dye My Coat in the first set, it was good to see a few clues as to where the new set-up might be headed.
At the end of Where Are You Going, Andrew even laughingly introduced Dye My Coat with "Would you like another from the Steve Sinclair Band?". But you sensed that Andrew’s jokey reference to Steve as his "stage wife" might be something the guitarist might miss. Not!
After 12 years, the instinctive understanding musicians develop from playing together a lot shone through – as in the great harmonies on Miracle Joe, just one example.
And joined by Jamie McGregor – one of the band’s many former members – on trumpet and also on vocals throughout the two sets, the standard band set-up had added extra colour.
It didn’t take too long before Andrew’s hints to the crowd that the perfect time to dance had arrived, brought results – even in the tiny space between the band and the tables where every seat was taken.
"I don’t mean to throw a challenge down to you, but there was quite a bit of dancing the other night," he said, referring to the Mad Hatters’ gig four days before. But don’t feel obliged ..."
By this time Sorry (the story of a stag do and cask-strength whisky) - with both Andrew and Steve singing - saw the dancers on their feet as ordered.
And once the rip-roaring pace and full-on drumming from Jack in You Can Never Come Back finished, the end approached with a beginning – the story of how the band got together in That Lie I Told You.
"So, this is now the end – it’s too late now!" Andrew said, no sympathy at the sad moans at the news.
"This may be the last time I say this, but we are The Galipaygos and this is The Theme From The Galipaygos," Andrew grinned, as the band launched into an energetic version of the popular instrumental.
But it wasn’t the end.
Determined to close on the highest high, Andrew announced: "That was sh*t! We’re going to do it again and
EVERYBODY is going to clap along this time!"
So, was that the first Galipaygos comeback ... or just the final finale?