Across Inverness

Across Inverness

Alan Morrison

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OVER two days and nights, the goNORTH Festival gathers all of Scotland's creative industries - music, film, gaming, publishing, fashion - under one big umbrella. Panel discussions and networking sessions take place during the day; in the evenings, the bands come out to play.

With 28 acts in seven locations on Wednesday (33 in eight last night), it's impossible to see everything. Each festival delegate and city dweller took away their own personal live playlist.

Wednesday's line-up offered a geographical trek through Scotland's rising talent. The Moon Kids, from Fife, found a harder edge to the classic guitar band style set up by Cast and The La's, while Dundee's Copper Lungs used their 30-minute set to distil chest-thumping passion into every song. Algernon Doll channelled the spirit of Seattle into the grungy-punky melange of their set, whereas for fellow Glaswegians United Fruit it was Washington DC, and a Fugazi-style wave of guitar feedback, vocal harmonies and spiky rhythms that rocked the room.

Electronica was represented by three Glasgow bands: the Far-East-arpeggios-meets-propulsive-beat of Atom Tree, the guitar/keyboard hybrid of Machines In Heaven and the increasingly funky electro-pop of Miaoux Miaoux.

Sweden's Pale Honey impressed with their tight and clean post-punk pop while, at the other end of the scale, Norway's Hold Fast won the prize for the most exuberant band, crowd-surfing against the growl and thrash of their heavy metal thunder.

In the middle of the venue-hopping and genre-switching, 16-year-old Eleanor Nicolson's lightly jazzy voice and self-penned folksy songs provided an oasis of calm. The Lewis-born singer-songwriter was a revelation beyond her years and proof, by herself, of goNORTH's potential to uncover this year's ones-to-watch.