We cast our eye over the music line up of XpoNorth17

One of the biggest challenges of the XPO North Music showcase is deciding who to go and see and the fear of missing out. Every year you get the ‘did you see… ? They were amazing’ and every year you’ll probably find that you missed them in favour of some navel-gazing indie hipster dirge by Brown Goat and the Winkle Pickers.

This year all indications are good and bands are spread out across the usual plethora of venues in Inverness. The Market Bar will of course be hot and sweaty, The Penta Hotel will be full of industry wannabes and we can all raise a glass to the not-sadly-missed-at-all Deanos, one of the most woeful excuses for a live venue that I’ve ever had the misfortune to set foot in. The Tooth and Claw step up to fit that particular void and I’m hearing good things of their now neighbour-friendly venue upstairs.

And on to the bands… there’s the usual spread of local, national and international acts with a broad spread of genres that should keep most people happy.

Wednesday

Emme Woods (Blackfriars) is one I think that could be a highlight of the music showcase. She reminds me a little of Nadine Shah in terms of that dark, reverb-laden menace that she brings to her music. She switches effortlessly from a near angelic croon to snarled vocals that’ll send shivers down your spine.

Pinact (Hoots) have a new album out in August that they’ll no doubt be keen to promote. It’s being released on yellow vinyl and cassette which fortunately comes with a digital copy if you’re struggling to dig out the Walkman. Expect anthemic pop rock with a healthy dose of nineties-inspired indie.

Declan Welsh and the Decadent West (The Phoenix) always has plenty to say and wears his political heart on his sleeve. He’s acerbic, witty as hell and performs fast paced highly charged music that will rock you to your core.

Posable Action Figures (Mercure Bar) are generating a lot of interest, Vic Galloway has tipped as one to watch for 2017 and their single ‘Cut’ has been played on Radio 1. A melting pot of pop, rock, electronica they should re-energise the post-midnight crowd.

Thursday

Foreignfox (Mad Hatters) impressed us last year in the Market Bar, our reviewer giving them the ‘sweatiest set’ award. ‘A super unique sound blending electronics, synths and indie guitar’ wrote our breathless, sweaty reviewer at the time. It’ll be good to see a return visit from the Dunfermline based band.

Quake Matthews (Hoots) The Canadian Rap artist will kick things off for us at the Inverness Gigs stage in Hootananny (see the other acts on the line-up here).  His last album ‘Rap Music’ won plaudits over in Canada last year and the XPO North programme promises that we’re in for a ‘captivating listening experience’. Having listened to the album I’m inclined to agree!

Nieves (Blackfriars) Another band that have impressed us before and a band that are going from strength to strength. Their last single ‘Performing Arts’ has garnered significant interest including being featured on BBC Introducing. Kind of like Coldplay if Coldplay had a set of bollocks and any musical integrity.

Fat Goth  (The Tooth and Claw) are loud, brash, obnoxious and without fail create an absolute racket. They along with the very sadly missed United Fruit play some of the most energetic and frenetic rock you’ll find anywhere in Scotland  – or anywhere else for that matter. Their fourth album ‘Enorme!’ came out recently and continues a rich reign of form that shows no sign of abating.

XpoNorth 2017 returns to Inverness on Wednesday 7th June and Thursday 8th June.

You can listen to our XpoNorth podcast special hear.

The full line-up for XpoNorth 2017 can be seen here.

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I've always loved music and spent my late teens and early twenties playing guitar in various bands on Lewis and Aberdeen. Other than playing in some truly terrifying pubs in Aberdeen not much came of it and life became focused on family and having a 'proper' job. Inverness Gigs is an outlet for me to quell my inner frustrated musician and the caliber of local acts has even inspired me to take my own music more seriously again. Who knows, one day I might venture back on stage under the fierce scrutiny of an Inverness Gigs reviewer!You can contact Toby direct at Toby@Igi.gs