Dodge Brothers will rock Bo’ness silent film fest

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The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival once again welcomes skiffle crusaders The Dodge Brothers to provide a jumping soundtrack for one of its top movies.

Tickets for the band’s Scottish tour are now on sale and dates include an appearance at the historic Bo’ness cinema on Saturday, March 21 next year as they bop and jive live to provide accompaniment for the 1930 silent classic City Girl.

The Dodge Brothers’ line-up of usual suspects, Mike Hammond (vocals/guitar/banjo), Aly Hirji (guitar/mandolin/vocals), Mark Kermode (bass/harmonica/vocals) and Alex Hammond (washboard/snaredrum/percussion), will be embellished by peerless piano man and HippFest veteran Neil Brand.

Featuring songs performed in authentic jug-band blues and early rock’n’roll style, The Dodge Brothers became the first ever band to accompany a silent film at Glastonbury Festival in 2014 and have played to silent films at some of the most prestigious festivals and venues in the UK, including The Barbican, The National Film Theatre, BFI Southbank, The National Media Museum Bradford and, of course, HippFest, which celebrates its 10th year in 2020.

Guitarist Aly said: “We are delighted to be coming back to Scotland. Before sound arrived in Hollywood the movies always had some noise associated with them and as a band we are steeped in that tradition – making rackets to stories to raise an eyebrow, infect your feet with rhythm, and prompt maybe a laugh or a tear.

“With our fifth Dodge Brother Neil Brand, expert silent pianist and composer, we fly the flag for silent cinema.”

City Girl is a romantic drama directed by F.W. Murnau – one of the most celebrated figures of the silent film era.

Tall, handsome screen idol of yesteryear Charles Farrell plays Lem, a farmer’s son who travels to the big city, where he falls in love with Mary Duncan’s disenchanted waitress, Kate.

Lem brings his new gal home to meet the folks, but his dominating dad and a pack of leering farmhands put the young couple’s love to the test.

HippFest director Alison Strauss said: “When The Dodge Brothers last played at HippFest four years ago they blew the roof off, and every year since audiences have been asking us to bring them back.

“There’s really nothing to beat the spark and energy of a silent film when it is accompanied with music that fits, as theirs does. Done well, a film can be lifted, better understood and intensified.

“I can’t wait to experience the Dodges’ musical response to this rarely screened film and we are all delighted to see them return for our 10th anniversary in 2020.”

The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival runs from Wednesday, March 18 to Sunday, March 22 and the full programme will be announced at the start of February.

Visit www.hippodromecinema.co.uk for tickets and more information.