Brownbear ,with support from The Chosen Lonely and Connor Johnston, at The Tooth & Claw, Inverness.
It may have been Friday the 13th but there was no bad luck involved when I went along to the Tooth and Claw to see the return of Brownbear to Inverness. This was a gig I had been looking forward to since it was announced the previous month. The anticipation grew after Connor Johnston and The Chosen Lonely were revealed as the support acts for the evening. I have had first hand experience of both of these young lads, with them coming on to my radio show to do acoustic sessions, but was excited to see what they could do in front of a crowd.
As the audience was slowly gathering in the upstairs area Connor Johnston came to the front of the stage and started with Keep Her Mine, a really nice poppy number that had the crowd bobbing along straight away. He followed this up by playing tracks from his forthcoming EP, which should be out in the new year. Meant To Be and Smother The Light are a touch slower, while Fire had a heavier beat through it. For such a young performer he has a great rapport with the crowd and a really good sound and I am really looking forward to seeing him live again.
Next on was The Chosen Lonely aka Steven Barclay, the definition of indie cool. Steven is back on the scene as a solo artist, taking a break for a while from playing with Ralia. His first track Crack On is one of his newest tracks and I really like the direction he is heading with this track. He followed this up with Rollercoaster and a version of one of Ralia’s songs Charlton Lane, a really good track with a nice pace to it. He played a brilliant version of The Libertines Music When The Lights Go Out that had members of the crowd singing along. He finished off with another new track Growing old and Sunshine Year. This was a very solid first outing as The Chosen Lonely and with plans to record more material in the near future, 2018 could be a very big year.
The main event for the evening was Brownbear in his first appearance in Inverness since Xponorth 16. He is on a mini acoustic highland tour including gigs in Aviemore and Elgin. He kicks off the brilliant Dead or Alive a fast paced track that grabs the crowds attention by the scruff of the neck and refuses to let go. Next up is Lonely For You, followed by the delightful new single Covers, this is a great tune and even more complete as its played on ukulele. The next track is Sinking Ships and I feel that this brings out a beautiful sound to Matt’s voice, very much akin to Bob Marley. Once In A While is a really upbeat catchy track, that after one listen is still stuck happily in my head. The rousing Stop the world even bring Igigs alumni Dave MacIver up dancing (could he be a contender for the next Strictly Inverness?)
He announces that as his album has been completed and ready for release at the beginning of the year, but he has already started working on some new tracks for the 2nd including Telling Stories another track played with the ukulele, before segwaying in to a cover of Elvis’s Can’t Help Falling In Love With You. The final track of the evening is the track that first made me a fan of Brownbear’s music Wandering Eyes, a brilliant track to round of a brilliant night.
The only disappointing thing at the end of the night is that we have to wait another 5-6 months until the album comes out.
Keep track of Brownbear via his Facebook page for news on the album.
Read our interview with Matt below;