The annual Heavy Metal Buffet got well and truly underway at Lerwick Legion last night where a full house of metal heads turned out to celebrate a musical genre that is twice as old as most of the fans who were there.
The Legion was hot, sweaty and LOUD, with a variety of eardrum bashing acts putting on some highly entertaining shows that varied from the acoustic Mathew Adam to the funk inflected Shetland Phoney to the full on headbanging of openers Ten Tonne Dozer, Baethos and headliners Semperfi.
The acts at the main Legion “Njuggle” stage were co-ordinated with those in the public bar, an excellent idea that meant people could watch every band in the line up by switching between “venues”; with the Dirty Lemons pulling a double slot in the bar between the last three acts in the function room.
One of the organisers, Dirk Robertson, said he was delighted with the way the opening concert had gone and that extra organisation that had gone into this year’s event had paid off as the whole business had gone more smoothly than before.
Robertson added: “It’s been better than ever before and a better atmosphere – a friendly family atmosphere. One of the big things for us is welcoming in the bands from the mainland. It’s been really great seeing how much much fun these bands have had here.”
The sound by Stevie and Amanda was excellent as was the light set up by Derek Hendry that showed what can be done with the Legion stage with the right equipment. Tim Mathew, who more frequently produces sound for a variety of bands or performs with his own band, Mystery Juice, was last night acting stage manager. This year’s event also had a global reach with the show being broadcast live on the internet on 60 North TV.
Old stagers Ten Tonne Dozer got the ball rolling on Friday evening – they also have the honour of closing tomorrow night’s show – a mark of recognition of 10 years at the top of the Shetland metal scene.
After a set by new band Draugr, fronted by Jamie Dalziel who produces the regular Heavy Metal Buffet along with Marjolein Robertson, both of whom were involved organising the festival, came the surprise of the night. Jennifer Leask, the girlfriend of Draugr singer Callum MacIntosh, sneaked onstage and proposed to him with a “beaut” of a skull ring.”It was a complete surprise for him and brought him to tears. It wis a beautiful moment for me,” said Jennifer later.
Local favourites Nomadia and the talented funk/rock/rap outfit Shetland Phoney put in pleasing sets and, visiting Shetland for the first time, Glasgow band Baethos were hailed by stageside musicians as a truly outstanding act. Lewis McDowall on bass, Jonathan Beveridge on drums and Steven Murray on guitar are one razor sharp act, with Beveridge sounding like Phil Taylor at his best.
The trio had gone for a hurl around Shetland in a car before the festival and, to truly prove their metal, managed a bit of skinny dipping at Meal beach.
McDowall said later that he had loved playing for the Shetland crowd. “That’s what makes it all worthwhile.”
But the response of the night was for Aberdeen based Semperfi, who have now become an established part of the Shetland rock scene. And they had the dancefloor jammed with people headbanging, pogoing or simply doing their own thing.