By the name of the title, I would forgive you if you thought I was about start a really in depth synopsis of the American deficit but I of course refer to a little old venue called “Downtown USA” in Inverness that has sadly, been closed for a few years now.
Before I go any further I wish to mention that I don’t really write articles, I am neither a journalist nor a writer so bear with me, as I am trying my best. If you do have any complaints, please email firstname.lastname@example.org where you concerns will be carefully considered.
I have started to see a trend in small Rock/Punk/Hardcore bands that are travelling Scotland starting to appear, their touring poster's look a little like this
No Inverness? Why is that? Not too long ago we were almost a certainty on that list, Is Inverness beginning to earn itself a name for people not turning up to upcoming bands? I have been disappointed with great bands like “Bronto Skylift” playing and only being able to pull in 30 people, about 10 of which are pub regulars and have just heard a racket upstairs. These bands anywhere else would pack a small venue out with enthusiastic rockers and moshers, again since the days of “Downtown USA” mosh pits are as rare as a woman knowing her place.
Recently me and an old friend were talking about Inverness and its music scene and we soon found ourselves reminiscing about the good ole’ days of Downtown USA and the more we talked about it the more we came to realise just how fucking awesome that place really was. For those who were regulars they will understand what I mean when I say we have lost something truly special, but for those who weren’t a part of it let me try and explain.
You see Downtown USA was a place that that was run by music enthusiasts, it was a venue that every week without fail would pull in Local fans of Local Rock/Hardcore/Punk bands. Downtown USA was a 14+ venue and held about 150 people, which I think was vital to its success because this brought in a whole new crowd of music lovers and it would fill out easily, it was always busy no matter who was playing. It was also a place that loved promoting music so there were new bands playing every week in front of a mixed audience of people supporting their local music scene; now some of these bands were absolutely catastrophic and some were great! For those people who were regulars there, how many times would you hear the cover of “Rage Against the Machine’s – Killing in the Name of” In a night? A safe option for the new bands the get the crowd moshing. We saw great bands like “Curio” and “Deviate” emerge and Downtown USA would fill out with people to see these bands play. Something the great local bands are struggling to do today. In fact it seems the only way they get a large crowd is by supporting a much larger visiting band. It also played host to some great bands such as “Inme” and “The Gallows” who were the last “big” band to play there in 2007.
To say it helped the underground rock scene was a understatement because essentially it WAS the scene, and when it closed its doors for the final time, these genres suffered greatly and have never been quite the same as they once were in Inverness.
For a while, it was either “Ironworks” or “Mad Hatters” to see these Genres’s play, “Ironworks” supported this scene with its “Unleashed” nights but we could never dream to fill out its 1000 person capacity and made it painfully empty sometimes. “Mad Hatters” has held some great gigs in it but sadly weren’t able to compensate for regular local band slots and the irregularity of gigs and its 18+ restrictions meant that a lot of people couldn’t go, including myself back in the day.
So I feel that this is what is missing sometimes in Inverness, we need to find ourselves a venue people where this can happen again! In fact! I got myself so worked up am doing something about it right now! C’mon people let’s do something about our declining music scene!!
Written by Euan Coe