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Inverness musician Josh Mackenzie's lockdown project The Joshua Hotel became a band – and the live hometown debut comes on Saturday at Mad Hatters

By Margaret Chrystall

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IT’S good to have plans, as Josh Mackenzie had for his The Joshua Hotel project – Inverness should have heard it live for the first time in the city late last year.

Instead, we’ve had to wait till now with the lockdown project now a band featuring Josh and former Inverness musicians Joshua Gilbert on drums and Louis Slorach on guitar set to play Mad Hatters on Saturday.

In between, the band has had not one King Tut’s gig in Glasgow – but two.

The Joshua Hotel. Picture: Louis Buick
The Joshua Hotel. Picture: Louis Buick

Josh said: “What I wanted was to play a local gig at Christmas time.

“In my head I thought we would manage that, but we weren’t quite ready and then we were almost getting to that point when we got offered the King Tut’s gig.

“We just felt ‘this needs to be our target, we’re not going to feel ready – so let’s do it!’.”

It seems King Tut’s must have liked what they heard as The Joshua Hotel were asked back for a gig at the venue just a short time later.

“I was feeling very, very stressed leading up to the first gig because there was a lot to organise,” Josh revealed. “Just how we were going to do it live. We had been working in rehearsal rooms, but then you have no real idea how it is going to go live on stage and I just didn’t feel I had any reference or experience to know, all the electronic aspects of it.

“But luckily it went tremendously well and I think everyone at King Tut’s was very surprised it was our first gig – which is always a good sign!

“And that led to them asking us back straight away to play with C Duncan. It was just a couple of days after the first gig that they sent us an email, I think it was about six weeks between the gigs.”

The Joshua Hotel started as a lockdown project, Josh writing, playing all the instruments and recording in his bedroom.

“The reason I am working now with my two friends Josh and Louis is that when I was writing and recording all this stuff, I was basically sending it to a close network of friends with no intentions of releasing it. But Josh and Louis were particularly encouraging with it and it just sort of made sense as it grew arms and legs.”

Seven-track EP Closet Romantic was released last year, then it was followed by single Somebody New on Astrid’s Charlie Clark’s new label No Big Deal Music.

BBC Radio Scotland new music guru Vic Galloway is a big fan of The Joshua Hotel and put them on his end-of-year lists.

“It was on his Scottish artists to watch in 2022 and he actually included the EP on his favourite 50 albums of 2021, so it will now have to be officially reclassified as a mini-album,” Josh laughed.

And impressing the ‘home crowd’ – people who have liked the music already – with the Joshua Hotel live performance in Inverness, on home turf, is clearly very important to Josh.

“You have to live up to what they have been listening to. I just hope that it’s a good celebratory night and everyone has fun and really enjoys hearing the stuff – in the flesh – they have been listening to.”

The Joshua Hotel debuts at Mad Hatters, Inverness, on Saturday (June 25) with Moteh Parrott on the bill. More on The Joshua Hotel on Facebook: @thejoshuahotel

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