Bevvy Scotland, La Belle Angel, Edinburgh, 1st September 2018
Stepping into the gap left by the cancellation of Heavy Scotland, Edinburgh’s Keep It Steel offered up some recompense to Scottish metal fans at the start of the month with Bevvy Scotland. Although it isn’t the same scale of event, and the venue is a little bit late in letting folk in, there is still a palpable energy in the air. Bands and organisers drift in and out of the anxiously twitching punters awaiting entry. As Barry Buchanan, Dog Tired bassist, says it’s odd to see a queue, but very pleasing.
As we make our way into the building, things are right on the point of kick off. When the music starts, one thing is immediately apparent: The sound is ridiculously good tonight. It’s an easy start with A Ritual Spirit (winners of the Scottish M2TM HEATS) . The crowd is understandably a little thin on the ground for a show starting at 2:15, but the existing audience are all ready for riffs, and ARS are only too happy to oblige. With their powered-up, classic stylings, we’re off and away.
Next up are Anaxor, somewhat of a capital city supergroup I guess. The knock on effect of early delays sees them take to the stage only 13 minutes late, so there’s still a chance to get things back on track. Making your entrance to a Conan sample surely makes up for it, though. Especially when it’s followed up by swathes of epic (and I mean ‘epic’), METAL metal riffing, lead work and vocals. Luke James (also guitars – Dog Tired) has definitely been hiding his frontman light under a bushell; “Holy fuck it’s quarter past three and everyone’s up for it!“. He’s not wrong. The venue is filling up nicely.
Moving on we have the Glaswegian hardcore of Kingpin. There’s still no questioning that, as far as Scotland goes, these guys are at the absolute top of the game in what they do. Hatebreed with vox from ATG, played on double speed. The people are hot for this, but, thankfully (at least in my opinion), no crowd killing ensues.
Runemaster take to the stage in front of a somewhat pared down crowd, but it doesn’t take long for their harmonic, old school leanings to start drawing people back in front of the stage. Soaring vocals and churning riffs seem to be giving everybody their second breath.
Unfortunately, due to Edinburgh apparently having no food within a square mile, Burning The Dream ended up getting missed, but it’s surely safe to assume they laid down a banger! That makes next on the list Edinburgh’s thrash metal masterminds, Disposable. This is “the only band to have played Heavy Scotland & Bevvy Scotland” the statement comes from the stage, whipping up an enthusiastic roar, upon the request to prove tonight has the grits to best the bigger show. By the time they reach their last song, it’s ten to seven, and we have our first pit! And a stage invasion!
As per the the standard we’ve come to expect on Scotland’s East Coast, Perpetua set about ripping things a new one, but there’s something different. It seems like they’ve opened up a more raw, organic edge to their sound. And it is very welcome. A saw blade replaces a cog, and faces get minced rather than melted. This is probably the most visceral this band has ever sounded on stage, and the invasions continue.
We’re now properly into the top tier, and Ramage Inc are making the most of their 30 minutes, laying the atmosphere on thick. The superb live sound production really plays into their hands, and helps gather a great response to new number, Strive. If it’s anything to go by, it looks like their next album is going to be a prog monster to match its predecessors.
Next up, it’s Dog Tired, introduced as “best local band on the planet“. Did we ever doubt it? In typical style they lay down the law of the riff. Again. Every time I see this crew I’m amazed that they aren’t operating on a much grander scale. They’ve got the chops. They’ve got the presence. They’ve got the character. If you ever get the chance to see them live, grab it!
The final gates are now open for headliners Gama Bomb. Laughs and shreds are the order of the day, and it looks like everyone is ready to lap it up. It’s been a few years since the last time I saw this band, but time has not dulled their edge, nor sapped their humour. Time machines, peace/piece process and zombeer wash over a more than eager crowd, proving thrash is most certainly not dead. At least not in Edinburgh.
Sadly, through a combination of transport and minor delays, we have to leave before the end of the final set, but it has absolutely been worth the journey. It has also been very much worth the effort which the organisers have put in to launch a rescue mission, and provide a fantastic days entertainment for all. Will we be back on the Bevvy again, this time, next year? I hope so!
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Saturday September 29th at Beat Generator Live, Dundee
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