Lerwick will play host to a hard rock extravaganza next weekend in the shape of a two-night musical celebration organised by Heavy Metal Buffet.
The 2013 Shetland Rock Festival features two nights packed with talented local and visiting rock and metal acts. Next Friday night’s show at the Lerwick Legion, headlined by The Revellers and also featuring Bitumen River, Eat Dr Ape and a debut gig from Spoothawk, has already sold out.
There will be a nine-hour marathon at Mareel on Saturday night, when no less than a dozen acts will perform. Topping the bill are a new-look Scaldin Bragg, playing their first isles gig in a while, Ten Tonne Dozer and visitors Semperfi and Akord (both fresh from playing Download, Britain’s biggest metal festival).
The festival is the culmination of nearly a year’s preparation since the Heavy Metal Buffet (HMB) organised an Oxjam concert last autumn. A series of fund-raising events were held earlier in the year, and HMB’s Marjolein Robertson said excitement was “thundering through the air at the Heavy Metal Buffet headquarters”.
“We have been preparing for this festival for over 10 months and can’t wait to entertain the crowds and ourselves with the many bands who will be rocking out over the weekend,” Marjolein said.
Local sound engineer Stevie Hook said the festival would be “the best rock event in Shetland this year”.
Friday’s “heavier, more metal-orientated” Legion concert will see Bressay’s JP Parsons returning to the isles with Eat Dr Ape, while Orcadian band Hybrid Constellation will also perform.
And “to the excitement of all”, the group Beast Head will take to the stage for the first time in over three years.
Twenty-four hours later it is anticipated that Scaldin Bragg will bring the festival to a conclusion with a “rip roaring set”. Other names among the dozen artists playing in the Mareel auditorium are Wind-Up Projectiles and Beef Cleaver.
Saturday night will be a non-stop nine hours of music, as DJ Lyall Halcrow will battle beats against “unstoppable” drummer Murray Arthur in between bands to ensure there is a “never-ending beat”.
“They will be travelling to Lerwick from as far afield as the Bonnie Isle of Whalsay to the rolling hills of England,” Marjolein said. “For me as well it will be a special event – this will be the last time I play with Beef Cleaver, an emotional, metal-filled set with a hint of strings…”
Heavy Metal Buffet originally began as a radio show hosted by Marjolein’s brother Dirk Robertson and Jamie Hatch.
The name was designed to demonstrate a wider musical palette than merely metal – and is aimed at enhancing the profile of heavy rock music in a community which already has well established traditional, folk, jazz and country scenes.
Dirk said that next weekend would be the “final climax in a long run of metal gigs” prompted by positive feedback after the hard rock Oxjam event at Da Wheel bar last October.
Both festival nights are open to under 18s, partly because some of the bands’ members would be excluded otherwise, but also in an effort to place greater emphasis on music rather than drinking.
Dirk feels it “seems a shame” for folk to put time and effort into producing serious music, only to “go on stage and play while people get drunk”.
Heavy Metal Buffet also hosts a weekly podcast promoting the best of the alternative music scene in Shetland, which you can listen to at soundcloud.com/heavymetalbuffet