Beer bath at the Ironworks

Been away from blogging for a bit being ill. I worked out last week that the absence of blogging is a symptom and decided I’d be back this week!

I managed to fit in some observation of Highland culture 2007 even while ill, I just haven’t got round to writing about it. So let’s start with Inverness’s relatively recent medium-sized venue, The Ironworks.

First off, it’s been long-awaited and badly needed. The programme has been lively and improving, thanks partly to the 2007 focus to some extent and thanks also to the festival fever hitting the Highlands this year. Bands who were up for the Skye Festival like Kasabian and Primal Scream stopped by for a work-out on their way west.

I caught two gigs, The Grim Northern Social supporting the revived Eddie and the Hotrods, then the more recent Primal Scream gig.

GNS supporting Eddie and the Hotrods seemed like a strange one. GNS should have been the headline act and certainly a lot of the fairly sparse audience were there to see them. A new line-up tightened the band up and gave it a heavier sound than when last seen at Eden Court a few years back. The oldies still sounded good and the newies sounded ok too. More guitar-oriented than before and Ewan MacFarlane on vocals seemed less up for it than usual. He name-checked The Market Bar at one point and that was the nearest he came to giving us his usual craic. Maybe he was a bit annoyed at being the support act. He was great anyway. Could he be anything less?

Before E & HR came on I was struggling to remember anything beyond “Do Anything You Wanna Do”. They came on and churned out song after song, slick rock with a good r&b foundation. I was dancin with the best of them shortly thereafter. That was probably also down to The Ironworks licenced bar supplying me all night. Good venue, good sound, feelgood music, hangover next day and deaved in a good cause. The band looked like they were having fun and enjoyed giving us a good night.

24 May was the Primal Scream gig. Much busier, much younger crowd on average, although still a fair number of seventies-survivors around. My daughters had bought me tickets for my birthday and the younger one humoured me by coming along too. £25 a ticket and no support act! Primal Scream were not doing their bit to bring on the talent I felt. Bit of a missed opportunity, but so was the rest of the show.
They were playing in Skye the next night and it felt like a bit of a run-through. That might have been ok if we had paid a tenner, but my girls had shelled out a good bit more. Manny tried hard to give value for money with some good interaction with the audience, but the rest were going through the motions. What a poser Bobby Gillespie is! Completely lacking in presence or just not trying too hard? The band cranked it up for the four big hit songs at the end which was fun and they rocked the place, but up to then it was a bit underwhelming.

This time though The Ironworks’ licenced bar was more of a pain in the butt than a service. The bouncers, good guys all who run it tight in bars across the town, were implementing an easy-going regime where in the front area of the room it was fine to lob a pint of beer into the crowd. It was in plastic glasses but people who had paid good money were getting soaked by morons who had more money than sense. Somebody chucked one at the stage at one point and Bobby Gillespie looked momentarily irritated. Rock and Roll! Neither the thrower or the target had the idea really. The bouncers shone torches at anyone who they reckoned was getting out of hand. Not good enough! Chuck them out! It’s not ok anywhere else so why should I pay to get soaked by somebody else’s reject beer?

Great facility this but we need to get it right. As for Primal Scream… bit of a yawn really. Both GNS and Eddie and the Hotrods rocked them into oblivion. The last guys are my age and seemed to be enjoying it and made us feel good too. The same 24 May, Ewan MacFarlane of GNS was playing at The Market Bar. Wish I’d been there.

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