Amy MacDonald , with support from Newton Faulkener, at Ironworks, Inverness.

In the town centre there isn’t a parking space to be had. The Ironworks is sold out with folk who love their rock with a hint of folky-pop for this Amy MacDonald gig. Really, the place is buzzing, and judging by a lot of the accents folk have travelled from far and wide to be here.

The last time I caught Newton Faulkener at the Ironworks he was headlining but throughout this Under Stars tour he has been providing the support. The ginger dreds have been cropped but the guitar playing and voice are as special as ever. He may well have been slightly off the radar for a while but it’s hard to avoid the feeling of this being a double-header and I’m pleased to say this seems to have been reflected in the venue filling up early and good sized crowd pitching up for Newton. As ever, he indulges in crowd participation and, as ever, the crowd respond.

He is charming, funny and takes a risk or two in airing some new material – literally unfinished one offering amounted to verse and a chorus (but it did have a title). With five albums in the bag and a sixth on the way he wasn’t short of material. Dream Catch Me gets the biggest cheer of the night while his outrageously good finale of Bohemian Rhapsody leaves the crowd in fine spirit ahead of the main event.

It’s a shiny evening – alongside the double platinum success behind Newton, Amy let’s us know early on that her first album ‘This is the Life’ has just gone triple platinum. Testament to this is that her two best known songs ‘Mr Rock and Roll’ and ‘This is the Life’ are particularly well received. The pace of the show is relentless although we have a mid set acoustic interlude featuring ‘4th July’, ‘Pride’ and ‘Listen to the Music’. This serves to really showcase the range and control of a voice that I tend to associate with power.

Before coming on stage there was a lot of classic soul to be heard through the PA and it was a pleasant surprise to hear a cover of the Doobie Brothers hit ‘Listen to the Music’ feature in the acoustic section. The pace is fairly relentless up to a three song encore which again kicks off with a solo “Prepare to Fall’ from Amy before rounding off a memorable evening with ‘Down by the Water’ and ‘Let’s Start a Band’. It may well be good four years since we’ve heard from her but on the strength of the reception this evening it has been well worth the wait – one really happy crowd and a busy merch stand.

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Life-long engagement with music and a truly eclectic taste (although prog-rock and metal will usually have me scrambling for the off button). If pushed, I would have to say the Velvet Underground are one of the most important band’s of all time. Although I consider myself first and foremost a photographer, as regards reviewing I guess I cut my teeth in the vibrant fanzine scene of the 80’s. Around the same time I started taking photographs and, to be brief, performance and photography were made for each other: perfect match.