Reviews / The Big Takeover ticked all the boxes

Young Shetland rock band Sheer's performance on Friday night was exceptional. All music photos: Chris Coles

The Big Takeover was one of Shetland’s largest events for young people yet, spread across various venues and held as a part of the national celebration of the Year of Young People 2018 in Scotland.

Over the past three days, more than 70 events took place at seven venues in Lerwick. The events were aimed at different age groups and offered a mixed variety of activities for the whole family, including music, drama, sport, films, circus skills, writing and crafts.


Zdenka Mlynarikova spent her weekend at Mareel and enjoyed three nights that were full of exciting music, featuring both local and visiting acts.

The concerts were organised in partnership with Shetland Young Promoters Group, a group of volunteers which puts on various events throughout the year including The Battle of the Bands, an event inspiring young people to share their talents in a supportive environment.

Friday night kicked off with the well known Shetland trio Isaac Webb and The Island Boogie Boys, who brought a brilliant set of bluesy vintage tunes. With music that puts everyone at ease, the band was a great introduction to the night. Having been on the music scene for a while now, the trio performs at various local events, previously known as Isaac Webb and the Zets. Isaac’s exceptional voice is a perfect match for the chosen music style and results in a sound that never gets old and is enjoyed by all generations.

Edinburgh band Gypsy Circus features ex-Shetlander Shaun Alderman on bass.

Next followed a unique Shetland rock band Delorean, bringing songs we all know in versions we’ve never heard before, while using several creative instruments to make it even more fun. Don’t let this fool you though – despite all the fun, this is a group of excellent musicians with lots to offer. Covering everything from your favourite rock songs to a heavier version of Let it Go from the movie Frozen, they have something to satisfy all music tastes!

Headlining the Friday night was the young Shetland rock band Sheer and the audience was in for a real musical delight. Although the band has been playing together for less than a year, the quality of their performance was exceptional. Adding a talented vocalist Josh Smith earlier this year made their music stand out even more.

Headliners for Saturday night were the increasingly popular 100 Fables.

With Brydon Sales on electric guitar, Scott Priest on bass and Ewan Moncrieff on drums, the band played a set of both originals and covers, including their single Throw, Retrieve, Repeat. They put on a show that was nothing short of astonishing and it would be no surprise to see them in one of UK’s bigger venues in no time.

While Friday was a celebration of purely local talents, Saturday involved two visiting acts. The night was opened by Shetland’s popular four piece rock/pop band Forgotten Sons. Their melodic rock is really easy to listen to while maintaining a high-energy style. The band’s set included a new single Pennies in the Water, a song about people wishing for a better life and spending their money on things while not following their dreams.

The second act of the night was a Scottish modern raw indie rock band Gypsy Circus. Starting as a two-piece with a plan to make some cash by singing covers, the singer Aaron King and guitarist Michael Mackay soon realised they worked well together and started to produce original music. Adding Shaun Alderman on bass and Calum Thomson on drums, they recorded their first EP after only two months of being a band. And this is one of the bands you couldn’t mistake with any other- a unique style underlined by Aaron’s perfectly throaty voice resulted as a big hit among the audience.


Headliners for Saturday night were the increasingly popular 100 Fables. The Glasgow based band were born from the shared love of the new wave movement and their passion for the 80s new wave and post punk electro sound. While these influences are noticeable, they don’t take over their own style. The energy coming out of their music is infectious and will undoubtedly have your full attention during the whole set. Lead singer Lyndsey Lyora adds even more to these qualities, putting on a confident and attractive show, being not only an excellent singer but also having a great ability to entertain the crowds. The band played mostly their original songs including singles Two Strangers in LA, Complications and Wake Up.

Both nights of gigs were followed by a disco, featuring local DJs and providing fun for Shetland’s youth until late.

The BIG Takeover weekend has been launched by Maree Todd, Scottish Government minister for children and young people, at Lerwick Town Hall on Friday morning. Photo: SIC

Sunday marked the end of The Big Takeover and the last of its music events, the Open Mic at Mareel Cafe and Shetland Youth’s Got Talent which took place at Mareel’s auditorium. The competition was open to all local folk aged 26 and under.

The first place went to talented drummer and composer Eamonn Watt with his One-Man Disco Band, who impressed the audience and judges with his drumming skills and creative style. Second place went to amazing singer Lorraine Peterson, who performed her original piece Days Gone By as well as couple of covers. In third place there were The North Sea Highland Dancers with their wonderful choreography.

The Big Takeover has been great for young people and adults alike in so many ways – it’s not every weekend that there are so many opportunities to have fun and learn at the same time. The event is likely to inspire even more activities being added to the already thriving Shetland community to help to encourage young people to participate in future projects.