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News / First Foot Soldiers to bring a ‘good time’ to Mareel

First Foot Soldiers will be playing at Mareel on 23 June. Photo: Dale Smith

ONE of Shetland’s best-loved cover bands is set to perform their biggest headline gig yet at Mareel in June.

First Foot Soldiers will celebrate midsummer with a show at the Lerwick venue on 23 June.

Keyboard player Chris Thomson said the audience should “expect the usual – which we hope is a good time”.

“We’ve always focused on playing well loved songs that are musically challenging for us as a band to try and faithfully replicate,” guitarist and vocalist Arthur Nicholson added.

“It’s worked out well in other venues across Shetland so we’re going to see if we can pull off a big night in Mareel.”

The quartet – who also feature drummer Robert Balfour and bassist Shaun Strachan – formed in 2010 and have soundtracked countless good nights across the isles at gigs and weddings.

The group are known for performing near inch-perfect covers of tracks by acts like Queen, Electric Light Orchestra, Dire Straits and the Beatles.

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Nicholson said the “only plan when we started was to have fun”.

“Me and Chris both moved back to Shetland in the same month after living on the mainland for a number of years and we’d decided to start a band before we’d even got back,” he said.

“We’ve definitely had fun and couldn’t have imagined all the gigs we’ve played and the response we’ve had from people. We hope it carries on being fun for a long time yet. Mareel wasn’t built when we started – it’s still amazing to think that a venue of its calibre is right on our doorstep.”

Thomson added: “I’d always thought of First Foot Soldiers as a band – metaphorically – playing in the corner of the room, whilst everyone is having a good time. A live jukebox I guess, or a session in the middle of a sesh.

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“We’re not ones for talking on-stage, nor for ‘putting on a show’ as you’d expect from a rock band. It’s just about playing great music well.

“When we’d played Clickimin in previous years – midsummer a few years back, The Revellers’ Skeletons launch in September 2016 – I was pretty nervous that we wouldn’t translate to the big stage, but those two gigs are amongst the top few in terms of performance and enjoyment.”

Tickets for First Foot Soldiers at Mareel on 23 June are available from the Shetland Arts box office.

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