Enter The Haggis returned to UR on Friday for their third concert of 2003. The concert, held on the steps of Wilson Commons, lacked the intimacy of their previous shows, but the band, as always, had so much energy that the show couldn’t have been anything but great.

For those not familiar with the band, ETH is a good example of the Celtic rock genre – they update older Scottish and Irish songs as well as taking the elements of this heritage and writing new songs around these. ETH is good at both, and it showed in this concert.

ETH started the concert with an instrumental segueing into “Arthur McBride,” a traditional Irish tune. Or, at least, it was announced as such.

“According to Brian [Buchanan] here, who’s Irish, everything’s an Irish tune,” piper Craig Downie told the crowd.

After a bit, the band launched into what is arguably the best song in their repertoire, “Star of the County Down,” and played it as well as I have heard.

One of the problems with the location of the concert was that it was hard to keep a constant crowd, but by then the crowd was at its largest, and this may have helped the band keep its energy up.

It was easy to tell who had been to ETH’s previous UR concerts once they started the next song. “Ride My Monster,” is a simple, catchy, fun tune that happens to contain some extremely blatant sexual innuendoes. It was, in other words, the kind of song college kids love, and there were quite a few returning fans singing along.

There was no particular theme guiding the concert, as it went from there into a medley of “Do You Want My Body/Dancing Queen/Stayin’ Alive” – on the bagpipes and fiddle, of course. Immediately after was a song from what will be another excellent album due to come out at Christmas time. Then, Buchanan took off on what I consider to be the best-ever arrangement of the often-played reel “Tam-Lin.” This is my favorite piece, ever. ETH just happens to be the best at it.

Another favorite, which stole the last UR show, was the descriptively titled “Donald, Where’s yer Trousers?” As Downie introduced it, “This is a song about not wearing pants in public.” It’s enough to make any Scotsman’s heart proud and unmentionables cold.

To close off their hour-and-a-half set, the band played one of their better dance numbers, “Lanigan’s Ball.” A few people were inspired to dance in front of the steps, though most of the audience was content to sit back and watch the others.

Given that it was a daytime concert in such a public venue – people trying to get from one end of the Wilson Quad to the other had little choice but to walk in front of the crowd – the concert was great. People felt free to come and go, and despite a few problems hearing the pipes, the sound and energy kept up throughout the show.

Hopefully, UR will be lucky enough to have ETH return after their new album is released. Anyone who can go, should – missing ETH once is a mistake, missing them twice would be a tragedy.

Brown can be reached at cbrown@campustimes.org.



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