Sara Bills and The Hasbeens EP Launch Night – 26th May 2011
Before the review invernessGiGs would like to thank our new contributor Megan Donald for taking the time to write this review, we are looking forward to having her on board.
Thursday night saw the party for release of ‘Spill the Beans’, debut EP from burgeoning Invernessian talent Sara Bills and her band, the Hasbeens. Held in the Hung Gallery in Lombard Street, the small lane swelled early on with a rousing hum of anticipation. The inventive location of this new establishment situated in what is most clearly described as ‘the back of what used to be Woolworths’, served the event perfectly, with the cobbled streets of the Old Town giving the feeling of going off the beaten track and adding to the exclusivity of the night. The gallery itself was compact and bustling with fans, friends and family waiting for the band’s performance and offering heartfelt congratulations for this long-awaited EP.
Set up in the corner of the gallery was support act for the band, 16 year old self-taught songstress, Emily Mackinnon. Her age acted as no barrier however as her freshness and clear ability shone through with confidence in the face of such a dense and expectant crowd. Following the slip stream of Sara Bills and The Hasbeens will likely prove to bring further musical opportunities for Emily and allow greater well-deserved acknowledgment.
And so followed the reason for celebration, a performance from Sara Bills and the Hasbeens themselves. With the room properly perspiring from a combination of self provided alcoholic refreshment, the searing heat of the room and obviously just the sheer thrill of it all, the band ripped through their songs, with the ‘one about the goat’ proving the biggest crowd pleaser. Sara’s voice pealed over the guitars, sharing with the audience all the melodic pains of growing up and loving that underlie the band as a whole. Undercutting the yearning lyrical goodness of Sara were the jangly guitars of Colin Cummings and Simon Wort and thumpingly consistent Dickie Bills on drums. Sweet but never sickly, Sara Bills and The Hasbeens clearly wear their heart on their sleeve much to the benefit to everyone who listens.
The night showed that Sara Bills and The Hasbeens are a genuine force to be reckoned with and Spill the Beans is a marker for greater things to come. In a sea of generic indie pop, this band retreat from lazy comparisons to Belle and Sebastian and the like with their true creativity and local charm. Sara Bills and The Hasbeens will help give Inverness a greater musical sense of place – that is one made up of polished home grown ability and a receptive and loyal audience.