A small but privileged crowd were treated to a rare acoustic session with young Ross-shire band Last Summer Effect at The Greenhouse, Dingwall on Wednesday night. Organised by Greenhouse owner Dave Lynch, the short gig served two purposes: To highlight and promote local music talent and to provide a filming opportunity for the new Greenhouse promotional video. The venue certainly was comfortable, with a homely feel of cushioned chairs, and coffee/tea and cakes available. The stage area was set up well in a large picture window, although with 5 musicians, lead vocalist Chris Fox was forced onto the main floor through lack of space. This did not daunt him in the slightest and he quickly welcomed the mixed audience to the gig. Predominately young aficionados, there were a few older attendees who seemed to enjoy the music as much as the younger fans.
Kicking off with ‘From You’, the driving bass line and lyrics worked well together. An unusual set up of box drum, electric lead, acoustic lead and acoustic bass guitar worked very well and delivered a blended sound without total domination by one instrument. The sound engineer worked hard on this balance and the result was worth it. A gently paced acoustic intro featured in ‘For Yourself’, with an electric guitar solo midway through the song bringing a nice contrast.
My personal choice of the night was the 3rd offering from the band, entitled ‘Passion’. Michael Bull’s box drum solo was a particular highlight of this song. ‘Have You Heard’ laced an eerie rhythmic beat throughout the song, fading in and out, and provided something quite unusual. ‘If I Wish’ started as a gentle song then quickly escalated to a true power ballad, before settling back into a slower format again.
The EP title track ‘Say What You’re Thinking’ perhaps suffered from translation to acoustic more than the others, with a fabulous chorus but the transitions from verse to chorus contrasting quite a lot. ‘Heroes‘ was another of my top picks, with great lyrics, great vocals and a fab beat to it. The song just gelled well and was obviously enjoyed by the band as well as the audience. ‘Dragons in My Dream’ had Chris Fox working hard to encourage audience participation, but he got it eventually. This young man has a good stage presence, and is a natural front man, engaging the crowd in banter with ease. His voice suits the band’s sound and harmonises well with Michael McCulloch (Electric guitarist and backing vocals). ‘Falling Hard’ was the final number of the evening, and this song drew you in with a pulsing, rock edged beat. This was the biggest crowd pleaser of the night, and many in attendance sang along.
With featured slots at Belladrum and Hootenanny recently under their belts, and more gigs including Jocktoberfest on the Black Isle to come very soon, this young band is very busy. Twins Steven and Michael Bull, of Tore, and Dingwall lads Robbie Tranter, Michael McCulloch and Chris Fox have also produced an EP titled ‘Say What You’re Thinking’, now for sale in the Greenhouse for the small price of £5. The music on the CD will not be the acoustic versions on offer Wednesday night, but the fully electric, rock sound that Last Summer Effect’s fans are accustomed to. Keep your eyes on invernessgigs’ listing pages though, as the chance to attend an acoustic session with this band is well worth it. Thanks to Last Summer Effect, Dave Lynch, and the Greenhouse for a lovely evening’s entertainment – here’s to many more