View Full Version : Brandon dazzles audience-review

27-Mar-13, 09:14
Brandon at his brilliant best!

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CAITHNESS accordion maestro Brandon McPhee mesmerised his audience with a sparkling display at his DvD recording concert at the weekend.
The Palace at Ackergill Tower was packed to capacity for the concert which featured comedian, Eddie Rose, who along with Brandonís band, gave us a three Ėhour programme reminiscent of that rare, some might say extinct, breed...the Scottish variety show.
But it was the scintillating, squeezebox exponent, Brandon who stole the show with a breathtaking display of traditional music and continental music, on his three Ėrow Shand Morino accordion, way beyond his tender 16 years.
Demonstrating his range of material, and dynamics, Brandon Ďboxedí the musical compass from leisurely waltzes and stirring marches, to challenging reels and topping it all, the highly technical, competition, march, strathspey and reels that has won him top honours at Scottish solo accordion championships, a singular treat.
Thatís the ultimate test of a playerís standard, the moment when his performance comes under the greatest scrutiny and the Castletown king of the accordion, passed the solo examination effortlessly. His audience were treated to it twice, as the perfectionist Brandon confessed he had forgotten to change to a stronger coupler on his bass end.
And thatís another strand to his talents....a natural, mature, stage presence. Nothing seems to faze him and if he did come under pressure with his musical gymnastics, it didnít show. He simply announced he hadnít remembered to make the switch, and off he went again.
Add another couple of strands, he sings, and composes music and itís certain you are going to be hearing a lot more of this incredible teenager, who predictably wants to make music his life.
Oh, yes, when he wasnít playing solo, he was leading his own band, ably assisted by Alistair MacDonald, on second accordion, Manson Grant, keyboards and vocals, and, on drums, Robert Cameron, head of Pan label on which the show was being recorded for Brandonís second DvD.
Eddie Rose frequently had his audience in stitches and also demonstrated his repertoire with songs, monologues and sketches reminiscent of the late Andy Stewart.
But it was brilliant Brandon who was the focus, with selections that included tributes to the late, greats Jimmy Shand, and that other star, the unforgettable Will.
Even the essential pauses for retakes for the benefit of the sound and vision contingent, which interrupted the showís continuity, couldnít detract from a great night.
Itís the first time that I have heard Brandon in concert and as an accordionist myself, I could only marvel at an amazing standard, most donít achieve until they are many years older, if at all. I too was playing in a band at Brandonís age but never on the same scale as him. As I made my way home, my first inclination was to take my box out of its case and burn it.
Marge managed to restrain me, counselling that I might need to do a bit of busking if the powers-that-be take the pensionersí heating allowance away, or worse still, reduce our pensions!