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Ahead of Mad Hatters year-closer, Inverness indie sensations Lional look back on 2019 to remember – with two singles launched, a national tour, and support slots with Noel Gallagher's High-Flying Birds, Edwyn Collins and Astrid

By Kyle Walker

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It's been a huge year for Inverness indie sensations Lional. Over 2019, the four-piece have toured across the country, released two singles and opened for some of rock's biggest names – including Noel Gallagher's High-Flying Birds. Frontman Joshua Mackenzie spoke to Kyle Walker about the year that was, the Mad Hatters gig to close it out, and the new year that's coming

Lional play at Mad Hatters on Sunday night. Picture: Nicky Murray
Lional play at Mad Hatters on Sunday night. Picture: Nicky Murray

Q Hi Joshua, thanks for answering these! How are things going today? How is your preparation for Christmas coming along?

A You’re very welcome! Things are going good. Absolutely grand, Christmas shopping shall commence on December 23 and that’s okay.

Q So after another busy year – headline shows at the Ironworks, new singles, a tour of Scotland, support slots with Noel Gallagher, Edwyn Collins and Astrid (and that’s just the start!) – you’re seeing things out with an intimate gig at Mad Hatters. How did this come about? And are you looking forward to this winter warmer?

A I went to see Fauves and Declan Welsh play at Mad Hatters a month or so ago and it just got me in the mood for throwing a gig there. After the run of shows with Astrid we were quite content with that being it for the year, but then I got the itch for a local rammy.

Q You’ve got The Citrus Scene supporting you this time – can you tell us a bit about them? What can we expect from the band?

A Straight up indie rock. A bit Catfish and the Bottlemen and also a bit Reverend and the Makers (the latter is probably not quite as intentional). Good tunes, good kids. Always like to get young bands on the bill when we can.

Q What has been the standout moment for Lional from over the past 12 months? What big moments from 2019 are you going to savour?

A Supporting Noel Gallagher would have to be it as far as gigs go. There was so much suspense leading up to it but we actually turned in a superb performance on the day as well. Also, recording sessions this year have been the most enjoyable ever. Over the course of the year we have been intermittently recording an album at various different locations.

Q There has been a few wee lineup shifts for Lional over 2019 too – with Sean coming back into the band briefly while Russ healed up from a broken collarbone and Lauren Mackenzie coming in on keys while Gogo is studying. How have the lineup changes affected the Lional sound (if it has at all that is)? How does it feel knowing that musicians are keen and willing to jump in to help out and play with Lional when the chips are down and help is needed?

A Everyone definitely brings their own unique style and flavour when they perform the songs and every musician past and present who has been involved in the band is very competent.I have a lot of trust in them. Having a female vocal in there for the first time has really freshened it up and Lauren can pull different harmonies out of nowhere, so singing wise she’s doing it a bit different from the recordings. It’s exciting!

It is a privilege to have such great musicians want to come along and play in the band. The way I see it is that Lional is a bit like Queens of the Stone Age or Gorillaz in the sense that it’s becoming a wider family of musicians. There are core members who are the backbone, but then there’s room for other people to come into the fold as and when they can.

Q You’ve played all over the country this year, with some massive names too. Do you have any anecdotes or shared advice from these shows that you’d be willing/legally able to share with us? How does Noel Gallagher take his tea?

A Hmmm. Didn’t actually meet Noel as he likes to keep himself to himself, but I had a cool chat with Johnny Marr backstage at Belladrum and all I can say is he is possibly the sweetest, warmest person I have ever met and his hands so incredible soft and smooth. He has the sexiest hands in rock n’ roll.

Q Let’s look forward to 2020 – what plans are in the pipeline for Lional? Any moves or plans you can let us know about?

A Finish mixing our album in January, then just take it from there!

Lional play at Mad Hatters on Sunday night, with support from The Citrus Scene. Doors open at 8pm and tickets cost £8. Go to Lional's Facebook page for more info.

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