North Atlas, at Hootananny (Mad Hatters), Inverness.

North Atlas came, as suggested in their name, north for their first visit to Inverness and were supported by Susanna Wolfe and her band. Unfortunately due to a technical issue* on my part I was unable to cover Susanna’s set but will make every effort the next time I notice that they are playing locally.

North Atlas, are a Glasgow based 4 piece who came with a trail of positive press mentions and their brand of electronic infused indie rock was certainly a strong reason to be in Mad Hatters as we approached the midnight hour. The late kick off can attract the odd person worse for wear but there was a small but good natured crowd in to entertain themselves to the sounds of North Atlas. One punter enthusiastically told me mid set, more than once, about six times in fact, that the band were ‘fucking brilliant’. I’m not necessarily going to completely disagree with him but I would like to expand a little on his considered and well argued assessment of the band.

The band try their damnedest to inject elements of electronica into, an at times, energetic set. That energy, when the band perform at pace is quite exhilarating. There is a primal Biffy feel with an added layer of the drive of, say, a Crash Club rushing through it, with a hint of Prodigy wanting get out and snap at your heels but that element doesn’t quite rise higher to grab you more. But that grab on your ankles is enough without taking over unnecessarily. There were times when the pace dropped and it could lose just a little focus as it meandered a little and this didn’t seem to be helped by the sound from the vocal which came and went a little mid set. For me I like it ramped up; it’s got the potential to be quite colossal.

But overall this is a band with a lot of promise who do well in their efforts to incorporate the electronic fusions within each song. That with the positively beaming personality of vocalist Leon ensure they engage well with an audience and with his vocal veering into classic rock territory there was wide appeal and accessibility. So getting back to that earlier opinion that was expressed to me. For a band still formulating new songs and working on their set they have an enthusiasm which shines through and as such they aren’t quite there yet. So watch this space and maybe one day we’ll say North Atlas are ‘fucking brilliant’.

*technical issue update – ok, so I left my camera battery at home…

Read interview with the band here.

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Chartered surveyor by day, music reviewer by night, and occasionally I get to use my camera. A strange mix, but one that I enjoy. A chance meeting in the queue for Bella in 2010 led to the opportunity to write for InvernessGigs; a far cry from the days of writing for a football fanzine back in the late 80s, early 90s. My interests lie between the mainstream, the emerging and the local. Increasingly I find that we have more than enough locally to entertain us to necessitate a trip south. I’m always happy to give a listen, whatever the genre. Inverness has a plethora of talent, all of which I am more than keen to write about. If it encourages just one person to make the effort to listen to some new music I’ll be happy. You can contact Frank direct via frankieboyfin@gmail.com