Reviews

Ali MacQueen


Ali Macqueen – One of These Days

(Released 12th November 2021 through Blaggers Records)

Ali MacQueen wasn’t always a singer/songwriter from East London. Growing up in a nondescript former market town in South Bedfordshire, it was a place where people would forget about their dreams, passions and true selves, or not be inspired to have any in the first place.

Though that wasn’t to stop MacQueen.

Cutting his teeth in variety of bands across the local Luton scene, he truly found his footing when a move to Nottingham saw him form The Autoplan, a band who wasted little time in building a following and moving to the bright lights of the capital.
It wasn’t to be, however. The feelings that MacQueen had put down to general exhaustion actually led to an eight-hour bout of brain surgery, the five-week recovery from which forced The Autoplan to disband.

Undeterred, MacQueen carried on writing and recording, with regular shows at at venues such as The Rhythm Factory, The Troubadour and The Lexington, with a residency at The Half Moon in Putney.

It was the latter where he was discovered by Universal’s A+R dept. They came to see him once more at Camden’s Barfly where, in a cruel twist of fate, they took an interest in Jack Garrett instead, who was on after him…

Down but not out, Ali kept plugging away but a cruel twist of fate saw him waylaid by more brain surgery to remove yet another benign brain tumour. Again necessitating another five months off.

“After that, I just lost my way and became embroiled by the lows of conforming to the whole ‘get a job, have a good career’ mentality” MacQueen explains, and after a year as a content producer on a News website, he quit his job, suffering from burnout. “I was absolutely shot, stressed and at a real low. I was in a bad place, and did some stuff that I regret, and ended up really hurting those close to me”.

Thankfully MacQueen saw this as a wake-up call. Finding his musical feet once again and submitting his demos to a smattering of independent UK labels. It was independent imprint Blaggers Records that took notice however, something that allowed MacQueen to get back in the studio and record previous single ‘Loretto’.

Now, eight months later, MacQueen is back with his second release for the label. ‘One of These Days’ is four minutes of swimmy and softly psychedelic alt rock. “The song is about change in all forms” MacQueen explains. “People have really been affected by a global pandemic and it’s highlighted how badly they’ve have been treated by governments, authorities and institutions etc. We’re all waking up to how much inequality there is – people are doing their hardest to get by, but they feel like there’s not much in return for them – and they’re right.”

Despite its seemingly downtrodden narrative, there’s a sense of optimism at play too. Undoubtedly it’s this that has kept MacQueen going too, in spite of the numerous setbacks he’s faced over the years.

Such setbacks haven’t stopped him from playing live though.

Enlisting the help of Oak Moses – who have just returned from a sold-out tour of Germany – to be his backing band, Ali has been playing to an ever- growing fanbase at Dalston’s Victoria Inn, the Amersham Arms, Bedford Esquires’ Blender Festival and Islington Radio Festival, and they have just finished supporting Echobelly on their UK tour.

With a single launch party and gig planned at cult Leytonstone club night ‘What’s Cookin’ on 13 November, Ali has more live dates planned at Hackney Folklore supporting Electric Enemy (16 Nov) and Maida Vale’s Carlton Tavern on 30 November.

Ali MacQueen – One Of These Days

Ali MacQueen – Loretto

Ali MacQueen links:
Band/Artist location – London UK
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