So, here it was, the first ‘Summer Showcase’ at the Ironworks in Inverness. Quite a mixture of eclectic sounds were served up tonight (Thursday 14th July).
Tonight, the Ironworks had taken on a slightly different shape. The main stage area was closed off while the performance area was set up in the far corner of the main standing area. With tables around the side, it gave it a good small club feel.
First up was JAM REID. A young guy with a wirey tall frame full of enthusiasm with an almost banshee rebellious tone to his own material. On his own with an acoustic guitar, ‘Way Back Forward’ stood out as one of his stronger songs. Even allowing for the string breaks and the continuous slightly flat guitar, the audience cheered him on. The title of his song, ‘Just Be Brave’ was a good way of summing up his performance. (You can read an interview with him here)
After, the one man and his guitar routine, my ears were strapped back as the full volume and power of FALLEN RIOT came hurtling out of the speakers. Thrash, Metal, loud were all worthy descriptions, and the playing was tight, well rehearsed with a lot of great dynamics within their arrangements. A few Iron Maiden twin guitar influences creeping in amongst the growls and roars not out of place on a Sepultura stage. The crowd (small but receptive bunch of about 35) loved this band, and while a small band jumped frantically about in front of them, the bassist didn’t want to be left out, so he to joined in. Definitely the best thrash metal band I have seen locally.
And finally there came PAWS. Quite noticeably, the oldest band on the bill tonight, this Glasgow based band who I was surprised to read later were recently on the t-break stage at T in the Park, came on to the predictable noise of feedback. Before they hit a note, the drummers ‘Sub Pop’ t-shirt gave me a feeling I was in for some Nirvana influenced tunes. I was right. Nirvana aka ‘Bleach’ period. The guitarist/vocalists woolly hat and the bassists shorts made for an interesting spectacle, but the over lengthy intro did not work well for a short set. “Come closer to the stage, we’ve been on the go since 6am’ said the guitarist, and to be fair the fatigue was probably part responsible for a performance that didn’t quite catch the spark that ‘Fallen Riot’ had done a short time before.
A good first night of the showcases here’s to the next one with Iain McLaughlin & The Outsiders, Swamp Radio and The Ball Deep (tickets available here)
PS The prize for gentleman of the evening goes to Toby Michaels for stepping in to help out Jam Reid in a slight acoustic guitar crisis.
Special thanks to MDA for his first and certainly not his last for invernessGiGs.