A review of Caroline Truslove, Casey Inlet and Furry Vengeance, aka Summer Showcase 7 at the Ironworks, Inverness on the 22nd of August, 2013.

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First on stage tonight was Caroline Truslove. Caroline is no stranger to the local scene and has something of a transgenre CV that has seen her appear with the likes of KOBI, James Mackenzie and, in a prequel to tonight, with Habitat at Showcase No. 3. What is new though is that this is the first time Caroline has ventured out with her own material and perhaps this accounts for just a hint of nerves in her voice at the beginning. A voice that for me is more about subtlety than strength and in that respect, to my ear at least, sits somewhere between Joni Mitchell and Kathryn Williams. Very pleasant indeed.

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A talented guitarist, Caroline is flanked by Ian Mackenzie on guitar (from the aforementioned Habitat) and regular collaborator Calum Chisholm on cajon. Now I am a fan of these pared back line-ups, for me they allow the songs to shine and if the mix is right then they make for a really engaging set. And I was not disappointed. Lyrically mature and concerned with themes of freedom, love, personal epiphany and mans inhumanity to man, there were also times when this trio hooked onto a jazz-folk groove that I’d have been happy to listen to for considerably longer than the half-hour set would allow. Highlights of a strong set for me were ‘Ecstasy’ and ‘Hold On To Your Dreams’. I understand that Caroline intends to showcase her songs further with more live events planned, and that, is good news.

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Next up, three young men from Lossiemouth who go by the name of Casey Inlet. Describing themselves as indie and punk, the vocal style is dominated by that northern Madchester nasal style with the occasional Chelsea ’77 whine a la Mr Rotten thrown in for good measure. But it is far from unpleasant. With a three piece claiming this particular lineage the set really needs to be driven hard, but I’m bound to say this didn’t always happen.

There were tempo dips in some songs allied to some arrangements that frankly felt a bit stodgy. This was particularly the case on ‘Scrapping the Knives’ where it felt like they had something of a groove going only to stop, have a think about things, let a rather inconsequential lead riff rip and then pick it up again; didn’t work for me.

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In ‘Marilyn’ there is a repeated break that really wasn’t strong enough to be considered an anthemic instrumental chorus and the song was perhaps a bit too long. In that respect ‘Let me teach you how to fly’ was bang on the money, short and sweet while the melodic ‘That Scoundrel’ held my attention nicely. Writing about the timeless concerns of young men everywhere, drinking, fighting, girls – in fact a fast car song short of a full set – Casey Inlet proffered an utterly intriguing account of Lossiemouth nightlife.

They are young and have a real good presence, girls squealed in delight when they took to the stage. They are also charming and likeable, personally, I’m looking forward to seeing them again. Casey Inlet are David Dickinson (vocals and guitar), Chris Brebner (bass and backing vocals) and Joel Robinson (drums).

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It’s not always been easy to keep an audience at the Summer Showcase, with some crowds shrinking more than a wooly jumper in a hot wash, however this was not case with Furry Vengeance. The crowd took to the barrier to lap up this well practiced set,  following very recent festival appearances at Bellladrum and Bfest. The gig appeared particularly relaxed and whilst Barry did not return to the story of him being chased by a horse, the banter and chemistry between the guys helped create a feel good vibe.

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With strong retro styling and familiarity with the songs and the genre of their influences that’s done in an in your face, blatant manner. Matching T-shirts (although Barry clearly letting the side down at this performance), musical mash ups and even an attempts at a wave along bravely co-ordinated by Calum and Jamie, all added to the charm or the cheese, depending on how you feel.

Whilst contrasting acts,the respectful audience and general feeling of the evening pulled the event together.Next up The Oxides, Silver Coast and Naked Red to finish the Summer Showcases for the year.

Photographs by Roddy Mackenzie, more photos of the night.