A Review of Saturday at Rockness 2012 by Frank Finlayson.

Saturday was always going to be the difficult day for me. The line-up was heavily loaded towards the dance side on both the main stage and in Golden Voice. My main targets were always going to be Guillemots, The Pigeon Detectives and The View. All neatly packaged together in a segment running from 5.45 up until 9.00, and all within the confines of the Clash tent.

When the Guillemots took to the stage the tent was oddly quiet; not even half full. Surprising considering the calibre of the band. The first few notes of Kris Kross signalled the bands intentions. Intense and driven, this was a perfect set opener, followed up by the soaring ‘Vermillion’ and the delicate beauty of ‘Made Up Love Song No:43’. With Fyfe jumping between keyboards and guitar, this made last year’s appearance at Belladrum seem so pedestrian in comparison. The least clever point of the set was the introduction of a song from the new album, Hello Land!, which was just too quiet and was in danger of being overpowered by the outside noise. Equally, technical problems which lead to all sound being lost stage right, niggled a little too. In fairness, both were outwith their control. Normal service was resumed by ‘I Must Be A Lover’, and with a growing crowd, the reaction, which was never muted, grew. When Trains To Brazil picked up, the extra numbers were making themselves known. That would have ideally rounded off their spot but more was to come in the shape of ‘Annie, Let’s Not Wait’ and the epic ‘Sao Paulo’. Emotional highs, lows and swings in all direction encapsulated within one hour. Perfect.

The Pigeon Detectives who were up next, were fresh from an appearance at the Ironworks last month where they received a mildly enthusiastic welcome; it was all to be a little different tonight. Launching into ‘Romantic Type’, the Clash tent was already rammed to bursting. Again, a clever move by the organisers to ensure an electric atmosphere within the tent. A move which later may have backfired. Matt Bowman isn’t the shy and retiring sort, and he encouraged the throng from the off. By the end of ‘I Found Out’, he stated that he wanted to put the rock into RockNess after hearing all the dance music. This he duly did. By ‘This Is An Emergency’, the tent was as wild as it could be. It was bedlam. By the time ‘Say It Like You Mean It’ got an airing, the heat had really been turned up. Matt was keen to throw out the water to the front rows, or “rock star water” as he called it. “You’ll all be shagging tonight” was the promise as he threw out the elixir! By the end of I Can’t Control Myself, many really couldn’t, and a few had already started to climb the tent supports.

At this point Matt staged a fancy dress stage invasion, and we had bizarrely Mario, Luigi and The Pink Panther bobbing alongside the boys to ‘Keep On Your Dress’. The packed out tent had everything that you would want at a festival. The momentum was maintained all the way up to the end with ‘Take Her Back’ and ‘I’m Not Sorry’. Their most recent album may not have reached the upper echelons of the charts but they still have a place high in the hearts of those at RockNess this weekend.

The third leg was to belong to The View, but events were to take an unexpected turn. Having nipped out to get something to eat, and catch a glimpse of Beardyman, he never fails to impress, an early return was in order as the crowds generated by The Pigeon Detectives were sure to be multiplied by “special guests” The View.

It was evident early on, and we arrived back ten minutes in advance of their appearance, that it was going to be mobbed. There were very few behind us at the back, yet more were trying to get in. A slightly delayed start increased the excitement, for The View’s arrival. On striking up, so did the crowd, and for want of a better expression they were set to raise the roof. That, in the end, was the downfall. Shortly into the set we were all asked to leave the arena. It was clear that some damage had been done as supporting struts had disconnected from the fabric of the tent, most likely due to earlier climbing activities. I would never condone such behaviour, but the supports did lend themselves to a bit of high jinks. We were told initially that The View were to return, but later discovered that they had been abandoned for the night and would be back on the Sunday at Golden Voice (5.40 pm).

This, though, did give us the opportunity to catch the last couple of songs by The Red Kites in Howard’s End. Two songs, if I’ve written down their titles correctly, ‘Plans’ and ‘Lizzy J’. Bang on the button, and a whopping crowd too. These guys are going places, and what I caught at the end, the gig meant a lot to them. Saw them at Go North, and will see them at Belladrum, without doubt.

That was my Saturday. It was always going to be difficult for me as I stated at the beginning, but what I saw really excited me. Judging by the crowds that I saw entering Golden Voice for Justice, the organisers got that right too. Another good day. So just Sunday to go. That I am looking forward too…

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A lifelong passion for music matched with a geeky fascination for social media and websites resulted in the creation of Inverness Gigs back in 2010. The aim of the site is to help promote, support and generally raise awareness of the local music scene.In fairness fifteen years of being a psychiatric nurse never prepared me for the experiences that we have had over the last few years and the evolution of Inverness Gigs has certainly been a steep learning curve.I currently write (less and less), edit and co-ordinate most of the Inverness Gigs activities.Occasionally seen on Twitter, and  LinkedIn, if you want get in touch you can contact me direct at chris@igi.gs