Rockathon 2016 Review
One of the great things about photographing and reviewing concerts is having the opportunity to get up close and personal with some pretty famous – and occasionally iconic – artists from the music world. And I’m not gonna lie to you, I get a tremendous buzz out of it, and there’s no denying that it’s a very cool thing to be able to do. The funny thing is though, in many ways I find it just as exciting to go cover concerts involving emerging artists and bands who are completely new to me. And this is the reason I jumped at the chance to be the photographer covering Rockathon 2016 at Stramash, Edinburgh last Sunday.
Rockathon is the brainchild of PR Owls, an Edinburgh-based PR company specialising in the promotion of unsigned bands on social media, and the two men behind Dalkeith’s annual Midstock Festival, Wullie Slight and Scott Gunn. Using their extensive knowledge of the Scottish music scene, they brought together seven of the country’s best unsigned artists and bands for a day-long musical extravaganza to raise money for the Cash For Kids appeal.
Of the seven bands on the running order, I’d heard the music of just two and had seen none of them live. Which basically meant that I’d be coming face to face with seven new live acts over the course of the day. My whistle was well and truly whetted!
Radio Saltire‘s Katie G who expertly guided us through the day’s performances, took to the stage to get things underway by introducing Edinburgh’s only professional dance team, Fierce Pro Dancers. Now, it’s a well known fact that decibelROGUE can’t dance for toffee and generally struggles to walk and chew at the same time. So watching a group of women as good as Fierce Pro Dancers just makes me feel, well, even more rubbish – because they were properly awesome! I just wish they could’ve done a couple more numbers. However, after their short but sweet performance the stage was well and truly set for Rockathon 2016 to begin in ernest.
I’m not going to do a mini review of each band that performed during the day because I’ll end up repeating myself again and again. And then I’ll inevitably crash and burn due to a lack of superlatives, similes and metaphors. Suffice to say November Lights sounded HUGE. Benny Monteux and The Bones Brigade were tremendous. The Rah’s absolutely rocked. Kirsten Adamson was absolute class. The Rising Souls were hypnotic. Break The Butterfly were absolutely barnstorming. And as for our headliner, former Silencers frontman JJ Gilmour? Well, he grabbed the venue by the scruff of the neck and duly kicked a hole in the sky, rounding Rockathon off brilliantly.
I’ve already eluded to one rock ‘n’ roll connection in Rockathon’s lineup. But there was another, which involves Kirsten Adamson. The clue’s in the name. Have you joined the dots yet? Kirsten is the daughter of Stuart, who you may remember as the late, great frontman of Big Country. I’ve had Big Country records (yes, RECORDS) for as long as I can remember, but never saw them live. So to see his daughter wow the crowd with a fabulous set of original compositions and her stunning voice, was pretty damned cool.
As a showcase for unsigned artists, Rockathon was an absolute belter of a concert. It says as much about the organisers of the event as the artists and bands themselves that the quality of music throughout the whole day was genuinely top-of-the-line. If you weren’t able to be there this time around, there are plans afoot for future Rockathon’s outwith Edinburgh. We’ll keep you posted when further news is available. In the meantime, check out the bands via the links below. They all have albums and EP’s which I’m confident you’ll love. Drop by their sites, show them some love and help keep live music LIVE.
So hats off to all the people involved in Rockathon 2016 who gave their time and resources to making the event a success. And here’s hoping there will be many more!
Fierce Pro Dancers Gallery
November Lights Gallery
Benny Monteux and The Bones Brigade Gallery
The Rah’s Gallery
Kirsten Adamson Gallery
The Rising Souls Gallery
Break The Butterfly Gallery
JJ Gilmour Gallery
Radio Saltire Gallery
And! Introducing Emma Allison. Student photographer Emma joined team decibelROGUE for her first shoot ‘in the pit’. Check out her shots below!