Enter the Haggis
[FOLK] As the focus continues shifting away from record profits to touring, pledges and subscriptions to keep musical artists above water, it’s intriguing to watch as they also find new ways of keeping fans engaged. The once-Toronto-based quintet Enter the Haggis has dug deep in this regard: beginning in 2011, they started using crowd-sourced funding to finance their albums, arguably a bit ahead of the curve and have raised an impressive accumulated $150,000 for subsequent releases, one of which included fans in the development of its content. While 2012’s The Modest Revolution pulled storylines from a specific edition of The Globe and Mail (issue March 30, 2012), 2014’s Penny Black was made directly from fans’ story submissions. The latter was also released under a different name — Jubilee Riots — and signified a shift in musical directions. Citing the name Enter the Haggis as having an association with a very specific neo-traditional sound (front man Craig Downie is a skilled bagpipe player), they stated that Jubilee Riots, which refers to Toronto’s 1875 riots, better underscored their Canadian roots and adventuresome musical spirit. Now returning to Buffalo for a show at Iron Works as Enter the Haggis on Saturday, February 17, the band is fresh off their seventh tour of Ireland—literally, with fans. “We fill a tour bus or two with adventurous fans and travel around the country with them. It’s a great way to make sure you’re never playing to an empty room,” says singer/fiddle–player Brian Buchanan. “It’s funny watching the looks on the faces of locals who are seeing us for the first time,” Downie says.”They’ve probably never heard of us and there are 60 or 70 people hollering along with every word.” Enter the Haggis is currently touring behind a seven-song EP, Broken Arms, released in late 2016.