On a crisp March evening just north of the glorious city of Milan, an evening ripe for legend and event, a unique summoning occurred, heralded by the gathering approach of Saor Patrol, moving through the streets, courtyards and palaces, like a unicorn magically brought into day.
To their many followers the band resemble warriors, armed with guitars, brandishing drums and bagpipes in their charged calls for freedom, in order to form a suitably indestructible legacy, forged from their patriotic constancy that honors the true spirit and traditions of their native Scotland.
The concert took place at the legendary Live Music Club in Trezzo sull’Adda, whose two tiered 1600 square meters form a unique headquarters and point of reference for all artists visiting Italy. Like graffiti on the walls of this seminal structure or tattoos scored into the skin of those vital audiences flocking to the venue, Saor Patrol left their indelible mark, complementing a long list of luminous and necessary artists who have appeared there, including Alice Cooper, Nick Cave, Joe Satriani, Johnny Winter, Anthrax, Steve Harris and many others; what might be called the skin of music has been coloured and honoured within.
In a gathering of souls aflame with spirit and fervour, gritty and effective support was provided by the Lombard band Meneguiness. With each light change you could envisage and experience the savage smell of the spirit of the past as it entered the brain with a sweet and near heroic sense of energy, that in reflection felt legendary. As the evening progressed what might be seen as a sacred book of revolution and tradition was opened by the musician’s powerfully melodic fingers, inviting all present to join and indeed, enlist in Saor Patrol’s army of peaceful warriors, uniting the past with the vibrant moment and converting a room full of Italian rock fans into a new Scottish regiment, ready and able to scale an exciting terrain.
It was an evening in which that transference of identity would ensure that it lasted forever. The set included songs from all stages of Saor Patrol’s career, culminating in their revolutionary and soon to be seminal recent release “Battle of Kings “, an arsenal of music fuelled by bloodstained memories inspired by the Scottish War of Independence, soundtracking the times and conquests unleashed and suffered against the English kings’ brutal force.
Each song was fired by the urgency of political and spiritual independence that formed calls to the world, concerned with the expression of our deepest, most primal feelings that both stem and honour our most sacred roots and origins. In listening a musical miracle occured as the band’s unique sound allowed the audience to embark on a journey back through time, observing and actively participating in these ancient wars. The timelessness of Charlie Allan’s bagpipes cast a hypnotic appeal as Saor Patrol sealed the centuries together as if they were conjoining musical phrases in the same song, shared by one and all along the ice laden streets and cement entombed houses, awake in a moment, having been surrounded by night.
As Saor Patrol play, the ancient stone of battle and inspiration has been rediscovered and the sounds and sense of the forgotten day enliven the present one. Like performer and audience, or song to soldier, the old times colour the air and are painted by a musically framed family.
text and photos Elena Caldera
Translated and adapted by David Erdos
Thanks to Charlie Allan