Home   Lifestyle   Article

Lional frontman talks Garbage

By Kyle Walker

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

A chance to grab a quick cup of tea with a bona fide music icon doesn’t come around every day.

Yet for Josh Mackenzie, frontman of Inverness indie-rockers Lional, that’s just what he got during the band’s recent tour dates across Scotland – when he was invited to meet Garbage legend Shirley Manson in Edinburgh through a mutual friend.

And while so often these meetings can prove the old adage “Never meet your heroes,” depressingly right, there were no such concerns when he met the iconic frontwoman.

“She just got regular banter with me,” Josh explained. “You know, ‘Where's your gig tonight then Josh? Sneaky Pete's? Yeah, played there about 30 years ago, great wee venue!’

“Part of me wishes I plugged it a bit more but, considering the type of occasion that it was, it just wasn't appropriate. I just answered what her and her husband Billy asked, but now they’re well aware of our existence so who knows?

“Also, she loves the name Lional. That trumps all the people over the years who have suggested we change it!”

That cup of tea was just the break that the frontman needed during a summer that’s shaping up to be one of Lional’s busiest yet.

Already the band have released two singles, April’s stomping rock number Moonlight and most recent effort Dark Sunglasses, which appeared on streaming platforms last Friday.

“Dark Sunglasses was probably the first song that came from writing sessions last year,” he explained. “It kind of opened a new door to everything we've been writing since musically.

“I think accidentally the majority of the new songs lyrics are dealing with the general passage of time and all the intricate growing pains that come with developing into the person you're going to be for the long haul after your youth. And possibly also how things like technology really just tamper with and complicate things so much more.

“That, and it's just a nice little pop song!”

And the band are following up last weekend’s tour dates in Dundee and Edinburgh – joining Noah Noah for the Off Axis Scotland touring network’s latest shows – with a double-bill of Inverness gigs.

Lional take in a homecoming headliner at the Ironworks to launch Dark Sunglasses this Saturday, followed by closing out XpoNorth’s SAMA stage at the Phoenix Bar on Wednesday night.

Saturday’s gig marks the first time that Lional will headline the Ironworks independently. “I'm both anxious and excited – anxious because I care a lot.

“It's always a unique atmosphere playing a big hometown gig, but you really don't want to disappoint because the audience consists of a lot of family and friends. That adds a bit of personal pressure, but when they get going, more often than not, they are magical.”

They’ll be joined by Off Axis pals Indigo Velvet and ForeignFox at the Ironworks.

Following this up with their latest appearance at XpoNorth, Josh can’t wait for an expo on home soil after the last few years has seen the band jetsetting to the Netherlands and LA for similar showcases.


“To be quite frank, out of all the showcases we've done XpoNorth actually sticks out as the one that's been most beneficial,” he said. “Not just because it's local to us but it just attracts a lot more interesting and significant personalities across all the creative industries than some of the other ones.

“It’s very healthy for the Highlands’ creative scene because it's a platform and a window for local creatives into a world they are often isolated from due to where we are geographically.”

But their sights are set further than the Highlands – these dates may mark the last home gigs this year for the group as the band have their eyes set on casting their touring net wider as they plan more singles and a possible EP before the year ends.

And Lional finally have the chance to cross Hadrian’s Wall, with their first English gig lined up – a slot at festival Kendal Calling. “We’re over the moon to get another festival in the calendar and even more so that it's down in England. Not too far into England mind you, as it's the Lake District – baby steps!

“Hopefully, they shouldn't have too much problem understanding us – everyone says my singing voice sounds quite Anglocentric anyway!”

Lional headline the Ironworks on Saturday night (doors 8pm, £10), before playing The Phoenix on Wednesday (11.30pm, free entry) as part of XpoNorth’s music showcase.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More