The Ironworks, Inverness
Headlining their hometown’s largest venue for the first time, playing on a Saturday night to a crowd eager to see one of Inverness’s most well-known bands, one would expect even a couple of nerves to be on display.
Yet it’s testament to the talents and confidence of Inverness rockers Lional that the band looked like they belonged there every second they were on stage.
In fact, this was a good night all over for Scotland’s burgeoning indie talent, as the support bands – friends Lional have made on their travels with the Off Axis Touring Network – gamely showed their stuff.
Aberdeen rockers ForeignFox offered up some reliable rock monsters, songs like Frostbite and Lights Off, Carry Me Home offering an indelible groove to kick off proceedings.
Flitting from the straightforward rock to the sunny pop of Edinburgh’s Indigo Velvet might be jarring on paper, but there’s something of the festival season about both bands.
And Indigo Velvet are brilliant – tropical, optimistic and joyous on stage, offering up smiles despite “trying not to come across as too hungover” according to guitarist Jason.
By the time Lional come out to the sounds of triumphant brass music and crack into opener Season of Salt, the crowd are ready. It’s obvious that Lional are too.
The night’s set serves almost as a curation of the city band’s history. Listen to how the band has evolved since 2014, the humongous sound of early song Over and Over contrasting with the janglier Johnny Marr-esque guitar pop of newer tunes like Try It On.
It’s been fascinating to watch the group evolve, as riffs become hooks and every part of the band becomes sharpened to a pin point, each song tightened to metronomic precision.
By the time of the encore swings round – the haunting, stomping Moonlight – it’s difficult not to be happy for Lional. At their biggest headline gig yet, they made it look easy.