Brandon says online concerts 'will never replace the real thing' as he prepares to go back on stage
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Caithness entertainer Brandon McPhee has admitted that virtual concerts "will never replace the real thing” as he and his band prepare to go on the road for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
He will be presenting The Brandon McPhee Experience at venues in Caithness, Ross-shire and Moray this week, and plans are being made for a Christmas tour too.
Meanwhile, the talented accordionist and singer has said it was always his ambition to go into full-time entertainment – and revealed that he would "love to tour the world some day".
The Brandon McPhee Experience will be staged in Thurso's Royal British Legion club on Thursday, October 21; at the Duthac Centre in Tain on Friday, October 22; and in Fochabers Public Institute on Saturday, October 23.
Brandon, who turns 25 this month, has been speaking about how he and the band concentrated on recording album tracks and playing virtual concerts when it was impossible to arrange live performances.
In an interview this week for the Wick Voices oral history project, Brandon said: “When the pandemic hit we had the busiest year that we've ever had planned. Overnight, every show we had lined up, every performance, every piece of promo work was all gone.
“It was quite hard to take but it was paramount for everyone's safety. It was a time for us to just try and stay positive, go into the studio and record.
"And over the space of the pandemic we must have recorded at least a few hundred different songs and tunes mixed together and several albums – we've got enough stuff that we could release it in a few years' time and it would still be new.
“We kept busy with that, we kept our television programme going on weekly on Spotlight TV as well as all the social media platforms that we have. And then we went into internet concerts.
"It was great to be back out on stage virtually. It gave us a connection with everyone, since we were missing them all so much and missing live performances – although, for me, virtually will never replace the real thing.
“So we are really looking forward to getting back out. We have kept everything that we were doing up to hopefully the same standard as before.”
Brandon also explained how his love of music began as a child.
"From the very second that I played an accordion I knew that entertainment was exactly what I wanted to do with my life," he said.
"It just felt right and ever since that moment, every single day, I've been working towards full-time entertainment. I'm very lucky that singing came into it as well because that brings a whole different market and a whole different audience into it.
"I would just love to tour the world some day. I'm going to keep at it and maybe one day I'll get there.
“There was never going to be a Plan B. It was always going to be full-time entertainment.
"All I want to do is to keep moving forward with my music. I just love every aspect of it."
As well as the online options, tickets for the Thurso show can be bought from North Coast Florists in the town. The Tain and Fochabers outlets are Forbes Jewellers and Christies Chemist respectively.
- Brandon's interview for Wick Voices is freely available at www.wickheritage.org.