“Inverness live music on a Saturday night who would have thought it”? was Davy Cowan’s welcome to the sell out 100 faithful at The Ironworks Inverness
A historic gig and our first live review of the pandemic.
The Highlands is level one restricted, so congratulations to The Ironworks staff and indeed The Highland Council for seizing the opportunity to deliver this Covid conditions restricted event, all be it to a vastly reduced audience.
Before I described the show allow me to talk you through how it was achieved. Each party (two households max) had an allocated zone and each zone had an allocated entrance door, folks were then shown to their seats and safety instructed to not leave their zone unless for the toilet and only then with masks on and not leave their seat especially to dance (eeek) , once seated we were shown a code on our table which opened up an app through the camera to order drinks on, 3 minutes later drinks were delivered by very polite and well informed servers.
10 minutes later enter Davy and his son Sam who also both took their seats Sam behind the raised drum kit though now he can just about be seen above them and Davy behind his mic, flanked by two shinny acoustic guitars, on a stage set up with home decor as if they were in Invergordon at The Celt Bar (their hoose and House Concert setting) playing one of their hugely popular Lockdown Live Streams shows, the difference being the rapturous applause that greeted them and the 5 foot high stage and 10mt high light show and the legendary Ironworks big sound system (last time i was here it was for PIL and John Lydon prowling and howling like a banshee through it. We would return to Mr Lydon country before too long – The Cowan’s launched into Davy’s apocryphal “Working Man” to general whoops and hand claps, echoing back at them from the depths hall. We had a celebration going on and Davy is the man for that, we are in safe hands.
I say apocryphal working man as Davy Cowan is the hardest working man in the business of Folk and Roll or was up until the lockdown, there is not a bar or a village hall that he has not rocked down the years in all manner of combo’s and musical combinations, consistently delivering exactly what the crowd wants, having fun doing and presenting his own songs along the way too.
The show starts out with his own catalogue and folks sang every word back at him. Davy had the vantage to see from the stage zone who was zone up and where and brought them zoned in, even across the vast socially distance floor as he welcomed friends by name with their favourite songs by the numbers to more whoops of joy.
The Davy and Sam double act has become Highland festival favourites of recent years much to do with Sam’s deadpan gunshot rim-shot delivery Davy’s rapour and banter with the audience and seemingly bottomless musicality, repertoire and crucially their love for and adaptations of Punk classic that Davy must have been pogoing to when he was Sam’s age. They ratatta tat together through the Clash, Stranglers and Stiff Little Fingers and the seated audience who have been instructed several times to remain seated do as they are told and do their pogoing from the seated position. The crack is good and the banter too, Davy explains how the Ironworks in these times is now fitted with exercise equipment, and socially distanced changing facilities, “gone has the sharing of Cocaine from every crevice, he says with a wink to Sam further saying to the audience, poor Sam is missing out on all of that, to which Sam never flinches while he counts in Sham 69’s “ It The Kids Are United” and his Dad hurries up to be on q to rasp all its attitude in the direction of we the delighted audience.
The show has a rigid curfew of 10pm, obviously because Covid comes out to play after that and we should all be tucked up safe inside before it does. So Davy and Sam return triumphantly to Davys catalogue for the finale after a trip down Johnny Cash memory lane via the Outlaws “Highwayman”, tipping a cowboy hat at Neil Young and Tom Paxton along the journey, returning to home ground with “Coming Home” – a rousing story of Davy’s continental travels and the northern lit ferry trip home, and a great night out reaches its climax with the anthemic “Town That I Love”, which they skilfully transmute into Lou Reid’s “The Passenger” and we all sing nae SHOUT OUT the NA NA NA NA na na na na NA’s to order, then on the last drum plop, we stand our ovations in our allocated zones, knowing a great time was had by all, soon to be gently ushered out the door we came in to the winter night.
Congratulations Davy and Sam for turning a sterile environment into a great gig and The Ironworks for hosting a show that could not have felt safer even though it could not have paid the bills, just because it’s what they do and what their audience wants and needs right now. 100 happy folks heard some great music “ live “ and saw some light at the end of a very very long dark tunnel
Thank you all concerned.
Support live music keep safe and keep the faith it is possible.