IT was good for the three Fort William exiles of four-piece Russian Ninjas that they sold out their hometown gig – the first night of their February tour.
The town’s BA Club has hosted many a big-name band over the years, often in the early stages of a global career.
Just like Mumford and Sons.
But as the Ninjas’ lead singer Jamie Coltart explained, they ruffled a few of their nearest and dearest’s feathers with a little joke on their Facebook page – "F**k you Mumfords, we didn’t need a Brit to sell out Fort William!".
Jamie said: "When my mum saw that, straight away she told me to take it down – sorry Mum!
"And no hate on the Mumfords," laughed Jamie.
But at least selling out the show helped raise around £1200 for charity, Jamie reported.
These days Russian Ninjas are based in Glasgow.
The three Fort William members – Jamie, guitarist Andrew MacGillivray and bassist Alexander McGarry – found a good way to get over the problem of splitting faced by many young bands when the time comes to move away to college.
They all chose the same city for their studies – Glasgow.
Singer Jamie Coltart – fighting flu last weekend in a desperate bid to be better for this week’s Inverness acoustic date – explained.
"We all applied for courses in Glasgow and ended up in the exact same college.
"Our old drummer had to drop out, but we met Jamie Allanach who’s from Ayrshire and I think he has added to our sound quite a bit because he sings as well. So it’s made the sound a lot bigger."
But the Ninjas have also made smart choices about the subjects they’ve chosen to study too.
Jamie said: "It helps that drummer Jamie studied music performance, Andrew is studying sound production – and recording, obviously – and Alexander McGarry is on a film course.
"Our friends when they hear, say ‘You planned that!’. But it just fell quite nicely and because we are in different fields we meet so many different people.
"I’m studying music business at college including managing bands – I was already managing ours.
"I think I’m learning a lot from the practical side of doing it, but I thought it would drive me more to try to do the management side of things as a graded unit."
So that’s recording, band management, videos and performance taken care of. Luckily a friend’s striking photo also made the perfect cover for their current single Brush Your Tongue, free to download.
The band had wanted the friend, Bryce Powrie to take some photos of the band.
Jamie said: "While I was looking through some of his work, I spotted that picture and asked Bryce if we could use it as their single cover."
Getting Jamie to describe how he’d describe the Ninjas sound is fine, but getting an exact picture is more difficult.
He offers a clue that the band may just sound like themselves.
"After a gig, people come up to us and might say ‘You sound like ... Fleetwood Mac’ and we go ‘Fleetwood Mac?’. Then someone else comes up and says ‘You sound like Rage Against The Machine ...’
"We don’t ever get a regular one.
"But we quite like that as well – it keeps it quite exciting. Most of the time it’s bands we’re not even influenced by!"
The band is staggering their tour-dates to hit all the Scottish cities for the more likely to be better-attended end-of-the-week gigs.
The Inverness show is going to be acoustic.
"We’re gutted about it," admitted Jamie. "We were really looking forward to doing the electric show, but our bassist has project work which will delay him finishing in time.
"We didn’t want to go to Inverness to do a three-piece electric show, so we just thought we’d do an acoustic instead.
"But hopefully we can come back soon to do the electric one."
They have had good times in the venue.
"I’d say Mad Hatters is our favourite venue to play – so far," Jamie said, adding with honesty about as yet unplayed cities on the tour: "But we haven’t played Perth or Aberdeen, so I suppose we’ll have to reserve our judgment till we’ve played those."
The band’s name was one of the most intriguing things about the young band that played in Inverness as part of the Youth Music Initiative date a couple of years ago.
How did a handful of indie-loving teenagers decide to be Russian Ninjas?
"We were really young doing covers and showed up to our first gig and didn’t have a clue what to call ourselves," said Jamie, setting the scene.
"This guy said ’Just call yourselves Russian Ninjas,’. He’d wanted to use the name himself, but gave it to us and it just stuck.
"We couldn’t think of anything else we liked better so we just thought we would keep it.
"About a year ago the guy said ‘Did I ever tell you where it came from?’ and he linked us to this piece online.
"It’s the story of a Russian ex-soldier who started robbing farmers in Italy until one owner scared him off with a gun and the the ninja stole a bike to escape."
Just don’t expect the band to do a fancy dress interpretation of the name.
"We try not to associate ourselves with Russians or ninjas," said Jamie.
"But the number of people who want to design a logo for us – and it’ll be a ninja with a Russian hat on and we go ..."
Jamie adopts weary voice: "Yes, we’ve seen that before!"
But disguise might be a wise idea if any feisty feminists are looking at the band’s own description of their ethos on Facebook.
To quote: "Russian Ninjas are always looking for gigs to play, fans to make, free alcohol, banter, semi-attractive and willing women ...
The "semi-attractive and willing women" suggests they’re modestly hinting their own attractiveness isn’t that high and that they are realists rather than fantasists.
But what girl would fancy being described as "semi-attractive", Jamie?
Are there queues of them outside the gigs?
Jamie laughed: "Unfortunately they’re not falling at our feet, no!"
There’s better success on the creative output front.
"We are going to record our next single next month at 45A-Side studio in Glasgow," said Jamie.
It’s a swift follow-up to Brush Your Tongue.
Jamie said: "We recorded it about six months ago in the Audio Lounge in Glasgow. It’s got a good number of downloads and it’s getting played in some unusual places we didn’t expect – like radio on the islands.
"We decided to give it away free and send it about a bit to get people spreading the word."
The Mumfords might appreciate a peace offering...
Russian Ninjas play an acoustic set at Mad Hatters, Inverness, tomorrow (Friday) with Against All Flags.