The Undercover Hippy

Fri 27th May, 2016
8:00 pm - 10:30 pm (Doors: 7:30pm)
The Undercover Hippy

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Billy Rowan, aka The Undercover Hippy, is definitely not your average singer songwriter. His music brings together acoustic guitar, soulful vocals, infectious reggae rhythms, and the lyrical delivery of a skilled mc. After 7 years spent DJ’ing and MC’ing on the Drum & Bass circuit, Billy swapped the decks for a guitar and started out as a solo act in 2007. Although he still occasionally does solo gigs, he now usually plays with a full band, mixing guitars, keys, drums, bass, percussion and backing vocals to create a high energy, interactive and highly entertaining live show. Combining intelligent, provocative lyrics with dangerously catchy hooks and a feel good groove, this is music for the thinking man to shake his arse to. Think Jason Mraz meets The Cat Empire…on a protest march…at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Billy and his band have performed at some of the UK’s best festivals, including Glastonbury, The Big Chill, Green Man, The Secret Garden Party, Sunrise Celebration, Ireland’s Electric Picnic, and many more. After starting out playing solo, Billy now has a Bristol based 5 piece band consisting of Theo Grimshaw on drums, Zak Ranyard on bass, Andreas Millns on keys, and Mathew Pharaoh on Percussion. 2014 was an epic year for the band, with a jam packed summer of festival appearances and shows across the UK and Europe culminating with the much anticipated release of the album Monkey Suit in September. Highlights included playing to a filled to capacity Chai Wallah’s at Shambala, playing the Mainstage before Ben Howard and Bombay Bicycle club at Jersey Live, creating the most frenzied dancefloor yet in The Bimble Inn at Glastonbury Festival, and touring across Europe playing festivals in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. 2015 has so far seen them tour Scotland, headline Eden Festival alongside The Cat Empire and The Skints and play to thousands of new fans at Penabilli Festival in Italy, and looks set to be their busiest year to date.

The latest album “Monkey Suit”, which was 3 years in the making, was released on Sept 1st 2014 with a sold out launch party at the Attic in Bristol. The album fuses multiple genres, from reggae to hip-hop, folk to pop, but all held together by Billy’s signature style of vocal delivery and lyrical content. Have a listen to the album below:

The band are now hard at work on the new album, which is set for release in summer 2016. The first single from the album, “Boyfriend”, was released in March along with remixes from The Future Dub Project, DJ Hiphopapotamus and Raithism. It has received very positive reviews, getting radio play by David Rodigan on BBC 1Xtra, plus numerous regional stations.

“This is about as real as music gets!”
Fringe 2016 logo vsmallAndrew Marston – BBC Introducing

“..ten tracks of excellence…nothing short of a triumph! 9/10”

Due South West (for “Monkey Suit”.)

“The Undercover Hippy kept me thoroughly entertained with singer songwriter Billy Rowan’s amusing observations delivered via his witty lyrics and catchy choruses. This Bristol band has mastered the art of imparting political ideals on an audience who were totally involved with their MC style vocals and chilled reggae vibe. review of Eden Festival 2015

“His combination of catchy tunes, rhythmical vocal style, and socially aware (but often amusing) lyrics, is a recipe that is difficult to nail without seeming preachy or dull, but Rowan succeeds where many fail.”

“ a hip hop Gomez… Politically driven, clever and fun. 9/10”

Bandman Review

“Billy Rowan’s impassioned response to prejudiced attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers is a celebration of our shared humanity”

Happiness Collective (for “Borders”.)