A review, of the first Summer Showcase featuring  Dougie Burns, Adrian Telfer, 76 Knots and Purple Divide on the 12th of July 2012, by Frank Finlayson.

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Originally the line-up was to be Adrian Telfer, Winnie, Purple Divide and The Parma Violets, but following a couple of substitutions Winnie and The Parmas were replaced by Dougie Burns and 76 Knots.

This now created a very eclectic, if not polarised, line-up. However, as it became abundantly clear on the night each act was given due consideration and appreciation, which in itself says a lot for the musically knowledgeable crowd that attend events such as the Showcases.

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First on, and a change to the advertised programme, was Dougie Burns. Dougie is a bluesman, but this wasn’t lost with the indie kids, who sung along to his tunes, taking in his little stories he weaved between songs, as he sat below the barrier. The result of leaving a guitar strap at home. But sitting down there brought the audience closer. Dougie’s songs are about life, about heaven, but not in a religious way, but in a drunken kind of way. These bluesy tales really endeared him, and the additional accompaniment of Stevie Smith on harmonica, he set the showcases off on a rolling start as he ended his set with his Americana fuelled road trip California Cadillac.

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Keeping the pace moving was Adrian Telfer, who with guitar strap stood up behind the barrier. Adrian too, tells a tale, and you feel you get a piece of the person and not just the music when he performs. The closeness of family hold dear in his compositions, and give out a well painted picture of the singer. His love of the Black Isle Brewery was brought to the fore in the commercially humorous To the Yeast. A free ticket for beer for life I should think. Adding to that family feeling of belonging, he was accompanied by his wife, Lucy, on flute, towards the end of his set. Adrian was also promoting his EP Songs From The Decks of Dipper, a reference to his yacht which survived a storm at sea as he and his family were airlifted to safety.

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If Dougie and Adrian were the calm, then the storm arrived in the tidal wave that is 76 Knots. Little was known about the threesome before tonight, but with Team Kapowski’s Andy McMaster on bass, you knew that they came with some pedigree, and boy did they not disappoint. Behind the flood of sound Andy acted as the foil to guitarist, and predominantly lead vocalist, Zander MacDonald. Using the width of the floor, they upped the Beaufort scale with their dark, but underlying catchy songs. The names at times may have escaped them; was it My Advice For You or The Fast and Furious? Although one was the song name, the other reflected the band. As they get to know their song names, we’ll get to know them without doubt.

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Rounding off the night were Purple Divide. Daniel Gunn turned the clock back a couple of hours by giving an acoustic start following the aural onslaught of 76 Knots. He was quickly joined on the floor by Dale and Connor as they upped the volume and set sail for home. I didn’t leave with a whistling in my ears tonight but the irresistible choruses of Lose Control and Escape. There is such variation within individual songs, mixing a soaring anthem with a melancholy vocal. Putting powerful and thoughtful together with maximum effect. Even Ghosts adds a level of dirtiness to their set. Not many acts can put together a set of such impact, and by that I am not just referring to local acts.

At the end of 76Knots slot, Zander stated that it seemed just like five minutes. But it was that sort of night, four seemingly disparate acts that all had their place as the night flew in. The Showcases can be like that; just when you least expect it.

You can read a recent interview with Adrian here and catch up with all the other Showcase news here.