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Downstairs At The Mill, Aberdeen
3rd May 2015

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


Downstairs At The Mill has established itself as a vibrant part of the music scene in Aberdeen over the past couple of years. Nestled under The Malt Mill bar it's a cosy, atmospheric wee place and respectably full for a rainy Sunday night.

First on in tonight's three band bill are The Mandrakes. After some success with their debut EP, 'Six Tales From Dark Minds', in 2013 they have had a slew of line up changes and tonight is their first gig with new members including helping hands from If All Else Fails drummer Jamie Kinghorn.

As you might expect in the circumstances the gig is played in a low key, slightly hesitant way but some nice incisive riffs from Andy Adie's guitar, interesting and complex song structures and a melodic, hard, rocky vibe which is difficult to pigeonhole keep the audience interested throughout.

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The icing on the cake are the strong vocals of Victoria Andrew, soaring easily above the band or dropping to a quieter, more restrained style in the more laid back moments. She is full of personality (and tattoos!) but a little more chat between songs rather than mostly slightly awkward silences would have helped to show that.

This was a first step for a new chapter in the band's history and while they need to work on their presentation they showed a lot of promise and will be worth watching.


Local favourites GutterGodz have been on the go since 2008, ploughing that lonely rock and roll furrow where you are from an area of the country where it's hard to get noticed but the desire to rock overrides everything else and you play anywhere and everywhere that will have you. They certainly don't lack for enthusiasm and in frontman Jon Davie they have someone who has all the attitude you need to go with the low slung guitar and rock/punk/sleaze hybrid style they have.

Tearing through songs with no let up they are a tight, fun three piece and while not every song sticks in the mind they have some good tunes and you can't help but warm to them. Promisingly the newer material impresses most and a song with a working title of 'You And I' was attitude rock tied to an authentic been there done that lyric. I really enjoyed the lead guitar work too, with some nice, fiery soloing livening up things several times during their set.

Another promising band then who seem to be heading in the right direction. Although given where they are from that direction might unfortunately have to be south!


Tonight's headliners and MetalTalk favourites The Amorettes have been on a roll for some time now and following the release of their second album 'Game On' have toured up and down the UK and even over to the Netherlands getting rave reviews and terrific feedback everywhere they've been.

That famous kick ass attitude they have is in evidence from the first feedback driven notes as they enter the stage right through to when they troop off to huge applause an hour later sweaty and exhausted. They are unashamedly high energy rock and roll and make no apologies for not playing any ballads or slow songs. They are simply here to kick ass and batter you into submission with their short, catchy tunes.

This is the last show of an intense run and you can see from the energy drinks being consumed between songs that the strain has taken some toll but you'd never guess from the performance. The songs still come thick and fast, Hannah on the drums still drives everything on relentlessly, Heather manages to keep her bass playing on point while never standing still for two seconds despite the size of the stage and Gill on the guitar riffs like a demon, solos superbly and sings her heart out.


The basement venue is hot and clammy with all the bodies in the room and the songs just fly by in a sweaty rock and roll haze. Most of the new album gets an airing with the fist in the air 'Heys!' of 'Get What's Comin'' and the superb full on, hammer down riff party of the newly released on video 'Bull By The Horns' being real highlights.

'Shoot From The Hip' is even more intense and up tempo and never was traditional crowd sing along number 'Hot And Heavy' more appropriate as a description of a gig. Despite the heat and exhaustion there is no quit in these girls and another cracking gig was delivered before they retired to have a few drinks with their fans and then head off for a well earned break.

I have no doubt that The Amorettes will be back on the road soon so go and catch them if you can. A breath of hurricane force fresh air in today's rock music scene.

The Mandrakes




The Amorettes




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