Published: 05/05/2018 13:00 - Updated: 04/05/2018 14:55

REVIEW: Off Axis Showcase (with Be Like Pablo, PYRO, and 100 Fables)

Written byKyle Walker

Be Like Pablo
Be Like Pablo headlined the first Off Axis Inverness showcase.

The Tooth and Claw, Inverness

Saturday, April 28

***

For independent bands looking to make a name for themselves, there’s no better way to promote themselves than by taking their music to new places.

The Off Axis showcases offer hungry artists their chance in the spotlight – connecting artists across the country to allow them to network and put together gigs with new talents from outside the usual “scene”.

All very worthy and noble on paper – but how does that work in reality? This night marked Inverness’s first showcase, offering a chance for music-lovers to see what it was all about.

With three very different bands from across Scotland descending on the Tooth and Claw – Forres powerpop stalwarts Be Like Pablo, the rock fury of Bathgate two-piece PYRO and Glasgow’s icy new-wave prospect 100 Fables – this inaugural gig was eclectic to say the least.

Polished to a metallic sheen, openers 100 Fables brought a steely cool to the early doors crowd, their shimmering pop mixing well with the rock ‘n’ roll swagger of frontwooman Lyndsey Liora – her voice leaping between a Grimes-esque sickening sweetness and a Karen O style yelp.

PYRO followed, serving up raw and ready rock howls with more than a hint of Royal Blood – such is the curse of a two piece, I suppose. There’s a lot of promise here, particularly in their quieter moments, and the arpeggiated guitars that make up so many of their verses. I feel though that more needs to be done to compensate for the lack of bass in their set up – for my ears, their ostensibly-crunching breakdowns sounded slightly too hollow.

Be Like Pablo’s experience and way around a hook shines through in their headline slot. Over the years, they’ve managed to perfect their self-consciously geeky brand of powerpop – They Might Be Giants by way of Weezer and the Beach Boys.

I must admit here to a long and deeply-held enmity for that particular style of music, but it was easy to look past that to appreciate a band doing what they do well. And for music tastes less angry bitter than my own, there was a lot to enjoy when it comes to their summery melodies and pitch perfect harmonies.

It’s almost – almost – a metaphor for the showcase. For all of the grousing about the artists, a bill this eclectic was never going to please everybody during every moment of the gig.

Yet to have these disparate elements come together for one bill, offering the bands a chance to play outside their comfort zones to new crowds, can only be applauded – it will be fascinating to see who Off Axis brings to Inverness next.

What did you think? Comment below or tweet Kyle: @spp_kwalker

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