We look at Miracle Glass Company, Dr Wook and more, Aviemore Conference Centre.
North Hop returned to Aviemore for the second time this year. Once again in the Aviemore Conference Centre this corporate setting may have been somewhat generic in appearance for a festival priding itself on its range of products from craft brewers and artisans covering a number of fields but once again the hall acted as a blank canvas for the festival. The main beer hall was set out with long tables with hay bale seating on either side. Encircling this area was an array of brewers, distillers and food outlets. Set to the front, and opposite the entrance was the stage that was to feature four acts.
As the Friday night crowd arrived, and begun to settle down to their choice of their inclusive festival brew, either a Rhubarb Hefeweizen ‘Rhuby Weiss’ from the 71 Brewing Company or Thistly Cross’s farmhouse style cider, first act Riley was being introduced to the stage by stv’s Nicola McAlley. Riley was complemented by a guitarist who let Riley take centre stage with a mix of mainly original material and a couple of covers thrown in for good measure, a Beiber and a Jacksons. Her voice is big and caught attention in all corners of the room. Riley is well travelled and even wrote the timeless “High Line’ when she was in New York about New York. A fine start to the evening.
One of the features of the festival is the access to the brewers and those knowledgeable of their products giving an opportunity to expand your palate with verbal tasting notes as you go from stall to stall. North Hop always have a different mix of brewers and it was great to chat with the beermakers and try some interesting new flavours such as Alechemy’s ‘Das Ist Techno Sex’ a key lime and passionfruit sour coming in at 5.4% and Brewheadz ‘Passionate Morning Cuppa’ 5% worth of passionfruit and black Chinese tea Oatmeal Pale Ale. And yes, they do work!
But back on stage was Leanne Smith, accompanied by her friend Morrigan a further vocalist. Although the setup appeared very coffee shop the performance was not and it reached across the room and worked well as a backdrop that made heads turn throughout the set. Leanne and Morrigan well together producing a consistently pleasing collection that even injected a little Mamma Mia into the proceedings. Another act that maintained the balance.
Next up was Dr Wook. The good doctor has performed lightly over the past few months so this was a rare outing. More dive bar than coffee shop the sound of Dr Wook evokes a feel of the south eastern states of the US and delivers a gritty vocal over a crafted guitar. This worked well as the drinks begun to flow. Keeping the cover song theme going he dedicated a touching version New Order’s “Love Vigilantes” to the 11th of November.
Finishing off the music was headline act Miracle Glass Company. North Hop likes to end each session with a top notch act. It doesn’t go quietly! Miracle Glass Company are a three piece who hit a psychedelic sound with three part harmonies with more than a nod to latter year Beatles and hint of Stones too. More Rolling than Roses. But this also gives way to real crowd pleasing stomp along music that gets a pocket of the crowd up on the floor. Glass Miracle Company are a band. A band that look like a band, play like a band, and are as real a deal as I have heard in some time. The world awaits them.
As for the opening night of North Hop, the numbers may have been a little down on the sessions on the Saturday, but it was well executed evening in an ideal environment. There is attention to detail throughout the festival and organiser Michelle Russell should be rightly pleased with what she has achieved.
Check out the images of the night below;