Sandison’s Rats to play in the isles

The Stagger Rats with Jack Sandison, from Lerwick, second from left. Click on image to enlarge.
The Stagger Rats with Jack Sandison, from Lerwick, second from left. Click on image to enlarge.

Fine Shetland musician and singer Jack Sandison’s new band The Stagger Rats are to play two live gigs in the isles over the festive period.

Describing themselves as sound­ing like “gypsy death funk”, the group – who all contribute vocals – features Sandison on bass guitar, along with drummer Kai Wallace, organist Callum Easter and guit­arists Daniel Paylor and Craig McMullen.

Having formed last winter, the band added Sandison, formerly frontman of spiky indie trio Little Green Machine and tribute act Rage Against The Washing Machine, to their line-up in May this year. They have played dates across Scotland this month and are set to feature on the soundtrack to the Robert Cav­anah film Pimp: Scratched Inside, starring Danny Dyer and Billy Boyd and to be aired in over 200 cinemas across the UK in March.

The Stagger Rats have finished recording an album’s worth of material in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which is also due to be released sometime next year. A number of demos are available on the band’s myspace page, demonstrating a fresh-sounding, yet defiantly old-fashioned musical approach.

Sandison, who is also fronting his own group The Holy Ghosts as a side project, said: “There’s certainly a bit of a rockabilly vibe, very experimental but you can have a good time to it. It’s always a party-style atmosphere, spooky music, quite trippy – maybe a little bit like The Coral or The Doors, but very different from anything else that’s happening on the Scottish music scene.”

Other influences Sandison cites for the band include the innovative Captain Beefheart and gruff, growling and stubbornly eccentric singer-songwriter Tom Waits. On the back of March’s film première, they will be performing a number of shows in London and are also to appear at Scottish festivals next summer.

He continued: “The live shows are a damn site better than the recordings we’ve got so far. There’s lots of psychedelic guitars, broken down organs, it’s nostalgic but at the same time also very new, very get-up-and-go.”

Last week they supported Scottish indie group The Cinematics and have also had a support slot with The Northwestern, a group featuring Sam Herlihy from fêted and influential English rock group Hope of the States, as well as appearing at Glasgow’s O2 Academy in September this year.

Sandison said the band have been playing regularly to sell-out audiences on the mainland and were hoping for a good turnout for their first gigs in the isles.

● The Stagger Rats will play live at Norscot Angling Club on Tuesday 29th December supported by Junk Deluxe and a guest DJ. Tickets are available priced £8 from High Level Music, Clive’s Record Shop, online at, or priced £10 on the door.
They are also playing a free acoustic gig at the Lounge Bar on Monday 28th December from 9pm.


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