Haight-Ashbury Conquer Europe

Posted on December 15, 2011

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Haight-Ashbury are Glasgow’s very own 60s psychedelic folk band. Consisting of brother and sister Scott and Kirsty Reid and close friend Jennifer Thompson, the trio have been paving the way to stardom since the band formed in 2007.

The band took their name from the hippie district in San Francisco and the rock and roll hippie uprising in the late 60s. Influenced by bands of that era such as Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead, the band created their own unique blend of guitars and harmonic female vocals. Guitarist Scott is influenced by guitar legends Chris Whitley and Bert Jansch, whilst Stealers Wheel influences the two female vocal harmonies altogether creating a unique sound of 60s psychedelic folk rock.

Since 2007 they have been playing regularly without much time to stop and think. The debut album, Here In The Golden Rays, released last winter already has a follow up recorded and ready for release in Spring 2012 titled Haight-Ashbury 2.

Haight-Ashbury are now performing all across the continent and there is nowhere on the map out of limits. The band has recently gained a lot of considerable airplay in countries across Europe and, at the moment, they feel this is something they should take advantage of.

“We’ve had a really good reaction to our music in Austria and France so when we were asked to go and play we obviously jumped at the chance,” said Thompson. “Freeman Town was play-listed on FM4 in Austria in April so when we played in Vienna last month it was really nice to see people singing along.”

Playing to large audiences around Europe has not always the case for Haight-Ashbury but one of the band’s favourite memories was supporting the Waterboys in their hometown at the Barrowlands in 2007.

“Playing the Barrowlands was nerve wracking,” said Thompson. “It was only our seventh or eighth gig and it was an honour to be asked to play alongside the Waterboys. It’s such an iconic venue and to get to play it so early [in our career] was great. It is one of those venues that every band wants to play.”

Gigging consistently in Glasgow and surrounding areas as often as possible played a significant part in the band’s current success. Now signed to Lime Records of London, Haight-Ashbury are being carefully guided in the right direction by manager Paul Elsasser.  Elsasser is fully involved in all of the band’s shows; setting them up in the right places at the right time, playing the right venues to the right audiences.

“When we first started out, the first thing Scott said to us was that he wanted us to play as many gigs as possible,” said Thompson.  “We played anywhere that would have us, sometimes two or three gigs a week around Glasgow and Edinburgh. We did that for a good while, pretty much up until we met Paul our manager and got signed to our label. It was only really when he got involved with us that we got an agent and we started to play gigs outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh.”

The band has a host of new tour dates announced for the Christmas holidays and well into the New Year. The tour will include trips to European countries such as Switzerland, France and the Czech Republic.

By Chris Flockhart

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Posted in: Feature