The weekend of the ominous Friday 13th brought the 10-year anniversary of the Shetland Blues Festival. On Friday night the Mid Brae Inn offered a free-entry gig, with Shetland’s very own Led Zetland supporting the Orkney-based Andy Taylor Band.
Although less bluesy than one would expect to see at a predominantly blues festival, Led Zetland thrashed out many Led Zeppelin hits such as Whole Lotta Love and Kashmir.
It was a shame that the efforts of singer Martin Naylor and Co could not be made clear due to the size of the venue and the continuing sound issues. Many aspects of this gig were lost in a haze of domineering vocals and interrupting feedback.
The saviour of the day came in the shape of Robbie Walterson, a young man who shredded some finger-numbing skills on the guitar. The pace was kept steady with Jamie Duncan, originally of Ten Tonne Dozer, on drums and Chris Thomson offered his helping hands on keyboards which added a much-needed livener.
All in all it was a decent representation of Led Zeppelin. More crowd interaction wouldn’t have gone amiss but this is incredibly difficult considering the few people that showed up. Although not quite Robert Plant, no-one could take away how much Naylor loves Zeppelin.
Having previously visited the isles in 2010 with a band called Bad Taste, singer Andrew Taylor and drummer Dylan Pepper were joined by Jamie Adamson on bass to form the extremely talented and newly formed Andy Taylor Band. These young men introduced the Mid Brae to something that oozed both groove and slick style.
The band showcased several winning songs, one of which was their highly seductive Slow Down. Andrew displayed a unique husk and smoky vibe as he sang “stop your stupid games, all you do is cause me pain”.
As always the bar staff at the Mid Brae enjoyed the music just as much as the audience, especially with the introduction of Killing Floor, a song which illustrated a fun side and upped the pace. If the venue had been a touch bigger, perhaps people would have been on their feet for such a pleasant ditty.
With the abilities of Dylan Pepper, this band provided a seamless and professional show from start to finish. They treated this gig as if they were playing to a full room and interacted with the numbers they managed to increase.
It is surprising that this was their first live gig together, having been playing as a group since September. With just a few weeks of preparation for the weekend, they showed something that only true musicians are capable of – the ability to pick up an instrument and jam out a tune with little or no effort.
Their instruments are as much a part of them as their arms and legs. Shetland is in for a treat the rest of the weekend as they hit Mareel tonight and The Lounge on Sunday. I hope you managed to catch these young, talented boys. If this is what blues music is, consider me converted.