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Bands hint at epic tomorrows

By Margaret Chrystall

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Chancers and The Dihydro

Market Bar, Inverness


A NIGHT of contrasting sonic worlds from two newish city bands on Friday made you hungry to taste how the rest of 2019 will unfold for them.

In the support slot were Chancers – Jake Bolt and Lauren Mackenzie – now with Jake’s former Oxides guitar compadre Mikey Duncan. It’s in line with the aim Jake revealed when their first single came out to see Chancers as a full band line-up one day. But it would be a shame if there weren’t more of the Jake and Lauren two-voice core as things develop.

Crowning the set was the first single Still Here With You which is their best example of the man-woman call-and-return form as a couple talk out their relationship and the mystery of why it works. Close to it in quality, and also with a slight country edge to its rock, is One Step Ahead. Poppy enough to be a convincing next single, it allows Lauren more space to stretch her voice, as did song 32 which has a folkier feel and sees Lauren solo, showcased by the guitars of Jake and Mikey.

Beatles cover I’m Only Sleeping was a good fit with the rest of the set which added up to a convincing new identity for the two former Oxides and former solo singer-songwriter Lauren.

You can see them at Belladrum in a few weeks’ time.

The Dihydro – Thomas Newell on guitar and Jamie Douglas on drums – had already unveiled their live sound at the Tooth and Claw battle of the bands contest in Inverness in March after months behind closed doors, indicating perfectionists in the house. And on Friday, a full set of songs clung to the arresting self-described sound of “experiMENTAL two-piece grunge”.

It’s hard to top that as a description, as you imagine the invisible onslaught of gravelly rock like a wind tunnel blowing back your hair and sandblasting your face off. But it’s a good feeling – and it’s a great, pure testosterone-heavy sound that kicked in with Beast and got your inner Google rifling through the other bands The Dihydro echo.

Everyone from Death From Above 1979 to Iggy and the Stooges, no-messing merchants like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, maybe a bit of Royal Blood, all flashes past – even Neil Young-like vocals on Our Friend. So little is predictable in this mix.

As a rock experience,The Dihydro filled the Market Bar’s Tardis-like tinyness until it expanded into the huge dark caves of some Viking Valhalla.

You want to hear the band somewhere huge so you can sing along with the strangely compelling “Oo-la-la’s” of their song, er, Oo La La to add your voice to the kind of enormous crowd this epic sound deserves. MC

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