Review of Parma Violets supported by The Maydays at Mad Hatters, Inverness on Saturday the 21st of January.


What a great weekend of music for Inverness. Friday saw Thin Lizzy and Bombskare in Ironworks and Mad Hatters respectively. I suspect 2012 won’t see too many nights with such widely acclaimed bands…. So what can home grown Highland bands offer against such superlative bands. well, here we are next night checking out a couple of up and coming local bands.

A fairly busy Mad Hatters awaited the Maydays who’d popped down from Caithness. This young band were warmly welcomed to the stage and burst straight into driving beats well balanced with tight harmonies. The organ brought a vintage bent to a bright pop/indie sound. Complex chiming guitar sounds which are less apparent on their recorded music were very much to the fore tonight and had everyone nodding away with even a couple of stray dancers. Definitely one to watch out for f you are into Wombatsesque quirky power pop. Their Facebook page, where a few songs are available to listen to and download, is here.

After a quick change around, came Parma Violets who bounded onto the stage with a warm welcome from the rapidly filling crowd. These guys have grown into their sound and are a confident and assured outfit, not least because of Paul MacIver’s enthralling efforts as front man. Energetic and ballsy, comparisons with the View’s Kyle Falconer are futile but not so far off the mark.

Their songs, almost classic rock in levels of power, will be a revelation to those expecting the more acoustic musings of their YouTube videos.Parma Violets in full flow are something else. Throbbing and driving bass, flailing and energetic drums form a powerful backline. Barrie and Paul’s interweaving guitar work is held in place by lush keyboards. If anything, a flubby pa and lead guitar just a little too low in the mix let the overall sound down, though that’s small fry.

What is clear is that Parma Violets have progressed into a tight, well rehearsed, unit where driving rock music mingles with indie and a touch of reggae to deliver immense powerful hooks that the crowd just lapped up.  A sparkling 50 minute set!

Where next for these guys…  New material is being recorded and is for imminent release. Surely with the sustained effort these guys have put in will be rewarded with the band moving up the stage order at festivals.

Written by Jim Kennedy