Iain McLaughlin & The Outsiders, with support from Alkanes and The Hunt, at Ironworks, Inverness.

Typically, with gigs on a Friday night, people are only really there for the main act and couldn’t really give two less about the openers. That was certainly the case a bit here, with the crowd roughly doubling by 9 pm and the overall energy they started to give within the last few tracks of the night.

Chances are the drink helped, but then this should be expected with Iain McLaughlin and The Outsiders playing along with The Alkanes and The Hunt. This was a gig far more for those interested in Inverness’ independent scene.

The Hunt were there to start off and start up the night. The opening song was perfectly solid, and throughout the duo were consistent with some guitar work that can best be described as Dead Kennedys if Tom Morello snuck in through the roof and re wired the amp for the solos.

With the drummer starting on African drums in his youth and both members saying in an interview that they had initially focused more on having fun and making mistakes, they were able to keep their act surprisingly upbeat for such an intentionally exhausting genre most of the time.

The Alkanes were able to bring out more of an early to mid-2000s punk in the middle of the night. This was a band not afraid to throw a large volume of excrement at the wall and to work with what stuck. To open they started with a couple of decent tracks to bring in the crowd. Fair enough.

Later on however, they were mixing in the vocal styles of Rise Against and a real knack for flowing the melodic and lead guitar in and out when necessary. The only real problem with this however is that these elements were ore towards the end of their act, when they could have used a lot more of it. What is clear about this act is that they are still a bad with a few kinks to iron out, but clearer than that is the passion they have for experimentation, particularly when they played “Make it Right” to get us all ready for the main event.

To finish the night off, Iain McLaughlin & The Outsiders seemed to skim through their vinyls for a retro vibe. Oh, the music of the main act did still fit within the alt rock/grunge genre as that is their base. They confessed as much on stage, but that didn’t offset the classic rock vibes going all around.

The leading man of the band, Iain had a very humble stage persona peppered with that Jim Morrison brand of bizarre but misunderstood that honestly complimented the down tunes guitars generously. The new single of the group “Salvador” is clearly a work with a lot of work put into it, with a catchy chorus and overall the best example of this band’s ability to blend the old with the new to make something totally new.  

This was a solid night from start to finish, where the musicians were constantly drawing from whatever influence they saw fit or just felt like doing, which is exactly what you want from an independent event like this.