Review of The Little Mill of Happiness at Ig:lu, Inverness on the 16th of September 2011.
Over the last year I have seen The Little Mill of Happiness play in both a festival setting, Belladrum, and on the stage and on the floor at the Ironworks. Tonight for their EP launch they were using the more intimate surroundings of Ig:lu on Church Street.
For those that aren’t familiar with Ig:lu, it is a petite arts venue up on third floor above MacEwens of Perth. When I say third floor this is a bit of an estimate as the flights of stairs, and corresponding landings, appeared eternal and judging by the humour tinged notices along the way it should have been expected. Having scaled the heights I made my way into the room, no bigger than a decent sized living room, to join the crowd gathered for the launch. The room itself was decked out with a nautical theme, reflecting the EPs title, Capsized Sailors. There were projections of portholes with stormy seas, and behind where the band was to play a backdrop of projected slides of shipwreck paintings from the Romantic era.
The set itself was in two parts. The first half being acoustic in nature was also a collection of new songs. Although an acoustic set could have been challenging to a band as full on as TLMOH, a deftness of touch filtered through the repertoire, aided by the size of the room and a generally attentive audience. As an introduction to some new material it didn’t match the storminess of the marine art that surrounded us and the band charted these less choppy waters with ease, giving a glimpse of their future course.
The second half brought us the more familiar tracks, including those on the début EP. Any concerns about the beefed up sound playing havoc with the rooms dimensions were quickly allayed and a powerful set gave us all good reason to pick up a copy of the aforementioned EP. Steve Obern’s stern vocal matches well with the bands uncompromising powerful tide. Never for the faint-hearted, there are, though, touches of glam especially in ‘Drying Out Wishbones’. Yes, glam, never gloom despite the dark foreboding feel to their standard, and set ender,’ Cold Blooded Revelry at Whitsun’. Always quick to make a highbrow reference, tonight being Noam Chomsky (note for Left4Dead fans that’s not a spelling mistake), cerebral as well as musical, TLMOH are cutting deep into the psyche of the Inverness music scene, creating with a little help from the visual art tonight, a perfect storm.
by Frank Finlayson
Thanks to Frank Finlayson, McIntosh Photography and The Little Mill of Happiness