The Inverness heat of Holyrood Rocks, at the Spectrum Centre on the 3rd of October. A review.

Holyrood Rocks Finalists, Silver Coast
Holyrood Rocks Finalists, Silver Coast
Saturday night saw the third heat of Holyrood Rocks take place at the Spectrum Centre in Inverness. The previous two nights had seen heats take place in Glasgow and Greenock. The three bands seeking that coveted spot at the final at Holyrood, and a recording session at Clyde 1, were All So Simple, Sly At Last and Silver Coast.

The events had been put together to promote electoral registration among young people as the 18 to 24 age group has traditionally had a low turnout at elections. Introducing the evening’s entertainment was Erin-Cait Gannon of the Scottish Political and Cultural Partnership who encouraged those there to get their mobile phones out and register at gov.uk/registertovote ! Further words of encouragement and the work being carried out to encourage young people was given by MSP, and one of the judges for the evening, Rhoda Grant.

First act up were All So Simple who listed their influences as Blink 184 and Sum 41. After a somewhat nervy start they warmed the audience with some up front pop punk very much trying to emulate the sound of their heroes. Throwing in a cover of Blink 182’s ‘I Guess This Is Growing Up’ it firmly cemented those aforementioned pop punk credentials. There is something quite anarchic and thrown together about All So Simple but it is the fun that they derive from their performance that filters over to the audience.

Following on were Sly At Last who for such a young band have a very funky, mature and somewhat sophisticated sound. This was a confident performance especially from frontman Alastair Tibbs and it is easy to forget that they are all still at school. Their rock influences could see them appeal to a wider and I would expect older audience. A fine short set rounded off with the bass powered ‘Second Best’ which transported us back to some seventies classic rock.

Final band of the night were Silver Coast and it would be fair to say that they were the most experienced act of the three showcased tonight. THey were “frest” from supporting Winter Tradition in Edinburgh the night before. They really brought their guitar driven indie rock to the audience and even drew some audience participation from those more vocally accomplished than me! They used their experience to work the stage and give a performance that focussed on all band members. It was a well put together set of three songs (‘Pictures’, ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Taking Chances’) which displayed the band’s abilities.

The judging panel had kind words for each of the acts but only one could go through to Holyrood on 31 October and tonight it was Silver Coast. It was a night of friendly rivalry between the bands who all sat together watching each other and the decision was greeted with applause by all.

Silver Coast will join the winners from Glasgow, Single By Sunday and from Greenock, Hayley Millar. Further heats will take place in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dumfries, Dunfermline and Airdrie.

Details on how you can support Silver Coast at the final can be found on the band’s Facebook page.

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Chartered surveyor by day, music reviewer by night, and occasionally I get to use my camera. A strange mix, but one that I enjoy. A chance meeting in the queue for Bella in 2010 led to the opportunity to write for InvernessGigs; a far cry from the days of writing for a football fanzine back in the late 80s, early 90s. My interests lie between the mainstream, the emerging and the local. Increasingly I find that we have more than enough locally to entertain us to necessitate a trip south. I’m always happy to give a listen, whatever the genre. Inverness has a plethora of talent, all of which I am more than keen to write about. If it encourages just one person to make the effort to listen to some new music I’ll be happy. You can contact Frank direct via frankieboyfin@gmail.com