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Inverness indie rock band Lional show different sides at Ironworks headline gig alongside Highland bands Iain McLaughlin and the Outsiders, Pure Grief, and Misty Badger

By Kyle Walker

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REVIEW: Lional

The Ironworks, Inverness


“WE haven’t played since November – we’re really scared!” Lional frontman Josh Mackenzie states a few songs into their homecoming headliner. “But we’re getting there.”

There was no need to worry for the Inverness indie darlings – the band’s tight, effortlessly chameleonic music once again brought the house down on the Ironworks on a night that showcased four of the Highlands’ top – and freshest – bands.

Opening the gig, Misty Badger’s 70s-indebted rock ‘n’ roll stomped and jived. The band were clearly nervous – as the frontman declared, this was their first ever gig – but their slight awkwardness on the Ironworks stage was overshadowed by the quality of their tunes.

Caithness’s finest sons Pure Grief have been away for a while, but what a return to Inverness for the three-piece. Sliding easily between off-kilter Biffy-esque savagery and hook-laden power-pop – right down to a winking Fountains of Wayne-type song detailing a lust for Zooey Deschanel – the band slipped back like they’d never been away.

Iain McLaughlin and the Outsiders staked their claim to being the city’s best live band – their well-worn musical tales of lost souls redeemed by love brought to vicious life as ever by the band. Snarling, growling and ever-passionate, the Inverness veterans still sit at the top, unchallenged.

Lional’s set by contrast was deceptively relaxed – the songs breathing and snapping into place easily. Throughout their set, the sheer versatility of what Lional are capable snapped into place.

The cavernous, stomping shred of Over and Over gives way to the jerky, avant-pop skip of new single Daylight Hours.

How Lional juggle – and embrace – all these facets of themselves remains an impressive act of tightrope walking, and makes the band nothing short of a joy to behold. KW

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