Mac Holiday Monday is a combined effort of The Mermaid pub in St Albans and Mac from Lemonrock, to create a series of mini Bank Holiday music festivals, which often showcase new or undiscovered talent in the area. It's always a blast, because the people who come along to support it are truly interested in seeing new acts, and in catching up with their favourite well-known bands.
Swell was a 1995 CD project that three of us in the St Albans music scene organised together.The team was made up of Bill Johnson, singer/songwriter and producer (Sherena, Fab Clocks, Gardenshed), Nick Swannell, songwriter, guitarist, producer (Spy '51, Blondish, Czyxadorus) and me, Mac MacLaren, a singer/songwriter who had just started out in the live music scene with my acoustic duo called RoundAbout (later to become MacLaren Wall).Originally called "The Intro Project", Swell was a chance for local unsigned acts to get a better footing in the record world which at the time was seriously up its own posterior with the Spice Girls, Blur and Oasis.We wanted to give bands a glossy product to hawk to A & R people, and at the same time give loads of bands the chance to get heard, because they were on the same CD.It worked to an extent. Sue Brice (aka Coco or Coco Star) found success as a singer and songwriter on the 2000 hit, Toca's Miracle (by Fragma). Others got some interest. We had a thousand CDs pressed, with professional artwork, professional re-mastering and an official barcode!
My main band, MacLaren Wall, started out as an acoustic duo in 1994. Melanie and I sang my own songs at open mic nights and as guest artists for over 5 years until I bought us our own PA. Since 2000, we mainly play as a 4-piece band with bass, drums and acoustic guitar, with 2 or 3 part harmony.
Mac's solo project, mopping up the songs that MacLaren Wall couldn't (or wouldn't) record themselves. My producer, Nick Swannell, engineered and produced all these tracks, and played most of the instruments. I wrote the songs, played a bit of bass guitar and acoustic, and did the singing of said songs.
An acoustic duo playing mainly songs by David Bowie and Roxy Music, with the odd American rock gem thrown in. Actually, we also covered ELO's "Livin' Thing" and "Telephone Line" acoustically, both huge favourites of mine.
The Mermaid is arguably the venue most connected with Lemonrock. From the conception of the original idea of a local on-line gig guide, through multi-user login accounts for venues and bands to add and maintain their own listings, to manufacturing of promotional items such as flyers and window stickers... the regulars and staff at The Mermaid have all made valuable contributions!
Anja is a great singer, and a few years ago convinced me to sing some songs with her from the "Raising Sand" album by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. That's what we do: songs from the album in a stripped-down style with one acoustic guitar and two voices. I love singing these!
A one-off covers band playing a number of Eagles' hits (5 to be precise). We're playing for the first time on 30th May 2016 (at The Mermaid in St Albans). If you saw us and this is now in the past, please let us know, cos we are (were) quite nervous about getting all the notes right, and playing with a drummer with an invisible kit...