Amy Macdonald, with support from Callum Beattie and Dylan James Tierney, at Northern Meeting Park, Inverness.

The last time we caught Dylan play he was supporting fellow support for the evening, Callum Beattie , late last year and he certainly relished the bigger stage. Bouyed by the partisan support, there was certainly a lot of love for Dylan or ‘Dylan F##### Tierney’ as sections of the crowd  enthusiastically chanted. 

Over the years we have seen Dylan develop in his style, confidence and approach and this was a really composed performance. What was particularly striking was that despite the crowd, Dylan’s set feels particularly intimate as it takes you through some of his newer material “Lovers Hold Hands”, which was released in the morning to a dedication to his late mother for the last song. 

Catching up with Dylan afterwards he was genuinely overwhelmed and grateful for the support that he received. His new album ‘Old Misty Road’ will be out in a couple of months, find out more in our recent interview with Dylan.

Callum Beattie’s star has been rising for some time now and he certainly has the songs and the charisma to take  full advantage of his potential. There is plenty of sentiment in Callum’s songs without being sentimental as he journeys through impassioned themes such as love at first sight ‘Heart Stops Beating’  and parenting in “Daddy’s Eyes” with the opening line “Well my mommy brought me up. And my daddy brought me down” being particularly cutting. Our stand out is the emotional punch of “Don’t Walk Alone”, with it’s anthemic chorus and message of hope, it feels particularly special. 

Of course it is “Salamander Street” that finishes the set to a predictable singalong, although he teases the audience finishing the song with a few lines of Caledonia. It is surprising to recall that this was Callum’s fifth appearance in the Highlands in just over a year, so it might have been fair to guess that the Highlands might be getting bored of the Musslebrough lad. NOT. A. CHANCE.  If you want to see him again he will be returning to Strathpeffer Pavilion on the 8th of October.

“This is just the start of my journey and I want to thank everyone for being part of it and supporting me through the years!”

Callum Beattie via Instagram

Whoever created the playlist between the last two acts were clearly building the atmosphere (if it was really needed) so singalongs to Oasis, Proclaimers, Neil Diamond and Baccara, ensued. There is a great feel to the crowd and they are certainly warmed up for the headliner.

Amy Macdonald follows in the footsteps of iconic Scottish singer-songwriters and in her set tonight does well to follow that legacy whilst also finding her own unique voice. There is plenty rock in the set tonight aided by her band and introduced in the first song “We Could Be So Much More”. It seemed  to catch the audience a little although they find their voice for “The Hudson” with the chorus “Where did it all go wrong my love”. 

By the time “Mr Rock & Roll” is played the audience and Amy are on full throttle. It’s hard to believe the song is 15 years old although Amy does use the set to reminisce at times. She talks about her 2007 performance at Belladrum and the progress that she has made since then. Poignantly she also talks about her being inspired to perform by going to gigs and hoped that other girls would follow in her footsteps.

The set highlights her willingness to take risks and adapt, a 2020 version of “Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over” still holds the familiarity but is given a twist. A handful of acoustic songs including a cover of “Dancing in the Dark” help to ease the pace at times “We do work you hard” she admits as she introduces them the slower paced tunes.

It is The Killers inspired “Run” that surprises us the most for one of her older tracks it certainly feels as fresh and relevant as it ever did although “This is the Life” certainly gets one of the biggest responses of the night.

As the sun goes down on the gig it also does for a really strong summer of music in the city. What 2023 will bring, who knows, but the value and importance of music can be seen tonight, so here’s hoping that 2023 brings more of the same.

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